Are you struggling with the thought of having to entertain your audience with your content? In our countdown of the top 10 ways to make your content funny, the use of putdowns comes in at number 3.
In fact, if you follow these 4 tested techniques for applying “humorous putdowns” to your YouTube videos, you can be assured of entertaining your audience while boosting their engagement as well.
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 a 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
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. In the videos below, this putdown is often felt through background mockery.
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.
Check out some of these top viral videos that 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.
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 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.
A total of 3351 high performing videos (> 50K views) were examined in this ranking of top YouTube videos. These viral videos included re-casted television commercials that were 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 15% involved putdowns. This form of viral video engagement ranked number seven, six and two 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 putdowns as an entertaining content marketing theme?
Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.