Mark Pollard has declared that today is Recycle a Blog Post day. In that spirit, I am recycling this – my most viewed post ever …

If your brand is struggling with social media — wondering how to become involved with a "viral" marketing activation, there is much that can be learned from Stride Gum’s involvement with Matt Harding and his Dancing Matt videos.

The folks at Stride Gum took an interest in the videos that Matt took while travelling. These videos show Matt doing the "only dance" that he knows how to do in a number of places around the world. And while these were initially done for the benefit of his family, they were absorbed into the great viral milieu and spread far and wide. The videos worked because they manifested the P-L-A-Y framework as I discussed yesterday (and in more detail here).

  • P — for power: the videos demonstrate the power of belonging, the desire to connect
  • L — for learning and curiosity: Matt chooses his locations well. He sparks recognition in the locals and curiosity in everyone else.
  • A — for adventure: through this very simple visual storytelling, Matt stimulates our own sense of adventure. Importantly he also demonstrates that despite very different circumstances and locations, that we are connected to others in a primal, joyous way — a connection that has no regard for language or alienation.
  • Y — the yelp of surprise and delight: just watch this and you will know what I mean.

After seeing the videos and their impact, Stride Gum approached Matt, and sponsored him to travel around the world again, this time on their dime. Again, this was a great "viral" achievement. After that success, and after thousands of emails, Matt returned to Stride Gum and suggested he do the trip again — this time inviting the community to participate. Those who had emailed and commented on his blog were invited to perform the dance with Matt … the result is shown below. Fanstastic.

But even better is the approach taken by Stride Gum. While they could have plastered their logo throughout the clips, provided T-shirts to participants etc, they are content with what is effectively a post-roll credit. This allows us, as viewers, to be drawn into the story and into the experience. It allows us the possibility of transference from passive recipient to imaginary participant. It grants some respect to the story, the communities who participated and the viewers. And it really puts a smile on my face.


Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo

Special thanks to Ian Lyons for introducing me to Where the Hell is Matt!