Friday, March 26, 2010

Insights into the Makmende viral phenomena (please don't hurt me...)

The one liners describing our supreme Kenyan hero Makmende...the man who uses viagra in his eye drops...just to look hard.

There are a ton of one liners about the "Man" and the legend.

This post is not about that.

Lets get back to the basics. Makmende (as described in archers excellent post ) refers to a fictional kenyan superman that kids in the 80's and 90's referenced when interacting (read pounding the cr*p out of each other) at the play ground.

The lads at Just a Band gave birth to a persona larger than life. So what are the ingredients that contributed to the video going viral?

There is no ONE reason why videos become viral but there are a few observations I can make about the characteristics of these videos. A typical viral video will have some combination of these 7 characteristics:

1. Content:

The content VERY uncommon. It takes a LOT of discipline to re-create such content (Not a "fly car" or booty shaking chic in sight). Plus, even if you were able to re-create it, the duplicate may not fly the way the original took off.

2. Chance:

This can happen to the surprise of the video creators. Just a Band have publicly admitted that even in their dreams they didn’t expect the video to gain the popularity it did.

3. Characters:

The characters are believable if a little sterotypical. They take you back to the pretend fights lads would have at the play ground.

4. Comical:

The video captures a totally comical moment..the subtitles during the abduction scene and the final "boss" fight are surreal. And the credits left me DEAD.

5. Community:

The community participates and becomes part of the experience. Immediately after posting up the video on you tube, a facebook fan page and twitter blew up.

6. Creativity

Extreme creativity. While many kenyan video makers stand at the pool of creativity and gargle, the JAB team has donned flippers and dived in to the depths. Their entire body of work speaks for itself.

The danger with radical success such as Makmende is that it can get out of hand with everyone but the maker cashing in. Check out the links page on the facebook Makmende page. While this is a minor infringement, its only a matter of time before someone seriously begins considering using this character in some ad campaign (Peter marangi anyone??)

I just hope the boys get paid.

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