In today’s edition of Why It Works, I’m going to take a look at the insanely popular Epic Meal Time video series and break down some of the reasons that I think the show has been so successful.
In case you’ve never heard of it, Epic Meal Time describes itself by saying, “We make your dreams come true, and then we eat them.” Basically, the show consists of a bunch of guys who make crazy food concoctions (usually involving a LOT of bacon) and then eat them – or get hot girls to eat them. You can think of it as the world’s most hardcore cooking show.
But the unique mix of attitude, comedy, cooking, and madness that is the recipe for Epic Meal Time has proved to be a huge hit online. Since debuting in September, the crew’s YouTube videos have generated a whopping 71 million views and attracted 607,000 subscribers. Here’s their latest video so you can see what all the fuss is about:
Ok, so why exactly does Epic Meal Time work? Here’s a few reasons…
1. It Appeals To Multiple Audience
I think the biggest reason for Epic Meal Time’s success is that its concept appeals to multiple distinct audiences. It’s funny and will appeal to comedy fans, but it’s just as likely to appeal to foodies who are interested in cooking. And, it’s just as likely to appeal to fans of crazy Internet videos as well as people that are into “extreme” culture. These are four distinct audiences, each of which would be enough to create a hit individually, but Epic Meal Time has created a show that appeals equally to all four of them.
2. The Videos Are Made To Be Shared…Even If You Don’t Like Them
Whether you love or hate what Epic Meal Time does, you’re probably likely to share their work. That’s because it has that distinct “You’ve gotta see this!” feel to it. Because their videos are so over-the-top and crazy, they wind up being very viral. If you love what they do, you’ll probably want to show other people how cool it is. But what’s interesting is that even if you hate what they do, you’ll probably want to share it with other people to point out what idiots they are. But a share is a share, and it’s one of the reasons I think Epic Meal Time has attracted so many views.
3. It Provides More Than Just Entertainment Value
These videos are fun to watch and I certainly don’t expect most people to attempt to make any of the things that the Epic Meal Time guys do. However, I bet that some people do – or at least they get inspired to create their own similar dishes. Because of that, these videos are actually providing informational value in addition to being entertaining and that’s always helpful in terms of the success of a video series. If you can manage to entertain somebody and give them something of informational value, you’ll always wind up finding more success for your content than if you’re only entertaining them.
4. It’s Got A Unique Voice
There’s tons of cooking shows on YouTube and there’s probably tons of funny cooking shows on YouTube. But the guys in Epic Meal Time approach the genre with a very unique voice – I’m sure some of you find it completely annoying, but you can’t disagree with the fact that it’s got a voice. It’s important to differentiate yourself in everything you do from the rest of the crowd, and these guys definitely do that. Speaking of which…
5. It’s Not For Everybody
There’s definitely got to be a lot of people out there that hate Epic Meal Time. They may think the guys are annoying, or the food is disgusting, or the concept represents everything that’s wrong with American food culture. But not only is it ok that some people hate the show, it’s probably a good thing. Your content shouldn’t be for everybody – it should ignite passionate responses in people. The more your show has a voice, the more some people will hate it. But that also means the more some people will love it, and those people will become major advocates of the show. People that like Epic Meal Time, REALLY like it. And that’s a key to success.
6. It’s Loaded With Monetization Opportunities That Won’t Annoy Their Audience
One of the strongest things about the Epic Meal Time concept from a business perspective is that it’s packed with easily integrated monetization opportunities that won’t annoy its audience. For example, sponsors could pay them to use their ingredients, could hire them to cook a special version of their products, or could pay them to wear their merchandise. In the Mac and Cheese video, they reference the specific Frank’s Red Hot sauce brand – were they paid for that? I don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they were.
Plus, in addition to seamless sponsorship opportunities, the guys have also managed to create merchandise that appeals to their fans and represents their voice. Their store sells items like the bacon strips shirts you see them wear in the show, and I’m guessing they sell pretty well. Why? Because they’re not just promotional, they’re allowing their audience to express an opinion through their merchandise.