15 Ways to Create Entertaining Social Videos

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eBook describing how humor, astonishment, heartfelt moments, performances, participation and concept imagery boost the engagement of audiences. The eBook was derived from a study of 2170 high …

eBook describing how humor, astonishment, heartfelt moments, performances, participation and concept imagery boost the engagement of audiences. The eBook was derived from a study of 2170 high performing commercials recast on YouTube.

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  • 1. A PUBLICATION OF SOCIAL CONTENT MARKETING 15 WAYS TO CREATE ENTERTAINING SOCIAL VIDEOSPROVEN TECHNIQUES FROM SUCCESSFUL TV COMMERCIALS
  • 2. Introduction……………………………………………… 3 Humorous Entertainment …………………….….. 6 Comic Wit……………………………………………………..……7 Disparagement………….............………………………… 16 Released Repression…………………….……………….…24 Sentimental Humor…………………………….……..….…30 Non-Humorous Entertainment ……………….. 34 Performances…………………………………………..……….35 Astonishment…………………….……………….…….….…..38 Heartfelt Moments…………………………….……..………40 Participation….………………….……………….………..……42 Concept Imagery…………………………….……..….…..….45 Summary of Entertainment Devices………… 48 Empirical Findings ………………………….…….… 50 Concluding Points………………………….…….… 51 TABLE OF CONTENTS 2
  • 3. INTRODUCTION FROM COMMERCIALS TO SOCIAL VIDEOS 3
  • 4. Edutainment Brands Must Inform or Entertain1 Few would debate that the rapid rise of content marketing has made marketers rethink their approach to communicating. Marketers are quickly discovering that their targeted audiences are turned off by promotional selling until they are ready to buy. Instead, they want us to solve their problems or feed their passions. And many want to have fun in the process. From Promoting to Edutainment In response, marketers are toning down their marketing messages in favor of edutainment. Some have met this demand with a “journalistic” style of communications that focuses on education. “How to” videos, for example, are quickly replacing ads. But there is more. You had better be funny or entertaining in some way if you want your content to gain any traction. Content marketing strategist, Joe Pulizzi, points out that the best way to build a following is through an emotional connection. And a great way to produce this connection is through entertainment. In his interview with Kirk Cheyfitz, CEO of Story Worldwide, Cheyfitz claimed that brands best create this connection when they are telling engaging stories. (Pulizza, p. 7).1 What We Can Learn From Commercials Want proof? Our study of over 3351 television commercials recast on YouTube found that over 95% of those social videos reaching over 50,000 views were entertaining in some way.2 The remaining 5% were informational. And most of them applied to major launches of luxury cars or new electronics. Consider the infamous case of Blendtec, where its founder, Tom Dickson, produced a series of videos that grossly exaggerating his product’s performance. The entertaining videos have garnered nearly 200 million views on YouTube! . Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either.. - HERBERT MARSHALL MCLUHAN Renown philosophy of communication theory ” “ Blentec’s “Will it Blend” Videos 1 Pulizzi, Joe. Epic Content Marketing. (McGraw Hill Education, 2013). Page 7. 2 Barry, James and Graça, Sandra (2013). A Cross-Cultural Typology of Advertising Humor. 2013 Cross Cultural Research Conference. Antigua, Guatemala. 4
  • 5. Virgin Atlantic took this a step further by educating their audience through entertainment. The airline elected to provide an entertaining customer experience in its flight safety instructions (Safety Video). The safety video has received over 6 million views. Tested Techniques for Viral Videos But despite the results favoring a entertaining approach to content marketing, many of us are still reluctant to take this route. After all, what if our attempts at having fun simply fall flat or fail to engage our audiences in a professional way. What’s more, who has the budget to pull off Virgin Atlantic’s Safety Video? In this eBook, you will discover fifteen tested ways to entertain your audiences, many of which do not require deep pockets. Over 600 sample commercials are featured in our blogs (Social Content Marketing Blog) to demonstrate how brands reached viral stats in their social videos. Top 15 Ways Entertainment Contributes to Viral Videos (click link for blog and sample video) 1. Exaggeration 2. Astonishment 3. Putdowns 4. Perceptual Displacement 5. Heartfelt Moments 6. Surprise Twist 7. Irony 8. Unruliness 9. Social Order Deviancy 10. Performances 11. Malicious Joy 12. Sentimental Humor 13. Concept Imagery 14. Awkwardness 15. Participation Virgin Atlantic Safety Video 5
  • 6. COMIC WIT EXAGGERATION, IRONY AND SURPRISE 6
  • 7. Comic Wit Exaggeration Comic wit is one of the most popular techniques used in entertainment to attract and engage audiences. Of the top viral videos we examined in this category, the most viewed YouTube videos were based on some sort of conceptual discord. In other words, we recognize something as ”out of sorts.” Representing a third of high performing social videos, the techniques stems from the Incongruity Theory of Humor. This incongruity can be created with:  Hyperbole  Irony  Surprise twists  Perceptual discords “Over-the-Top” exaggeration, in particular, weighs in at NUMBER ONE among all entertainment techniques used in viral YouTube videos. 4 Ways to Boost Viral Video Stats with “Over-the-Top” Exaggeration Exaggeration plays on many of our senses. We recognize it mentally and emotionally. Of the top viral videos we examined in this category, the most viewed YouTube videos were based on some sort of conceptual discord. In other words, we recognize something as over the top. The other YouTube videos were based on aberrant behaviors or visual anomalies as explained further. In general, most viral videos featuring exaggeration fall under the following categories:  Exaggerated Outcomes  Over-reactive Behaviors  Exaggerated Qualities  Understatements 7 Visual Anomalies Aberrant Behaviors Exaggerated Outcomes Understatement Exaggerated Qualities Overreactions Exaggerated Results Unrattled by Danger Exaggerated Body Reactions Taking Extreme Measures Exaggerated Response Exaggerated Simplicity Supernatural Performance Awestruck Exaggerated Nightmare Reactions Exaggerated Concealment Incredible Allure Over Intense Exaggerated Stories Profound Grasp of the Obvious Speed & Scale Distortion Over Heroic Conceptual Discord Comic Devices Used in “Over-the-Top” Exaggeration
  • 8. Hyperbole Exaggerated Outcomes As a conceptual discord, we laugh when we witness over-the-top demos and storytelling. This theatrical shift from what we see as normal is often played out in the aftermath of nightmares as well. And by adding a dramatic effect to our storylines, exaggerated dreams can also evoke our emotions like the infamous scene of Dorothy describing Oz when she awakes in Kansas. Dorothy’s Family Laughing at Oz NightmareDickson Shows Exaggerated Results of a Blended iPad 8 Gatorade capitalized on this technique when featuring Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant in nightmares of each other that lead to ridiculous responses. Over-reactive Behaviors Our second technique used in exaggeration taps into our emotional response to ridiculous behaviors. In this case, we laugh at how others take such extremes to make their point. Forceful demonstrations are often loaded with intensity so that we can appreciate the peculiar nature of others. Some of the top viral videos in our study showed scenes of extreme naiveté or protectionism where we shamefully find ourselves or close ones exhibiting these same fanatic behaviors. The laughter in this case has much to do with pointing out our own quirks as overprotective Dads, star struck admirers or wired up Type A’s. Exaggerated Qualities Check out some of these top viral videos that feature the visual side of exaggeration. Seeing the visual anomaly, our brains often ask: “can that really be true?” Some of the most popular comic devices used in this form of wit include the display of supernatural performances, motion distortion, exaggerated body reactions and incredible allure.
