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Seven viral videos that make PRs smile (and offer a few lessons too)

If you need any excuse to watch some fun videos, then here it is: The following films have been picked by PR experts for good reasons. First because they are entertaining, and second because they have the most important ingredient for any PR content - they are engaging. So grab a coffee, put your feet up and enjoy!

Professor Robert Kelly’s children join the interview

Rachael Berkey, VP of social strategy at digital marketing and communications agency Clarity Global: “Looking back on professor Robert Kelly's infamous (in the cutest, most relatable way) interview interruption from 2017 feels surreal in 2023. My mind thought it had happened, understandably, mid-lockdown but no. The world was captivated by the child who stole the show and the potential pitfalls and joys of a home office long before we were debating Zoom backgrounds and testing the limits of how many jobs a parent could be expected to fill for their company and their family. What we know now is that children are almost always in the picture, even when they're off-screen, and whether they're metaphorical potential disasters just waiting to be dropped into the scene or very real toddlers who want to be heard, those of us in PR know that ‘live’ opportunities come with risks and also create opportunities to connect and think on your feet before getting on with the job.”

James Meredith, head of external relations at agency Liberty: “The absolute perfect blend of panic whilst trying not to laugh coming across professor Kelly’s face at the same time is priceless. What unfolds is so memorable that I challenge anyone who knows the video to actually relay what the original topic of the interview was!

“For those drawing a blank, professor Kelly, a political science professor at Pusan National University in South Korea at the time, was invited on to discuss the impeachment of South Korea’s president between 2013-2017, Park Geun-hye.

“Of course all of this went out of the window as panic and hilarity ensued! But maybe with hindsight, what it should have taught us all was this was the precursor to the new working world we’d all experience three years later during the pandemic!”

Charlie bit my finger

Rae Shelton, account director at marketing and comms agency Brand Nation: “Charlie Bit my finger is definitely my favourite viral video. It’s so innocent in its origin and makes me laugh every single time. There is no agenda behind it, and it symbolises what it is like to deal with two children.”

#Team Orange Football

Chelsie Tang, content strategist at agency Splendid Communications: “It takes a lot to engage me in sports, especially football - but it’s safe to say that the Women’s World Cup ad from Orange, launched to combat negative gender perceptions of female football, was a true victory in my eyes.

“For those not familiar, the video - presented in the well-recognised ‘highlights reel’ format (more likely to be found on Match of the Day than as a TV ad), showcased magical moments from French football of recent years, demonstrating the skill of the nation’s players. It is then, however, revealed that VFX has been used to conceal the identities of Les Bleues women’s players with their male counterparts including Mbappe. With the end frame seamlessly transitioning from ‘Bleus’ to ‘Bleues’.

“For me, it was the use of real footage, edited into the recognisable sizzle reel format that made sure the ad felt authentic in its nature. Paired with the surprise reveal, it’s easy to see how it managed to generate over 15 million views and capture the attention of even the most unlikely of football fans.”

Silly pandas

Guy Clapperton, founder and lead trainer of media training agency Clapperton: “Something a lot of us are guilty of is trying to start from scratch every time, and to avoid copyright issues that’s understandable. But this video always reminds me that there may be something out there that you can repurpose. Don’t do what these people have done with someone else’s video but do look at your own archive and see whether there are videos you could re-edit and refresh. You might have done a lot of the ground work already.”

Generic brand video

Mark Wilson, creative director at PR agency Whiteoaks International: “This ad epitomises everything we come into contact with and create for our clients day in and day out. Humour in advertising not only grabs attention but the dry humour in this viral ad taps into human insight. Human insight is one of those things we all know and do, yet do not consciously identify. Many are unspoken or linked to empathetic qualities, like the fact we are bored with stock imagery, but all have an “ah, yes I can relate” moment when identified.

“In my opinion, all viral videos are successful because they have human insight. This ad uses humour as a hook such is well-executed and has a story at the end - there’s a stock video for that right? Although humour isn’t used for all viral videos depending on its target audience and purpose, it certainly helps its shareability as it gives us a smile.

“As PR and marketing professionals, we use stock footage and stock libraries to illustrate our client's work and provide the audience with something to relate to; so we are pretty sick of and have developed ‘visual fatigue’ to the same old same old. Watching an ad like this is something of a relief. Finally, something to break the endless cycle of same, same, same.”

JoJo Lomelino flower girl

Rachel Escio, digital PR and content specialist at marketing agency Thrive: “In this video JoJo Lomelino is the cutest, no contest. From this, PR practitioners can learn three traits essential to become successful in the field - confident, accountable, and professional. In the video, you would see that JoJo means business and she is able to present the value of her role with clarity and confidence. JoJo also puts into perspective her engagement as a flower girl and how determined she is to deliver. Most importantly, she is particularly focused of boundaries whilst she is hard at work.”

Pinky the cat

This is the video that makes me laugh the most. And the lesson it teaches us? That looks can be deceptive, but no matter how vicious a client can be, it is always good to try and remain calm and make sure to apologise if you end up using bad language!

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