Viral Video Case Study: Gangnam Style

Harlem Shake. Friday. Charlie Bit My Finger. Chances are you’re familiar with these titles and know exactly what goes down in their respective YouTube videos. Why do these viral videos have such strong impressions on our memory? Here’s a look at PSY’s “Gangnam Style” video 3 ways it got into all of our heads:

1) Play on emotions – Gangnam Style features PSY doing his rodeo, hoedown dance moves in all kinds of weird places with all kinds of characters. PSY targeted his audience’s funny bones by singing from the toilet, dancing with horses, and snuggling in the sauna. Viral videos like his play on emotions to bring out strong responses in viewers.

2) Have a social media buzz campaign ­– After its release Gangnam Style’s fame grew from Twitter mentions by popular artists Katy Perry and Britney Spears. This is isn’t a realistic possibility for most musicians, but there remains a lesson to learn: when your video starts to get traction on social media, join the dialogue. Expand the conversation with funny responses and comments to create buzz and more views for your video.

3) Keep stirring the pot – After Gangnam Style’s initial drop and social media campaign PSY continued to push his video throughout the web. He posted a video having a shot with Bieber manager Scooter Braun and made an appearance on the Ellen Degeneres Show. With his devoted media campaign and appearances, PSY eventually was able to generate enough buzz to break the YouTube views record with more than 2 billion likes.

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