When Atlanta traveler Richard Dunn found himself stranded overnight at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport last weekend, he didn’t waste any time or creativity. Instead of retreating to a hotel or grabbing a clear patch of carpet, he made an outrageous, professional-quality video of himself lip-synching to Celine Dion’s hit version of “All By Myself.”
Since Dunn’s video hit the web, the social media sphere has gone nuts. His iPhone creation has been played more than 15 million times in just over a week. “The Today Show,” Time magazine, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, and many more news organizations in search of click-bait have covered his ultimate video selfie. Celine Dion herself even released a video response, inviting Dunn to see her show next time he’s in Vegas. She also said he’s “more than welcome to use her bathroom.”
Dunn’s video is undeniably clever. Using nothing but his iPhone, a wheelchair, a roll of luggage tape, some improvised riggings and a lot of ingenuity, Dunn achieved everything from push in and pull out shots to tracking shots (he used the moving walkways). But why has Dunn’s video gone viral so quickly? What makes it so irresistible?
In short, Dunn’s video selfie aligns perfectly with a trend we call Epic Living. The quest for unique experiences coupled with widespread social media sharing has turned up the pressure to live life beyond the ordinary. Dunn transformed a perfectly mundane experience – being stuck at an airport – into an epic opportunity for self-expression.
While Dunn was not motivated by social media attention (he says he did it mainly to make his wife laugh), the “make it shareable” impulse In today’s social media infused culture is real. People increasingly seek (or create) over-the-top experiences as markers of status and self-expression. In fact, one in four agree that they “sometimes pursue new experiences just so I can share about them on social media.” Among Millennials, that jumps to 41%, according to the Finger on the Pulse Survey, May 2014.
The media and
advertising implications revolve around the nature of virality. While babies and cats always get it done, they’re a little obvious and not always on-message. Instead, explore ways your brand
transforms ordinary, humdrum situations into unexpected or extreme experiences. Cracking the code of Epic Living could help you unlock the value of earned impressions.