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The 7 Things I Discovered About Going Viral From Eating $150 Salad Dressing (#5 Will Blow Your Mind)

What makes things go viral?

Here’s a hint: Forget overblown headlines (like “blow your mind”), babies biting fingers, and animal videos.

The truth will either astound or aggravate you.


Because you’ll see that there’s no secret or gimmick. Instead, there are 7 things that guarantee it…

…and I reveal them all in today’s video.

The best part? I rediscovered each of them after I ate $150 salad dressing.

$150 Salad Dressing: How I Rediscovered The 7 Things That Make Things Go Viral

Now my question to you:

What was your biggest takeaway from this video? Which tip for getting people to spread the word are you most excited to use? Leave a comment and let me know!


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87 comments Leave a comment
Nicah Caramba

Haha! Great video, Derek!
Honestly my biggest takeaway was you licking the bowl. :p
I also totally agree with tip no. 5 where people love to talk about and share things that are controversial.
I remember the blue and black dress vs. the white and gold dress!
People lost their shit over that, and I even fought my ex because of that and my ex called me blind LOL
But don’t worry we didn’t break up because of that.
ANYWAY I’m excited to use the tip on people like to share things that matter.
I’ve always been active in voicing out my opinions against injustices so this tip will help more people be aware with what we should really be talking about.

Ted Murphy

Hey Derek!

Thanks so much for your posts! All of them are super interesting!

I’m creating a music marketing plan for a couple artists and I’m going to see if I can add these to my strategy! Any thoughts on how this could be done?


Another great video.
Think the top one is that controversy is king.
Sometimes you can piss people off or offend them but they’re still gonna talk about you and you’re still gonna get noticed and some of the people noticing you are going to like what you have to say.


Hi derek, Awesome Video ! BTW, I don’t get the #4 tip : people talk about and share things that project who they want to be to their friends….Can you explain again, how this point can help to make a blog post viral ?

Waiting 4 your answer D money πŸ˜€


My takeaway: design supercedes content.

Here’s some science showing people pay more for designed salads that look like a painting. http://boingboing.net/2014/06/24/people-will-pay-more-for-a-sal.html#more-313767

I know this works because I often arranged my kids salads with smiley faces. Now they get upset if we DON’T have salad at a meal!

Sheila Lawrence

The one I want to do the most is “Practical Value”, after that “Entertain”.


Although I agree with most of what you say, I have purchased your products and find them helpful.
I do, however, have to say “The Food Babe” doesn’t deal in truth all of the time. There’s a better explanation here (if you’re interested) http://snip.ly/Eau
I will say, to your credit, you took a stance and got me to comment, and this speaks directly to your tip #5 (people like to argue over dumb things).
I should note that I wrote the first part of the comment before you revealed #5. OH I fell right into it.
Great video Derek.


I think your Pop up almost went viral. Clearly, visual impressions matter and I’ll always remember your tongue and chef-style shirt.

I think the point about people sharing things that project who or what they want to be. That was an ‘aha’ moment. Thanks Chef Derek

David Rhoderick

Derek, love the blog and videos. I’m in the process of figuring out how to rebrand myself per your self-promotion webinar, so thanks for all the help!

Of all these tips, I find that people love to argue over dumb things (rather than things that really matter), is the most interesting. I found a lot of this stuff obvious, but it is fantastic you put it all in one place. Thanks again!

Simon Cave

Great tips Derek! I implemented your “What are you struggling with” technique one month ago and I see great results every day. Thank you so much for that.

Marsha from YesYesMarsha.com

I LOVE “People talk and share things that project who they want to be to their friends”
I think this also ties in with a few of the other points – eg “I am someone who has this strong opinion” or “I am someone who has a good sense of humour”

Going to think of this angle with the next post I write!

PS DAMN, you’re right about those eyebrows! Never noticed how shapely yours were before. Pretty sure they’re all I’ll be able to see of you from now on!

Steve Sowinski

My take-away from the video…don’t ever eat from a clear bowl.

Art Mills

Thanks for this. I took notes. Knowing where the line is that you shouldn’t cross concerning #5 is important. One moderately controversial topic will stimulate debate while another highly controversial topic will polarize and eliminate half of your following. As always, I appreciate your insight.


