Viral video isn’t just for water-skiing squirrels

One Saturday morning in June 2006, Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe posted a three-minute video online showing the two of them dropping 500 Mentos mints into 100 bottles of Diet Coke creating, in their words, “a miniature Bellagio fountain show.”

Voltz and Grobe, former circus performers, say they told just one person about the video and by that afternoon, 4,000 people had watched it. By that night, total views hit 14,000.

“As we have made [more] videos, and as we’ve watched countless other videos to viral online, we’ve tried to distill what works and what doesn’t. We’ve looked hard at why most attempts at viral video fail, and we’ve examined what make the few that succeed so contagious,” they state in their book, “The Viral Video Manifesto: Why Everything You Know Is Wrong and How to do What Really Works.”

A B2B video may not stand a chance against “David After Dentist,” but Voltz and Grobe provide insights for producing videos that will make a positive impression no matter the arena.

Be honest – Don’t try to conceal things. Don’t worry about getting every brand message perfectly delivered. Keep it real, and find something even better. As John Grant has written in his book, “The New Marketing Manifesto,” “Authenticity is the benchmark against which all brands are now judged.

Don’t waste prospects’ time – On the Internet, your audience can leave whenever they want. And they will. If they get bored, they’ll be gone in an instant.

Be bold enough to be unforgettable – The real risk in online video is in trying to play it safe. You don’t have to be wild and crazy to be unforgettable. Sussex Safer Roads was powerful and poetic with its video “Embrace Life – Always Wear Your Seat Belt (15 million views), showing a car crash through slow-motion mime.

Let your brand be human – Make your videos friendly and relatable, not stiff and corporate. Humanizing your brand helps create the emotional connection that will lead to sharing.