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Published by Sara Napier Burkhard | Feb 14, 2017 | | 4 MIN READ

How viral videos can help DMOs to create opportunities

By now, you've probably seen the videos that are the talk of Europe at the moment. Posted with the hashtag #EverySecondCounts, these parody videos take a crack at one of the newest and most famous politicians in the world; U.S. President Donald Trump.

The video campaign has taken something as serious as the results of the 2016 Presidential Election and turned it into comedy gold for people of all nationalities and backgrounds.

But how did it all get started? And more importantly, how might a DMO benefit from something like this?

Every Second Counts

On February 2nd, a video called "Germany second | NEO MAGAZIN ROYALE mit Jan Böhmermann" was aired by German comedian Jan Böhmermann during his late night talk show Neo Magazin Royale. It was inspired by the now viral video "The Netherlands welcomes Trump in his own words", which aired on the show Zondag met Lubach.

The video was The Netherlands' humorous response to Trump's "America First" policy and used the opportunity to ask that their country be considered "second". Böhmermann took it a step further by creating a parody for Germany and launched a campaign where other countries could join in by creating their own as well.

In the series, countries send a message to President Donald Trump, using a voice actor to parody his famous voice and expressions. This "in his own words" style criticizes some of the more controversial ideas expressed by Trump during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.

The campaign has become popular worldwide. It went viral in less than a few days and in less than two weeks, many of the videos have already been viewed a few million times. 

Switzerland Second.jpg

The Swiss video Switzerland Second now has over 10 million views

From Lithuania to Israel, it seems that nearly every country is getting in on the chance to poke fun at themselves and the unique parts of their countries. So, how can something like this benefit DMOs?


1. It's all-inclusive

It might be hard to find a person that hasn't heard of Pharrell Williams' song 'Happy'. This is partially because of the catchiness of the song, but a big part of its success comes from its fun music video. The video highlighted the best parts of life in the city and is now one of the best promotions of Los Angeles as a destination.

It wasn't long before other destinations caught on to the influential idea. Many destination marketers saw the opportunity to promote themselves and have some fun. Cities across the globe started to make their own versions, from the Bahamas to Italy.   

The North African country Tunisia has been used in one of the most famous locations of the Star Wars films. The desert landscape was perfect as the set of the fictional planet Tatooine. The Tunisian Star Wars fan club was able to collaborate to bring a show-stopping element to this trend. The result was something that brought together Star Wars fans, travel enthusiasts, and the people of Tunisia.



When a viral trend like this comes around, nobody is excluded from taking part. In fact, the more people get involved, the more people might start looking forward to the next one.

Just like the 'Happy' campaign, this is something that people can get involved with and collaborate on. From Europe to Asia, it seems that everybody is ready to come together and be a part of the next one.

2. It sparks curiosity 

Videos like Every Second Counts grab attention because they describe a country in an unexpected way. While most tourism videos present a destination in a positive light, these are self-depreciating. They take what most would consider a criticism about their area and twist it into something funny and easy to relate to.

Some of these highlights are so over-the-top and bold that travelers might want to find out whether or not they're true. It's a great opportunity to prove to tourists that these unique traditions and customs are positive and interesting.  

A good idea would be to create content that promotes the video from your country and explains some of the traditions discussed in them. You can post them on your DMO website or go into more detail with an article on your blog. A short video response could also be effective, but what matters most is creating a piece of content that can easily be shared on its own. 

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3. It creates conversation

Another great campaign to look at is the Mannequin Challenge from Fall 2016. It started as a fun social media trend that people would send to each other where they would pose as mannequins in a freeze-frame for 30 seconds or more.

Its biggest boost came from the video made by the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers and First Lady Michelle Obama. It became one of the most-watched videos of the challenge and a number of other companies started emulating it.

It didn't take long before DMOs were using the video to promote their business, like this one by Travel Tacoma. It's not surprising the videos became so popular among tourism boards, according to Google's research, travelers are some of the most active viewers on YouTube. They love to share videos about destinations on their bucket list, and search for videos to find inspiration for new places to travel.

Discover Ireland saw it as a way to promote one of their most beloved travel times of the year. They found a creative way to tie the trend into promoting their holiday activities in Ireland. They invited tourists to pose in the middle of a Christmas market, highlighting the festive mood. It not only brought them some attention online, it drew in a crowd on the evening it was filmed.




It's not news that viral videos are a source of conversation. When someone sees a funny, touching, or thought-provoking video, they will want to share it with their friends and family. Especially when it's an engaging campaign like Every Second Counts.

With the new attention on your destination, use it to bring in current and future travelers. Whether it's creating content or sharing the local one with your audience, do what you can to join the conversation. Most of all, you should keep an eye out for the next campaign opportunity and do what you can to get involved with it.


Get data-driven insights, best practice case studies, and action points in our latest research report, Making Experiences the Cornerstone of Destination Marketing


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Sara Napier Burkhard
Published by Sara Napier Burkhard
Sara is a writer from the American West Coast. In recent years, she's written for companies like Hipmunk, iTourMobile and Mylikes. She now resides in Zurich, Switzerland where she finds new adventures and attempts to speak German with minimal success.
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