How to use music videos to promote your good cause

By January 29, 2013 November 13th, 2018 Blog, Blog Posts, Video

If the phenomenal success of Gangnam Style wasn’t enough to convince you that music videos are Youtube gold, just take a glance at the most viewed Youtube videos of all time and you’ll see more than half are music videos.

My favourite example of a good cause using this trend came from Australia last year in the form of “Dumb Ways to Die”, a surreal video showing lots of cute creatures getting blown up and dismembered accompanied by a very catchy folk song. Only towards the end of the video does the real message of the video come out: be safe around trains.

It’s debatable how much of the serious safety message each viewer would take on board but with nearly 40 million views it’s clearly been a good investment. The popularity hasn’t come just because it’s a catchy song and amazing animation. McCann Melbourne, the video’s creators have tapped into the online audience’s love of cute things and appreciation of black humour.

This is a great way to increase the chance of a music video taking off on Youtube, identify a style or a particular trend that is already popular online and tap into that. Here are some of the specific trends that might work for you.

Parodies of popular music videos

Parodying music videos are all the rage with this “Mitt Romney” style Gangnam parody garnering around 40 million views. If you choose the right video to spoof then your content will be included in the general discussion and sharing of the original. This video educating people about women’s suffrage is particularly well done.

Rap battles

Rap battles can be filled with humour, are visually interesting and are a format that the internet (or at least it’s younger users) love. The Epic Rap Battles of History Channel, has gained almost 400 million views in 1 year by getting “historic figures” to rap against each other. The best example I’ve found of the format being used to convey a serious message is the rap battle between the economists John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek which managed to make words like “liquidity” and “deficit” sound cool. Note: Music starts at 1 minute into the video.


Over the past few years the Gregory Brothers have been taking footage of people speaking about serious issues, putting a beat behind it and “auto-tuning” their voices to make it pleasure to listen to. Altogether their videos have almost 500 million views with one of their videos receiving over 100 million views, proving that if it is done well there is a real appetite for this style.