“Ah Dude!” Watching a Viral Video Unfold

On May 10th, a video was posted of a friend from high school – Justin – getting scared many, many times by his roommate. On May 11th, another high school friend posted the video to his Facebook feed. At the time, the video had about 2,000 views; now, two days later, the video is about to surpass 80,000 views.

In a world that has gone from funny cat videos to crazy trick shots to Damn, Daniel, it’s intriguing to watch a video go viral. Here is why “Scaring Justin” has all the makings of another big viral sensation:

  1. It Makes People Laugh
    Laughter is the best medicine, as they say. People enjoy videos with humor in them, and “Scaring Justin” has a lot of it. Although the video quality may not be amazing, you can still watch all the hilarity ensue as Justin gets pranked again and again. A few of the scares are quite unexpected by the watcher, which makes it even more hilarious.
  2. It’s Relatable
    Younger demographics, especially those who are going to, already in, or just out of college, can relate to watching hijinks unfold between roommates and friends. It’s not hard to empathize with Justin, or laugh alongside his roommate.
  3. It’s Authentic
    Authenticity is a tricky quality to obtain. When a marketing campaign is started by a company, especially if focusing on a progressive topic, it must find a way to connect and strengthen brand perceptions of the company to the topic of the marketing campaign. Fortunately for Justin and his roommate, college students are not companies, and little pranks on one’s roommate are fairly authentic representations of the college student ethos. Even the video format creates a feeling of authenticity; instead of being shot with a nice, 1080p-quality camera in areas with great lighting, you get action shots with shaky footage as Justin yelps in front of the phone camera. Whether or not the video was actually staged (although knowing Justin, I don’t think that’s the case), most watchers will likely attribute authenticity to the video.

As “Scaring Justin” takes off, I’m sure that other companies will make use of these three qualities to enhance their own brands. The Ellen Show, for example, loves to take viral video sensations and bring them into the studio, which works well on creating a hip and progressive ethos for the Ellen brand. Perhaps Justin’s alma mater will use his image to gain more applicants to the university this fall. Product placement, sponsorships, or parallel viral marketing efforts could all exist in the foreseeable future during Justin’s 15 minutes of fame. Maybe you are already thinking of ways to learn from this viral video, or ways to tap into its success in the near future.

For now, dear reader, just sit back, click the replay button, and chuckle at Justin’s antics once more.

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