How to Create Your Own Viral Video
Why the Running Man Challenge is Running Up Views
What makes a viral video so great? Why does something like this go viral? Pay attention, Philadelphia Police Department, since Detroit Police Department called you out this week for the Running Man Challenge! And, wow, they’ve got some amazing choreography that will be tough to beat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gkbfBpcAtg
Let’s take a step back to where it all began. One day they were just students. Next minute, they created a worldwide dance sensation. High school students Kevin Vincent and Jerry Hall of Hillside, N.J., when interviewed on Ellen about the viral dance trend they started, explained they were bored in Mrs. Graham’s finance class so, like every good student does, they decided to goof off. One started singing the ’90s hit song “My Boo” by Ghost Town DJ’s (DON’T Google it, or it will get stuck in your head – you’ve been warned!!!) while the other danced. They then videotaped themselves dancing together and soon, two University of Maryland basketball players, Jaylen Brantley and Jared Nickens, made their own video, which led NBA Rookie Justise Winslow to post a video that rocketed the dance into the newest trend. Videos started popping up from the NFL, NBA, and my favorite, local law enforcement.
From Scotland to New Zealand, officers around the world are stepping up to the challenge. LAPD can be seen dancing under the famous Hollywood sign and on the field of Dodger stadium, while NYPD is doing the running man with school children using the Brooklyn Bridge as a backdrop, and Detroit PD is getting down in front of the General Motors building.
My favorite so far is Miami Police Department, featuring a very cute officer named Nick who is trying to tape a vlog but gets interrupted by each department, including his chief, nagging him to do the challenge since they were called out by Miami Beach PD. But Nick is defiant that they are not doing it. The next scene Nick is in the elevator, doing the original running man dance move, then practicing the new running man dance move made famous by this challenge. As he’s dancing with his back turned, the elevator doors open and the entire department is watching him. There is a brief pause, then Nick exclaims, “Okay, let’s do this!” as the beat drops and he busts out of the elevator dancing through the line of his co-workers.
The entire department is now dancing, including an officer in a NASA-like, bulky bomb suit (who knew you could get down in one of those?)! Of course it wouldn’t be Miami if they didn’t pepper in some salsa dancing with Gloria Estefan’s “Conga.” The video quickly turns back to “My Boo” and b-boy Officer McDreamy starts to breakdance like it’s 1981! He spins around and strikes a pose that could melt the cover of Cosmo, then shakes his finger as if he’s saying, “Uh, uh, you ain’t going to call us out!” The video ends with an officer drawing yellow police tape around the dancers and in a voice as smooth as Barry White’s says, “Killed it.” Way to go, Miami! Well, done! You can watch their video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BusmB726_tU
Now, here are my top 10 ideas to make an amazing viral video:
- Pick a catchy song.
For the Running Man Challenge though, you have to use “My Boo.” But feel free to add some Philly flair, like Boyz II Men (and bring back the real running man dance move!). Remember this annoyingly catchy worldwide dance hit? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0.
- Be personable.
Find a cute, personable officer to be featured (male or female). Bonus if they can breakdance … or have an infectious laugh like Chewbacca Mom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyp90txeNxM
- Showcase your talent!
Include as many members of the team as you can – from foot patrol to highway to detectives to administration, captains, etc. Nick accomplishes this by walking around the Miami police department: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BusmB726_tU
- Feature well-known landmarks around the city.
Who wouldn’t want to do the Running Man where Rocky ran up the stairs at the Art Museum? Or perhaps grab a cheesesteak at Geno’s or Pat’s to get some energy to dance? Catch Rocky’s greatest moment here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZCO40Zwt00
- Include animals.
Many of these viral videos have used the bomb suit, but consider using mounted police or K-9s … everyone loves animals! Bonus points if they dance, too! Here’s a dancing horse from New Orleans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiWJ30avV6c
- Think outside the box (or usual camera lens). Use a drone because they are cool and give crazy cool camera angles (haven’t seen anyone do this in a challenge, either). But don’t use near animals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn6eeuUw3_0
- Be unique!
Include the stunt riders from Philly’s own Hero Thrill Show! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDNz3Ou-tj8
- Add in comedy.
Have an officer dancing at a donut shop! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=624II3P_m1k
- Make it about the community
Include kids, fireman, local businesses, sports teams, the mayor, the Phillie Phanatic, everyone you can get involved! Then they share the video, and their friends share, and well, you can see where I’m going with this. LAPD’s Running Man Challenge is a great example of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIi4KDxLiPo
- HAVE FUN and SMILE!
This is your chance to showcase to the world that you can have fun, smile, and enjoy yourselves, like this artic white fox: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUFh9MQAb5c
Hopefully this has given you some insight about the Running Man Challenge and how to create a great viral video. And if, by chance, Nick is reading this, please call me so we can have our own running man challenge dance off!
Keep running, man!