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

“I believe in a higher being, whether it takes the form of a god or it's more abstract like the universe.”—Female, 21, FL

An avocado-inspired chocolate is selling out fast, and Millennials’ obsession with avo is getting the credit—lest we forget the lattes and the proposals of the past. Waitrose’s gimmicky treat has a dark chocolate shell, a dyed green white chocolate interior and small chocolate “stone” sprinkled with cocoa for the center. The play on a traditional Easter egg chocolate is Waitrose’s best-selling product in its 114-year-history, selling out repeatedly since its recent launch. (The Independent)

Vacation companies that confiscate travelers’ smartphones are selling out their trips. The Wanderlust Generation isn’t just looking to travel, they’re looking to unplug—in spite of their penchant for picture-worthy excursions. All of Off the Grid’s phoneless itineraries sold out and more are being added for 2018. Yoga retreats and hotels are offering device-free options as well, with one hotel offering iPhone cases to anyone who makes it 24 hours with just a “dumb phone” replacement. (NYP)

Kids can’t get enough of Roblox, and the platform just went “cash-flow positive.” ComScore found that children under-13-years-old spend more time on Roblox than on YouTube, Netflix, or any other similar platform. For teens, the game came in second, behind YouTube. The gaming sensation lets kids create and interact in digital worlds, build their online friendships, and make money—if they’re a “top creator.” (TechCrunch)

Unboxing is getting an augmented spin for Nike’s next sneaker drop. The Millennial and Gen Z-favorite brand has created a link that leads to “a virtual box” containing the new shoes. Users can access the box via any platform and then open the box and use their cursor or finger to check out the Deerupt shoes from “all angles.” Nike also recently let sneaker heads virtually run across the world in their Nike React shoes via in-store treadmills. (GlossyMobile Marketer)

YouTube Red is headed to the box office for the first time with their original movie, Vulture Club, starring Susan Sarandon. In the past, they’ve premiered content on their premium service and in limited releases, but rumor has it this will be their first big bet on a full theatrical release. Everyone from Amazon to Hulu is upping their original content to compete in the streaming wars, and though YouTube has all eyes on their free platform—their paid service is lagging behind the competition. (IndieWireThe Verge)

“I’ve been using Apple products for years. Although Samsung technology is probably better, I am so used to Apple that I would probably not switch.”—Female, 18, PA

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