Are you hesitant to adopt humorous content into your social media strategies for fear it may ruin your professional image or fall flat on its face?
With social media communities clamoring for entertaining and video-based content, humor can break the mold of otherwise dull videos. Just consider what AFLAC, Geico, Allstate, Statefarm and Nationwide did to serious insurance commercials. They all eventually took the comic route.
Adopting humor may not be as daunting as you think. There are less than a dozen basic techniques that work well even for low budget productions.
Follow these 4 tested techniques for applying unruliness 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 the use of unruliness is the eighth most effective technique used by advertisers to boost their viral video statistics.
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.
Arguably, most viral videos featuring unruliness fall under the following four categories:
- Impulsive Outbursts
- Displaced Irritation
- Exercising Improprieties
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. 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.
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.
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.
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 the rebels displayed by Harley Davidson to attract the recalcitrant. Besides aggression and disobedience, these improprieties could include forbidden behaviors such as invasive peeking.
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 2% involved some type of unruliness. This form of viral video engagement ranked number thirteen, three and seven 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 unruliness as an entertaining content marketing theme?
Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.