There’s been a lot of buzz on the Internet over the past couple of weeks regarding a music video that is well…just plain bad. So far, rumor has it that the song and video were done in complete seriousness but one does have to wonder. I’m talking about Rebecca Black’s music video called “Friday”, which can be found on YouTube and just about every other outlet on the Internet right now.

Now I’m not going to say too much else about the video or the song and everyone can judge for themselves, but it does bring up a valid point regarding viral marketing. There are thousands, if not millions of videos on the Internet that are well made and are positively received. But we never hear about those videos. If we do hear about them, it’s usually weeks or months later. There are very few instances of where a video with a positive message has gone viral. The video of Ted Williams, “The man with the golden voice” may be an exception but as anyone who has followed that story knows, the positive attention quickly turned negative.

Either way, it brings up the question: Why does negative viral marketing work? And by negative, I mean videos and stories that cause people to become upset, angry or those which cause people to laugh at another person over that person’s misfortune. Rebecca Black’s song has been made fun of by millions of people all around the world, but something was accomplished and that something is huge.The accomplishment is that this person and the company who claims responsibility for the song and the video are now also known by millions of people around the world. Whether it was meant to happen that way or whether it was just a fluke, it’s been hard to get on any social media website, news website or video website over the past couple of weeks without seeing, reading or hearing about this video. Therefore, negative viral marketing works, but why? It’s hard to say a definitive answer because not everyone is drawn into it for the same reasons but there are a few good guesses.

One of the reasons could be is that people are drawn into the misfortunes of others because they need a good laugh or they’re looking to make themselves feel better. Having a bad day? Finding a funny video of someone else’s misfortunes seems to be an instant cure.

Another reason is that it gives people hope. Taking the video in question, how many other people who want to become a famous singer are now trying even harder now that they’ve seen a video that really wasn’t that good make it big on the Internet? It makes people feel like they can achieve the same result too- even if that result is negative attention.

It also makes people angry. Those who have been trying to make it in the business for years are now sitting there wondering why they can’t achieve the same level of notoriety. Even though they understand that the attention is for the wrong reasons, it’s still attention.

Finally, negative viral marketing works because the Internet is in a big race to find the next big viral video or story. People are apt to share things on their social media profiles that they think other people will like or get a good laugh at and things spread so quickly, that it only takes a couple of days for something to start getting national attention. Finding the next big negative viral video or story all most guarantees attention to the person who originally posted it or brought it to light.