The Main Factor That Companies Exploit To Make Viral Content

Juan Minoprio
3 min readMay 19, 2022


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The main goal for any brand is to spark an emotion. Without it, their content is empty. Without it, their content doesn’t go viral.

If you want your content to go viral. You need to connect with your audience. You need to create that spark in their minds. Arousal is how companies exploit this connection. Human beings are simple. We share content that we like. And that connects with us.

Therefore, arousal will create that connection. And it will make your content go viral.

I discovered this phenomenon in the book Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Now, let’s learn how to make arousal work for us.

How Does Arousal Affect Everyone, Everyday?

First, let’s understand what is arousal.

Arousal is the stimulation of our brains to perception. In other words, the “aha” moment.

Why should you care? Believe it or not, we see it everywhere. When’s the last time you saw a Pixar movie? In most cases, it was probably Soul. They know how to make his story connect with you. The downs and ups of his story make you feel empathy. Arousal comes right after.

Now, what about a clever article? It was so good you wanted to share it. Recently, I read an article connecting Kim Kardashian’s and Warren Buffet’s life advice.

Some of you clicked it. Because it sparked the awe aspect of arousal.

We are aroused everyday. And there is a formula to create arousal.

How Could I Implement Arousal In All of My Content? Use The Three Whys

Every piece of content can create arousal.

The emotions that create high arousal are: awe, excitement, humor, anger, and anxiety.

With this in mind, find the emotion you want to use. Whether you want to create a commercial or infographic, it’s important to choose carefully.

Now comes the formula. Use the 3 whys exercise to find the pain point to communicate that emotion to the audience. It works like this:

  • Why is financial freedom important? Because people don’t want to work.
  • Why people don’t want to work? They want to have time for their family.
  • Why people want time with their family? To create memories for them and their children.

Once you have that pain point. That differential in your campaign. Viewers will be aroused.

And they will take action.

Arousal in Action: Google’s Parisian Love

In the same book, they mention Google’s first ad that created arousal “Parisian Love.”

Before this ad, Google was another technology company. Focused on metrics and data. However, they wanted to connect. They wanted to create arousal.

After hiring designers and story-tellers, they created the Creative Lab. For their first campaign, they focused on emotion that a search engine could elicit. The most complicated algorithm in the world. Creating an emotion. Impossible, right?

Well, they switched everybody’s mind. While everyone focused on numbers, they focused on what those numbers could do.

They created an ad based on a person going to study abroad in Paris. And they ran with it.

Google’s Ad “Parisian Love”