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Revlon Love Test: What Goes Viral, and Why?

Deconstructing Love (and Viral Videos)

I woke up this morning, checked something on YouTube and saw the big, bold red banner by Revlon the LOVE TEST:

Revlon Love Test: What Goes Viral and Why?

Watch the video - it's inspirational, moving, funny, provocative, and sexy. Read the comments on YouTube: the video is clearing touching people's hearts, not surprisingly as it speaks to the greatest enigma of the human experience: love.

Here it is:

Revlon Love Test: Choose Love

Deconstructing ~

"Revlon: Love Test: Choose Love"

OK, stop crying. 

Let's be cynical marketers and deconstruct the video (which as of 6 am Pacific time / October 22, 2015 has 467,440 views - yes, it's "going viral"). What's going on here in terms of marketing? 

What are Revlon's objectives? 
And what are Revlon's methods?

#1 - Revlon wants to sell more cosmetics. The subtext of the video is that if women take a little time each day, and use Revlon cosmetics, they will not only look better, they'll feel better. They'll have better self-esteem and (subtext), they'll be more loving, more sexy, and more sexual to their partners.

  • The video has a marketing purpose: build the Revlon brand. It links up to a special Revlon "love test" page at Guess what, the key "todo" relates to using cosmetics.
#2 - The subject (LOVE), or is it SEX? It's an emotional, hot-button issue. The "masses" love to talk about love (and sex), and the enigmatic relationship between men and women... this is a subject of never-ending speculation and interest.

  • The video is about a "hot topic," and it's an "emotional" topic (and therefore encourages social sharing).
#2b - The subject (SEX) is still somewhat forbidden, so the video is somewhat "titillating," a little "taboo"

  • A "forbidden" or "taboo" topic, creating a "gosh-they-can't-be-talking-about-that" lends some "shock" value to the video (and therefore encourages social sharing). 

#3 - People. The video is shot against a stark white background, making the people stand out, and most of the people are quite good-looking.

  • People like people, and even more so, people like to look at good-looking people talking about intimate (forbidden?) topics.
#4 - Promotion. The video has a massive advertising budget behind it! It's being promoted on the FRONT PAGE of YouTube.

  • "You can't start a fire without a spark" (Bruce Springsteen). To "go viral" a video needs fuel, and that initial fuel is advertising, influencer marketing, and other behind-the-scenes efforts to get it "going."
In addition, if you visit the "Love Test" page on Revlon, it asks you to share your results on Instagram and Twitter. So - 

Spark > Fuel > Fire > Spread
Advertising > Provocative, Emotional Content > Social Shares > Spread

Enjoy the video. Ponder what you might do that would have the same viral uptake. For extra credit, ponder how you might make some viral or heavily shared content without the big budget of Revlon.

Oh, and stop being so cynical. Love someone today. Be kind to each other.

~ Jason McDonald


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