The sneezing panda is no longer just ‘a video on YouTube’, it is its own entity. Still just as popular six years after it was posted, it has been copied and mimicked, described and deciphered, adapted and moulded, gazed at, shared, and consumed. The sneezing panda has become so commonplace that to millions of people all around the world it is instantly clear which sneezing panda you are speaking of, such is the tidal wave of interest.
The original Sneezing Baby Panda video has been watched millions of times on YouTube and some of the copycat videos or edits of the original have also been viewed by the thousands in their own right. However, when a message is added to the video and a serious subject raised, viewing figures struggle to take off.
This video from the WWF is an excellent example. They have been a receiver of the sneezing panda video and understood its power. Having watched the video surge around the Internet for five years, in 2011 they took this energy and used it to hold up a mirror to this activity.
Their video is simple, sophisticated, and beautifully executed.
Watch right to the end.
Also read the comments. Compared to the 125,000 comments so far on the original video, this one only has eleven comments in one year and there are positives and negatives in equal measure: from “f*** off mate, i wanted to see a sneezing panda!” to “Nice meme appropriation! :)”.