Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Weird Al Yankovic 'Craigslist' - the king of parody is back with a lesson in how to go viral

Weird Al Yankovic has had a 25 year music career based around parodying well known songs - amongst others, Michael Jackson's 'Beat It' became 'Eat It', Madonnas 'Like A Virgin' became 'Like A Surgeon', 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' became 'Smells Like Nirvana.'

In recent years YouTube and the social web have proved to be the ideal distribution ground for Weird Al Yankovic material and the subject matter of his songs has been adapted accordingly. 3 years ago, Weird Al Yankovic's 'Ebay' became a viral success, racking up over 20 million views for an (unofficial) home made video set to the song:

But Weird Al Yankovic is now back with a new song called 'Craigslist':

Created in a Doors style, 'Craigslist' even features Ray Manzarek on keyboards and contains Craigslist related lyrics referencing car sales, dating, random sales and the perils of collection.

Weird Al Yankovic is not to everyones taste (and most of his official videos are not available to view on YouTube outside the US - copyright issues?), however Weird Al has consistently created content that is ripe for viral distribution.

The key factors - topicality, humour, surprise and polished execution are all vital ingredients for a viral hit and Weird Al seems to have always had an intuitive understanding of this - all from long before the internet was invented or anyone was talking about 'going viral.' Will 'Craigslist' be the next Weird Al Yankovic YouTube success?

Hat tip: Stan Schroeder

Related posts about viral marketing here

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