  • 9. But the key to using this humor technique is making it evident that the object of exaggeration is beyond the realms of possibility. For example, Aaron Rodgers throwing an 80 yard pass would amaze us; but LeBron James making a full court buzzer beater from the top of the stands would make us laugh. 9 Understatement We also laugh at the other extreme. Consider this photo warning us of wet floors. Really? This popular form of comic wit is known as an “understatement.” We can see why we laugh at a profound grasp of the obvious or feeling underwhelmed. The same applies to YouTube video scenes of characters oblivious to surrounding danger. Coca Cola, for example, features a sleepwalker unshaken by jungle danger in their 2010 super bowl commercial.Example of Understatement What Makes Exaggeration so Popular? The use of exaggeration dates back centuries as a comic device and popular figure of speech known as hyperbole. Consistent with the theory of incongruity, it suggests laughter results from seeing things out of sorts. Using exaggeration can be a safe choice to consider for your viral video theme for the following reasons: 1. It rarely offends any particular audience 2. It can be easily grasped visually, emotionally or cognitively 3. It can be easily produced in low budget settings (e.g., check out BlendTec’s 200M+ view channel success with a purported budget < $10K
  • 10. Comic Wit Perceptual Discord Perceptual discords cause us to laugh as we witness or experience something out of touch. Stemming from the Theory of Incongruity, this concept entertains us by contrasting what we see with what is routinely expected. Mentally, we are asking ourselves: “…Did I see that correctly?..” This perceptual discord can be realized in the form of visual anomalies (e.g., distortions or impersonations), aberrant behaviors (eccentricity) or conceptual incongruities (e.g., nonsense or unusual settings). In each case, we detect a mismatch with common perceptions. In general, most viral videos featuring perceptual discords fall under the following four categories:  Odd Behaviors  Context Misrepresentation  Bizarre Substitutions  Nonsense 10 Odd Behaviors Misrepresented Context Bizarre Substitutions Nonsense Performing/ Talking Babies Illustrated Idioms Object Replacement Dim-witted Animal Willpower Humanized Depiction Sound Imitations Baffling Dialog Multiple Personalities Unusual Setting Animal Substitution Irrelevance Foolishness Unconventional Routine Object Anthropomorphism Confusing Response Comic Devices Used in Perceptual Discords Odd Behaviors In the case of odd behaviors, we often laugh at the innocence of children or animals acting as adult humans. Witnessing the character contrast, our laughter is created by a harmless cognitive shift where we often imagine an underdog putting others in their place. This was a common form of comedy in the 1960’s. Many laughed when Uncle Joe of Petticoat Junction was beaten in checkers by his dog. Similarly, Mister Ed featured a horse who could talk.
  • 11. The owner, Wilbur, was portrayed as a big klutz who inadvertently caused harm around him. Recognizing Mr. Ed’s animal inferiority, we likely laughed at the wiser choice made by the horse. Throughout the last decade, this concept has been played out with over-performances. Consider the babies in E-Trade and Evian that pose as adults. Several viral videos also feature animals going the extra mile to motivate themselves or their masters. Check out this Nolan Cheddar video where a mouse driven by “Eye of the Tiger” musters up the energy to escape its trap. 11 Mr. Ed, the Talking Horse Context Misrepresentation Our second technique used in perceptual discords relates to our visualizing objects or scenes taken out of context. Some of the top viral videos in our study showed unconventional routines or unusual settings surrounding the highlighted activity. In other cases, the viral videos make us laugh when we imagine a literal interpretation of idioms or the human depiction of abstract concepts. In each of these cases, the attempt at humor is based on audience detection of a mismatch with what their minds see as a common practice. Bizarre Substitutes A concept similar to misrepresentation involves the substitution of animals or objects with a bizarre alternative. One popular technique includes anthropomorphism, where human attributes are ascribed to abstractions. Allstate used this form of humor to depict the concept of “mayhem” through the careless habits of an unruly actor who exemplified the dire consequences of poor insurance coverage. Some viral YouTube videos portray scenes of animal substitutes such as that found in the herding of cats, performing bulls and squirrels substituted for running bulls. Like sound imitations, these bizarre substitutes allow our imaginations to vicariously live through the substitute actor. Nonsense Our final comic device used in perceptual discord relates to nonsense. As a cognitive exercise, this form of humor makes us logically see something off kilter. Humor in this case arises out of our confusion with the relevance or choices made by the actor. Upon witnessing their naiveté or imbecile nature, we then laugh at blaming the confusion on the actor’s ineptness or empty dialogs.
  • 12. Comic Wit Surprise Twist Surprise twists cause us to laugh as we witness or experience a change in course. Stemming from the Theory of Incongruity, this concept entertains us through a distracting segue. Mentally, we are asking ourselves: “…Where did this come from?..” This surprise twist can be realized in the form of visual anomalies (e.g., sudden appearances, changes or revelations) or conceptual incongruities (e.g., storyline twists or unexpected responses). In each case, we detect a mismatch with what we expect to occur next. In general, most viral videos featuring surprise twists fall under the following four categories:  Plot Trickery  Conceptual Surprise  Transformation  Visual Surprise 12 Comic Devices Used in Surprise Twists Conceptual Surprise Think of this as stopping in our tracks when a scene or statement suggests that something is off track. Research suggests that we laugh when our minds anticipate a certain outcome, only to be tricked at the end with a wrong or uneventful answer. This concept is not new. Years ago, Wendy’s conducted a comical test taste of their hamburgers. In their famous 1989 commercial featuring a trucker, the participant was asked to choose from a delicious looking hamburger A or a nasty looking hamburger B. The trucker unexpectedly picked hamburger B. This unexpected twist would be followed with comments like: “…I’m a trucker, I could be eating this baby in Shaky Town and still tasting it in Salt Lake…” Conceptual Surprises Plot Trickery Transformation Visual Surprise Wrong Answer Storyline Twist Age Transformation Surprise Revelation Uneventful Conclusion Fantasy Turned Reality Magic Creature Appearance Absurd Chain Reaction Twist of Fate Body Switch Wishful Thinking
  • 13. Plot Trickery A very successful method of stealing your attention is for the producer to take you down a subliminal storyline that ends in an unexpected twist . i.e., Just when you are drifting off to a predictable plot, the story takes an interesting turn. In his suspense grabbing films, Alfred Hitchcock was notorious for plot trickery. Many of his endings were totally unsuspected. This unanticipated change in events works well in stories of twisted fate as well as in fantasies where the dreamer wakes up to a lackluster reality. 13 Alfred Hitchcock, Plot Trick Extraordinaire Transformation Snickers does this very effectively in their transforming of cranky actors (e.g., Betty White, Roseanne Barr, Aretha Franklyn, Don Rickles and Joe Pesci) into younger folks ready to return to action after eating a Snickers bar. In these cases, the transformation itself serves as an unexpected twist that suggests we have been duped. Visual Surprise A related concept to transformation is visual surprise. In this case, we are introduced to the sudden arrival of a new character (e.g., alien creature) or an unexpected object. Advertisers like Dodge and Volvic use these techniques in their displays of wishful thinking. Others like Nationwide shock their audiences with a surprise ugly substitute as when the fantasized Fabio turns into a wrinkled old man. Fantasized Fabio Surprise Ugly Substitute
  • 14. Comic Wit Irony Irony, much like that of any perceptual discord, is characterized by a contrast, between expectations and reality. Rooted in the Theory of Incongruity, irony makes us laugh by showing the opposite or undesired intentions of someone’s actions. Mentally, we are saying to ourselves: “…I did not see that coming…” Irony can be realized in the form of visual anomalies (e.g., unusual pairing, wrong personas and temperaments, hypocritical behaviors) or conceptual incongruities (e.g., wild coincidences, misunderstandings or something scripted out of place). In each case, we detect a mismatch with what we expect to see. In general, most viral videos featuring irony fall under the following four categories:  Visual Irony  Ironic Temperament  Ironic Persona  Situational Irony 14 Comic Devices Used in Irony Visual Irony Visual irony refers to the use of two or more images that don’t belong together. An unusual pairing of well known characters or scenes, for example, make us laugh at the imagined conflict. These inevitable battles were played out well in the 1970s show “The Odd Couple.” The series featured a neurotic neat freak pitted against an untidy, cigar chomping gambler. Audiences, in this case, laughed at the how the two mismatched friends could possibly share an apartment following their divorces. Visual Irony Ironic Temperament Ironic Persona Situational Irony Cyborgs Acting as Humans Callous Turned Kind Adult Acting Child Anachronisms Humans Acting as Animals Miscast Temperament Childish Adult Coincidental Backlash Hypocritical Behaviors Soft Tough Guy Miscast Role Miscommunications Oxymorons Unlikely Friendliness Mistaken Identity Misplaced Routine Unusual Pairing Unusually Considerate Unlikely Hero Misunderstood Intentions Mismatched Oscar and Felix Featured in the “Odd Couple”
