• Home
  • Marketing
  • “Gangnam Style” Fever! A Viral Marketing Sensation [Video]

“Gangnam Style” Fever! A Viral Marketing Sensation [Video]

How do you get into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most “liked” video in YouTube History? Ask no other then Korea’s very own rapper, Psy. His song, “Gangnam Style” has become a YouTube sensation; with its release in July 2012 it has, to date, been viewed a whopping 348 million times! The song is characterized by its strongly addictive beats and lyrics (even though there are only 3 English words in song’s entirety) and has recently reached #1 on iTunes.

How, you ask? He’s a Gangnam genious!

Well, it does help when celebrity figures are involved in the viral process! The video has been shared on the Internet by numerous celebs like Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Tom Cruise. To help with the viral mayhem, Britney expressed her interest via Twitter that she would love to learn the dance. Ellen DeGeneres, took this request and had Psy appear on the show September 10th to teach Britney Spears the infamous Gangnam Style dance.

Psy on Ellen

So what makes this song so addicting? Is it his ridonculous looking dance? The catchy beat? The hilarious parodies? Makes you happy and giggly?  “I like it because everyone likes it?” Whatever the case may be, you’ve watched it, and so have I…over, and over and over again.

For businesses in search of their own “Gangnam Style,” here are some tactics that can be learned from Psy:

Own your brand

The no-copyright and “Style” suffix of the song’s title has played an integral part in allowing people to easily adopt, re-stylize and then spread the song. My favorite parody by far is The Oregon Duck.

Psy parody

In other words, what part of your brand can be “owned” by your audience? Oreo’s Daily Twist campaign is an example where people go beyond just clicking “Like” and offer personal ways they have enjoyed the cookie for decades.


Crowdsourcing can be a very effective strategy, but it needs to be controlled. It is a process that involves outsourcing tasks to a distributed group of people. In this case, that group of people targeted is the online dance community. This allowed Psy to ultimately increase his level of creativity by focusing on one group. Limiting the source of ideas to a knowledgeable base can generate highly viral results.

Think big – resonate your brand across many cultures

While the video was intended for Korea, Psy gained global popularity as a pop idol for being eccentric – more like an anti-pop idol because of his fun quirky attitude and silly behaviour. Above all, he is comfortable in his own skin – an ideal that most people, and businesses should adopt.

Brands face a challenge when they enter global markets that are often quite cluttered with established brands. As emerging global markets become savvier and search for greater authenticity in their brands – tactics like what Psy implemented can take the world by storm. Like Psy himself, his positioning strategy is fun and genuine – a strategy that companies should consider in order to produce their own worldly hits.

Remember folks:

Gangnam Style

What else can we learn from Psy’s amazing success? Share in the comments!