When a YouTuber chooses to release videos onto the website, their success can be completely random. No one knows what exactly will resonate with the viewers on YouTube, but once it does, it is a struggle to exploit that initial success.
The series Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared is a six-part horror series on YouTube created by the group This Is It. The series has millions of subscribers and views.
Here’s how it become so popular in the first place.
1. Its unique premise left viewers wanting more.
The first video of the series was meant to be a stand-alone piece, but it quickly became memorable for viewers. To summarize, the video involves a trio of puppets who explore creativity with a talking sketchbook, an experience that becomes more surreal and horrific over time.
With this creative and unique premise, the video had millions of views, creating the foundation for a successful series.
2. The series’ theme was well-defined.
After the first video became so popular, the channel released a second video, which defined the entire premise of the series. Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared would be a faux-educational series like the kind found on children’s television but with a horrific twist.
Each episode would have an educator who would teach a concept to the trio of puppets who would suffer greatly over the course of the video. Naturally, the rest of the series also became popular in YouTube.
3. The twists and turns kept viewers on the edge of their seats.
In any series, keeping hold of the audience’s attention would naturally require a few plot twists here and there. In this short series, the creators still managed to introduce shocking events for the viewers.
While the trio of puppets suffered over the series, they still managed to recover at the end of the video. This lasted until the fourth and fifth videos each killed off a puppet, leaving questions over what would happen next. This would only be some of the plot twists involved that made the show so memorable.
The series Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared became notable for combining the aesthetics of educational television with nightmarish horror. YouTube viewers couldn’t help but be attracted to the combination that seemed so contradictory yet so effective. In creating a popular series, the creators abided by concepts that would work in any medium, especially video.
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Kevin Kwon is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley, currently 23 years old. He works in San Francisco, and hopes to continue in the graduate studies regarding the field of psychology.