Does the thought of inspiring your YouTube video communities with entertaining content make you nervous? What if your attempts at having fun simply fall flat?
Follow these 4 tested techniques for applying exaggeration to your YouTube videos, and you will be well on your way towards engaging your audience. In fact, our study of the top viral videos demonstrated that humorous exaggeration is the number one technique used by advertisers to boost their viral video statistics.
4 Ways to Boost Viral Video Stats with 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 four categories:
- Exaggerated Outcomes
- Over-reactive Behaviors
- Exaggerated Qualities
Comic Devices Used in “Over-the-Top” Humor
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 bad dreams 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.
Gatorade capitalized on this technique when featuring Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant in nightmares of each other that lead to ridiculous responses. (http://bit.ly/15JN3k7).
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.
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.
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.
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.” In the videos featured below, 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 (http://bit.ly/cB9qJ9).
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:
- It rarely offends any particular audience
- It can be easily grasped visually, emotionally or cognitively
- It can be easily produced in low budget settings (e.g., check out BlendTec’s 100M+ view channel success with a purported budget < $10K (http://bit.ly/di3sUP)
A total of 3351 high performing spot TV ads (> 50K views) were examined in this ranking of top YouTube videos. These viral videos included re-casted commercials that were subsequently posted on YouTube as a social media video back channel. Statistics were then recorded on the number of likes, dislikes, comments and views, where an exploratory study was subsequently published with the Academy of Marketing Science and 2013 Cross Cultural Research Conference.
From the final list of most viewed YouTube videos, about 8% involved humorous exaggeration. This form of viral video engagement ranked number one, five and six in average views, comments as % of views, and net likes as % of views, respectively.
So what do you think? Is this an effective way to go? Have you ever resorted to using humor like this as an entertaining content marketing theme?
Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.