12 Most Universal Ingredients of Viral Videos

12 Most Universal Ingredients of Viral Videos

So you’re cooking up a marketing campaign; time to pull out the old tattered viral video recipe book. A pinch of canned laughter and a dash of voice over…bake for 60 minutes…frost with a cute kitten…serves 12.

Every marketing director and advertising agency by now has been asked: “I want a viral video. Can it be ready by end of week?” Never one to refuse a paycheck, marketers open their recipe books and bake up something to satisfy their client’s sweet tooth. The reality is that most end up unpalatable to their intended audience and left on the plate barely touched.

Let’s review the 12 Most Universal Ingredients of Viral Videos found in these recipe books.

1. Two cups of any brand of purring kitten.

2. A tablespoons of a guy getting slammed in the crotch.

3. One or more cute babies laughing.

4. A pinch of piquant fart sounds in a public place.

5. A dash of sexual innuendo.

6. A good helping of patriotism (preferred brand: “Star-Spangled Banner”)

7. A college student’s voice over animal videos (preferably high or drunk)

8. Sift in a celebrity “wardrobe malfunction”

9. A half-naked man on a horse, no a llama, no, yes, a horse.

10. A cup of someone using a Netty Pot.

11. Layer in a friend performing any act that almost gets them killed.

12. To serve, carefully choreography “spontaneous” group dance numbers in public places.

However appetizing these common flavors are at first, wannabe bakers should be warned: our taste buds develop an aversion to them quickly.

The reality is that our audience’s appetite for viral videos isn’t at all predictable. In fact they often have nothing to with the bakery, the baker or the recipe. “Going viral” requires a magical ingredient that may not be definable and certainly rarely duplicable.

Featured image courtesy of Casey David via Creative Commons.

Sam Fiorella


Sam Fiorella is a globetrotting interactive marketing strategist who has earned his stripes over the past 20 years in senior management roles with corporate sales &marketing teams as well as consulting for more than 30 marketing agencies. Sam’s experience with over 1600 Interactive projects during the past 15 years spans the government, finance & insurance, manufacturing, national retail and travel/tourism sectors. Currently, Sam is the Chief Strategy Sensei at Sensei Marketing, where he is charged with strategic campaign guidance and marketing technology development that power the Sensei Customer Lifecycle Methodology. Sam is a respected blogger and popular keynote speaker on marketing, branding and social media communications having presented at more than 200 conferences in the past 2 years. Follow Sam on Twitter or Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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