In the summer of 2014, the internet went wild with videos of the ice bucket challenge, where people poured ice-cold water over themselves in a bid to raise awareness of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or motor neurone disease). Everyone from David Beckham to Bill Gates got involved, and millions of people around the world took part.
This year it’s all about the mannequin challenge, where groups of people stand like statues for a finite amount of time and are captured on film. The phenomenon was started by a group of friends in Jacksonville, Florida. They posted it on Twitter and urged people to share, and share they did. Again, celebs have been quick to jump on the bandwagon with Beyoncé, Paul McCartney and Adele, to name but a few, having a go.
So what is it about these particular challenges that make people want to get involved?
“Crazes like the mannequin challenge bring people together. They’re a bit of fun and everyone, of any age, can get involved,” explains Ross Wilkinson, Deputy CEO at Specialist – The Content Agency. “The beauty of the digital era is that you don’t need any fancy equipment to do it. What you do need is the creativity to make your efforts stand out from the crowd.”
Another viral video craze gaining traction this year is #AndysComing, where people drop to the ground and play dead when someone shouts that Andy is on his way. This one is based on the film Toy Story and started in Disney World when the Toy Story characters playfully fell to the ground whenever they heard the famous quote from the movie. Although Disney World has since banned the stunt on health and safety grounds it hasn’t stopped the craze from going global.
“Having a viral video is every marketer’s dream, but creating a campaign that everyone can participate and get involved in is no easy feat,” says Ross. “For these crazes to work, it doesn’t have to be a complicated idea, but it has to capture the public’s imagination and have a sense of humour to make you want to do your own. You need to tap into people’s emotions and make them want to feel what you’re feeling.”
Search #MannequinChallenge #AndysComing