If you want something to go viral, just put a puppy, a cute kid or someone falling on their face in the video. That adage isn’t new. It was even mocked in a Jennifer Aniston Smart Water commercial and, more recently, by Ryan Seacrest and Justin Bieber. Moving beyond the cuteness or the painful, another topic that generates hits is the sensational. It’s the unexpected. And if it’s a sensational video that also includes a celebrity then it’s a sure hit.
Take, for example, our recent video on “actor” Charlie Sheen taking legal action against a strip club for dedicating a room in his honor. He claimed the room was ruining his image. The beauty in this piece is the more you learn about it, the weirder it gets. The private room had photos of Sheen, and clients to the room were allowed to eat sushi off the dancers. Who even knew that was a thing? Probably Charlie Sheen.
This story does more than just appease the viewers. It also sits relatively okay with me as a journalist. There may be a ridiculous celebrity in it, but it also questions the price of fame. Yes, I’d prefer a story about a mysterious sea creature captured on video or Internet users banding together to support a terminally ill man. But I’ll surely take it over the sensational Celebrity X Might Be Gay or See Celebrity Y After a Nose Job. It might garner a million hits, but will it pay for the damage to our image?