  • 15. Ironic Temperament Another successful way to get laughter from irony is through the display of temperament anomalies. A common way to display this anomaly is with the mellowing of cantankerous personalities like the volatile John McEnroe or Bobby Knight. This can also be accomplished through the juxtaposing of characters in contradicting or aberrant ways. This has been done with examples of a mother and daughter fiercely arguing over each others’ kind attributes as well as a beautiful woman admiring a man’s unattractive habits. Ironic Persona Our third technique used in irony involves the miscasting of character roles or intentions. This is often accomplished through the display of mistaken identities, adult acting children or childish acting adults. This mismatch of personas can also create laughter when we see the least likely character to play a certain role. We often see this enacted in the form of unlikely hero figures. Situational Irony Finally, we often laugh over situational irony in which actions have an effect that is contrary to what was expected. This often happens in the case of a coincidental backlash, where the odds of such an unexpected scene spoiler are infinitely low. Other cases of situational irony include the undesired outcomes resulting from misunderstandings or the scripting of behaviors in a misplaced or rhetorical setting. We sometimes see this displayed in commercials through unorthodox routines, such as when employees let loose in an office setting. 15 Other examples of visual irony include the casting of humans as animals or cyborgs as humans. In both cases, the irony is enjoyed as we witness the acting out of a creation mismatch. Similarly, an oxymoron like the living dead, friendly adversaries or a screaming mime create laughter as we envision the inherent conflict. Oxymoron (Screaming Mime & Living Dead)
  • 16. DISPARAGEMENT PUTDOWNS, MALICIOUS JOY & AWKWARDNESS 16
  • 17. Disparagement Putdowns The use of mockery capitalizes on our emotional reaction to watching others experience a well deserved putdown. Stemming from the Theory of Superiority, we often experience sudden glory when dethroning others or elevating ourselves at the expense of others’ peculiarities. In general, most viral videos featuring putdowns exhibit one or more of the following four characteristics:  Mocked Peculiarities  Lofty Conquest  Society Satire  Stereotyping 17 Comic Devices Used in Putdowns Mocked Peculiarities Lofty Conquest Society Satire Stereotyping Background Mockery Outwitting Exaggerated Cultural Nuance Blondes & Bubbas Illusory Superiority Macho Gone Sour Parodies Sterotyped Professions Maladroitness Arrogant Knockdowns Language Peculiarities Celebrity Impersonation Quirkiness Unfair Advantage Cheeky Barbs Beauty Conquered Male Mocked Peculiarities The use of mockery dates back centuries as audiences watched imbeciles and dwarfs parade on stage. Baby boomers likely recall the inept Deputy Barney Fife of Mayberry, who was oblivious to his idiosyncrasies and quirky nature. Seeing himself as a high standing citizen, we often laughed hysterically at his gullibility and delusions of grandeur. This putdown is often felt through background mockery as well. The Maladroit Barnie Fife with His Naïve Partner, Gomer Pyle
  • 18. Putdowns Lofty Conquest Our second technique used in putdowns taps into our desire to dethrone the self-righteous, the popular, the pretentious and the hyper-masculine. Some of the top viral videos in our study showed scenes of humbled haughtiness featuring those we despise or compete against. A common technique is to use some form of outwitting that literally shames the victim or proves our superiority over them. Miller Lite is notorious for their “macho moments gone bad.” We can’t help but laugh at the pretentious Joe Cool revealed for his inner femininity. 18 Society Satire A number of top viral videos feature the sudden glory we feel when our society is mocked. Known as satire, we often relish the opportunity to poke fun of other cultures seen as pretentious or smug. This is often played out by exaggerating the cultural nuances or language peculiarities of audiences targeted by our sarcasm. Similarly, we poke fun of celebrated life styles with parodies of popular shows, sports events or military operations. This is often done through witty dialogs (e.g., cheeky barbs) where the intent of the sarcasm is to mock a targeted society. Stereotypes Our final comic device used in putdowns relates to mimicry and impersonations. One of the most popular ways of doing this is through the stereotyping of blondes and provincial men. The latter is often portrayed as an idiot or someone hypnotized under the spell of seduction. Another form of mockery includes the stereotyping of professions or positions of power. Be Aware of Cultures Unreceptive to Putdowns Although putdowns resonate well in Western Cultures like the US, it has limited appeal in more collectivist cultures. Many nations in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Southern Europe frown upon putdowns. This form of malicious joy runs counter to their relational and group- oriented values.
  • 19. Disparagement Malicious Joy Malicious joy, or schadenfreude, refers to the pleasure we derive from seeing others fail or suffer misfortune. Also rooted in the Theory of Superiority, this feeling of sudden glory can occur when we witness:  Bungled Behaviors  Unanticipated Spoilers  Unfortunate Happenstances  Deserved Repercussions  Cretins 19 Bungled Behaviors A common approach for entertaining audiences with malicious joy is to poke fun of someone notorious for their clumsy or incompetent behaviors. The 1950’s sitcom, “I Love Lucy,” reached the highest popularity of any show at its time based on the bungling behaviors of Lucy. The naïve and accident prone housewife had a knack for getting herself and her husband into trouble whenever she tried to make a name for herself. Several viral YouTube videos are based on characters that are prone to accidents or saying the wrong thing. This is often displayed through the eyes of someone drunk or oblivious to their surroundings.Trouble Prone Lucy in "I Love Lucy" Mocked Peculiarities Lofty Conquest Society Satire Stereotyping Background Mockery Outwitting Exaggerated Cultural Nuance Blondes & Bubbas Illusory Superiority Macho Gone Sour Parodies Sterotyped Professions Maladroitness Arrogant Knockdowns Language Peculiarities Celebrity Impersonation Quirkiness Unfair Advantage Cheeky Barbs Beauty Conquered Male Comic Devices Used for Malicious Joy
  • 20. 20 Men, in particular, are often portrayed for their bungled behaviors resulting from their one track minds. Consider how we laugh when women make futile attempts to attract their husband's attention when engrossed in their games or jobs. We are likely laughing at the husband’s obsessions and oblivion as well as the wife’s futile attempts to get their attention. Unanticipated Spoilers Another successful way to get laughter from malicious joy is through the portrayal of spoilers. For example, many of us laugh when witnessing the spoiling of romance. Just when the mood is set, attempts at seduction are foiled by some unexpected event. A number of viral videos show similar results in views and engagement when a storyline ends with unexpected damage, injuries or danger. This cause of laughter taps more into our emotional senses where a feeling of superiority is felt over those whose peace or excitement is snatched away. Unfortunate Happenstances Our third technique used in malicious joy relates to bad luck. Shamefully, many of us laugh when others get dealt a bad hand. Most of us enjoy watching someone knocked down a notch when an unwise choice is based on attempts at heroism or chivalry. The same type of thrill emerges from bad timing such as when someone interrupts our concentration at the worst time or when the next person in line wins the grand prize. Accident Prone Couple Spoils Romance We also delight in the misfortune of those exhibiting naïveté or simply keeping their eye off the ball. Especially when foolish mistakes result in catastrophic consequences, we often laugh hysterically at choices we know we are capable of committing ourselves. Deserved Repercussions Perhaps even more than bad luck or unexpected spoilers is the laughter resulting from well-deserved retaliation. This often happens when the actions of a featured villain backfire. In a similar vein, we laugh at paybacks against someone we despise or who is unveiled of their devious intentions. Doritos did this very well in their commercial of a baby snatching the bag of chips from an annoying older sibling who incessantly teased the toddler. Doritos Example of Deserved Repercussion
  • 21. 21 The payback results in our own feeling of sudden glory that we experience when living vicariously through the underdog. On the lighter side, some sponsors use innocent repercussions to highlight the misfortunes of someone overzealous or careless. Lending Tree took this route in their depiction of Stanley Johnson, who shamefully reveals that his lavish lifestyle has put him “in debt to his eyeballs.” Though not as deserving as the villainous victim of a backfire, we still relish the thought of witnessing the aftermath of someone drinking too much or short cutting their path to success. Cretins Our final category of malicious joy relates to the casting of cretins whose low class demeanor elevates our own status. For centuries, comedies of imbeciles, derelicts, the grotesque and the deformed have aroused fits of laughter from audiences. A number of sponsors have obtained high scores in views and engagement from the portrayal of people seen as physically deformed (e.g., 700 lb. sumo wrestler). Similar results, however, can be achieved when portraying folks as mentally subnormal (e.g., derelicts). Both Geico and FedEx capitalized on cretin sneering in their casting of Neanderthals in modern settings. Vonage chose a similar tactic by casting airheads and derelicts in both their "People do Stupid Things" and “Chief Generosity Officer” campaigns.
