Video killed the Ad Exec Star

Brian Nicoletti is back this week with a look at viral videos. How does a video go viral and how can you generate interest and income from a YouTube post?  Brian’s post contains two examples, and VoxPopNJ has added a third from one of our speakers at our “Social Media for Creative People” workshop next Saturday, February 27, 2010 at The Showroom in Asbury Park. 

My last posts talked about the beginner approach to Twitter as the cornerstone of any social media marketing strategy. I’d like to switch gears and talk about online video in today’s blog post. I’ll show an example of an entrepreneur who managed to convert the amount of views his video was getting into a recurring income stream and spotlight a local group of friends who managed to bring a whole new audience to their summer getaway. 

Online video has a very low barrier to entry. With most mobile phones and a free account, you can broadcast your message to the world instantly on Youtube or any other video sharing site. With the amount of people watching online video now out pacing the traditional television audience, your guaranteed to find viewers if you tag your video with the right keywords.

The key to success with online video is creating something so interesting that people will want to share it to all of their friends. These friends also share it with their friends, the cycle continues, and then you have a viral hit on your hands. Sounds simple right?

A great example of a video that fits this bill is the Bionic Burger:

In short, the video describes a short story of a man who buys a fast food burger, forgets about it for a year later, and is amazed that it looks exactly the same. While the burger story is what got people’s attention, the real purpose of the video was to drive attention to, a health and wellness membership site. The video continues to receive thousands of views, with many converting to the paid membership site. 

While the Bionic Burger example was a deliberate marketing ploy, there are viral videos who’s fame was not intentional, but their impact was just as valuable. A great local example comes from a group of friends vacationing Asbury Park who stripped down to their speedos and shot their own music video for Whitney Houston’s “Million Dollar Bill.”


What was meant to be just a funny video for friends turned out to be a hit with gay-centric bloggers. The video was reposted many times with great praise, and viewers from all over the world got their peek into summertime fun in Asbury Park!

Here are the key takeaways from both video examples:

  • Video has the ability to spread quickly – Both of the videos above gained  thousands of views in a short period of time. Million Dollar Bill was viewed over 60,000 times in just 10 days!               

  • Engaging content is sure to get a response – It may be comments left stating that your video was hilarious, that viewers sent it to all their friends, or even something negative, but your biggest win will come from audience interaction.               

  • Viral content does not have to be your own – Both of the above video examples were inspired by other sources. The guy who made the Bionic Burger simply created a video based on a funny story he heard. The Million Dollar Bill guys made their video in the style of a similar Miley Cyrus parody video. 

A successful viral video does not have to turn you into the next overnight celebrity. Success with social media is what you make of it, so if your goal is to drive new traffic to your website or store, get more people to sign up for your newsletter, or even break 100 views, your videos can serve as a means to an end.

A final note from VoxPopNJ: Check out Justice Productions vlog/podcast about ProjectTwenty1’s 21 Day Film Contest and their upcoming appearance at our workshop February 27, 2010.  Apparently, they created a video podcast each day during filming, and in the end had enough footage for a second film! 

About the Author:

Brian Nicoletti is the co-creator of – an Internet Marketing boot camp for businesses in the Self Improvement industry. His training programs cover social media marketing, email list building, search engine optimization, and e-book creation and marketing. If you are interested in a personalized social media game plan for your business, drop him a line.


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