a his & hers weblog of worlds apart

Proof of Nurture

Viral Lessons from Christian the Lion

Christian the Lion’s story as told in the video is slightly wrong. Read the even more amazing truth here or get the DVD.

Interesting to me is that this story is decades old. Several books and films have been created about it. In fact, this 1971 film was apparently produced to finance the project of sending Christian from London to the wilds of east Africa. So why does it tip now? Why so much attention in just the past week?

Yes, obviously it proves the awesome media power of the web. But that’s not the whole story. There are currently two versions of the video with high traffic. One was posted April 16, and the other June 28 of this year. The first has been viewed 6 million plus times, the second over 5 million in just the past month. But if you search YouTube you’ll notice that there are dozens of other “Christian the Lion” videos with this footage – and they’re posted as far back as a year ago. The oldest of these has only been watched 30,000 times.

Goes to show a few things in my opinion:

  1. A great story is sometimes not enough. It needs to be told in a compelling way. Sometimes that includes Whitney Houston.
  2. You need to get lucky. There are countless factors out of your control.

When we produced Sure Lock for AdBakery we thought it was a true story about a bud’s bud. After it went viral we received friendly notices from two other filmmakers claiming we copied their videos. We didn’t. We didn’t even know their videos existed. But clearly this wasn’t the true story about a friend we thought – it was an urban tale we all bit on (I still believe it happened to some poor girl somewhere). Weird part, though, is our version has been watched 5,600,000 times. The other two are sitting at 957 and 678.

So, why did ours break through? Were we just lucky? Or were we good? I’d guess both.


Afterthough: How many other great untold stories are out there? We obsess over new and original ideas so much in marketing, we often forget to look back in time. I’d be willing to bet there are some golden brand opportunities lying in the news archives.

3 comments on “Proof of Nurture

  1. liam
    July 29, 2008

    finally a written admission that “sure lock”, was in all likelihood, not based on actual event.

    i told you jerkbags from the beginning that it was an urban legend. i’m wiser than alfred the butler.

    but i would’ve predicted the “one night stand” version of the story would garner more hits considering all the cleavage and feces…


    did i see this christian lion story on oprah by any chance?

    which brings up my number one pet peeve of late – tv shows broadcasting youtube videos and passing it off as passable content/ their own discovery.

    so youtube can’t post clips of your shows, but you can play videos that got their fame from youtube????

    also, i found it excruciatingly annoying that in both hancock and hellboy 2, youtube is mentioned like it’s a hip joke or something.

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This entry was posted on July 26, 2008 by in His Nurture Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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