Lucky Launches Viral Video Database

Agency charts what works—and what doesn’t

If you think viral videos have fallen out of fashion, Dumbo-based creative/production hybrid Lucky Branded Entertainment wants to set the record straight.

Cue "The Viral Collection," a database of handpicked, short-form branded content. The aim of the Lucky-built side project: provide a research tool for marketers and creatives who want a one-stop shop where they can see what works—and what doesn’t—in the genre.

Find recent hits like Skittles’s finger-licking catman or Bic’s human curler alongside classics like the Samsung LED Sheep. "There's a time and place for viral videos," said founder Ryan O’Hara Theisen. “What’s passé is the idea is that a viral is the magic bullet, that it’s automatic sales. It can definitely [build] awareness and interest, but it can also be a real waste of marketing dollars—if it's not still strategic and, just as important, entertaining."

The collection consists of 500 videos to start, built by Lucky’s staff of six. Users can search, or sort by industry category, and view alongside basic stats like number of views and comments, as well as a rating and description written by Lucky. Theisen and co-founder Jonathan Rosen have been interviewing for a position, part-time to start, that will lead the task of doubling the size of the database, and also write a weekly newsletter due in June, to accompany it. That so they can shift focus back to Lucky’s bread-and-butter work: concepting, writing, and producing content for brands like Starbucks (with BBDO) and Nortel (with Baldwin&).  

What are the criteria for inclusion? "We're trying to make sure what's on there always has a viral concept and a viral strategy at its DNA,” Theisen said. “We're sifting out all the garbage. There are no unbranded virals in there. They’re not just the cat jumping through the window.”

Still, the selection includes some examples of less-than-stellar work. “You can tell when people have tired to do something funny, and they weren’t just great writers or the execution failed,” he said.