I was recently told about this youtube channel on the internet that demonstrates how certain viral videos are fake (Captain DisIllusion). In this video he talks about clickbait content and how these videos were fabricated to make interesting content for clickbait websites.

I’m going to run through the Kaplan & Haenlein paper on the criteria for making a viral video and apply it to the video talked about by Captain DisIllusion.

Two videos were talked about in this episode of his show, both about lightning. The one I’ll analyse is the surfer with dumb voice video. It has over two million views and weaselled its way into the highly reputable(heavy sarcasm), life destroying Murdoch Media news cycle.

The paper by Kaplan and Haenlein states that three elements must be present for a video to reach epidemic levels of attention:

1. Messengers-

Mavens, or people who are tuned into the marketplace and are members of a community that talks about these things.

Social Hubs, people/pages with large amounts of followers, meme pages on facebook are an example of this, or personalities on facebook that have massive amounts of followers.

Salespeople, shouldn’t have to explain this.

In the case of the lightning video it was posted onto a social hub, which was a clickbait news page on facebook that linked the video from youtube.

2. The Message-

It has to be memorable or interesting. If you watch the video the guy has a strange voice that seems like he had a stroke while watching Fat Pizza and someone nearly gets struck by lightning. It also only 46 seconds long so it’s easily digestible. These factors make it interesting.

3. The Environment-

The message should be spread to a wide variety of messengers. Simply put strategically spread your seed. The video was posted on facebook pages, reddit’s main video section.

I’m not donning a tinfoil hat, but if you were to claim that this video is using embedded marketing to advertise a product, the product it would be doing that for is the GoPro.


Andreas M. Kaplan Michael Haenlein


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