When a viral spoof becomes more viral than the original

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Yeah, that title doesn’t sound right to me either, but it’s a Saturday morning, I’ve been thinking about how to change it for quite a while already, and decided just to get on with the blog post.

This week has seen an interesting anomaly in the world of the viral video. The Taxpayers’ Alliance have reversioned a YouTube video by union Unison made a fortnight ago and uploaded it to their YouTube channel in the last few days.

At the time of writing, the new video has been viewed 21,408 times in 5 days – equivalent to 4,282 times per day. The Unison original has been seen 3,306 times in 16 days – equivalent to 207 times per day.


The simple fact of the matter is that far more people have learned and will learn about the original video through the remake. Not great news for Unison, but is there a reason for it?

Unison’s video has all of the elements to make it go viral – nice camerawork, a clear, concise message, proper tagging and no doubt a huge database to send it to.

But maybe that clear, concise message itself goes too far – it’s verging on scaremongering – and in general terms, people are less likely to share videos if they feel they’re being scare-mongered.

On the other hand, the much smaller Taxpayers’ Alliance’s common sense approach has appealed to far more people.

If there ever was a example of why political organisations from any side should stick to the facts in their campaigns, then this is it.