Are the characters key when it comes to viral successes such as "South Park", or the "Annoying Orange", and what makes these properties so successful? These questions are currently the subject of an interesting discussion in our Linkedin group "Characters".
A Dutch group member thought that what makes viral characters stand out, could be that they are new, innovative, and unexpexted. A graphic designer went further by saying that viral characters should shock their audience. He said that that was how he had felt when he saw "Spongebob" and the "Pokemon" characters for the first time.
He said that the sudden reach of the platforms that give rise to these unexpected viral hits, seems to add a dynamism, immediacy, and of the moment feel, that has become a hallmark of these success stories.
A European IP developer then asked for a definition of "viral characters". He wanted to know whether the reaction to wildly successful, planned marketing campaigns could be called "viral", or whether only something that happens more or less by mistake should be considered to be the real thing.
He said, "In the case of some of the things that go viral on Youtube, for example, it seems to me to be quite planned, albeit often by people with moderate means".
He went on to say, "A follow on question, that comes to my mind, is whether viral characters can be engineered. I'm sure that many are trying, as we speak".
What do you think? Why not join the discussion... here.