Old Spice ad used as an example of viral videos
31 August 2023 Video inspo

Analysing Viral Video Hits

Discover the secrets behind the world's most viral videos in history and how you can replicate their success.

The digital age has brought a phenomenon that brands and individuals alike chase after: the viral video. These videos, which gain immense popularity in a short span, often seem to strike a chord universally.

These internet sensations have tickled our funny bones, tugged at our heartstrings, and occasionally left us perplexed. But there's no denying their immense impact. By dissecting a few of these viral sensations, we can tease out the ingredients that made them skyrocket in popularity. 

Let’s take a moment to deep-dive into some of the most iconic viral videos and uncover the elements that set them on fire.

1. Charlie Bit My Finger

One of the earliest viral sensations, this simple video featured two young British siblings with the younger one, Charlie, biting his older brother.

Why it went viral: The allure of this video lies in its Simplicity and Relatability.

Success Ingredients:

  • Universal appeal: Regardless of where you're from, the playful antics of siblings are a universal theme. It transcends languages and cultural barriers, making it relatable to a broad audience.
  • Humour: It’s the organic, innocent humour that makes it so endearing. There’s no script, just the raw and genuine reactions of children, making it irresistibly shareable.
  • Short and sweet: Clocking in at just 56 seconds, it’s an easy watch. Its brevity encouraged multiple views and quick shares, fuelling its virality.

2. Gangnam Style by PSY

South Korean artist PSY unexpectedly took the internet by storm with his quirky dance and song.

Why it went viral: Unexpectedness and Catchiness were key.

Success Ingredients:

  • Unique Choreography: That distinct "horse-riding" dance was not just fun, it was easy enough for people to mimic, leading to countless parodies and user-generated content.
  • Cultural Fusion: While it oozed K-pop vibes, the melody and rhythm had a global appeal. It introduced many to Korean pop culture, while still feeling familiar.
  • High Production Value: The video was vibrant, varied, and filled with intriguing scenes. Whether a dedicated fan or someone stumbling upon it, the visuals kept viewers glued.

3. The Ice Bucket Challenge

A global phenomenon, this challenge aimed to raise awareness and funds for ALS research.

Why it went viral: Being Cause-driven and Participatory made it contagious.

Success Ingredients:

  • Social Cause: People love supporting a good cause, and the charitable element of the challenge was a driving factor for its participation.
  • Interactive: Challenges by nature invite participation. As individuals nominated others, it created a domino effect, with more and more people joining in.
  • Celebrity Endorsement: When stars like Bill Gates and Oprah joined in, it not only raised the challenge's profile but also widened its reach exponentially.

4. Dove's Real Beauty Sketches

This was a beautifully crafted social experiment by Dove, confronting women with their own beauty.

Why it went viral: The video's Emotional Resonance and Thought-Provoking nature made it a hit.

Success Ingredients:

  • Deep Emotional Connection: Addressing issues of self-worth and beauty, the video connected deeply with viewers, many of whom saw their insecurities reflected in the participants.
  • Positive Message: In a world of perfect Instagram feeds, a brand promoting genuine self-love and acceptance was refreshing.
  • High-Quality Production: Dove’s collaboration with a top video production company ensured that the narrative was compellingly told, with every shot evoking emotion.

5. Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like"

This Old Spice advert was more than just a commercial; it was a cultural moment.

Why it went viral: Its Humour and Unexpectedness set it apart.

Success Ingredients:

  • Quirky Humour: From the dialogue delivery to the seamless scene transitions, the video’s humour was distinct and memorable.
  • Strong Branding: Despite its wacky nature, the product remained central throughout the video, making it an effective ad.
  • Shareability: Its unusual content made it a topic of discussion, prompting shares across social media platforms.

Decoding the Success Recipe

Viral videos, at first glance, may seem like lightning in a bottle, unpredictable and elusive. But on closer inspection, patterns emerge:

  • Emotional Resonance: Tapping into emotions, whether joy, nostalgia, or surprise, drives shares.
  • Uniqueness: In a saturated digital space, standing out is essential. It’s the unexpected twists, unique perspectives, or fresh narratives that grab attention.
  • Shareability: If a video can spark conversations, challenge viewers, or encourage participation, it's more likely to be shared.
  • Quality: A clear, well-produced video, whether created with a smartphone or a professional video production company, enhances the viewer's experience.

In the quest for virality, it's crucial to remember that genuine connection with the audience, originality, and authenticity often prove more potent than big budgets or elaborate setups. The next viral sensation? It could be you!

Emily Malone

Written by Emily Malone Marketing Manager for Venture — a full-service video production agency that specialises in producing creative videos & campaigns that get real results.

Get pricing for your next video project

Got a project in mind? Tell us about your business and its needs to get a quote from our award-winning team.