#5 stuck with me. The one about fighting over dumb things. SO TRUE! I have seen some of the dumbest fights over the simplest things. But, it shows that people are passionate about things that may not matter to you. Even more important i to know that people will be passionate about the same things you are passionate about as well and may not even know it.


Love it, as always! And, I’m totally psyched for module 2 of BTC to come out!

Your ability to be authentic and not scammy is fantastic… and you don’t go the other way and come off all hippy-dippy, either.

Great work!


This is awesome.
When I read the headline, 3 knowledge gaps were opened.

Gap#1: The 7 Things – Specificity gives rise to curiosity. Had he used a general, boring phrase like, “how to make content go viral”, it would have been much less compelling.

Gap#2: From Eating $150 Salad Dressing

Gap#3: #5 Will Blow Your Mind – Now I have to watch the video

Techlasers Discount

Awesome Article. This is Really Nice Post Also Great Blog for Every Blogger. keep up it. Thanks


Hi Derek (the female spy from RHH Live here),

I’ve been a lurker on all your posts but this one I had to comment on.

I’ve found the very nature of what I do is controversial, and this solidifies that instead of fighting against it, I need to just face it and embrace it.

I do a lot of metaphysical work and self-hypnosis in my practice and this seems to keep devote religious people to give me the side-eye in my business. Unfortunately, this is a large population of the U.S.

So instead of trying to “convince them” I’m not evil I need to embrace my controversy. Perhaps posts like

If You Can’t Believe in Yourself, Your Belief is Someone Else is Pointless?
The Prayer Myth?
Is You Energy getting in the Way of Your Blessings?

I find people love to argue with me about my convictions.

Additionally, I came up with my SPS which is called the Self-love diagnostic. It’s simply the body compass method of pendulum testing combined with specific questions and download sheet.

I can’t wait to get people to perform this test. πŸ™‚


All I want to know is where do I get that salad dressing, I love investing in good taste! LOL. Great always Derek.


I’m going to remember that people like to argue about stupid stuff. Controversy light…


I seriously had a hard time getting through this video as my 8 year old happened to be listening with me and re-winded the salad dressing part like 6 times. You are over the top Derek! Love it though and learning so much. My daughter is going to talk about salad dressing all day! But seriously, I’m most excited to use the tip on entertaining my audience and will work to produce my first youtube video this weekend to share on my blog and with my email list for next week. Thanks!!

Joesph Lalonde

Haha, I had to check out the post because of the awesome Iron Man shirt in the email.

john flaherty

I’m definitely going for the entertainment value, my website is built around being entertaining. I won’t “spam you” with the url in this comment because I don’ t want to ride D Money s coat tails or attempt to one up him (although I’d never rock a hair do less than $315.00.)
Great work as always Derek, I never miss an episode.
Realistic Industries


Hey Derek

So as a kooky makeup artist that has just done a fab rebrand… makeup addict.what ittle gold nugget would you tell me to post about?
claire πŸ™‚


    Saw a viral post that got me to look. It was about extreme makeovers. I would read about a tip that was seemingly outrageous, with before and after pics.


Now the haircut video will go down #2 and this video with the licking will be #1.

It was disgusting and extremely funny.

Great Job!


You’re funny! It’s refreshing to learn while being entertained!!
Thanks, great info!
I will have a ball with #5

Cheers, Laurie


Thank you Derek for another great post! I think I have implemented most of your advise within my blog, but it still is a long way from going viral! I offer a unique and simple solution for a broad range of common problems (like overcoming health problems and fear), that I use in my real life stories (that I think are memorable and entertaining), showing people what it looks like in everyday situations. In the 5 weeks and 9 posts I have been doing this, I have found a following of 11 subscribers and 50 likers on the accompanying Face Book page. My average clicks are around the 7 per day. I ask for feedback from my audience, but am not getting the comments I need to make improvements. I am a little stumped by the lack of results, because I put a lot of hours and effort into it, leaving comments all over the web about it and am driven to help people learn what made my life so great now. Are people too scared to tell me my stories suck, or is it too soon to judge? What am I missing?

Carmen Amato

The point about people remembering and sharing content that lets them project who they want to be to their friends is genius. Especially on social media, where everyone is trying to project a certain image of themselves, this really matters. Not that we want to be all things to all people, but it helps to keep this point in mind as a means of defining our respective audiences.

joe garma

Looking kinda buff in that tight shirt, Derek.

