How To Use Parody To Get Your Videos Found & Shared All Over YouTube

Read Time: 8 minutes

A little known Attention Hack to get your videos found and shared all over YouTube is called the “Parody Method”. In fact, this method just took an unknown YouTube Channel in Singapore to over 12 million views in just two weeks, with tons of media coverage to boot. So just imagine what this method can do for your videos and business…

Instead of guessing how to get your videos found, here’s a method that’s been working well since the inception of YouTube, and the reason it works so well is quite simple:

The core concept of the Parody Method is basing your video off of something that’s already gone viral – with humor. If there’s a new song that’s become a smash hit (like Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy”) or a special event (Super Bowl, World Series/Cup, Olympics), or even a TV show or movie (the hot season/weekend premiere), you can use them in your video to ensure that an audience is already searching YouTube & Google for those keywords which immediately puts your video in those searches.

It’s like jumping on a train that’s already moving fast. You can build the train and tracks all by yourself, or you can just jump on to quickly reach your final destination. That is the Parody Method!

Coke, Chrysler, Nestle, and many other huge corporations use this method in various forms. Nike used it for the World Cup, Coke used it for the Super Bowl (and does every year), and Chrysler used it during the launch of Anchorman 2. Why? Because the Parody Method works: each of those videos got between 4 – 94 million+ views.

Take a look how Dodge leveraged the fast moving train of Ron Burgundy to speed up the excitement of their new Durango:

Here’s another great example from Fox TV. Right before Scotland went to vote on independence from Great Britain (i.e the fast moving train) Fox released a ​ ‘Parody Method’ video featuring their star character from the Simpsons, Scottish Willy. They leveraged this by placing in their title, “Scottish Independence”, which is the Keyword that they knew people would be searching for on YouTube. This particular video got over 4 Million views in about a week:

Ok, so how can you use the Parody Method? I’m going to give you the 5 main strategies of the Parody Method by breaking down, frame by frame, a hilarious and wildly successful new viral video from a company in Singapore.

The 5 main strategies to effectively use the Parody Method

IKEA Singapore had a mission to release their new catalog for 2015, which is always quite a challenge. I mean, how on earth do you ramp up excitement and anticipation for a free catalog?!? Well, they used the Parody Method and their release went viral. Yes… for a free print catalog!

So what did they do? IKEA did a parody of Apple. They studied every detail of an Apple video, made it their own by adding a little humor, and launched the video right when the iPhone 6 came out (i.e the fast moving train). Think about how smart this is. No one cares about a free print catalog, but of course the world has gone mad with excitement about the new iPhone. So, precisely when the world was going crazy for Apple, they make a Parody video about it, leveraging 5 strategies all at once, and BOOM, people now go crazy for the IKEA Catalog from Singapore.

Strategy #1 – Match Tones

In order for something to really be a parody, you can’t just talk ​ ‘about’ something, you have to match their tone of voice. You’ll see the video at the end of this post, but for now check out the script they use. Word for word, tone for tone, it feels entirely like Apple.

They use the typical Apple tone of calm, zen-like enthusiasm that encourages ease of experience and enjoyment which is one of the reasons the video was so enormously successful. So remember, when you choose the fast moving train that you want to use the Parody Method on, make sure you do the same and match the tone of the original exactly.

Check out the beginning of the video here. They use all of Apple’s phrases and tonalities to talk about a simple, free print catalog:

“You know, once in a while, something comes along that changes the way we live. A device so simple and intuitive, using it feels almost familiar”

“Introducing the 2015 Ikea Catalog. It’s not a digital book or an Ebook…it’s a Book Book ”

“The first thing to note is no cables, not even a power cable. The 2015 Ikea Catalog comes fully charged and the battery life is eternal”

Strategy #2 – Match Visuals

Notice how they have exactly matched the visual experience of an Apple video. The white backgrounds, the speaker wearing a Jony Ive type of T-Shirt, the simple ​ ‘set’, etc. In other words, if the video doesn’t ​ ‘look’ like the parody it’s mocking, it would never work. It’s crucial you match tone and visuals for a brilliant parody.

