License article

Get your shake on Canberra - the Harlem Shake that is

First Canberra decided to horse around with Gangnam Style, now the shakes have set in. The  Harlem Shake that is – the most recent dance craze to go viral.

A group of soldiers from the Norwegian Army, then 199,000 other videos, inspired by and featuring a dance track produced by Baauer, have been uploaded to YouTube in less than a month. The song has been one of 2013's most downloaded songs on iTunes around the world and continues it reign on top of the Billboard Hot 100 music chart in the US this week.

While Lifeline ACT were quick to jump on the online bandwagon, filming and uploading their version of the Harlem Shake in less than 24-hours, digital branding specialist Bree Winchester wants to see more Canberra businesses and organisations embracing online trends like viral videos.

"The Harlem Shake was not an overnight sensation, but there was a one to two week window where brands hoping to jump on the bandwagon needed to act and be willing to embrace the phenomenon," Ms Winchester said.

The account director for Visual Jazz Isobar based in Canberra said more local brands "with personality" like Canberra Milk and the Raiders could have benefitted from producing their own version of the Harlem Shake, which is essentially just a group of people jumping, shaking and breaking into an electronic groove.


"As a general rule these viral sensations are here and gone before brands have the chance to jump on board. But thanks to the 2012 success of Call Me Maybe and Gangnam Style, it seems as though more than a few international brands were prepared this time around and managed to tap into the Harlem Shake at its peak. Why can't more Canberra businesses, government departments and organisations do the same?" she said.

Her tips to follow Lifeline ACT's lead to take advantage of the popularity of the social media which thrives on sharing videos and information include, "Be ready to create content quickly, research and monitor the latest trends and memes and get it approved quickly. This is often the most difficult step and brands need to fully embrace social media and recognise the potential reach this content can have."

Lifelife ACT's video, promoting the upcoming annual Book Fair, is the latest Australian Harlem Shake to gain the mainstream media's attention, however be warned, a viral sensation can turn into a dangerous infection when executed poorly, as a group of underground miners in Western Australia can attest.

Fifteen men who were working in the Agnew gold mine were recently fired by mining contractor Barminco after they posted their own 30 second version online. They face a life time ban from the company due to a breach of safety procedures.