Why videos get shared: Pepsi shows us one recipe that works

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There are a few tactics that make for contagious videos. I have written about this extensively over the past few months (see posts here and here and here). In short, you need to spike primitive emotions that ignite an uncontrollable reaction. We all know them: fear, embarrassment, shock, raw humor, love, etc. Sometimes the most random videos become global sensations. Just think of Gangnam Style and Harlem Shake. Rarely do branded ones get the attention that these do. Why is that? Simple, there is no guaranteed way, but there is a guaranteed need – to behave primitive to ignite the animal in all of us (and I don’t mean the crazy person in all of us, I simply mean the primitive being that reacts to primitive things).

The videos that tend to powerfully trigger your inner animal take basic emotions to the extreme, to a place that Brands would never go because they simply are too scared or process gets in the way. However, there are a few Brands that dance around the edges. The typical ones we know: Red Bull, Coke, T-Mobile, DCShoes, etc. Recently a few new ones have emerged as hit-makers such as Carlsberg, and now Pepsi.

Pepsi has brought back the disguise prank. They have two hits in a row: Uncle Drew (see below) and now Test Drive. The recipe is simple – they combine shock or amazement with celebrity and a candid camera reveal. The reactions of those in the stories during the prank and after connect with viewers because we’ve all been had at some point so we naturally love seeing others “be had”. Moreover, when a celebrity is part of the equation we love it because we see their human side so there is an indirect sense of intimacy. Have a look at their newest one. Brilliant.

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