Who knew!

Judy - Cut the Crap Solutions

As I tweeted (@humblyhuman) love your tips, but sadly going viral isn’t an endorsement of quality.

Brendan @ Fruit Baskets

Going viral is part link bait part piquing a genuine interest – my attempt at this in my niche is using a mini basket of fruit instead of the industry standard of bigger and better – and guess what – people liked the humor and shared it so it sort of got a bit of viral spin.

Raymond Russell Bowring

Derek mate your videos make me laugh. I love them since I found your site. I bet that this video will go viral. And Controversy is what makes news these days. You just have to watch why do people stare when somebody yells in a public space a crowd will form within seconds. Great stuff!


Funny you mentioned people like to share Entertaining posts (Point 7). I just saw this post on reddit and was shocked how much entertainment posts get shared more than any other category. I used to think tech posts get shared more.

Robert Holmes

Hey Derek, I find about one in three of these videos truly helpful to my business and the marketing department and I’d like to share them on LinkedIn. Maybe it’s because I’m a business person, or maybe it’s because I’m over 40… but facebook and twitter are not my default setting. Can you put up a LinkedIn button?

Jonathan Gunson

Hi Derek
A few minutes ago I proved your theory about people “liking to share what others share” to be 100% correct: Here’s how…

I teach authors how to use Twitter, so yesterday I tweeted a picture of a guy wearing sandwich boards saying “Buy My Book!” to advise authors to never, ever shout “Buy My Book!” on Twitter.

Here is the Tweet https://twitter.com/JonathanGunson/status/478122260851458048

That tweet was retweeted 44 times. So after reading your article, I posted a new tweet that simply said “44 retweets and 28 favorites so far” with a link to the original tweet. Amazing- within SECONDS it jumped to 55 retweets and 38 favorites.

Great advice Derek.

Jonathan Gunson

John Steinke

This just out on Huffington Post – The Science of Emotion in Marketing: How our Brains Decide What to Share and Whom to Trust. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-seiter/the-science-of-emotion-in_b_5489567.html?utm_hp_ref=technology&ir=Technology
In my biz, which is gold and silver investing, love and fear are the two big drivers with love being the more potent.

Melissa Wilson

Great video! Number 5 is interesting in that not all controversies are the same. It makes sense that people would talk about and share the ones that are “safe.” People like to choose sides with controversial topics and I assumed it didn’t matter what the topic was, but I guess it does. It’s good to know.


i like your Hermes belt


I adore your videos so much Derek. You are awesome. Do send out these videos a touch early in the day. They are my info meets entertainment pills and sending them out late means I get them at 4am! πŸ™


I’ll remember the bonus tip – people talk about things that get repeated. It’s not news, but I’ve heard it so often, it’s locked in πŸ˜‰

Kyle Williams

Thanks for the tips bud.

Erika Madden

Yep, (mild) controversy rocks it online. My Facebook feed is always filled with memes pertaining to something controversial or “outrageous.”

But I don’t know. I think I need to get to work licking bowls, because that was pretty memorable.

Alan Fayter

Tru all dat! Still loving your stuff Derek.
I’m playing with the controversy thing at the moment; I’m about to publish an ebook on dealing with stress (I’ll send you a copy when it’s done – not that I’m saying you’re stressed, just because I know you like psychology stuff).
I want to call it ‘How to Stay Calm When the Sh*t Hits the Fan’… almost 70% of the people I ask say they like the title, but a couple of respected authors say “hmm, no cussing”
Decisions, decisions… you’ll figure out what I call it when I send it

Ashley Turney

This was a great video Derek and the story of the salad dressing really rings true. Often, the more expensive something is, the more people want it, HAVE to have it. I am counting on that with my Italian travel company. Want to stay at a luxury villa in Italy and then brag to your friend about it? Of course you do? Do you want to share pictures of our hot air balloon ride over the Tuscan countryside? Certainly. People want their social media accounts to be beautiful and idyllic, even if their lives aren’t.


Nice work Derek. The zig vs zag principle works! I know because that’s how I routinely win website projects against competitors that charge half the price and never ever discount the price.


I remember the “Hey you Big dumb Idiot! Big words make you Look stupid! And Ive got research to prove that”


I loved the Zig-Zag example. Going against the grain will make you stick out more!

