The Harlem Shake – What Brands Can Learn

The Harlem Shake – What Brands Can Learn
Diverse People Working and Marketing Concept

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last few weeks you’ll have seen or heard the Harlem Shake – the worldwide craze sparked by a group of bored Australian teenagers involving “crazy” dancing to the Harlem Shake dance track.

The Harlem Shake phenomenon is always accompanied by a backing track from dance music producer Baauer – the viral nature of the video has helped propel the song to become a global hit.

According to YouTube the Harlem Shake has been replicated over 250,000 times – no doubt due to the videos simple nature. The video is also amassing some other impressive statistics:


  • Over 500,000 views in the first day
  • Currently 20 million views
  • 1 billion views of all vides including copycat videos.
  • 10,000 uploaded copycat videos every day.
  • We’ve seen the video replicated under water, on a plane, in a mine, in offices and homes around the world, a US Embassy and my personal favourite, on the Simpsons


Here’s the original video:



Is the craze beginning to die?

Harlem Shake Trend


With over 10,000 Harlem Shake videos uploaded every day it would appear the viral nature continues but it also appears interest int he Harlem Shake has peaked: March 2nd saw the most interest (search volume) in Google since the video was uploaded to You Tube and interest has been in decline ever since.

In fact interest in the Harlem Shake declined somewhat towards the end of February but thanks to a lot of media coverage it reached new heights in March.

Still, a months worth of incredible, unintended worldwide free publicity for the Dance Track is incredible.


What can brands learn from this?

The amazing thing about the Harlem Shake track achieving such commercial success was not due to a creative marketing campaign delivering a commercial message, it was achieved by an incredibly simple viral video produced by a group of teenagers (who are yet to make a penny from the music producer). A simple video uploaded to YouTube that propelled the Harlem Shake soundtrack to success.


A level playing field?

This highlights how much opportunity the Internet provides brands and even the small business. – especially where Social Media is concerned. A video such as the Harlem Shake costs practically nothing to produce but if it goes viral, can receive worldwide exposure incredibly quickly – something brands would have to spend millions of pounds on marketing campaigns to achieve the same effect.

This presents an opportunity for any business owner out there: a little bit of creativity can go a long way.