The JK Wedding Dance: A Manufactured Success?

Did a video of the Jill Peterson-Kevin Heinz wedding party’s dance down the aisle get an assist from outside forces and help to make it a viral YouTube hit?

Digital marketer Augustine Fou does not question the authenticity of the “JK Wedding Entrance Dance” video, which scored 16.8 million page views on YouTube since July 19, 2009, and gave the wedding party its 15 minutes of fame including an apparence on the “Today” show.

Fou, however, questions whether a third-party, such as Sony or one of its PR agencies, helped to give the video an extra digital push. What would be the motive? The dance is performed to the song, “Forever,” by Chris Brown, who is on Sony’s Zomba Label Group.

YouTube, in a blog post, points out the rights holders for “Forever,” used the video site’s content management tools to “claim and monetize” the song. In addition, the rights holders — not mentioned by name — ran Click-to-Buy links over the video so viewers could buy the music track on Amazon and iTunes.

On his blog, Fou presents digital forensic evidence such as the “social intensity” of the video on sites such as Technorati, Delicious, Reddit, and Digg. “There was not enough organic sharing to support a view count of 13 million in 11 days,” he wrote, while laying out other reasons behind his theory.

“This is one of the rare, if not the only, examples of a viral video that actually drove a measurable increase in sales. Unless someone from Sony or one of their PR agencies steps up to ‘claim credit’ for doing such an awesome job of not only driving sales but also polishing Chris Brown’s image at the same time, we may never truly know if they did this. But if they did, this would go down as a text-book case of viral video marketing done right,” Fou wrote in an e-mail to me.

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