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Advertisers are Obsessed with the Harlem Shake ...

Red Bull advertisement featuring the Harlem Shake and skydivers. Of course.


Stashed in: Advertising, LEGOS!!!, Awesome, Call me maybe., Red Bull!, Harlem Shake, @laurastampler, Bandwagon

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Laura Stampler reports on brands embracing the Harlem Shake in their advertising.

Here's what I learned from her:

1. Just as advertisers quickly jumped on "Call Me Maybe" (the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders and Abercrombie male models both crooned Carly Rae Jepsen) to show how hip, irreverent, and internet-friendly they were, agencies have become obsessed with  "The Harlem Shake" on YouTube and Facebook.

2. A jaw-dropping 60 —sixty! — ad agencies (and counting) have made Harlem Shake videos, yet only one branded Harlem Shake video cracked the top 200 most-shared videos on the web, according to Unruly Media, which tracks viral video. The Harlem Shake, it seems, is an advertising trend where supply far outstrips demand.3. Internationally there's TBWA Paris, DDB Barcelona, and Grey Moscow. In the U.S. everyone from small shops to big boys like Wieden + Kennedy, which created Old Spice's "the man your man could smell like," posted videos as well. To capture the madness, someone even created a "Harlem Shake Agency" Tumblr, which aggregates every single shop's video.

4. While players on the Miami HeatGoogle employees, and members of the Norwegian army do represent and essentially market their "brand" when doing the dance, those examples are very different from a literal Pepsi can doing the number. Time published an article called "Here Is Why Pepsi Cans Shouldn't Do The Harlem Shake," and the company mysteriously took down the video. Now all that shows up is a message that the content is private.

5. According to Unruly, which measures how people share YouTube videos, Pepsi was the 159th most shared Harlem Shake video on the internet. None of the other branded videos made the top 200. It was shared on Facebook and other social media platforms 11,753 times and was viewed 250,000 times before it was pulled from YouTube. (Shares are not the same as views, of course, but they are a proxy for online popularity.)

Pepsi harlem shake video

6. On the YouTube explanation of Red Bull's Harlem Shake video, the company wrote, "It seems that everyone is making Harlem Shake videos, and to be honest it's about time to close this chapter of the Internet. That's why we decided to go out with style." As if it could be the definitive last Harlem Shake YouTube, while it's still cool. It seems to have worked, the Red Bull meme video already has more than 3.9 million views in just days. (See the video above.)

7. Suzie Reider, YouTube's head of industry development, told Mashable, however, that we are nowhere near the end of the craze and we will continuing seeing different videos pop up through the summer. She says consumers aren't jaded when it's marketing video. "If you look at the comments, you don't see a lot of cynicism."

The Harlem Shake has a long history dating back to 1981.

The current version of the Harlem Shake became viral in February when a group of young guys from Queensland, Australia, posted a video of first one and then all of them dancing in costume to Baauer's 2012 mix of Harlem Shake.

Days later, a meme was born. And advertisers probably won't give it up any time soon.

Although a fan made this "Middle Earth" LEGO Harlem Shake video, in which "Gandalf gets down," LEGO promoted it on its Facebook.

Lululemon's Harlem Shake video is very exercise-focused.

A&W says it has been doing the Harlem Shake since 1974.

Hot Pockets do the Harlem Shake. One of the food company's last videos starred Snoop Dogg/Lion rapping, so this is a natural progression.

Nintendo changed the music and made the Harlem Shake its own. Well done, Luigi.

More in Laura's article:

GSP is an advertising agency. Funny.

Ha! I had not seen that one before... So is the Harlem Shake over or here for a while?

As long as it remains conscious in the hive mind, it will stay.. example: how long did Gangnam Style stay around? or "Shit ____ say"?

To be accurate, you might change your stash title to "Harlem Shake 2012-", since the side debate is how none of these videos depicts the original Harlem Shake dance.

The other side debate is how (predominantly) white kids have culturally re-appropriated a (predominantly) black social dance, or at least, its moniker. To many, this represents an egregious dismissal/rewriting of the original, despite the fact that the use of "Harlem Shake" was pretty harmless/incidental in the first place (since it was merely Baauer's song title). In the end, it might even be "Harlem Shake, post-Baauer".

It's akin to the mainstream saying "pop-locking," when "Popping" and "Locking" are two different things. How quickly it's all corrected (I would venture nearly impossible), how it will all be remembered (at the least, the older is acknowledged nearly at the same time that the 2012 version is mentioned), and how mad the people-in-the-know actually get, remain to be seen.

It's all fairly associative anyway, no? things like this happen all the time...

The Internet gives things a life of their own.

I believe it was Australians who started the Harlem Shake post-Baauer boom of 2013.

The Internet provides a worldwide distribution mechanism for recombination.

The Internet encourages people to remix and spread new variations on a theme.

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