Big Game – Killer Content

Over the years we at Clockwork Media have been part of a variety of really cool projects that have made us proud by association. From tricking a couple of hundred-thousand Johannesburg residents into carefully combing the stars for UFOs, to being involved with the launch of the upcoming PlayStation 4 console, and even helping a women’s-only health club attract a significant number of new customers via various digital and traditional media channels, there’s been no shortage of interesting projects for us to work on.

However, this week has been a special one for us, as one of our clients, The Animation School, has recently released its third-year student work for public viewing. I’d urge you to take a look here, if you haven’t already. We obviously were not involved with any of the student work itself, but it was hard not to feel a chest-swell of pride the first time we viewed each of the videos.

But I’m not here just to brag. One of the videos, in particular, shares with it an interesting message about the importance of content, which right now is a massive focal point for us, and our industry at large. The video in particular, is called Big Game, and it managed to attract over 100,000 views in just over 24 hours of being uploaded, making it one of South Africa’s most successful pieces of viral video content ever released.

Brands around the world pay agencies millions of Dollars every day to create this sort of viral content so that it can be used to leverage their message. If you work in this industry and are reading this, then you have probably had a client ask you to “make it viral,” when briefing you on a project. So how did 6 students from Cape Town manage to achieve what social media “gurus” and digital strategists strive toward every day? Well let’s look.

1) The video is good. And by that I mean, to be more specific, it is compelling. It has a narrative and story arc that is easy to follow, and easy to enjoy. It’s also entertaining, in that it uses humour, and develops memorable characters, etc. Basically, it is a brilliant execution of everything that they teach at The Animation School, who’s students, beyond anything, are groomed to enter a career which demands them to be creative, and to entertain people.

2) There’s human context and the right launch platform. One of the animators behind the project, Sarah Scrimgeour, posted the video to Reddit; one of the world’s largest content sharing platforms. She identified Reddit as an online space which is heavily visited by people who are likely to respond to the content she wanted to promote. But she didn’t just post it to Reddit, she provided some context to the readers:

“‘BIG GAME’ is a 3D animated short film created by 6 students from Cape Town, South Africa. It was the most challenging and rewarding thing I’ve ever been a part of. What do you think r/videos?”

This bit was vital, because not only did she put the video in a space frequented by potentially interested browsers, but she presented it with a human narrative, and gave the viewers a reason to want to watch the video: Who doesn’t want to support and appreciate young artists?

Once the video gained traction on Reddit, it’s success became inevitable, and it went on to be shared by an enthusiastic social community, as well as a wide range of different media platforms. The rest, as they say, is history.

If anything, Big Game taught us that if you want a piece of content to get a lot of online attention, focus on making it as good as you can. The team behind the short spent almost the entire year working flat out, and in the end, they achieved a result that was, and is, exceptional. If you achieve the same thing with any piece of content, then it’s just a matter of finding the right people to show it to.

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