The scene was too perfect to be true: a viral video showing someone falling off their skateboard and then causing a man to fall off his bike in quick succession was like a stunt in a film.

In the video, a man tries to do a trick on his skateboard and falls off spectacularly. The skateboard rolls along the pavement just as a man on a bike comes round the corner. The bike hits the skateboard and, thrown off balance, the cyclist falls into the nearby river.

The video was published online on June 12. It instantly racked up the views, reaching 18 million views and 270,000 shares just on the UK-based Facebook page Unilad, a platform that shares lighthearted viral content.

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A video created with the help of stuntmen

Although the scene might look real, it was actually a choreographed stunt. The next day, Splay Sverige, a Swedish digital media agency which describes itself as "expert[s] in creating thumb-stopping content", published another video. This time, iit showed how it had created the viral video - from conception of the idea all the way to rehearsal and the final cut. Their goal was to work out how exactly one goes about creating a viral video that will get clicks and be in the news.

The video in Swedish (with English subtitles), that shows how Splay Sverige created their videos.

In the 10-minute explainer video, they show that the skateboard video wasn't their first attempt at making viral content: they had already tried to get clicks with a Snapchat story that showed a men getting inexplicably angry on a mini golf course; and another video showing a stack of champagne flutes shattering when someone was too zealous uncorking  the champagne.

These videos were sometimes filmed on Snapchat, and then posted on Facebook to try to maximise how viral they could go. However, none of these videos had nearly as much success as the skateboard and cyclist video.

Screen captures from some of the agency's previous videos.

It's not unusual that businesses or advertising agencies try to trick people online with faked videos in order to get attention. In 2015, a Russian bar got a huge amount of publicity with a fake video of a "badass" Russian waitress giving a customer what he asked for.
Article written with
Alexandre Capron

Alexandre Capron , Journaliste francophone