A Look Back at the Best Viral Content of 2018

Whatever your personal experiences with the year 2018 were, it can’t be denied that it was an interesting year. It was full of ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies—and plenty of viral memes, videos, and stories. There was the real-life Queen Elsa who lent a helping hand during a blizzard, the great debate of Yanny and Laurel, and the grape that was given a second chance at life thanks to some dedicated surgeons (although it may have been eaten afterwards—we’re not sure). And so, without further ado, here’s a look back at the best viral content of 2018.

The “Spider-Man” of France Who Rescued a Child

A four-year-old boy has a heroic Malian immigrant to thank for his life. In the spring of 2018, the child wandered off onto a balcony and was seen clinging to the railing, about to fall to his death. Twenty-two-year-old Mamoudou Gassama, who had arrived in France mere months earlier, didn’t hesitate in scaling the building. He climbed four stories to save the child, who had been left unattended. Gassama was soon summoned to the Elysee Palace to receive the personal thanks of President Emmanuel Macron. Gassama’s application for citizenship was expedited.

The “Queen Elsa” Who Helped Cops Stuck in a Blizzard

Queen Elsa is a character in the Disney movie Frozen, and is much beloved by young fans everywhere. She’s also a drag queen who rescued a cop stuck in a blizzard. Back in March, a nor’easter walloped Boston. When a police department vehicle became stuck in a snowbank outside a south Boston bar, The Gallows, the Elsa impersonator sprang into action. In high heels and a flowing gown, he single-handedly pushed the vehicle free as bystanders chanted “Go Elsa!” One has to wonder why none of the bystanders thought to help Queen Elsa, but he clearly had the situation under control. Needless to say, the video went viral, and the gown probably went to the dry cleaner’s.

The Yanny vs. Laurel Crisis of 2018

Did you hear “Yanny” or “Laurel”? The Yanny vs. Laurel debate divided the nation as people everywhere listened to the same audio clip and heard different words. A Twitter poll revealed that 47% of listeners heard “Yanny” and 53% heard “Laurel.” This fiery debate harkened back to the Great Dress Controversy of 2015, in which half of the Internet thought a dress was white and gold, while the other half saw black and blue.

It turns out that the Yanny/Laurel controversy all started when a high school freshman in Georgia looked up one of her vocabulary words, “laurel,” on Vocabulary.com. When she listened to the audio clip, she heard the word as “Yanny.” The clip was republished a few times before finding its home on Reddit, where the spirited debate went viral. Science says that people hear different things because of the differences in the audio quality when the clip is played on various devices. (And for all of you who were on Team Yanny, the voice really is saying “laurel.” Sorry.) Here at Pennington, our staff was also divided, with the majority voting for Yanny.

They Did Surgery on a Grape

In late November, you might have heard people walking around muttering, “They did surgery on a grape,” to themselves. And if you spent some time browsing Reddit, you might have seen hundreds of people typing the same sentence, “They did surgery on a grape,” along with its variations, like “They did surgery on a grape?” and “They did surgery on a grape!” and “Guys, I actually believe that they did surgery on a grape.”

“They did surgery on a grape” might have been the most repeated sentence of the entire year. Or, perhaps, of any year. Although it didn’t go viral until 2018, the grape actually got its start in 2017, when it was volunteered to be a medical test subject. Surgeons used fancy robotic medical equipment to perform a delicate surgery on a grape in order to demonstrate the equipment’s capabilities. The procedure was recorded for posterity.

In 2018, someone took a still screenshot of the moment that the grape’s skin was peeled back. That person plastered the photo with the words “They did surgery on a grape” and the viral meme was born. Some clever individuals photoshopped the image further, producing everything from a movie poster (Tom Hanks had the starring role as the grape) to a version of “Grape’s Anatomy.”

 

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The Very Polite Dog with Poor Screen Door Perception

A “best-of” list of viral content from 2018 wouldn’t be complete without a cute pup. Twitter user Jensen Kendall posted a video of the family dog, along with this caption: “He constantly thinks the screen door is closed, so we have to pretend to open it for him to come inside.” The accompanying video shows exactly that: a very polite dog waiting at the threshold, even though the door is clearly open. The family can be heard calling to the dog, telling him to come inside, but the dog refuses. Finally, a young lady walks over to the door and “opens” the imaginary screen door, and the dog prances right in.

This Weather Report Is Brought to You by a Giant Bird

Meteorologists have a tough job. Weather is an imprecise science, yet people will always expect perfection from the local weather report. In January, one meteorologist faced his toughest critic yet. Mark Tamayo was standing in front of the giant screen, which showed a beautiful view of the Bay Area with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. Suddenly, a seemingly giant bird’s magnified head entered the camera feed. The bird was evidently perched on top of the camera, and as he pecked at the camera lens, the meteorologist calmly said, “I might need a little more time for this weather segment just because we have a little visitor.” Tamayo later said that he wanted to let the bird have the whole scene. Clearly, the bird has impeccable timing.

A combination of clever marketing and consumer psychology know-how can propel your own content to the top. When you partner with Pennington Creative, you can easily implement your digital marketing strategy, thanks to our custom blogs, downloadables, graphics, and social media posts. Get in touch today to chat about your company’s objectives.

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Jacky - Digital Marketing Specialist, Copywriting
Jacky Gilchrist

Digital Marketing Specialist, Copywriting

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