What makes a video go viral? This is a question that has plagued content creators, digital marketers, brands and consumers of social media for the longest time. An ever elusive answer, your video going viral is like hitting the digital jackpot.
Making faces, names and places world famous in an instant; videos that go viral have a unique quality – One that relates to a vast audience and engages them in a manner that makes them totally obsessed with the content being presented. Played, shared, retweeted, reposted, broadcasted and then re-played some more, these viral videos find their place in mainstream culture.
Memorable, funny, relatable, cathartic, unique, interesting, attention-grabbing, compelling, refreshing, provocative, engaging, bewildering – these are some of the more observable qualities of any video that goes viral. In this segment, we are going to take you through some of the best videos of 2020 that managed to go viral on a massive scale in India.
Can you spot your fave? Read on to find out!
1) Coffin dance meme
A video depicting the Ghanian culture of celebrating death as the beginning of a new journey in a new world; the ‘coffin dance’ was first shown in a BBC documentary on Ghanian culture back in 2017, before the culture of viral videos touched this unique tradition.
Call it the twisted effect of the pandemic, or a warped reflection of the sad state of affairs when it comes to death and fatalities in 2020 – this coffin dance turned into a full-fledged viral meme on TikTok.
Usually starting with clips of people falling, having a freak accident or just being plain goofy, and then editing them into the video in a way that straightaway cuts to the coffin dance, this meme dominated the TikTok space for the first quarter of the year.
Quality Assessment: This was one of the most eye-catching viral videos of 2020, largely due to the highly skilled dancers from Ghana who have been performing this dance for many generations.
However, to utilize such a defining cultural tradition in a silly meme, that too in a year marred by death, may seem a little tone deaf but owing to the amazing dancers and the smiles the video brought upon,
We Score it : 5/10.
2) Ievan Polkka – Bilal Goregen
A prime example of the fact that you never truly know what will make a video go viral online, this one is as heart-warming as it is cute.
A video of Bilal Goregen, a visually impaired Turkish street musician, who was performing Ievan Polkka – a popular Finnish song, in a classic viral videos twist, was combined with a ‘vibing cat’ by a Twitter user. This combo made the video & Bilal’s performance internationally famous.
Quality Assessment: For Bilal’s spirit & for the vibing cat,
We Score it: 10/10
3) Subscribe Kid
On August 9, 2020, a kid from a small town in Karnataka uploaded an enthusiastic video of himself, stating that he wanted one million likes. The catch? He stumbled along with the video in an effort to pronounce ‘Subscribe’ – which obviously caught the attention of netizens and trolls.
Massively shared, watched and trolled for his tongue-twisting version of ‘subscribe’, he is now famous as the ‘Subscribe Kid’ in one of the most viral videos of the year.
Quality Assessment: Although one could objectively see why this is considered funny and why the subscribe kid has become the most viral video 2020 has seen; there is no denying the fact that he is just a kid, many YouTubers stumble with the word ‘Subscribe’, and no child should be subject to mean trolling in any online space.
Additionally, many netizens are divided on the 00:23 second point of the video, where it looks like the kid got smacked for not being able to say ‘subscribe’ – adding to the discomfort this video brought to some.
Although this is undoubtedly one of the most viral videos of the year, for the valid criticism,
We Score it: 5/10.
4) Biggini Shoot – Yashraj Mukhate
Let us all just admit that 2020 has been one hell of a year for Mr. Yashraj Mukhate, who has taken over social media with his catchy beats and clever compositions involving gut-ripping funny moments in desi pop culture.
Exhibit A – his hilarious composition involving the pronunciation of ‘bikini shoot’ as a ‘biggini shoot’ by a reality TV contestant.
Never letting a good joke go to waste, his ‘Biggini shoot’ meme will have you chucking every time you randomly think about it.
This is one of the stand-out viral videos of last year. P.S: We’re hoping for Mr. Mukhate’s addictive beats to spice up some of the upcoming Bollywood movies this year. Fingers crossed!
Quality Assessment: Funny, amusing, entertaining & ultra-shareable. We’re here for it and are not surprised at the viral success of this video one bit.
We Score it: 9/10
5) Ananya Pandey's Struggle
At the newcomer’s roundtable with Rajeev Masand, actress Ananya Pandey spoke on one of India’s most hot-button topics – nepotism in the Bollywood industry. While she expressed her respect and love for her father, some of her statements did not sit well with the audience and a few of her fellow newcomers.
After all, not getting a chance to be on Koffee with Karan can hardly compare to the soul-crushing and ceaseless struggle that a common outsider has to go through to break into the Bollywood mainstream.
Ananya’s impassioned speech about how much she has ‘struggled’ as a star kid ticked off many. This would however never have been one of 2020’s most viral videos, if not for a statement made by fellow interviewee Siddhant Chaturvedi who has entered the industry as an outsider himself.