  • 22. Disparagement Awkwardness Why we laugh at awkward moments has much to do with the pleasure derived from seeing others fail or suffer misfortune. Also rooted in the Theory of Superiority, this disparaging form of humor leads to a feeling of sudden glory when we displace our own histories of embarrassing moments onto others. Among the types of humor that capitalize on awkwardness are the following  Remorseful Regrets  Uncomfortable Settings  Exercising Humility  Revealed Secrets 22 Remorseful Regrets One way to enjoy others’ misfortunes is through the depiction of embarrassing situations where victims are left speechless. Consider how we laugh at those experiencing fear and remorse after they realize they are in a “no win” situation. Geico did this by showing Abe Lincoln faced with a tough predicament of being honest or offending his wife. Comic Devices Used for Awkwardness Remorseful Regrets Uncomfortable Settings Exercising Humility Revealed Secrets Tough Predicaments Uncomfortable Male Bonding Wrong Impression Captured Glances Regretful Actions Uncomfortable Intimacy Exposed Privacy Revealed Deceptions Regretful Statements Uncomfortable Conversation Public Embarassment Exposed True Colors Caught Off Guard Creepiness Unveiled Feminine Side Revealed Fantasies Ray and Robert Barone Notorious for Their Remorseful Quandaries In the sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond, Robert and Ray Barone often found themselves in a sticky situation. Both were prone to engaging their mouths before their brains as regretful statements and actions put them in the dog house. We laughed, for example, when Ray was forced to choose between ingratiating his wife or his dominating mother.
  • 23. 23 The laughter in these cases typically results from the remorse felt by the victim from their regretful actions or statements. By displacing own recollection of these embarrassments onto others, we are in effect saying: “I am glad this did not happen to me.” Arguably, this laughter increases the more a victim is caught off guard or left with an unsolvable quandary. Uncomfortable Settings Another successful way to get laughter from awkwardness is through scenes of discomfort that arise when someone gets too intimate or reveals too much information. A number of commercials feature the discomfort that men in particular feel when other guys get too close or expose their creepy behaviors. Doritos capitalized on this with their ad featuring a man licking another man’s fingers. Southwest Featured Several Ads of Awkward Moments in Their “Wanna Get Away” Campaign Revealed Secrets Our final method used to create awkward moments involves the exposure of someone’s embarrassing intentions. This often includes the unraveling of a character’s foiled deceptions when caught red handed. This exposure may reveal a man’s true colors or his inappropriate glances at another woman. In this case, we are likely laughing at their behavioral hypocrisy as well as their misfortune of having a poor disguise. A similar sense of misfortune is realized when a young boy faces the dreaded kiss of an assertive girl or when a father is pressed to answer “where do babies come from?” We are likely reliving our own experiences of the fear that results from being put on a spot. Exercising Humility Displaced embarrassment can also arise when we witness others having to explain themselves after exposing their vulnerabilities. In this case, we are laughing at the relief from not being the one who has to exercise humility. Southwest uses this technique in their “wanna get away” campaigns. The story-line features characters often put on the spot publicly to explain their mistakes. This technique especially works well when featuring men inadvertently exposing their feminine or child sides. This feeling of shame can also result when quiet words are broadcast publicly or when surrounding audiences get the wrong impression from seemingly perverted behaviors.
  • 24. RELEASED REPRESSION UNRULINESS & SOCIAL ORDER DEVIANCY 24
  • 25. Released Repression Unruliness By unruliness, we mean behaviors showing resistance to control. The fact that we laugh at unruly behaviors is best explained by the Relief Theory of Humor. This theory contends that laughter is a mechanism by which psychological tension is reduced. So we tend to laugh when we release tension or nervous energy such as when we unleash our suppressed desires. Consequently, we love watching others act out uncontrollably or violate some social order. In effect, we are likely enjoying the observation of others acting out our own inhibitions in one of the following ways:  Hysteria  Impulsive Outbursts  Displaced Irritation  Exercising Improprieties 25 Comic Devices Used for Unruliness Audiences laughed at his infamous “BANG, ZOOM! Straight to the Moon!” The Relief Theory would attribute these fits of laughter to our own desires to let out steam. Other examples of hysteria in viral YouTube videos include scenes of angry bosses losing their control or folks experiencing nervous breakdowns. Similarly, many of the popular sports-related commercials show scenes of fanatics going over the edge to support their teams.The Bellowing Ralph Kramden in the “The Honeymooners” Hysteria Impulsive Outbursts Displaced Irritation Exercising Improprieties Angry Yelling Belligerance Annoying Natures Invasive Peeking Nervous Breakdown Forceful Demonstration Incessant Talker Disorderly Pop Culture Lexicons Sports Fanatical Spontaneous Performance Ending the Annoyance Recalcitrance Extreme Screaming Body Explosion Annoying Repetitions Unsightly Exposure Hysteria A popular technique for entertaining audiences with humor is to show people unleashing their anxiety through uncontrollable screaming and yelling. In the 1950’s, the popular sitcom, The Honeymooners, featured a bellowing, short-tempered Ralph Kramden who would easily spin out of control.
  • 26. Unruliness Impulsive Outbursts Another successful way to get laughter from unruliness is through scenes of impulsive outbursts. Some viral YouTube videos reached views in the millions as audiences witnessed forceful demonstrations, body explosions or outright belligerence. The tension relief can be explained as an innate desire we may all have to act out our aggression. 26 Displaced Irritation A third technique used in unruliness involves our desire to express deep irritation. This is often accomplished by having us share the irritation and the subsequent desire to fiercely lash out at others’ facing annoying habits. Consider the commercial where an annoying pig continually utters “Wee! Wee! Wee!” or the vexatious camel in Geico’s hump day commercial who repeatedly asks “Guess What Day It Is?” Our own laughter comes from the expression of irritation shown on the faces of those annoyed. This can also be accomplished by showing scenes of those irritated by incessant talkers. In effect, we are sharing the desires of the irritated actors to berate or strike the annoying subjects. Exercising Improprieties Another common way to release suppressed desires is to display scenes of wishful naughtiness. Who doesn’t want to disobey society rules on stature, proper behavior or appropriate demeanor? Consider how audiences laugh when Mr. T acts out on our behalf or when Harley Davidson attracts the recalcitrant with their acts of rebellion. Besides aggression and disobedience, these improprieties often include such forbidden behaviors as invasive peeking.
  • 27. Released Repression Social Order Deviancy Social order deviancy refers to those behaviors that challenge society rules and expectations. The fact that we laugh at these violations is also explained by Relief Theory of Humor. This theory contends that we laugh from release of tension that arises from suppressing our desires. Consequently, we love watching others unleash their innate desire to break the law, enter forbidden territory or simply act out their inhibitions. In general, most viral videos featuring social order deviancy fall under the following four categories:  Society Irreverence  Forbidden Behaviors  Offensive Behaviors  Unleashed Mania 27 Comic Devices Used for Social Order Deviancy Society Irreverence A popular technique for entertaining audiences with social order deviancy is to poke fun of pompous society folks. In the 1960’s sitcom, “The Beverly Hillbillies,” Jed Clampett and his poor backwoods family transplanted to Beverly Hills, California, after striking oil on their land. High Society Satire Exemplified by the Backwoods Clampetts Society Irreverence Forbidden Behaviors Offensive Behaviors Unleashed Mania High Society Satires Taboos & Sacred Barriers Odor Offensive Mad Science Outwitting the Honorable Exercising Professional Liberties Repulsive Behaviors Sadomasochism Rule Breaking Exhibitionism Unrefined Behaviors Public Disturbance Undermining Authority Face Slapping Bleeped Language Swooning Women
  • 28. Social Order DeviancyIn the series, audiences laugh hysterically as the rags to riches family unknowingly mocks the posturing of high society by retaining their hillbilly lifestyle in a luxurious Hollywood house. Being exploited by rich bankers, the Clampetts often come out ahead with their provincial wisdom. In effect, they put high society in their place. Several viral YouTube videos are based on high society satires, rule breaking and undermining authority. Common to all is the release of tension we experience when we unload on someone’s suppressing statutes. Witness how this works when we outwit the censorship imposed by honorable judges, pious clergymen or smug professors. Forbidden Behaviors Another successful way to get laughter from social order deviancy is through the depiction of forbidden society behaviors. Many of us laugh when witnessing the spoiling of sacred rituals. Who doesn’t love watching others break taboos? This likely results from sharing their pressures in having to sustain a devout life. 28 A similar thrill arises when we strip off clothing, break office rules, or slap a smug antagonist. Whether its vicariously acting out naughty behaviors or simply fighting back, we feel liberated from society rules. Offensive Behaviors Our third technique used in social order deviancy involves offensive behaviors. Here again, we enjoy watching others mock society. In this case, the mockery is through tactless behaviors. This could include bad manners or disgusting personal habits.
