HP’s Viral Hopes – A Powerful Video Campaign Example

By on July 13, 2010

Viral VideoWhat does it take to make a video campaign go viral?  It seems that a huge chunk of the videos online that have gone viral were not planned that way.  Everything from giggling quadruplets to free hugs have garnered millions of views without any promotion (over 60 million views for the latter!).  They are the very definition of viral.  A few people see a video; they love it; they pass it to their friends, who pass it to their friends, etc.  But can a company duplicate these results?  HP thinks so, and they’re probably right.  Of course it’s going to take a certain kind of campaign to go viral, and if their first video in the “Make It Big” series is any indication, they have all the elements down.

First, let’s look at the video:

While it isn’t knock-you-off-your-seat powerful, this video has some great elements to it.  Let’s look at the elements HP has included to make this video a good viral video candidate:

1. Great Targeting – HP’s Make It Big campaign is targeted at entrepreneurs who have small to medium sized businesses.  The person in the video typifies such an entrepreneur, because he’s about the age of the majority of these entrepreneurs, and people that age often have kids, so the inclusion of a family-oriented focus is no coincidence.  Obviously many women are entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs come in all shapes, sizes and age groups, but in general, most of us can identify to some degree with the guy in the video.

2. Mystery Element – When you see the video for the first time, it’s not clear exactly what it’s all about.  While it might seem like a bad idea to keep your audience guessing, it’s actually a great technique for hooking people into watching and paying closer attention.  For proof, just look to TV shows like Lost, where they’ve taken the “keep ‘em guessing” factor to new levels with tremendous success.  The look on the faces of the kids when you know they’re amazed but don’t know why is a great use of this element.

3. Cool Factor – If you want something to go viral, this is the most important element of all.  The video has to make people laugh, tug at their emotions, or at least make them say, “Cool!”  The HP video fulfils these criteria in a couple of ways: First, the toy cars and track turning into a life-sized track and cars is pretty cool.  Secondly, when the guy’s daughter whispers, “That’s my dad,” it invokes a sense of pride, as a parent who has accomplished something special.  No doubt HP did some research that showed them one reason people want to succeed as entrepreneurs is to leave a legacy for their children.

So will HP’s bid to make their campaign go viral work?  It remains to be seen, but they’re on the right track.  Do you use video in your business?  Have you done anything to try to make it go viral, or do you leave that to chance?  Leave some feedback in the comments below.

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Adam Toren

About Adam Toren

Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.