How do you make a panda sneeze?

“Let’s do a viral vid! Yes, just like that one I saw the other day. 500 trillion people watched that. It only cost 53p to make too”

Yes, it’s the seemingly micro cost way to global brand mega-stardom.

But you could be foiled before you’ve even begun.

The best virals frequently share a lack of contrivance. A seemingly random happening – captured by random people. The stars are unwitting. There’s an in-joke, a pratfall that urges us to send it on.

You could disguise the contrivance.

But you’ll risk the wrath of your audience when they discover they’re actually internet brand mules.

Well fear not. There’s a new algorithm on the block. Yes, another one. And it’s secret too.

It’s from Unruly Media and claims to help you ‘accurately predict the ‘share-ability’ of a video, before it is even launched.’ and ‘…gain insight into the psychological, social and content triggers that affect the success of your video content.’

Perhaps it does. Who knows?

But how different is it from the algorithm ticking over in any good Creative’s head? You know, the one that takes a little bit of insight, a sprinkling of empathy and a leap of conceptual audacity.

Science will only take you so far.

By its very nature an algorithm must be based on a mass of accumulated data. Stuff that’s gone before. Fine if you want to predict the next Grand National winner. But would it truly foretell the 70million, and counting, views of ‘Sittin On Tha Toilet’.

It’s probably better than nothing. However, with something as unpredictable as video virability, not necessarily a magical guarantee of success.