From vision to Vimeo: what’s behind a shareable video anyway?

From vision to Vimeo: what’s behind a shareable video anyway?

Deanna Ladret
“We want a viral video!” –Everyone, all the time.

Facepalm.

It’s so tough when a client approaches us for this, because who can ever really know if a video is going to go ‘viral’? Of course, there are some ideas that are definitely stickier than others. But even if you find that good idea, there’s no guarantee that thousands – or millions – will agree. That’s why we strongly prefer the word ‘shareable’. Can we make you a kick ass shareable video? You bet. Will it go viral? Hey…that’d be great!

Three elements of most viral videos.

Most videos that get many shares are one or a combination of these:

- Highly emotive

- Provocative or jarring

- Funny/Involving cats

So when Generation Squeeze approached us to produce a series of 15-second videos to highlight the various pain points experienced by young Canadians today, the first thing we did was determine which of the three routes we should take.

Choose a strategy based on subject, audience, budget and time constraints.

The client supplied us with a list of problems plaguing average Canadians age 25-45, which were all quite depressing. Things like affordable housing, student debt, rising cost of living, expensive childcare…all valid, relatable complaints. But these are first-world problems. “It takes me years to save up enough money to buy a 500k house!” isn’t going to make anybody cry. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t important, either. This is where it gets tricky – with shareable media, you’re depending on your audience to spread the content…so they have to like it that much. You can’t go lukewarm.

Jam it out in the writer’s room.

Funny would be the way to go. Our entire creative team spent a few hours in the boardroom, SNL-style, thinking of how to portray each pain point in an over the top, exaggerated way. We had some good ideas. There were guinea pigs living in herb gardens housed in kitchen drawers. There were parrot babysitters. Christopher Walkin was suggested. Oh, the things we could do with adequate time and an endless budget! As you may have guessed, a small national youth lobby doesn’t have a few hundred Gs to drop on elaborate sets, large casts* and special effects. And with the federal election a few months away, the client wanted all the videos ready to roll out before Canadians went to the polls, so the deadline was tight.

Drop the guinea pig; keep the cat, parrot and baby.

Sacrifices had to be made. Christopher Walkin had a scheduling conflict (but he would have loved to be there, we’re sure of this). In the end, we delivered the videos on time and on budget…and we even got our parrot! The first video the client shared on Facebook received 15,000 hits in the first ten days. Not too shabby.

Go for the discount? from Generation Squeeze on Vimeo.

Suite out your closet? from Generation Squeeze on Vimeo.

Baby Share from Generation Squeeze on Vimeo.

Cat videos for extra cash? from Generation Squeeze on Vimeo.

Use birds as babysitters? from Generation Squeeze on Vimeo.

*A handy trick of the trade we use whenever we can: cast from within! Nobody on our team is just a plain old designer. Or a plain old web application developer. No, no – we are all actors-slash whatever. This saves our clients lots of money when it comes to casting. And, we all get to be Internet stars!