Siddhant injected her narrative with his comment ‘Jaha hamare sapne poore hote hain, vaha inka struggle shuru hota hai.’ – a phrase that is iconic today in discussions around nepotism and which captured the feelings of an entire nation of movie-goers.
Quality Assessment: This is a video that brought around the much-needed conversation of nepotism back to the fore-front in a more relatable and graceful way, especially because of Siddhant’s participation. For his wit & composure.
We Score it: 8/10
6) Bhangra Kid
Let’s talk about one of our favorite viral videos in 2020. Is there anything more uplifting than a joyfully dancing kid with a couple of cute puppies trying to keep up with him?
This is a video that went viral for all the right reasons – while the world was in quarantine, a video of a Sikh boy performing Bhangra moves in front of a gate, much to the amusement and intrigue of two puppies inside the gate who try to mirror his moves, took the internet by storm.
Quality Assessment: Just what the doctor ordered for 2020 blues.
We Score it: 10/10
7) Zomato Smile Guy Sonu Bhai
One of the most endearing viral videos of 2020, the Zomato smile guy video features Sonu Bhai, a Zomato employee, with the most cheerful and adorable smile.
This video boosted Zomato’s visibility and brand positioning in the most positive way possible, as Sonu Bhai talks about how Zomato not only delivers their food on time, but also pays their employees on time.
Sweet, happy and winning audiences with his charming smile, the Zomato smile guy was an online fixture for Indians in the last year.
Quality Assessment: Giving a very organic insight into a huge company, from the perspective of a regular employee; this one of the viral videos that was great PR for Zomato. For the cleverness and the impact –
We Score It: 8/10
8) Rasode Mein Kaun tha – Yashraj Mukhate
Yashraj Mukhate is undoubtedly the one making the most viral videos and truly breaking through the meme culture. The viral video latest that has been a complete fixture on his page is the ‘Rasode Mein Kaun Tha’ video.
Tickling the funny bones of every person who watches it, this is an online comedy at its finest with a super catchy beat and a fun Bollywood dialogue delivery to match. Combining a meme with a viral video? GENIUS.
Quality Assessment: Humour, Ingenuity, and creativity come together to make this one of the best viral videos of 2020.
We Score It: 10/10.
9) Drugs Do – Arnab Goswami
Any viral videos 2020 list would be incomplete without the controversial Arnab Goswami ‘Drugs do’ clip that riled up an entire nation to unfortunate ends. This is the one video on our list that may have gone viral, but for all the wrong reasons.
Building on unfounded claims, sensationalism and severely lacking in journalistic objectivity, the ‘Drugs Do’ clip is an example of media run amok.
While it is definitely a low point for journalism in the country, the over the top expressions, sheer exaggeration and cartoonish behaviour are what made the ‘Drugs Do’ clip one of the most defining viral videos of 2020.
Quality Assessment: We would frankly refrain from scoring this particular clip, as it reflects the darker aspects of viral culture online and reflects on the broken system of sensationalization in news media for TRP.
While it was wildly popular as a video, it is an unfortunate event in the history of media that does not deserve a place in any rating.
10) Ramdev Baba Cycling
Indian viral meme culture is in its most quintessentially quirky element when it comes to Ramdev Baba. Always super entertaining, OTT and fundamentally Indian in humor, Ramdev Baba is a gold mine for meme creators and those who collect viral videos.
The fact that he slips off his cycle in the process is a part of the video that tickles the brain with its very primitive, yet relatable style of humor.
We all have been in a position where either we have fallen and laughed about it ourselves, or have watched someone else be in a minor accident and felt that involuntary chuckle leave our bellies.
As long as the person falling is all right & isn’t too hurt physically, this is a very slapstick style of humor that is universally known to be funny to all who witness it.
Quality Assessment: Viral videos in India have featured Baba Ramdev for a while now. And guessing by this particular one – his impact on meme culture is as intact as ever. For his effortless quirkiness and humor –
We Score it: 7/10.
11) Go Corona Chant
When the pandemic reared its ugly head in Feb-March of 2020, throwing us all collectively into an abyss of uncertainty, fear and panic; a viral video featuring a group of older men, protesting the virus calmly with a ‘Go Corona’ chant offered some much needed comic relief.
As if protesting a virus wasn’t hilarious enough, pronouncing ‘Corona’ as ‘Karuna’ is what made this one of the most iconic viral videos of the year. Well, we’re all here in 2021 now – and we still concur. Corona – go. Go Corona!
Quality Assessment: For the sheer hilarity at a time where online humor was the only escape –
We Score it: 10/10.
Well, those were some of our favorite videos of 2020 that went viral for one reason or the other.
Always reflecting current events and at times providing much needed comedy during turbulent times; viral videos were a defining character of the last year.
Which one was your favorite – we hope you agree with our scores! Until next time – keep chuckling.