My heart has been warmed by the power of the internet (again). After his debut festival slot at Cochella, yodelling Walmart Kid has taken the world (and the internet) by storm. It reminded me about how beautiful and unpredictable viral media is, and about how so many agencies are trying to replicate this for brands but are getting it horribly wrong (with the exception of Manchester’s wonderfully talented Social Chain).
If you haven't seen Yodeling Walmart Kid, here it is... In an effort to impart some knowledge based on past failings, here are a few things to consider before you try to create your own Yodeling Walmart kid.
The internet knows when the internet hasn’t created it
My first proper agency job was in content marketing. I ran always-on social content for brands and would constantly be asked for something ‘viral’. But the internet hive mind can sniff out marketing executives from a mile off.
One day we stole the famous ‘what’s your elf name’ meme quiz and rebranded it. It was our first experience of viral for the brand...the internet knows.
The internet knows when you’re lying
Remember that Pepsi ad with Kendal Jenner at a protest? PAH! Except for inspiring a number of incredible memes it was pulled apart due to the insincerity of a Kardashian teenage millionaire fighting for the power of the people. Roll forward to February 2018 and Emma Gonzalez. The Florida teen's raw emotional truth about American gun control has inspired the entire world with millions of YouTube views, celebrity advocates and social shares. What do we learn? The internet knows if you're telling the truth. Don't jump on the bandwagon. If you have your own truth, then speak it. Otherwise the hive mind will find you out.
The internet doesn’t care that you think it looks good
Now this is a biggie. And a bit ambiguous. I'm not saying shoot all your videos landscape on an iPhone. I'm saying production value can't make up for the lack of value or meaning in the content.
I once designed an engagement strategy for a client who had access to a beautiful mansion. They needed Social and marketing content, which got sidetracked, as the creative director insisted on shooting the online content like a cinematic masterpiece to make the most of the location. The budget was rinsed. It looked beautiful but guess what? The internet didn't care.
Why does anyone care? The internet cares about lols, OMG, woke and REAL. Which is why Yodeling Walmart kid is important. This is a kid shot on a phone, but it has value beyond the production.