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3 Principles To Make Your Advocates Do The Harlem Shake

Posted on Mar 22, 2013 in Business, Marketing | 0 comments


Two weeks ago Influitive’s Jim Williams reviewed Jonah Berger’s Contagious. It was a thought provoking read on the scientific breakdown of how and why things go viral. We are just beginning 2013 and when I think of viral, I can’t think of any other perfect example than the Harlem Shake.

To those who have not been exposed or need a friendly reminder, here is a visual example:

Harlem Shake’s Impact By Numbers

Underground producer, Baaur and company, are smiling all the way to the bank as their song, Harlem Shake, spawned a viral sensation in mid-February.

February 15th was the world peak of this infectious dance craze. The song amassed 40,000 Youtube video uploads resulting in 175 million views.


To further prove the viral nature of the Harlem Shake, an interesting infographic reveals the total time the world spent viewing the videos in one month. The number of hours converted to the equivalent of 2,782 years. Statistics were compiled from YouTube data and the infographic becomes especially clever when it compares the Harlem Shake to Super Bowl ads. To sum it up, football advertisers may have overspent on their ads.

Harlem Shake and Advocates

There are several theories as to why so many people (and brands) were inspired to take action and create their own Harlem Shake videos. This reminds us of the core principles that initiate action, especially among advocates.

When these principles are applied to advocate marketing, they can quickly and successfully mobilize your advocates. The formula that took the Harlem Shake to great heights boiled down to three simple principles:

  • Clarity
  • Simplicity
  • Entertainment


Having a clear message is essential towards quickly and concisely understanding what is being asked.

The Harlem Shake’s premise was clearly articulated – dance to Baaur’s Harlem Shake.

For your advocates: Be clear about what you want your advocates to do.


The message has to ask for something relatively simple. Even if the message is clear, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easy to carry out.

Remember, K.I.S.S – Keep It Super Simple.

The Harlem Shake was simple. One person dances, when the full beat hits, the videos go off the wall (in some cases) and all participants become as absurd as they can.

For your advocates: Activate your advocates with a simple task. This makes it easy for them to take action. If the task is complex or large, break it down to digestible pieces.


Making something fun ultimately drives immediate action and loyalty. Gamification is a classic example of how fun can also deliver results and a shining component of the AdvocateHub.

The Harlem Shake looked fun and inspired others to creatively produce their own videos.

For your advocates: Allow your advocates to have fun or clearly show some type of benefit they would be receiving (whether intrinsic or extrinsic) from what you asked of them.


Advocacy marketing is powerful only when it is properly activated. If the 3 elements above are considered, you can mobilize Advocates to a whole new level.

Now is the time to get those Advocates to do the Harlem Shake.

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