When marketing company Drummond Central earlier this week set up a Periscope live stream of a puddle outside their office, it was simply with the intention of providing some entertainment for the company staff. Turns out though, quite a few others – 1 million, to be precise – shared their fascination with watching people try and cross a shallow puddle without getting their feet wet.
Viral hits like this are nothing new – in general, if your content is a parody, unbelievably cute, or features a ‘WTF happened’ moment, you’ll be in a pretty good position to gain some online success with it. The great ‘colour of the dress’ conundrum of last year is a prime example of the latter of these three components – what started as a general question on Tumblr quickly turned into a worldwide input into whether the dress was in fact gold and white or black and blue. It’s possibly as close to a perfect case study in unintentional viral success that you’ll ever get.
Brands are trying to tap into the success of the unintentional hit, but it’s not an easy battle for them. Most of the content that goes viral can be found via online communities such as Imgur and Reddit, whose users are infamous for brutally shredding any type of sponsored content. So the question burning in our mind is: will 2016 be the year brands finally find a way to recreate the success of a puddle?