  • 29. Social Order Deviancy 29 Finally, the witnessing of women swooning over men in insane frenzies has been a highly successful humor technique over the years. In 1995, Diet Coke featured an office of ladies running to windows to get a glimpse of a sexy construction worker. Axe took this concept a step further when they featuring hoards of bikini clad jungle women closing in on their prey. In this case, the hunted was a man freshly deodorized with Axe. Unleashed Mania Our final category of social order deviancy involves letting loose with craziness. One of the oldest forms of humor involves the depiction of mad scientists. In effect, we are laughing at the disorder associated with an esteemed profession. Another technique evokes our inner craving for disorder in public places. In many viral videos, you can attribute the humor to disruptions created from screaming and destroying property in serene surroundings. A common technique used in this humor is to highlight reactions to poor hygiene such as from foot odor, perspiration or flatulence. As the perfect target of our tactless behavior, this especially works when exposing the offense to those sensitive to protocol or classy surroundings.
  • 30. AROUSAL-SAFETY SENTIMENTAL HUMOR 30
  • 31. Sentimental humor taps into our emotions through an arousal-safety mechanism. For example, in the first stage or arousal-safety, emotions are aroused with sentimentality, empathy or some form of negative anxiety. As the story-line develops, we then see this heightened arousal state as safe, cute or inconsequential. This shift from high arousal to relief is what creates laughter. A way to imagine this type of humor is to consider how we laugh. Comic wit, for example, is normally expressed as “Ah Hah.” Laughter from disparaging humor (e.g., putdowns) is normally expressed as “Ha, Ha.” Sentimental humor would be expressed as “Ahhh.” This could happen when we witness someone escaping danger as well as when we experience a child doing something cute. Among the types of humor that capitalize on this arousal-safety mechanism are the following:  Child Innocence  Fear & Anxiety Relief  Melodrama  Inner Secrets 31 Comic Devices Used for Sentimental Humor Child Innocence Children can easily arouse our emotions with their youthful discoveries and mimicry of adulthood. The laughter tends to result when we see them successfully overcome their struggles to get through complicated situations. AT&T capitalized on this comic effect in their “Its Not Complicated” series that has amassed over 10 million views. Story-lines usually start with a sentimental attachment or an empathetic feeling towards the child. We then laugh when we see how their first battles with courage, romance or independence conclude with a happy ending. Child Innocence Fear & Anxiety Relief Melodrama Inner Secrets Youthful Discoveries Narrow Escape Histrionic Dream Exploits Inner Child Fear of What's to Come Melancholic Suggestive Sexual Allusion Child Mimicry of Adulthood Barely Escaped Detection Fervent Contradicting Inner Voice Arousal-Safety Sentimental Humor
  • 32. Sentimental Humor Doritos no doubt enjoyed great success with their commercial featuring a feisty 5 year old warning his mother’s suitor to mind his manners. Several viral YouTube videos are based on child innocence where the laughter results from children topping their adult counterparts as well as from our vicariously living through their incorruptibility. 32 In some situations, we may be laughing at how their trials prove more fruitful than our own. This may be the reason why we love scenes of children reflecting our own inner self. No character perhaps aroused us more with child innocence than Shirley Temple. The child prodigy started her film career at the age of 3. With her innocent coquetry, she was known for her advice to clergymen and other adults that often had profound implications. Shirley Temple Epitomizes Child Innocence Fear & Anxiety Relief Another successful way to get laughter from sentimental humor is through the relief of fear and anxiety. For example, just when we expect some disturbing outcome, a story- line then shows the fears to be baseless. The arousal-safety mechanism in this case starts with a buildup of suspense. As the fearful sensation rouses within us, we then experience a physiological shift as the anxiety fizzles into something inconsequential. This swing in emotional response is what produces laughter. Consider how Dirt Devil did this with commercial featuring what appears to be an exorcism. The hair raising drama leads us to a convulsing, demon possessed woman plastered to the ceiling.
  • 33. 33 Melodrama Sentimental humor can also be created through melodrama. Consider how we laugh when we experience someone’s over theatrical behaviors. For example, a story-line may start with someone’s passionate reaction to a mundane situation. But as we begin to process their intensity with our own empathetic reflections, we then find the cause of their melodrama to be unfounded. In effect, this arousal-safety mechanism takes us from our own passionate empathy to a feeling of relief from the false alarm. Laughter then results from the arousal-safety shift. Similarly, we might laugh as we conclude the melodramatic actor is rather pathetic. Inner Secrets A fourth method used in sentimental humor derives from the exposure of inner secrets such as when we witness someone passing in and out of dreams. A fantasy, for example, could arouse our emotions. We then laugh from a shift in these emotions as we are made aware of the false state. This arousal-safety mechanism could also work when an innocent scene turns out to have sexual overtones. In essence, we are likely laughing at the tension relief we experience from keeping our inner desires secret. Finally, inner secrets can produce laughter when we observe and hear a contradicting inner voice. In this case, we are likely experiencing an emotional shift when the imagined inner voice allows us to safely escape from a hostile or awkward situation. But just when our fears our aroused, we are relieved to find a neighbor upstairs creating the gravity pull with her vacuum cleaner. Sentimental Humor
  • 34. SERIOUS ENTERTAINMENT PERFORMING ARTS, PARTICIPATION & INSPIRATION 34
  • 35. Serious Entertainment Performances One way to capture your audience is to entertain them with music, choreography, drama and stories. Many television commercials re-casted on YouTube went viral when the brand message was integrated into a mini- theatre performance, a fascinating life narratives or a memorable song. Among the types of performances that perform best on YouTube are the following:  Musical and Performing Arts  Slice-of-life Narratives  Plotted Storylines and Timelines  Transformation Entertainment 35 Devices Used in Performance Oriented Entertainment Musicals & Performing Arts Slice of Life Narratives Plotted Storylines & Timelines Transformational Entertainment Musical Theatre Cultural Slice of Life Cartoons & Comic Strips Realtime Makeovers Choreographic Beats Poetic Slice of Life Concatenation of Events Style Metamorphosis Mini Dramas Mesmerizing Stories & Life Messages Life Evolution Abstract & Mechanical Animations Musical Interludes Iconic Experiences Future Visions Alter Ego Exploits Animated Performances Animal Slice of Life Chronological Journeys Destination Journeys
  • 36. Performances Common to the higher performing clips of this type is a performance that drives audiences to the end of the script. This can be especially effective when the cast of characters and story-lines match up well with the intended brand message. Slice-of-Life Narratives Another long-standing techniques used in entertaining videos involves “slice-of-life” narratives. Audiences are often enamored with the subtle imagery portrayed in the life of someone that could be them. The plotless storylines are not intended to culminate in a story ending. Instead, the narrative is intended to impart profound messages that make us pause and reflect on our lives as we progress from one scene to the next. A number of sponsors have gone as far as portraying what dogs and cats may feel in their lives. 36 Musicals and Performing Arts Several high performing YouTube videos feature mini theatrical performances. Much like the role of movie trailers, these short clip entertainers set the stage for mood setting and fantasizing. Especially when backed by a legendary song, the brand message could stick in our heads as we sing along and reminisce over our favorite nostalgic moments. Several high performing YouTube videos feature mini theatrical performances. Much like the role of movie trailers, these short clip entertainers set the stage for mood setting and fantasizing. Especially when backed by a legendary song, the brand message could stick in our heads as we sing along and reminisce over our favorite nostalgic moments. Some of the more popular methods include short drama clips where well known celebrities are cast into leading roles of mini episodes. Similarly, Broadway style choreographies work well to captivate audiences through contemporary beats and synchronized dancing.
