Viral Experiment – All Revealed

The Woolshed Company, a film production company in Melbourne, has released the results of “Viral Experiment”, a two-year social experiment exploring the phenomenon of ‘viral’ videos and shareable content. The objective was to experiment with the conception, creation and distribution of a series of short form, snackable content pieces intended to reach and entertain a worldwide audience regardless of medium or platform and without aid of any paid media, promotion, publicity, established channels or distribution networks. Eight videos were released on YouTube: including an outback tornado, a shark attack in Manly, Sydney, a lightning strike on Tamarama beach near Bondi, a bear chasing a snowboarder, a drone falling into Burning Man Festival, and a lion taking revenge on a game hunter. As the views picked up, media outlets and commenters debated the authenticity of the videos.

Viral Experiment banner

“GoPro: Man Fights Off Great White Shark In Sydney Harbour”, released on the Terry Tufferson channel in July 2014, has reached over 21.4 million views.

“Crazy Guy Runs Into Outback Tornado To Take Selfie”, starring director Richard Hughes, released in August 2014 on the Terry Tufferson channel, has had over 15.2 million views.

“USA vs JAPAN – Ultimate Selfie Stick Fight”, released on the Terry Tufferson channel in July 2015, has had over 21.4 million views.

“Stormtrooper Falls Down Stairs On The Way To Star Wars Premiere”, released on the Terry Tufferson channel in August 2015, has had over 6.8 million views.

“GoPro Falls Off Drone Into Burning Man Dance Floor”, released on the Terry Tufferson channel in September 2015, has had over 3.8 million views.

“Lightning almost strikes girl in Sydney!!! Boyfriend’s reaction is priceless!!!!”, released on the Frank DeMayo channel in February 2016, has had over 58.9 million views.

“Snowboarder Girl Chased By Bear – I Was Singing Rihanna Work And Didn’t Know It Was Behind Me!”, released on the Kelly Murphy channel in April 2016, has had over 34.4 million views.

“Lion Takes Revenge On Trophy Hunter! [LEAKED VIDEO]”, released on the Jayden Tanner channel in June 2016, has had over 11.6 million views.

The stories were viewed in 180+ countries around the world and made news headlines in countless news and entertainment services, including all three commercial networks in Australia – Network Seven, Nine and Ten. Internationally, the clips grabbed the attention of NBC, FOX, CBS, CNN, Sky News and ABC (USA) as well as networks across Europe, UK, USA, Japan, Russia, Canada, China and South Korea. Print and online publications also contributed to the buzz, with The Guardian, Sky News, News Limited, The Independent, The Mirror, The Sun, The Telegraph and Time Magazine all sharing the content, and then weighing in on the debate.

Viral Experiment Infographic
Viral Experiment Terry Tufferson YouTube banner

Behind The Scenes

The Woolshed Co. Managing Director, Dave Christison, said the content series was envisioned as a social experiment to explore the creation and distribution of ‘new media’, with the process involving The Woolshed Co. “strategising, creating, releasing and then integrating the learnings into the next piece”.

“We set out to better understand exactly how to create short-form, highly shareable, snackable’ content, that is capable of reaching worldwide mass audiences, without the luxury of pricey media buys, ad campaigns, publicity strategies or distribution deals,” Christison continued.

The Woolshed Company experimented with concept creation approaches (figuring out what people want to click on next), production techniques (stock footage, editing, CGI and compositing etc.), distribution, and seeding strategies – all to maximise share-ability and entertainment value as the campaign progressed.

“We learned what worked, what didn’t, and what are absolute ‘must haves’ for any viral marketing campaign. Whether the story went for twenty seconds or two minutes, we aimed to take audiences on a ride that may shock them, make them laugh, make them cringe, but most importantly entertained them, no matter how brief, and no matter how questionable,” Christison added.

Viral Experiment Credits

The Woolshed Viral Experiment project was developed at The Woolshed, Melbourne, by directors Richard Hughes and Caspar Mazzotti with producer Dave Christison.