“what is popular is wrong” – Oscar Wilde

Meraid Griffin

LIKES certainly attracts LIKES. I’ve noticed that on my facebook posts.
You’ve got me thinking about moderately controversial things to get shared.
I’ve also noticed that posts with practical advice are popular so I charge $50 to simply look at these posts. πŸ˜‰

jane gardner

Entertaining or controversial, I giggled at and shared a farting cat picture. Why? I just had to share.
I’ve just shared this video to my mastermind group cause that is always the biggest question “How do we get people to share our posts on Google+?!” As one of your commenters mentioned, how do you make “Business plan” entertaining, I’d rather share the farting cat. Thinking cap is on now to figure it out – How to do a business plan + make it Entertaining on a video πŸ™‚

Shanika Journey

Found that I do #6 pretty often. And the repeat to is super effective because it’s done in almost every medium (especially magazines and TV).

It’s making me more aware of how to bring more content my audience would like to talk about (or share) to the table. Some do not explain clearly how to express this with content. So great video.


This was cool. I think the biggest insight I got was not forcing something to go viral. I had been writing nutrition articles for lifehack.org and thought I had submitted some gems but would only get around 50-60 shares.
I wrote an article on the dangers of microwaves that I thought no one would bother with and it did almost 7,000 shares. Far from viral but a decent impact in my mind.
I guess it’s to plug away at stuff because what you think is viral content might not always be the case based on what the audience wants


Ol’ VivaChas took away that others take away mild controversy. And what better place to stir up a tempest in a teapot than Cars, Trucks, Hot Rods and Art – None of it matters practically, but arguments aplenty cover the horizon when it comes to a Man’s Ride. There’s room for the Sheilas too – Ha! Start looking for more Hot Rod Art Controversy from VivaChas over at Hot Rodney Hot Rods! ~:0) VivaChas Hot Rod Art!


People share what they want to be perceived as. I never thought of it like this but I have always been frustrated with the lack of FB sharing for more controversial education posts I make, yet the ones that are funny get shared. It hit me (and I get it): teachers really don’t want to be seen as controversial, regardless of what we may really think. And bucking the system doesn’t usually lead to positive results for our professional life, so it’s safer to stay away from it. I know I personally share on my own pages what I want to be perceived as to my friends and family (although I didn’t realize that was what I was doing until watching this). Excellent video! So…I will help it go viral by sharing it on G+ πŸ˜‰

Anne S.

Hi Derek,
People will remember all 7 secrets. You answered your own question. Because you are so darn funny.

Austin Roberson

People remember things that get repeated. And people share things they remember. BOOM! Nice Derek πŸ™‚


Excellent tips Derek ,
Now if I can work dancing cats into all my videos
I think I might get a winner!

Karen @ The Food Charlatan

I love #3 and #7. Useful and entertaining. What else should a food blog be? I guess I could get all controversial and try to sell velveeta as healthy or something πŸ™‚ Great tips Derek!


Definetly humor is a must!

IΒ΄m starting a finance oriented website (trading in forex and commodities), and iΒ΄ve seen that the only way to have meaningful posts is to use a lot of audiovisual content (easy to share), tell a story, and use humour all along. Will definetly take into account the other tips as well!

cheers mate


That Shirt, Derek!

I like it. It’s simple and bold, really bold. Definitely a Halpern shirt.

I’m excited about talking about the way people want to be perceived. Or rather, sharing things that people connect with and want the world to know that they like.

Matthew Miller


$150 per bottle salad dressing reminds me of the $150 jar of strawberries in Soylent Green.

The thing that stuck out the most – controversy. I LOVE creating tension in rooms when I speak. People pay attention and you learn more about people when that happens.

Primoz Bozic

Great video Derek!

What surprised me the most are your insights on what people DON’T share.

-People don’t share things that detract them from how they want to be perceived.
-People are less likely to share things if nobody else is sharing them

An interesting thing that happened to me a few hours ago just proves your point #6 – I saw on Facebook that my friend shared a video of his newest animation. Then, I saw that another friend of mine also shared the same animation. This alone made me feel more compelled to share the video as well.

Keep up the awesome work!


