HumaneSpot.org circulated an article last week called Should You Share This Video?, written by Caryn Ginsberg. It questions whether humour is an effective transmitter for more serious animal causes like neutering and focuses on a viral video campaign featuring actress Katherine Heigl.
The question posed by Ginsberg is timely for our project and its conclusion is that this kind of video, which we’ll show you in a minute if you haven’t yet seen it, is not effective:
“Save the Katherine Heigl video for the folks that you know will enjoy the laugh … and have already had their animals spayed or neutered.”
The I Hate Balls video went viral and sparked off many debates in the Funny or Die and YouTube comments. We’re not so interested here in what they’re saying, more in what they’re not saying and also how they say it. Comments are vicious and rarely about neutering.
Are these thoughts from behind the computer screen a valid reflection of real life?
Are these the same words that would be spoken offline?
How does this discharge of candid emotion affect the animal subjects?
We see from viewing figures that humour is an effective tool to encourage sharing, but like the WWF Sneezing Baby Panda video the I Hate Balls campaign doesn’t seem to have spread a serious message. We’ve seen little evidence from the video viewers that they’re talking about neutering and most are more concerned with other arguments around feminism and ball bashing.