  • 37. Performances Plotted Story-lines and Timelines One long-standing technique used in entertaining videos involves “slice-of-life” narratives. Audiences are often enamored with the subtle imagery portrayed in the life of someone that could be them. Another practice used for captivated story-line attention involves a concatenation of events often leading to a big performance or vision of the future. Similar to plotted stories and timelines, this technique works well to stimulate audience curiosity as they advance from one stage to another. Transformation Entertainment Besides story-lines and theatrical performances, other effective performances use rapidly moving scene transformations. Dove capitalized on this with their real-time makeover. In a manner of minutes, audiences witness an entire facial transformation. Others like Chevy and Nike attempt to fascinate us with metamorphic transformations of their products. This can be done across product styles or across the design stages of a product. The technique works especially well when the transformations involve animations created from real objects. Finally, transformation entertainment often involves scene transitions such as that experienced in alter ego exploits. T- Mobile reached viral performance levels on a YouTube video featuring a lifeless women who let loose of her wild nature. 37 The typical slice-of-life narrative consists of a soft musical journey where snap shots of a real person’s life are narrated with words of wisdom. Those slice-of-life narratives that reach viral performance levels typically involve messages of hope for our youth or on behalf of certain cultures. These messages are often poetic in nature and described from the eyes of an admired icon. Michael Jordan did this very effectively in his “Look into My Eyes” commercials for Nike. Slice-of-life narratives are effective in pulling audiences to the end of a clip. i.e., As the concatenation of events unfolds, audiences are often intrigued by the scene transformations. Moreover, the life messages depicted in the narrative can enhance a brand image among those connecting with the words of wisdom. Finally, this technique is perhaps the least expensive approach to creating performance oriented entertainment.
  • 38. Serious Entertainment Astonishment The fact that we are entertained with a “wow” factor should not be surprising. Magicians, athletes and beautiful models have always fascinated us as we ponder the limits of beauty, imagination and human potential. We delight in the spectacular as well as the painstaking skills required to dazzle us. Among the types of astonishment that are used in high performing videos are the following:  Extraordinary Beauty  Masterful Craftsmanship  Human Potential 38 Devices Used in Creating Astonishment Extraordinary Beauty Masterful Craftsmanship Human Potential Stunning Looks Extraordinary Craftmanship Incredible Athleticism Beautiful Nature Imaginative Formations Mastering Difficult Tasks Impressive Light Effects Spectacular Designs Daring Sports Extraordinary Beauty For years, beauty has captivated audiences with breathtaking views of what we imagine as utopia. Fashion and cosmetic companies continue to astonish us with stunning looks as we marvel over the perfect eyes and body. Similarly, painters and photographers attempt to stretch our imaginations with breathtaking views of nature, outer space and glorious light shows. At the heart of this concept is an innate desire to marvel over a perfect creation. Examples of How Beauty Can Astonish Us
  • 39. Astonishment Masterful Craftsmanship A similar concept is at play when we are astonished by a true masterpiece. Besides engaging in content that strikes our appreciation for beauty, we likely marvel over the skills and craftsmanship surrounding a perfect design or the enormity of “larger than life” creations. Just consider how people travel thousands of miles to see Mount Rushmore or the Great Wall of China. Or consider how we marvel over the potential of the human brain when witnessing the latest in space technology and medical breakthroughs. Our senses also seem to heighten at the sight of extreme precision and the painstaking process behind a perfectly timed formation. Honda, for example, scored extremely well on a commercial featuring a highly complex domino effect. Similarly, we often marvel over the skills required to produce the perfect ice sculpture, dessert presentation or architectural design. 39 Examples of How Masterful Craftsmanship Can Astonish Us Human Potential Evidence from high video performance also suggests that we marvel over those who push the limits of human capacity. Some viral videos reached exceptionally high levels of views and engagement after showing records broken by the greatest of athletes. Without question, highlight reels devote inordinate amounts of time replaying the perfect catch, the perfect shot and the perfect throw. In effect, we likely enjoy amazing ourselves with how far our bodies can take us. This fascination also accounts for such high ratings in talent shows like American Idol where we marvel over the skills of those not expected to achieve so high. But the same reaction can be felt from those over achieving or pushing the limits of mental capacity. A number of videos, for example, scored high when showing women conquering their multi-tasking life styles, a man runner the marathon at 101 years old or paraplegics playing basketball. Examples of How Visualizing Human Potential Can Astonish Us
  • 40. Serious Entertainment Heartfelt Moments One highly effective way to capture your audience is through sweat and tears. Many television commercials re-casted on YouTube went viral when they featured a motivational message or tear jerking moment. In effect, these moments tap into our souls with what we dream to become or where we long to return. Whether the moments result in pumping adrenaline or tears of pride, you can expect a high level of video sharing and engagement when using these techniques in a sincere way. Among the types of heartfelt moments that perform best on YouTube are the following:  Motivational Inspiration  Sentimental Memories  Proud Moments 40 Concepts for Conjuring Up Heartfelt Feelings Motivation In 1975, an unknown actor and film producer shocked the world with a $225 million film that later produced five more successful sequels. In the film, a kind hearted debt collector named Rocky Balboa overcomes all odds as a prize fighter. To this date, the infamous “Gonna Fly Now” song is used by many to fuel their willpower. Motivation Sentimental Memories Proud Moments Inspirational Messages Family Ties Patriotic Tribute No Pain, No Gain Cute Romance Proud History Striving for Excellence Nostalgic Connections Proud Parents Rags-to-Riches Rocky Balboa Serves as an Inspiration to Over Achievers
  • 41. Heartfelt Moments A number of sports product sponsors have elected this route. At the core of most themes is a gut wrenching scene of an over- achiever mustering up all of his will power to get ahead. Others feature the background scenes of or inspirational messages from admired performers who demonstrate their dedication to hard work. Sentimental Memories But we can also stir the heart through compassion and tender memories. For years, Hallmark chose this route with sentimental scenes that rekindle family ties. 41 Some, like McDonald’s, capitalized on first love scenes that remind us of the awkward, but heart throbbing moments that live with us forever. Others, like Chevy and Volkswagen, often create nostalgic connections where we long to revisit our youth. Proud Tributes Perhaps the most effective way to rouse a sentimental attachment is through patriotic tributes. Budweiser and American Airlines took this route in their special tributes to 911 and our troops, respectively. When the story-lines conjure up proud feelings as parents or countrymen that touch our own sentiments toward family and heritage, the video can especially score high on brand image. In their tributes to the motor city, Chrysler did much to restore the pride of hard hit Detroit. Similar feelings are stirred when offering tributes to the passing of legendary figures.
