2017 is perhaps the year when videos have gone viral for all the wrong reasons. You start watching the video out of curiosity and the next 10 minutes of your life are cringe worthy. Content that is repulsive, yet viral. Pop music has now a new genre named ‘Cringe Pop.’ Cringe Pop includes music and videos that are so bad that you cannot stop watching them.

Cringe Pop works because people derive sadistic pleasure from seeing the humiliation of others. Cringe Pop also works because for every video that goes viral there are innumerable pieces of content including hot takes, reaction videos and inevitable backlashes that follow.

Earlier this year wannabe musician, Dhinchak Pooja released her new single ‘Selfie Maine Leli Aaj.’ In the first two weeks after the release, the video racked up over 9 million views and currently has over 23 million views. A simple keyword search using ‘Selfie Maine Leli Aaj Reaction’ shows over 18,900 results on YouTube.

Cringe Pop has been gaining attention worldwide. Google Trends has also seen a huge spikes in the number of searches performed with the keyword. While ‘Cringe Pop’ can’t be declared as a trend but every time a new video is declared ‘cringe worthy’ there is an avalanche of content that follows it.

Cringe Pop Google Trends

As a marketer, you feel intrigued to find what works in favor of such videos besides the fact that responses are triggered by misogyny or class elitism. 

4 Elements That Make Cringe Pop Viral?

Cringe pop at its core has few elements that work in its favor and helps it to go viral.


Whether it’s Taher Shah’s Angel or Dhincak Pooja’s ‘Selfie Maine Leli Aaj‘ both singles have a simple catchy tune followed with constant repetition of lyrics. American Rapper, Vanilla Ice with his rap song ‘Ice Ice Baby‘ was among the first singles to use constant repetition. The single was the first hip-hop song to make to top Billboard Hot 100.


In Taher Shah’s Angel video he is dressed in purple robes and wings. The singer strolls around a golf ground, calling himself an angel. Soon, to be joined by his son and wife. They also have blonde wigs and hold wands.

As a wannabe singer ‘Dhinchak Pooja’ can’t afford the production quality of a popular Bollywood song. The mediocrity when it comes to production value works as an advantage for Cringe Popstars as it annoys people to the core.


Whimsical content always has an odd or unpredictable behavior. For instance, South Korean Popstar Psy created a whimsical movement for the audience in his video for ‘Gangnam Style’ where he performed his signature ‘invisible horse dance’ move.

Dhinchak Pooja’s dancing antiques in the video ‘Selfie Maine Leli Aaj’ where she goes around the city taking a selfie with random guys was also amusing for the viewers.


Cringe Pop provides mindless entertainment to viewers. Right from the music to the video it offers simplicity, repetitiveness, flawed sense of masculinity and focuses on ordinary people.

Becoming YouTube sensation in India is not easy. In United States Cost Per Thousand (ad views) only costs about $4 while in India Cost Per Thousand (ad views) can range anywhere between $0.50 – $1. As a YouTube creator, you can only monetize videos after reaching a substantial subscriber base. Advertising opportunities open up only after you have crossed one million views.


Author: Sooraj Divakaran, Digital Uncovered


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