Harlem Shake, my Kids and the Army of Norway

The Internet was just about to start, when I entered filmschool. It was 1995, and it took my schools commercial department about ten years to discover the power of the Net and to start teaching viral marketing as well as shooting for viral campaigns. – And even though the industry discovered the power of cross-media, it did take the other departments of my filmschool a little bit longer to understand.

Well, actually, still today I see emerging filmmakers trying to aim for Internet and Web series’, yes, I even shot myself some. I see TV stations try and reach out to the users…but…what shall I say:
No filmmakers out there in the Vlogo-Sphere.

In fact it’s my kids being the ones that keep me up to date. Grown up as “natives”, knowing how to browse the Net long before they could read or write, they consume next to cinema and VoD/DVD mainly content especially produced for the Internet. Being native German speakers, the boys even started watching American Youtubers long before they had English at school.

Y-Titty, 1.3 mio subscribers and 318 mio views as by today, are perhaps the most successful German Youtubers. They are known outside Germany/Switzerland and Austria mainly for their Goyte parody (there’s English subtitles, just you turn on the captions!).

Ok. Enough surfing. Back to my point. I mean: 1.3 mio subscribers! Any nationwide German newspaper can only dream of this! 318 mio views! For just about 200 videos! And Y-Titty is only group one of many. And there’s not only parodies. There’s Let’s Plays (commented computer games recorded whilst the makers are playing), there’s great and smart comedy, done by self-doubting clever artists (or is it unemployed middle-aged people!?) with a very amazing black humor like Dr. Allwissend, there are shameless promotions of course and companies wanting to jump on the band-wagon trying more or less successfully to play the viral game…


…there’s the unpredicted hypes, nobody would have ever thought of. The attention every marketing director and film school student is dreaming about. You all heard definitely about Gangnam Style. Well, that was yesterday and is oh so 2012!

What the world is on to now is the Harlem Shake.

There’s entire Youtube “Best Of” playlists, there are companies and unis doing it, there’s animated versions, Minecraft Harlem Shake and of course the first pretty funny anti-Harlem Shake videos by Harlem Shake haters.

The first type of Harlem Shake videos was uploaded on February the 2nd, 2013, by some teenagers. The little clips all over the Net are all done the same way and only about 30 seconds long. Today, February 22nd, not even three weeks later, it’s a hype with several major companies “Harlem Shaking” and the song Harlem Shake by US  DJ Baauer, that was no commercial success since its release in Summer 2012 and that the videos are based on, was sky-rocketed up to be the current Billboard Hot 100 as well as Dance/Electronic Songs number 1 hit in the US.

I’m such a big fan of the commons, and this is another example for them to work. The song has been released as a free download. and only when people took it and reused it – unauthorised – it became a commercial success.

The biggest success so far is with the Scandinavians. The best image improvement any army can make, the Norwegian Army gets it all for free from a 19-year-old soldier, Kenneth Håkonsen, who filmed and put online a Harlem Shake with his Norwegian Army squad. – Could not more armies be that way? Best during war times…it would force the world’s leaders to find other solutions than sending simply an army over…

Oh and in case you thought, only non-serious funny stuff can make it viral on the Internet, watch this here. Science! – Two quadrocopters capable of balancing, throwing and catching a pole by IDSC, ETH Zürich, Switzerland. Over 600.000 clicks in less than three days.


6 thoughts on “Harlem Shake, my Kids and the Army of Norway

  1. Jp the world we knew is changing. Like is changing for last couple of thousands years… I never been addicted to TV, but net is different story 🙂 I remember how we use it in the years 1997-2000 – phone connection was used for so my parents limited me on 15 min per evening! 🙂 It sounds so funny now 🙂

    • Haha! We had the same here…Only the other way round: I had no phone, but only a wireless-LAN stick…so I ran around with my laptop and Skype open – to call people!

  2. Hi Sanne, the internet is awesome. You found great words and I like your links, didn’t know the Y-Titty. It’s interesting how the kids discover the net. Andreas loves youtube and he always finds something worse to watch. We exchange links from room to room, haha. But we spend time together in front of the screen talking (often laughing) about what we see.
    Last week Andreas made in school a small video with his classmates Harlem Shake 1. He is dancing in the middle, the one with the curly hair.

    • Hey, Carola, lovely to hear from you!
      And thank you very much for the compliments. – I wrote this post especially coz I’m working with so many people who wanna do something on the Internet and still do know so very little about it. I myself know super-little about it I got to admit.
      Most of what I do know comes via my kids – Web “Natives”. And like you we are watching together, sending each other links etc. Much more interactive, communal and proactive than TV used to be.
      I love that they did this video at school! And Andreas looks so grown up, I would never have recognized him!

  3. But on the downsite is the TIME. There is not enough for blogging, twitter, g+, yes still facebook and all the sites for my special interests, for example couchsurfing, travel, photography, outdoor, minimalism. So often I struggle with my focus.
    Happy that I came here today, Sanne your posts are always an inspiration.

    • Yep, totally agree. I pretty much only do WordPress – all other social networking stuff goes out from WP automatically and I actually never really go there. 24 hours time a day – just enough for REAL life!

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