What do Psy, Baauer, Rae Sremmurd and Iggy Azalea have in common? They’re all viral video sensations. Or at least, that’s what Iggy Azalea wants you to think.
For the past few weeks, the Mullumbimby-born artist has been trying to turn her recent single Mo Bounce into a dance video meme á la Gangnam Style, Harlem Shake and the #MannequinChallenge set to Black Beatles.
Back in March, Iggy debuted Mo Bounce, a song about bouncing your ass “in the motherfuckin’ house”. The track was released alongside a series of official GIFs like this fun and appropriate one:
It wasn’t long before a fan page came up with the #MoBounceChallenge. Azalea hopped onto her own bandwagon and started retweeting dozens of fan videos. The thing is, they’re all kind of… weird.
— GOOD BOY GONE BAD (@lucasfelippeb) April 1, 2017
Iggy wasn’t deterred, even filming her own #MoBounceChallenge.
A few hundred #MoBounceChallenge videos began to circulate on Twitter, and the fledgling meme grew from there across Instagram, YouTube and beyond. To date there are 1124 Instagram posts carrying the #MoBounceChallenge tag, and 1690 videos on YouTube.
For comparison? The Black Beatles #MannequinChallenge has nearly two million on Instagram and 2.1 million on YouTube. Searching for Harlem Shake on YouTube brings up more than 15 million results, while Gangnam Style brings up ten million.
So where did it all go wrong? We’ve pieced the guidelines together.
How To NOT Go Viral
#1. Promote Your Own Meme
Adopting the challenge as her own was her first big mistake. You can’t choose your own nickname, and you can’t send yourself viral.
Psy didn’t intend for his track to go viral, nor did Baauer or Rae Sremmurd. Each happened naturally enough to generate widespread organic support. Importantly, people found it funny, spontaneous and on-trend, as opposed to feeling like a promotional marketing campaign with money and coordinated publicity behind it.
The former viral videos were fun, non-promotional, and more about the funny videos than the song itself. The #MoBounceChallenge doesn’t exist for fun. It’s purely to promote the song.
— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) March 28, 2017
#2. Don’t Be Even Slightly Funny
Gangnam Style is a silly, novel song. So is Harlem Shake. The videos were hilarious, adaptable and inoffensive. Most were done in groups, with offices, celebrities, families and friends attempting to one-up one another with funnier and more elaborate videos. ‘Mo Bounce’ isn’t a funny song. The grating rhythm is assaultive and annoying, the lyrics are atrocious (Homie, if you’re broke, oh, no you don’t deserve hoes… We just came to party, party, party, … Bounce, Bounce, Bounce, Bounce, Bounce, Bounce, Bounce…) As for the #MoBounceChallenge itself? It’s literally just awkward twerking.
#3. Get Ignored By Famous People
Memes and videos need a lot of attention to get to viral status. Who gets lots of attention? Celebrities! Dozens of them participated in Gangnam Style, Harlem Shake and the Mannequin Challenge, from Britney Spears to the Jenners, a reunited Destiny’s Child to Stephen Colbert, Ed Sheeran and One Direction to Hugh Jackman and Steph Curry.
As for Mo Bounce, the closest Iggy got was Ellen DeGeneres parodying the video clip – not the meme, the official video – which Iggy rode with and tried to adopt:
A post shared by Iggy Azalea (@thenewclassic) on
#4. Be Uncomfortably Over-Sexualised
This is no surprise for an Iggy Azalea song, but if your viral meme involves filming yourself aggressively twerking and sharing it online, your target audience is going to be extremely small. Would you get your entire office to film themselves twerking to Mo Bounce? Would Destiny’s Child reunite to shake their asses for the #MoBounceChallenge?
The song is awkward enough without a video at all, let alone with added twerk. It’s not shareable, it’s not cute – it’s just a bit gross.
It makes sense that Iggy is trying to use any and every available method to build up credibility, relevance and respect ahead of new music. But viral videos are one of the few things that can’t be forced, and she’s not doing herself any favours by trying.
Sorry, Iggy. The #MoBounceChallenge has bounced right out of motherfuckin’ house.