By Stacy Fernandes, communications executive at Active DMC
By now I am sure you have heard of trending viral videos like the Ice Bucket Challenge, the Mannequin Challenge and now the ever-famous Kiki Challenge. Thanks to social media, these popular video challenges have started a global sensation. According to Complex.com, The Kiki challenge, which was started by Instagram star Shiggy for Drake’s popular song “In My Feelings,” is adopted by everyone from Leslie Jones to Will Smith, pushing the song to the forefront of the pop culture conversation and to the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The hashtag #DoTheShiggy received over 2.3 million Tweets, and the #Kikichallenge saw hundreds of thousands of participants on Instagram.
What is it about these challenges that gain such viral attention?
A recently published Gulf News article featured Jonah Berger, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, who published the book called “Contagious”. In his book, he explains the science behind things going viral. The sharing of videos is typically due to triggers such as attention-grabbing content that users believe is important to share within their social circle. Taking part in these challenges also gives users a sense of belonging and self-identity. Moreover, when these videos have celebrity support, the challenge becomes even more prestigious.
Berger goes on to emphasize that emotions also play a big part when things go viral. Viewers love to share their opinions with each other and when they come across something that’s funny, informative, or awesome, they need to tell everyone. Emotion is behind almost every single viral video to date. Once the viewer is overwhelmed with emotion, they share. Also, according to psychological theory, content that feels novel or that fills information gaps may trigger the release of dopamine in the brain.
The Kiki challenge no doubt triggered an emotion that contributed to the song’s – and Drake’s – global success. If you’re a marketer, it is important to understand your target’s trigger points to develop a solid marketing campaign. A lot of these viral campaigns get millions of views across the globe and the brand representing this idea undoubtedly gets a large amount of visibility. Marketers should not be overwhelmed by sky-rocketing production costs of viral activities. It is possible to execute easy and effective campaigns, as long as they’re timely, relevant, and captivating.