  • 42. Serious Entertainment Participation One way to distract us from our task at hand is to get us to participate in a commercial or social video. Consider content that asks us how to solve a riddle or offer an opinion. Aren’t you at least curious to know whether you have the correct answer? Audience are often entertained by a cognitive challenge or through conclusion curiosity. Though not as powerful as humor or performance entertainment, this technique is often the preferred choice of advertisers seeking to engage their audiences under a reasonable budget. Among the most popular types of participation that perform best on YouTube are the following:  Completing the Message  Resolving the Problem  Following a Script 42 Devices Used in Participation Entertainment Common to each method is a way to distract us with a mental motivation to finish the exercise. If successful, we can applaud our wits and talents at mastering the task. In the process, advertisers get us to ponder over the concept or follow the steps of mastery. In so doing, they lay the trail that pulls us through their entire message. That is why this technique scores high on engagement. But advertisers face a tough challenge in their attempts to direct our cognitive efforts on a meaningful and well understood brand message. Types of Participation Used in Edutainment Complete Resolve Follow Along Answer the Question Correct the Flaw Play the Song Fill in the Blanks Guess Who or How Sing the Song Spell it Out Interpret the Allegory Draw the Picture Pick the Winner Validate the Contrast Watch it Build
  • 43. Participation Completing the Message One of the simplest ways to capture our attention is to have us “fill in the blanks” or “answer a question.” In 1984, the catch phrase “Where’s the Beef?” made actress Clara Peller an overnight sensation much like the LeBron James’ infamous “What Should I Do?” added fuel to his notoriety. In both cases, we likely found ourselves attempting an answer of our own. Another method invites us to recite or spell something correctly. By now, baby boomers likely know how to spell “R-O-L-A-I-D-S” or “O-S-C-A-R-M-A-Y-E-R.” The latter amassed nearly 1 million views on YouTube. Similarly, advertisers could test your sports or mechanical acumen by having you “guess the winner” of a shoot-off. Gatorade capitalized on this technique when they featured a young vs. old Michael Jordan playing against each other. 43 Resolving the Problem A more cognitively challenging method of getting audiences to participate is to have them solve a problem. This gaming technique often involves “guessing who” or “guessing what” is hanging in suspense. The use of this technique as a way to engage audiences dates back to the 1950s & 60s. At the time. a show called “What’s My Line” hosted a guessing game in which four panelists attempted to determine the identity or occupation of a mystery guest. The show remained the longest-running U.S. prime-time television game-show for decades. 1950′s and 60′s Game Show “What’s My Line” Captured Audiences with Guessing “Who” or “What” In addition to guessing, audiences can be easily motivated to discover anomalies. Consider how often you find yourself correcting someone else’s mistakes or flaws. In the FedEx “Wrong” skit, we attempt to correct someone’s reference to “French Benefits.”
  • 44. Participation Similarly, the infamous Ally Bank’s “What Makes Peter, Peter?” has us incessantly correcting the interviewer’s misinterpretation of “I really love my bank’s ’Raise-Your-Rate’ CD” as he progresses from “You’d love a pay raise ASAP?” to “You spent eight days lost at sea?” to “You love watching your neighbors watch TV?” A more subtle method of problem solving includes examination of irony or allegories. For example, a number of commercials feature statements that “go against the grain.” In Beck’s Ad “Different by Choice,” we cannot help but validate the actions of those daring to be different. A similar reaction can be expected when we are presented with allegories or sarcasm that require our own interpretation. Both methods are effective in keeping our attention for as long as it takes to interpret the message. Following a Script A third way to attract and engage our audiences through participation is to get them to follow along some story-line. This technique also dates back to the 1950s and 60s when popular music icon Mitch Miller engaged families on television by having them sing along with his music note bouncing balls. 44 Mitch Miller’s Sing Along Stirred Audiences to Follow the Bouncing Balls Many successful commercials deploy a similar scheme in their real time designs. Consider how UPS’s “Whiteboard” gets us to finish the drawing or how Absolut’s “Rasberri” commercial gets us to contribute to the bottle’s final design. Whether it is through a catchy tune, a clever sketch or a final touch on a beautiful masterpiece, the goal here is to entice us to contribute something to the scripted message.
  • 45. Serious Entertainment Concept Imagery With great advancements in creative photography and cinema effects, it’s no surprise that concept imagery has become a popular technique for engaging audiences. We can now dazzle audiences with optical illusions as well as special effects that making us feel the splashing, shattering, and exploding of 3D objects portrayed in 30 second clips. Among the most popular types of concept imagery that perform best on YouTube are the following:  Artistic Flair  Illusory Sensations  Physical Sensations  Audio & Multi-Sensations 45 Devices Used in Concept Imagery Concept Imagery Examples Artistic Flair Illusory Sensations Physical Sensations Audio & Multi- Sensory Artistic Photography Magical Optics Heat Popping Abstract Creations Imaginative Formations Fast or Exhilirating Shattering Color Creations Dreamlike Effects Cold or Wet Beating Artistic Hand Creations Stretched Imaginations Soothing Multi-Effect
  • 46. Concept Imagery 46 Artistic Flair A number of high performing YouTube videos feature elaborate 3D color imagery cast in a variety of artistic abstractions. Common to many is the bursting of colors into spectacular formations. Others involve animated fairytales that integrate humans and animals into abstract surroundings. Some popular hand creation commercials from HP and Samsung have also reached exceptionally high performance levels as advanced graphics software and digital photography permit the synchronizing of musical hand movements with holographic optical effects. These performance art effects can create a hypnotic WOW factor that keeps its audience engaged to the end. Illusory Sensations Another form of concept imagery revolves around illusory effects that often stretch our imaginations. Airlines in particular have capitalized on the blend of 3D and real-life imagery to capture world travel experiences in a dreamlike atmosphere. Dating back to the 1980s, some even produced kaleidoscope type formations from the synchronized arrangements of aircraft, people and dolphins. Physical Sensations Perhaps the greatest impact made by high tech imagery is the ability of videos to create a near 4D experience. Much like the real feeling of being sprayed in Universal Studio’s Spiderman, advanced graphics with sound can create highly realistic scenes of hot, cold, wet, electrifying and windy conditions.
  • 47. Concept Imagery 47 Several Super Bowl commercials feature ice cold or fire hot scenes with multi- sense imagery that can actually tap into our tactile senses. Others apply special effects that allow us to experience a mood intended by the advertiser. By synchronizing the right music with 3D special effects, even low budget videos can create a wide range of sensations from soothing serenity at one end to the exhilaration of extreme speeds at the other. Audio and Multi-Sensory Effects Following a decade long wave of cyborg cinema and video games, we now have ample evidence to suggest that audiences love to witness the smashing, exploding and shattering of objects. In line with the action packed thrillers we have been accustomed to watching, audiences are welcoming dare devil scenes surrounded by explosion. Many high tech sports ads are now featuring multi-sensation effects that cascade across scenes of splashing, crashing and shattering. When in doubt about a creative story- line, just blow it up. On the lighter side, video performance statistics confirm that audiences also enjoy the mood setting effects of splashing waves and heart beating as well as the crackling sounds of lightning, raging fire or breaking ice.
