What’s Viral This Second, and Why

 

It may be hard to predict what will go viral, but one way to gauge what might have some success with young online audiences is to look at content that has set the web on fire in the past, and try to understand exactly what the appeal was. Playing copycat is not the goal, but if the core of the allure can be replicated, you might have a better chance of hitting it big. Here are some of the things that are going viral as you read this post, and why they might be capturing clicks. 

 

1. Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise

This marketing video for the upcoming Carrie remake takes place in a simple coffee shop, has a fairly innocuous name, and reveals that it’s a prank right off the bat—and it has gotten over 17 million views since being posted on YouTube Monday. (Yes, that's just two days ago Monday.) The clip shows the entire set up of the hoax, including the actors involved rehearsing and high-fiving, at its start before showing the reactions of the bystanders in the coffee shop as they witness an angry girl throw a grown man up against the wall through “telekinisis” (a la Carrie, of course).
 
The Appeal: ”Prankvertising” 
Whether due to their exposure to Punk’d during their formative years, or (more likely) because they crave moments of surprise and unexpected excitement, Millennials have a real love for a good old-fashioned prank—or, as the bar continues to be raised, a perfectly executed, high-stakes, special-effects-laden stunt. Entertainers have been taking advantage of this prank-appeal for some time: Jimmy Kimmel regularly racks up views and buzz by encouraging his audience to prank their loved ones in his YouTube challenges, or, in the case of his recent “Twerk Fail” prank, pulling one over on pretty much all of America. It was only a matter of time before pranking…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“Crochet and knitting are very relaxing, therapeutic, and have tangible results."—Female, 31, AL

The CW is betting on competitive video gaming being “a perfect match” for their audience. The network now known for popular dramas like Riverdale and Arrow is airing EA Madden NFL 18 Challenge, a “‘Survivor’-style” show where esports celebrities face off each week. The esports special featuring “the biggest and most popular” game was planned after they learned that CW viewers who watch their superhero shows also over index on esports. The show will be live-streamed and then broadcast to the network. (Variety)

Applebee’s has been getting boozy to appeal to Millennial customers—but is it working? Kind of. Their “Dollaritas” and $1 Long Island ice teas (L.I.T.s) are bringing in business; at some locations, lines have reportedly formed out the door and “four keg-sized batches” of L.I.T. are mixed up daily. Applebee’s hopes the promotion will remind young consumers that they’re more than just a chain restaurant—they’re also a bar. But it’s hard to say if the drink specials will solve their Millennial problem in the long-term. (Eater)

2017 has been independent beauty brands’ year, thanks to social media. Cult favorites like Glossier and Colourpop have seen their category’s sales surge 43%, according to the NPD Group, propelled by unboxing videos, influencer collaborations, and Instagrammable products. One editor made the point that “Social media is a hotbed of free consumer research,” which could be why 2017 has seen inclusive brands like Fenty Beauty go viral, and gender genreless makeup lines like Milk Makeup’s “Blur the Line” take off. (Glossy)

More big retailer brands are getting into the subscription box service game, eyeing Stitch Fix’s success. ThredUp, the digital consignment store that focuses on luxury resale, has introduced a new “Goody Box” to package up items each month for customers. Meanwhile, Baby Gap began their “Outfit Box” program in October, offering curated kids clothes sent to Millennial parents. The “experimental effort” has reportedly had high retention rates, prompting the brand to start Superbox, a similar service for Old Navy. (DigiDay)

Pinterest reports that Millennials are looking to their platform for style, food, and home décor inspiration. Half of Millennials use Pinterest at least on a monthly basis, according to comScore, and Pinterest’s new research found that 63% say they “discover new brands or products to buy” on the platform. Ypulse data shows Millennials are looking to social media for fashion inspiration and this study concurs: Pinners were 11% more likely to spend more on style than non-Pinners and 6% more likely to spend more on home décor. (Pinterest)

“I am currently working towards graduating high school with a high GPA and as many college credits as possible.”—Female, 16, MO

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