Five Tips for Sparking a YouTube Meme

This year, tens of millions of people watched a slew of homegrown video mash-ups on YouTube. The original videos are often accidental, but the swarm of user-generated remixes is a phenomenon that modern day marketers should not ignore. Some of my favorite You Tube memes are below:

  1. Dramatic Chipmunk (Yes, we know it’s a prairie dog)
  2. “Crank Dat” Soulja Boy dance fans
  3. Techno Viking
  4. Sen. Mike Gravel

There’s a lot to be gained by tapping a popular meme–even more if you’re lucky (or unlucky) enough to spark your own. Here are some quick tips we can learn from this year’s top YouTube memes.

1. Popular music. In the words of Henry Longfellow, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” YouTube is an international community, and it’s no accident that some of the most popular memes over the last few years have inspired hundreds of musical remixes.

2. Silence is golden. For a music-friendly meme, dialogue should be a kept to a minimum.

3. Provide instructions/raw materials. The simple genius behind the Soulja Boy success was the excellent instructional video posted by the artist earlier this year. Within weeks, hundreds of videos appeared, mostly of kids dancing in their parent’s living room. There’s nothing wrong with being explicit about what you’re suggesting folks do with your video, brand or product. (Just make sure you’re authentic when you do it.)

4. Keep it brief. This is particularly important for remix memes. The Dramatic Chipmunk taught us that a lot can be done with just five seconds of cuteness. The clip is short and easily remixed.

5. Take a risk. Most people only take big risks when they’ve got nothing left to lose. Mike Gravel’s YouTube video was a substantial departure from mainstream YouTube political spots, and the risk paid off. If we are to learn anything from Gravel, it’s to look at what your competitors are doing on social media and run in the opposite direction.

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8 Responses

  1. […] é. Estamos em 2008, onde o YouTube é rei, as pessoas são famosas por 3 minutos (15 minutos é muito, Andy Warhol), o mundo sofre de um […]

  2. Your blog is very interresting for me, i will come back here..

  3. То что бредомысли это точно 🙂
    Видно настиг творческий кризис. Мысле нет о чем писать 🙂

  4. Мне нравятся Ваши посты, заставляет задуматься…

  5. Захватывающе. Зачет! и ниипет!

  6. Хм… Как раз на эту тему думал, а тут такой пост шикарный, спасибо!

  7. Отличный пост – слов нет. Спасибо.

  8. […] é. Estamos em 2008, onde o YouTube é rei, as pessoas são famosas por 3 minutos (15 minutos é muito, Andy Warhol), o mundo sofre de um […]

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