Last week while curating articles for the “Around the Web” section of Senior Housing Forum I found a new lip-sync video produced by The Belvedere of Westlake, an assisted living community in Westlake, Ohio. I clicked through to YouTube mostly because I wanted to see how many times it had been viewed, thinking they could not have possibly bested the Silverado video I wrote about a few weeks ago that has received more than 50,000 views.

It was a double-take moment. The number of times this video had been viewed was just shy of 2,000,000. That is not a typo. This video has been viewed almost 2 million times in less than a month.

I reached out to Stephanie Gumina who posted (and made) the video to find out how this happened. It seems this is a very typical viral video story. She had the right music, the right edginess that includes a bottle of Jack Daniels and a 96-year-old resident who drops his pants to show off his Christmas boxers.

The thing, though, that really made it take off was that some guy who runs a very popular “Best Videos” site recommended it and it went viral to a point that would make any Madison Avenue marketer jealous.

What It Means

  • This kind of virility is like catching a perfect snowflake on a dark surface. It brings instant awe and wonder and is all but impossible to plan for and make happen.
  • When Stephanie set out to make this video, it was primarily about doing something fun and productive with and for the residents. It was not at all about marketing and promotion.   
  • Stephanie has received emails from all over the world saying, when the time comes for the writer to move into a senior community, this is the kind of community they want to live in. And yet it is less clear that in her local marketplace it will really make a difference in their occupancy.
    What probably will do them the most good is that a number of local media outlets have picked up on the story and run with it.
  • This was strictly a local effort that took around a week to produce. That included writing the story line, shooting the video and editing it. 
  • The video has been a huge hit with resident family members across the country who live too far away to visit often or at all.
  • You should not be ashamed of borrowing a video idea for your communities residents. You may not get two million views, but a few thousand plus a week of fun shooting the video is a pretty big payoff.

At the end of the day for me, this video reminds us that no matter how old we are, our residents are, we are just teenagers in shelf-worn wrappers. This looks like my kind of assisted living community.

Steve Moran