The Marcel Marceau Method for Viral Videos


This video is quite old (from 2001) but it demonstrates wonderfully how to produce something viral by being offbeat and arty. It also has great marketing potential.

It would have been easy for the creators to play it straight – making an abstruse art piece – but by adding that touch of drama to the video it takes it to another level. This is important because while the joke loses its freshness after the kitchen scene despite the music being catchy, it is what happens next that drives the viewer to watch to the end. Life is short. Art is long. Bad art is longer.

Due to the esoteric nature of this piece some might think that it is hard to make it marketable, but it is that same weirdness that produces the strange attractor needed to make it viral. Imagine if we were to cut the entire video to only the dramatic elements plus the kitchen scene. So the story becomes:

  1. Musicians wait
  2. Homeowners leave
  3. Musicians break-in
  4. They play on kitchen appliances
  5. Home owners come home unexpectedly catching the musicians

This makes the story compact and punchy. In a world full of advertisers screaming for attention shorter is better. Even so, how is this new piece a marketable property?

What if all the appliances in the video were made by the one company, say Braun? We don’t even have to mention them, the brand name is just there on each appliance – subtle close-ups can be used to make them more prominent. Or what if the kitchen is from Ikea? Now we have a very powerful viral video.

Traditional advertising is often all about who screams the loudest. That’s why television advertising volumes are usually higher than the programs that support them. Viral advertising is less about how loud and more about the silences in between. So when you’re making your next viral video remember to ask yourself, how do I reproduce the sound of no hands clapping?

About the Author: skribe

Based in Perth, Australia, Antonio Barimen (aka skribe) is a writer, digital media consultant and social media producer.

He is available to help you develop social marketing and digital media strategies, improving communication between staff, partners and suppliers or just increasing the number of fans on Facebook. He has developed successful digital and social media projects for clients including CBS, Evian, Procter & Gamble, Discovery Networks, Pernod Ricard and American Express.

Connect with him on Twitter or Google Plus.
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Post Under Advice, Marketing, Video May 2, 2008

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