Strategy #3 – Benefit Oriented

The way Apple talks about their products is mainly focused on personal experience and benefit, which is exactly how IKEA Singapore spoke about their free print catalog: total benefit. What’s especially genius is that even though this is a parody, just by watching this video you feel like you should get the catalog simply to enjoy all of the personal benefits.

Take a look at how the video continues: Benefit through parody and humor:

“The interface is 7.5 by 8 inches – but can expand to 15 X 8 inches. The navigation is based on tactile touch technology, which you can actually feel.”

“The content comes pre-installed via 328 High Definition Pages of inspiring home furnishing ideas. To start browsing simply touch and drag, right and left to move forward – left to right to move backwards.”

“Notice something else? That’s right – no lag. Each crystal clear page loads instantaneously no matter how fast you scroll.”

“If you want to get a quick overview, just hold it in the palm of your hand and using just your thumb – speed browse the content.”

“If you find something you want to save for later, you can simply bookmark it. And even if you close the application, you can easily find the bookmark again…amazing.”

Strategy #4 – Association through Metaphor

As you noticed already, this free print catalog is not an application, there’s no real content, there’s no battery, or voice activation, and there’s nothing really amazing about it that changes the way we live.

But what they do, and do very well, is associate that “fast moving train” with their product. A minute ago no one cared about their catalog and now…it’s definitely on our mind! It got our attention, and it made us laugh out loud. Seriously, when I was watching the video in my office I could not contain myself, and people kept stopping to ask me what was so funny.

Check out how they continue with use of ​ ‘Tech-Metaphor’ for their print catalog:

“What about Multiple-Users? For that we introduced a simple color coding system to avoid confusion.”

“If you want to share a particularly inspiring item – you simply share it.”

“Another special feature is password protection which is voice activated. ​ ‘Excuse me, that’s mine'”

“At IKEA we feel that technology this life-enhancing, should be in the hands of everyone. So the 2015 IKEA Catalog is free. You can download one from your mailbox, the one you open with a key. If it’s not there, try refreshing the next day. Or you can upload yourself to the IKEA Store and find one there.”

“Experience the power of a book book”

Strategy #5 – HUMOR

The astounding point of this post, aside from all of the strategy and psychology, is that this video is simply hilarious. Even Jorgen, the host, is hilarious in his delivery. His enthusiasm for something that is not very exciting is hysterical, and going overboard about the complete LACK of anything advanced for a product so common as a print catalog is laugh-out-loud funny.

So go all out and unleash your inner-comic. We love to laugh, and no matter how busy we are each and every one of us will go out of our way to watch a short clip that brings us so much joy that anyone in our vicinity will ask, “what’s so funny?” Once this happens you have a viral hit on your hands.

The strategies you learned in this post give you some powerful, viral marketing juice. All you have to do is find the fast moving train that the world’s excited about, use the 5 strategies you learned here, and watch your shares and ranking go through the roof.

Now it’s your turn. How do you plan on leveraging the power of the Parody Method for your next Powtoon Video? What’s a “fast moving train” you think would be a perfect Parody to create for your next Powtoon? Comment below – our Tribe LOVES to learn and grow from your brilliant comments. So be a leader and let us know what creative juices are bubbling inside you right now 🙂

you’re Awesome,


P.S. One of the most popular Powtoon videos made by our Tribe hit success because of its fast moving train. Right when Windows 8 came out, they released their Powtoon about it (not in a Parody) and it hit past 500K+ views. Leveraging what people were already searching for: “Windows 8”.

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Ari Sherbill

VP Business Development @Powtoon. Ari's known as the "High Energy Guy" who currently advises Fortune 500 companies, Hollywood Studios and over 5,000 executives and business owners every month how to increase their leads, engagement and sales with Powtoon. He's spoken on stage with MGM, the Sands Hotel, 3M and Oracle. NASA referred to his strategies as "fresh and intriguing". Learn how to grow your sales and impact by following me on twitter: @AriSherbill
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