5 things to consider before doing a Harlem Shake

shutterstock_104652521After the gangnam style social networks have been invaded with “Harlem Shake”:  a 30 seconds music where you can be whatever you want!

On YouTube you can find movies from companies, schools, sports clubs or even the army, where people “express” themselves wearing all kind of strange clothes and accessories, or … wearing nothing (the most famous Harlem shakes).

Why is the Harlem shake so viral?

Because everybody can be a star! On the gagman style videos we had a South Korean guy – Psy – playing the main role, on Harlem Shake the most ordinary person can turn into a YouTube star!

The Harlem shake videos contain a personal touch, people can use the accessories they like most and they can choose the character they’ve always wanted to be (animals, machines, porn starts…).

People don´t need to wait another year to Carnival, they finally have the opportunity to go crazy without being considered as such.

Isn´t this fantastic?

In the meantime, the dance has been a huge success and some communication agencies used it to create marketing campaigns, for example:

Dutch Parkinson’s Society campaign by Saatchi & Saatchi, (see below)

Is cool, funny and viral, but there are 5 things to consider before a brand decides to do the Harlem Shake:

1. Timming – As all the viral videos, one day Harlem Shake will not be funny anymore. You need to consider if the video will have an add value to your brand on the long term, or if it makes part of specific context (event, anniversary, team building…)

2. Re-brand  – A song, per se, will not change the perception the consumers have and will not make your brand younger or modern, in fact, it can even have the have the opposite effect.

Before do the Harlem shake video think if its align with the company values and marketing positioning. There are other ways of being funny and enter the social media discussions, you don´t need to follow the masses.

3. Reputation – Here, I´m not referring to law firms or consultancy agencies, because for those I would say, please don´t do it!

However, if you make part a creative firm (communications, music, events, fashion…) you should also consider before do a Harlem Shake. Please take a look at your portfolio and the possible clients, and analyze if the video may have a negative impact on the reputation.

You don´t want to have your clients thinking that you´re spending their money to party at the offices.

4. Engagement – Do it, if your employees want it! Do not push your employees on participating in the video, sometimes it can go wrong. Why? Because maybe you can know your employees for decades, but probably you never saw them dancing and go crazy at the same time… and that can be scary!

The worst think will be to see them doing their favorite sex positions… I´m sure you don´t want that!

5. Control – If you do it, take total control on the video! Try to use accessories that fits on your brand (your logo, mascots, your products…) and define briefly what people can and can´t do (avoid all kind of nudity and sex related scenes)…

Have fun!


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