Charlie Bit Me

If you haven’t come across the ‘Charlie bit me‘ clip on YouTube, you’re in a minority. 272 million views and counting. Marketers would have multiple ecstasy moments if their brand ever managed such viewership. So what’s the clip? Charlie bites his elder sibling’s finger and chuckles. That’s it, you would say? It’s the expressions and the naughty chuckle that work. A small segment captured by a doting father has the whole world hooked. No camera tricks, no technical glitz, just a cute moment. Like David Ogilvy said, animals and children are instant magnets for attention. Here’s another one with 2 million views. Charlotte says no

Cuteness is big business. The Cheezburger network ( I kid you not) has just raised $30 million in funding. Laughing cats, trip ups, fail moments are all captured for posterity and profit. Namely for the people owning them. Working tirelessly for free are a bunch of people around the world who submit pictures and videos by the thousands every day in the fond hope that their cat, their ‘failed’ moment will have its place in the sun. With properties like Lolcats, I can has cheezburger and FAIL, they monopolize the trivia universe. Talk about the ultimate crowdsourcing network. This is Mark Twain’s story about the boy who got all the kids on the block to paint a wall for him executed on a global scale.

So what’s going on here? Is it that there are so many ‘jobless’ people who have nothing better to do? Or is this the true democratization of technology, where everyone with a video camera or even a cellphone is a filmmaker? It may be, but the truth is, these are flukes. The ‘Charlotte says no’ video has several runner-up posts that have just not gone viral. When it works, the whole world comes calling and says ‘how cute’ over your shoulder. Here’s one for the road of a bull dog watching TV – over 3 million views