  • 48. 48 39 Miscast Temperament 80 Beauty Conquered Male 120 Extreme Screaming 40 Soft Tough Guy CONCEPTUAL DISCORD 41 Unlikely Friendliness 121 Belligerance 42 Unusually Considerate 81 Accident Prone 122 Forceful Demonstration 1 Exaggerated Results 82 Futile Attempts 123 Spontaneous Performance 2 Exaggerated Response 43 Adult Acting Child 83 Innocently Offensive 124 Body Explosion 3 Exaggerated Nightmare Reactions 44 Childish Adult 84 Toxic Stupor 4 Exaggerated Stories 45 Miscast Role 125 Annoying Natures 46 Mistaken Identity 85 Unexpected Danger 126 Incessant Talker 5 Unrattled by Danger 47 Unlikely Hero 86 Unexpected Injury 127 Ending the Annoyance 6 Exaggerated Simplicity 87 Unexpected Damage 128 Annoying Repetitions 7 Exaggerated Concealment 48 Anachronisms 88 Spoiled Romance 8 Profound Grasp of the Obvious 49 Coincidental Backlash 129 Invasive Peeking VISUAL ANOMALIES 50 Miscommunications 89 Bad Timing 130 Disorderly Pop Culture Lexicons 51 Misplaced Routine 90 Bad Idea 131 Recalcitrance 9 Exaggerated Body Reactions 52 Misunderstood Intentions 91 Lost Opportunity 132 Unsightly Exposure 10 Supernatural Performance 92 Unforeseen Consequences 11 Incredible Allure 12 Speed & Scale Distortion 53 Wrong Answer 93 Paybacks 133 High Society Satires ABERRANT BEHAVIORS 54 Uneventful Conclusion 94 Backfires 134 Outwitting the Honorable 55 Absurd Chain Reaction 95 Hangovers 135 Rule Breaking 13 Taking Extreme Measures 96 Overextended 136 Undermining Authority 14 Awestruck 56 Storyline Twist 15 Over Intense 57 Fantasy Turned Reality 97 Cavemen 137 Taboos & Sacred Barriers 16 Over Heroic 58 Twist of Fate 98 Grotesque & Deformed 138 Exercising Professional Liberties 99 Derelicts 139 Exhibitionism 59 Age Transformation 100 Gross Incompetence 140 Face Slapping 17 Performing/ Talking Babies 60 Magic 18 Animal Willpower 61 Body Switch 141 Odor Offensive 19 Multiple Personalities 101 Tough Predicaments 142 Repulsive Behaviors 20 Foolishness 62 Surprise Revelation 102 Regretful Actions 143 Unrefined Behaviors 63 Creature Appearance 103 Regretful Statements 144 Bleeped Language 21 Illustrated Idioms 64 Wishful Thinking 104 Caught Off Guard 22 Humanized Depiction 145 Mad Science 23 Unusual Setting 105 Uncomfortable Male Bonding 146 Sadomasochism 24 Unconventional Routine 106 Uncomfortable Intimacy 147 Public Disturbance 65 Background Mockery 107 Uncomfortable Conversation 148 Swooning Women 25 Object Replacement 66 Illusory Superiority 108 Creepiness 26 Sound Imitations 67 Maladroitness 27 Animal Substitution 68 Quirkiness 109 Wrong Impression 149 Youthful Discoveries 28 Anthropomorphism 110 Exposed Privacy 150 Inner Child 69 Outwitting 111 Public Embarassment 151 Child Mimicry of Adulthood 29 Dim-witted 70 Macho Gone Sour 112 Unveiled Feminine Side 30 Baffling Dialog 71 Arrogant Knockdowns 152 Narrow Escape 31 Irrelevance 72 Unfair Advantage 113 Captured Glances 153 Fear of What's to Come 32 Confusing Response 114 Revealed Deceptions 154 Barely Escaped Detection 73 Exaggerated Cultural Nuance 115 Exposed True Colors 74 Parodies 116 Revealed Fantasies 155 Histrionic Behaviors 33 Cyborgs Acting as Humans 75 Language Peculiarities 156 Melancholic Behaviors 34 Humans Acting as Animals 76 Cheeky Barbs 157 Fervent Behaviors 35 Hypocritical Behaviors 36 Oxymorons 77 Blondes & Bubbas 117 Angry Yelling 158 Dream Exploits 37 Unusual Pairing 78 Sterotyped Professions 118 Nervous Breakdown 159 Suggestive Sexual Allusion 79 Celebrity Impersonation 119 Sports Fanatical 160 Contradicting Inner Voice 38 Callous Turned Kind Inner Secrets Deserved Repercussions Cretins Remorseful Regrets Uncomfortable Settings Exercising Humility Revealed Secrets Hysteria Offensive Behaviors Unleashed Mania Child Innocence Fear & Anxiety Relief Melodrama UNRULINESS Relief Theory Impulsive Outbursts SOCIAL ORDER DEVIANCY SENTIMENTAL HUMOR SURPRISE TWIST Bungling Behaviors Unanticipated Spoiler MALICIOUS JOY Unfortunate Happenstance Displaced Irritation Exercising Improprieties Society Irreverence Forbidden Behaviors Situational Irony Conceptual Surprises Plot Trickery Transformation Theory of Incongruity Ironic Persona EXAGGERATION IRONY Visual Irony Exaggerated Outcomes Understatement Exaggerated Qualities Overreactions Odd Behaviors PERCEPTIONAL DISCORD Visual Surprise Mocked Peculiarities Lofty Conquest Society Satire Superiority Theory Ironic Temperament AWKWARDNESS Misrepresented Context Bizarre Substitutions Nonsense Stereotyping PUTDOWNS Summary of Comic Devices
  • 49. 49 Summary of Non-Comic Devices 178 Abstract & Mechanical Animations 193 Family Ties 210 Soothing 179 Alter Ego Exploits 194 Cute Romance 161 Musical Theatre 180 Destination Journeys 195 Nostalgic Connections 211 Popping 162 Choreographic Beats 212 Shattering 163 Mini Dramas 196 Patriotic Tribute 213 Beating 164 Musical Interludes 181 Stunning Looks 197 Proud History 214 Multi-Effect 165 Animated Performances 182 Beautiful Nature 198 Proud Parents 183 Impressive Light Effects 166 Cultural Slice of Life 215 Answer the Question 167 Poetic Slice of Life 184 Illustrated Idioms 199 Artistic Photography 216 Fill in the Blanks 168 Mesmerizing Stories & Life Messages 185 Humanized Depiction 200 Abstract Creations 217 Spell it Out 169 Iconic Experiences 186 Unusual Setting 201 Color Creations 218 Pick the Winner 170 Animal Slice of Life 202 Artistic Hand Creations 187 Object Replacement 219 Correct the Flaw 171 Cartoons & Comic Strips 188 Sound Imitations 203 Magical Optics 220 Guess Who or How 172 Concatenation of Events 189 Animal Substitution 204 Imaginative Formations 221 Interpret the Allegory 173 Life Evolution 205 Dreamlike Effects 222 Validate the Contrast 174 Future Visions 206 Stretched Imaginations 175 Chronological Journeys 190 Inspirational Messages 223 Play the Song 191 No Pain, No Gain 207 Fire & Heat 224 Sing the Song 176 Realtime Makeovers 192 Striving for Excellence 208 Fast or Exhilirating 225 Draw the Picture 177 Style Metamorphosis 209 Cold or Wet 226 Watch it Build PARTICIPATION Complete the Story-line Resolve the Problem Follow Along Proud Moments CONCEPT IMAGERY Artistic Flair Illusory Sensations Physical Sensations Audio & Multi-Sensory PERFORMANCE HEARTFELT MOMENTS Motivation Musicals & Performing Slice of Life Narratives Plotted Storylines & Timelines Transformational Extraordinary Beauty ASTONISHMENT Sentimental Memories Masterful Craftsmanship Human Potential
  • 50. PERFORMANCE RESULTS 50 Avg. Views* Avg.Engagement** +20%+40%+60%+80% +20% +40% +60% +80%-80% -60% -40% -20% -80%-60%-40%-20% Exaggeration Astonishment Putdowns Perceptual Discord Malicious Joy Surprise Twist Irony Unruliness Social Order Deviancy Performances Heartfelt Moments Sentimental Humor Concept Imagery Awkwardness Participation * Average number of YouTube views relative to sample average ** Average composite of “net likes” (likes less dislikes) and comments relative to sample average Humor-based entertainment Non-humorous entertainment
  • 51. 51 Conclusion Fast Growing Demand for Entertaining Video Video is the fastest growing form of advertising. It has become the most critical component of a content marketing strategy as consumers now watch over 3 billion hours of video everyday. In fact, Cisco (Visual Networking Index) predicts that video will make up 90% of all web traffic over the next few years. Undoubtedly, this audience demand is being met by marketers who also recognize the superior search results they get from video. In fact, according to Nate Elliot at Forrester, videos are 50 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google results. But to capitalize on the use of video in our content marketing strategies, marketers face a number of challenges. One involves the use of entertaining themes that build an emotional connection with targeted audiences. Another involves the seamless integration of these themes into a meaningful brand message. Most Effective Forms of Entertaining Story-lines Of the 226 entertaining devices found in high performing commercials, 15 entertaining categories were derived that line up well with theory. Humor represents the vast majority of entertainment used in viral videos with comic wit (exaggeration, perceptional discord and surprise twist) accounting for the highest amount of views. But as demonstrated on page 50, scenes that astonish us or touch our hearts typically score the highest in engagement. The choice of an effective technique has much to do with the nature of your industry. For example, high emotional/involvement items (e.g., perfume or sports cars) can better make use of “performances” and “concept imagery” in their entertainment concept; whereas, low emotional/involvement items (e.g., beer) are better served with “comic wit.” What is important to note is the vast knowledge we can learn from thousands of commercials recast on YouTube. For video demonstrations on how these 15 entertainment categories are used by major brands, please visit our blog. . About the Author Dr. Jim Barry, Founder, Social Content Marketing Fort Lauderdale, Florida www.blog.socialcontentmarketing.com Twitter @JimBarryJr LinkedIn @ drjamesbarry Email @ jmbarry@huizenga.nova.edu