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Viral video and trains: Merry Christmas Kim Wilde!

Kim Wilde sings Kids in America as a drunken serenade to London train passengers. Then t’internet goes wild (bad pun) as “Kim Wilde” trends on Twitter. Coverage appears in The Daily Mail, the Huffington Post, The Mirror, Sky News, NME and The Guardian. But this is just part of the story of viral videos love affair with trains…

I love viral video. So much so that I wrote my MA thesis on viral advertising. Interesting patterns abound when it comes to achieving viral success and with high levels of engagement, plus a pretty good level of ROI for successful videos, they are the Holy Grail when it comes to marketing for some brands. So imagine how thrilled I was to see Kim Wilde’s heart-warming, drunken message of pissed-up festive joy!

That’s right Kim Wilde, you force that Christmas Cheer unto those miserable train passengers! (Seriously guys, cheer up, it’s Christmas)

The video was filmed by Katherine Eames, a savvy actress who quickly got her representation sorted out over Twitter with a company called Viral Spiral. The fact that a company like this exists shows there is money to be made, even from home made viral videos.

Viral Spiral Represent Katherine Eames

There have been a lot of viral set ups on trains in the past; by the way, permission is needed to film on the tube and looks like you should ask for permission on trains too (pretty outdated in the day of totally pervasive mobile cameras and high social acceptance of filming in public events). I once got told off by staff for taking photos in a Tube station as a photography student, NOT ALLOWED! But then as my documentary tutor used to say, “If I asked for permission to film everything I wouldn’t have made any of my films!”

So the thought inevitably pops into my head, “Has Kim Wilde got an album coming out? Was Eames employed to be a surprised passenger? Was the Kim Wilde Kids in America train serenade video a fake?” Believe me, this isn’t cynicism! As a marketer you want to think that there are some really clever people out there popping out well honed viral ideas, maybe you can learn from it and emulate the success. I’d only feel admiration if it was faked and I’m not saying it is (just wondering, don’t sue!). Part of the point of a viral is that it feels real, particularly when it isn’t… As soon as you turn the cameras onto your Tube based wedding proposal it’s no longer that special private moment anymore but starts to cross into a performance; does that make it less real? Just because a flash mob dance off in Victoria station is organised by a brand, does that make it any less of a real event for the people around it? Do the most successful virals incorporate both reality and unreality?

The trend of trains and viral.

So before my head explodes with this Schrödinger’s-type theory of viral marketing, let’s have a look at 5 other train-related virals.

1, Stickers on the Underground.

You don’t have to be a video to be viral. There’s a BBC report on stickers on the Underground from a few months back but the best examples can be found on

Stickers On The Underground

Shamelessly stolen from (sorry)

2, The 19:57 from Euston.

Blimey, even I would have said yes!

3, Dancing at Liverpool Street Station

T-Mobile made my favourite viral video of last year. Turns out they have this whole viral thing nailed, with the video below having over 36 million views. Wowser.

4, Flash Mob Mobile Clubbing at Victoria Station

Remember Flash Mobs? Ok, so there’s a better quality video of the Mobile Clubbing event here with over 275k views but I love this cruddy one of the countdown. Look how many people are involved with this, that’s some huge active engagement going down.

5, London Underground Song

Because sometimes shared experience can equal shared misery.


Interesting people to follow from this article:


Catherine Eames – @Case_84

Kim Wilde – @kimwilde

You can wish me a Merry Christmas if you want to! @LauraOfBrighton


I thought I would leave you with something that appeals to the gerd (girl nerd) in me: