Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Chuck Norris: The Key to Viral Success

Chuck Norris Fact: Chuck Norris can do anything that Chuck Norris wants. ANYTHING.

WorldNetDaily has offered Chuck Norris a role as a columnist with the online publication. Chalk up another line on the Chuck NorResume (which I am convinced is written in blood on the chest of one who tried to wrong him).

TV Star. Movie Star. Kung Fu Master. Inspiration. Now columnist? This man can do anything. Looking for a hero? A role model? A pinnacle of all that is right in life? Look no further than the man who brought magic to the screen as Walker, Texas Ranger.

Remember the first time you got the famous “Chuck Norris Facts” via email? You know you have. If I’ve gotten that same email less than 50 times, I’d be shocked. Everyone got it. Everyone loved it. It’s viral at its finest. And you know as soon as it’s hit your office. One cubicle starts laughing. Then the next. Then the next. Soon enough everybody in the office knows that Chuck Norris doesn’t read books – he stares them down until they give him the information he wants.

So how does something as random as “facts” about a B list actor become so popular? What should communicators look for when trying to plan a viral campaign that may share a fraction of that same popularity?

Chuck Norris Fact: You don’t search for Chuck Norris (success), Chuck Norris (success) finds you.

I’m sure I’m far from the first person to say it, but I AM the first person to say it here: humour. It’s that simple folks. We’re all very different people, with very few common traits (beyond an ever necessary dependency on oxygen). One of the few common dominators we have is laughter. Not everyone is funny, but everyone likes to laugh.

It all starts with a chuckle.

Think about it. It’s an easy gift to give to someone. Just make em laugh. Tell a bad joke. Make a stupid face. Poke fun at yourself (or someone outside of earshot!) It’s a nice break from the wars, genocides, poverty, embezzlements, abuses of power, negligence of responsibility, and blatantly negative actions and inactions which we’re bombarded with on a daily basis.

It’s one of the biggest reasons why nine out of ten forwarded emails you get end up being a video of someone doing something hilariously stupid, a joke about three priests and a stripper or a series of images of someone caught in a bad pose in different situations (one of my favourites). No one is afraid to share something with you if they know you’re going to get a laugh out of it.

Viral success? It all starts with a chuckle. Lighten up – your audience’s inboxes will, too.

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