By Josh Light
Funny videos get shared a lot. According to a survey by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange Americans are more inclined to share funny content over important content (43 percent).
From a practical perspective if you want to have a wildly successful social media presence then it’s in your interest to create “shareable” content, and that means funny stuff.
Personally…I love funny videos, and I would greatly enjoy seeing more funny videos being created and shared around the web.
The problem is creating funny videos is a hard process because humor is in the eye of the beholder. What’s funny to one person might not be funny to another person.
Despite this fact…there are certain steps you can take to increase the probability that your campaign ad will be perceived as funny.
Who doesn’t like animals? They’re cute, funny, and just fascinating to watch.
Some of the most viral videos online involve animals. If you can find a way to incorporate animals in your campaign video then it will likely increase the chances that your video will be shared.
One political candidate that did an exceptional job at this is Roger Williams. Check out his video really quick:
Roger Williams created this video for the 2012 election. He ended up defeating his Democratic opponent in the general election 58% to 37%.
I’m patiently waiting for a Democratic candidate to create an elephant video. If you’re a Democratic candidate please do this. Thanks.
Crowdsource Your Videos
One highly effective way to create a funny video is to hold a video contest for your campaign. Offer a cash reward or prize to the best video submission. Allow your social media followers to vote on the best video.
One popular way to make your contest more viral is to count engagement as votes. This means whatever video gets the most shares on social networks wins.
This will encourage those individuals submitting content to the competition to promote it like crazy. There are countless examples of this tactic being used in the private industry with companies like Doritos.
Check out this submission from last year:
There are even examples of this being used in the public sector. In Fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is currently doing a video contest to help inform young people about the Affordable Care Act.
I know what you’re probably thinking…this is a great idea, but I don’t have the budget to throw 30,000 plus towards a contest.
No problem. There are other ways to get a lot of submissions.
For example, when we were building our election software we wanted to make sure we were creating something that could really help out political campaigns.
This meant us actually getting down in the trenches, and consulting various political candidates (we no longer offer consulting).
|Rep. Chris Stewart|
One of the candidates we helped out was Chris Stewart in Utah’s 2nd District. Chris ended up winning, and is now the current Congressman for District 2.
To bolster up Rep. Stewart’s online presence we did a writing submission contest.
It turns out that Glenn Beck is a fan of Chris Stewart’s New York Times best seller The Miracle Of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points That Saved The World, and he agreed to throw a fundraising dinner in support of Chris.
So what did we offer as a reward?
A chance to meet Glenn Beck.
This contest sky rocketed Chris Stewart’s online presence pushing his It Score above many of his competitors. It also created a lot of great content for the campaign.
Moral of this story…you don’t need a lot of money to encourage people to create submissions. All you need to do is offer something your supporters really care about.
For Chris this meant Glenn Beck because many of his supporters were part of the Tea Party.
Get creative with your rewards. Think about the types of things your supporters really care about, and try to offer it to them.
Copy A Funny Video
The private sector is chuck full of great funny videos. Some candidates will find ways to copy or mimic existing popular videos.
The great thing about copying an existing funny video as a candidate is that you know there is a high probability that your video will be entertaining.
Here are a few examples: Joe Miller copied the Old Spice commercials.
Check it out… Old Spice commercial:
Even though Joe lost he still made a pretty great video. You might be asking yourself how Joe was able to get a voice over in his video that is so similar to the actor in the Old Spice commercials.
A good place to go to find inexpensive voice talent is Fiverr.
Fiverr is a marketplace where you can buy lot’s of things for five dollars. We’ve used it before to get voice talent. It’s definitely a place worth checking out.
Here’s another example of a candidate that copied a company in the private sector…
Johnnie Walker commercial:
Jeff Barth commercial:
Music Video Parody
Another option is to high jack a popular music video. Senator Mike Gravel did this with the Obama girl in the 2008 presidential election.
Use A Celebrity
Using a celebrity will certainly get attention towards your campaign, and will likely result in a viral video.
Do you remember when everyone was telling Chuck Norris jokes back in 2008? Mike Huckabee did a pretty clever video that played off of the jokes.
Here it is:
Samuel Jackson produced this ad in support of President Obama in the 2012 election. Warning…this video has a considerable amount of profanity.
Most funny videos are accompanied by music that is generally upbeat. Using lively music will help the viewer stay interested.
If you’re going to use music be sure that you make your own, use non-copyrighted music, or buy a soundtrack.
I generally buy soundtracks from Revostock. You can also buy film footage from this site which can come in handy if you’re trying to get a shot that is really expensive to produce yourself (an exotic location, shot from the air, etc).
Most comical videos will have quicker camera shots. If you don’t have relatively fast scenes, and you end up spending a lot of time on one segment then you run the risk of losing viewers to boredom.
Jumping quickly from scene to scene helps people stay interested in your video.
Play Off Of Viral Mistakes
In the 2012 GOP primary Rick Perry forgot one of the government departments he planned to cut if he was elected president in a televised national debate.
This was a monumental mistake that spiraled into an embarrassing foray of political commentary that was detrimental to the Perry campaign.
Here is the famous “Oops” clip:
In response to his mistake Governor Perry produced this slightly comical commercial:
In the private sector…companies will often make completely false ridiculous videos in an effort to make them go viral.
I haven’t personally seen any politicians use this trick, but I have seen several funny videos from the private sector.
Here are some examples:
eHarmony hired this comedian to create a fake video bio. It went completely viral. As of today it has ~27 million hits.
What’s really funny about this video is that most people aren’t aware that it’s fake. Just take a second to read the YouTube comments if you don’t believe me.
Nathan For You tricked the entire world by creating a low quality video of a pig saving a goat from drowning.
The entire thing was staged to create awareness for a petting zoo he was consulting for his comedy show. It got international attention. Really funny.
Check it out here:
There may be ways to apply this concept safely for a political campaign. It could be risky though considering that you’re intentionally creating something that’s completely false.
If done with good taste this could be a highly effective way at creating a funny viral video.
Call To Action
Every video that is produced should have a purpose behind it.
Are you trying to get people to go out and vote, are you trying to educate them about your platform, are you attacking your competitor, or maybe your just trying to get branding?
Whatever your call to action is you should have it at the end of your video. Be careful not to have too many blatant calls to action in your video. A viewer will be less inclined to share a video if they feel it is overly promotional.
Make It Short
According to Visible Measures, 44.1% of individuals watching a video online will click away after one minute.
Think about the implications of that statistic.
If you have a video that is one minute and thirty seconds, and you leave your call to action in the last five seconds then you’re losing the opportunity to influence 44.1% of your viewers to support your campaign.
Keep your videos short to ensure that you maintain the attention of your audience.
Also creating thirty second to one minute videos will save you time if you’re considering paying for a television commercial.
You could create several thirty second videos, upload them to YouTube, and observe to see which one gets the most hits. This could help you determine which video you should air on television.
There are lots of ways to create funny viral videos use animals, make it short, crowdsource production, copy a funny video in the private sector, do a music video parody, use a celebrity, use music, have quick scenes, play off viral mistakes, or make a completely fake outrageous video.
No matter the tricks you choose to incorporate in your video…always remember that humor is in the eye of the beholder. Did we miss any videos? Comment below.
Photo credits: Victor Bezrukov, Gage Skidmorz