Samantha Meisenheimer

Hi Derek,
Thanks for this video! I think you brought up some great points. From a business owners perspective, how do you know your’re not going over the line when sharing controversial and funny things? Do you go by the motto “there’s no bad press”? It’s a very scary thing to me, which puts and keeps me in inaction as far as stirring up my networks and content.


Hey Derek, what made you memorable from the $310 haircut was not only D-Money raining money, but also you laughing at D-Money afterwards. Both of those clips together stood out for me.


Hi Derek,

I’m sitting outside enjoying the gorgeous summer day and I got your email with this video! I love l 7 tips but I’m going to focus on the first two – creating content that is memorable and content that matters. And I do hope that my content has some entertainment value as well! I’ll be watching again…lots to absorb!



I remember specifically sharing that toilet paper image at least 2 times since it started making the rounds and it was SO controversial!! Of course I’m right about it being over so I felt justified in my sharing…

And my friends all got such a kick out of it.

Trying to think of a way to share something similar on my blog now…

Simon Green

Derek, thanks. I have a client who needs some help with their Facebook presence, and it’s becoming clear that their content needs to be more entertaining and/or controversial.

And PS – I like the additional production on your videos.


I’m going to remember you licking the bowl for the rest of my life.

The tip I definitely plan on implementing is delivering practical value. I particularly liked your reminder of asking “What are you struggling with?” I immediately saw how I could use that in my next newsletter and probably create a recurring series.

    Derek Halpern


Jordan Coeyman

Great stuff. Have you read “Contagious” by Jonah Berger? The similarities between this video and that book are pretty strong. Love it!

    Derek Halpern

    Hey Jordan, considering I interviewed Jonah Berger on my podcast about a year before Contagious came out…

    …and then 1 week after his book came out.

    Yes πŸ˜‰



    I also mention Jonah in the video.

      Jordan Coeyman

      Phew.. Shoulda figured! Thanks for the links. It’s not so hard to believe that I miss some of your content, regardless of how amazing it is ;). Checking out now.
      I missed the reference to him in this video. Great stuff. I find myself re-thinking my work almost every time you release a video (in a good way)!

Shaleen Sharma

Btw, that’s a great shirt. Gotta get a similar one for myself.

Shaleen Sharma

There is one thing that I do to engage my audience, and it’s probably the simplest thing to do. What I do is, email my subscribers, just to say thank you! Really.. that’s it, just a thank you, I don’t mention any article or any other post I wrote, nothing else. JUST a real and genuine thanks. And surprisingly (rather not surprisingly), I do get replies of support.

    Derek Halpern

    Replies and viral sharing is a whole different story though.

      Shaleen Sharma

      Yep! But I am trying to find a way that encompasses both. Let’s see. I’ll write to you if it works.

Amanda Long

I hate the pop up asking me for the 5,000 subscribers and having to say “No Thanks I’ll stick to my gut” You need the “I ALREADY GOT IT!” button too! πŸ™‚ HA! Love your site and videos and all your info!

    Derek Halpern

    Lol. I should make it say, “I’m already on the mailing list.”

      Remco Boom

      Indeed. I subscribed for the second time today. With the same email address. Didn’t know that was even possible.

      Great video Derek, I’m going to put this into practice and see how that works out for me.


      This depends on the plugin used, im guessing whatever your using does not have an option to NOT SHOW AGAIN once it been showed to a particual visitor, this is generally controlled by cookies.


      Goldfish Principal…

      jane gardner

      Totally, I’ve been subscribed since 2013 …why don’t you remember πŸ™ – need someone to design an already subscribed choice πŸ™‚


    AGREED!!! I just saw that today Amanda and it bugged me too!! πŸ˜€ haha


Oh, you DIDN’T use that “#5 Will Blow Your Mind” garbage!

Yeah, you did. Satirically, at least. So I forgive you…

My favourite tip is #5 – controversial things. Controversial topics (some of them anyway) will be well aligned with my new brand. I’m going to start by challenging the claim that business plans are dead. Watch out!

    Lisa Robbin Young

    I liked the distinction on what types of controversial topics are better for eliciting a share. There’s a lot of controversy out there, and like Derek pointed out, some of it makes me uncomfortable to talk about, so I tend to stay away from it. Now I can craft a useful plan.

    Derek Halpern

    I’m glad you got the joke πŸ˜‰

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