A successful viral video can raise brand awareness online very quickly. Many of the videos in this list registered over a million views on YouTube in a week, and have done wonders for their brand’s online image.
1. DC Shoes – Ken Block’s Gymkhana Series
DC co-founder and rally racer Ken Block created a series of high-octane videos featuring his driving expertise. In the most popular video, Ken Block’s Gymkhana 4: The Hollywood Megamercial, Block slides and skids his souped-up Ford Fiesta around Universal Studios.
Explosions, stunts and Epic Meal Time all feature in the thrilling video, which has been viewed over 21 million times on Facebook.
2. Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
Old Spice’s series of viral videos featuring actor Isaiah Mustafa is arguably the best YouTube marketing campaign of all time. Old Spice made dozens of videos after the success of the first, which has over 40 million views.
Some of the videos continue in the theme of the original, some were created as responses to fans, and some have a more festive feel.
Since the campaign begin, Old Spice's profits have risen 27% which, considering how simple and short the videos are, equals a high return on investment.
Old Spice have since done a number of similar campaigns, featuring high-profile celebrities such as Terry Crews and Neil Patrick Harris.
3. Evian – Roller Babies
This advert, which has computer-generated babies playfully rollerblading to music, is a great success on YouTube.
The numbers speak for themselves: the US video has over 16 million views and the international video almost 60 million, while also enjoying over 2 million Facebook mentions.
4. Tipp-Ex – The Tippexperience
This interactive video gives viewers a dilemma: shoot the bear or don’t shoot the bear. Regardless of which option the viewer clicks on, they are taken to the Tippexperience YouTube page, where the hunter refuses to shoot the bear.
The hunter then grabs a Tipp-Ex pen from the advert next to him and obliterates the word “shoots”, inviting the viewer to choose what the hunter does to the bear. After typing in their chosen verb, the viewer is shown a video corresponding to their choice.
The video currently has 20 million views.
5. Dove – Dove Evolution
This video, created in 2006, is probably the earliest example of a hugely successful viral video marketing campaign. The video shows a model being made up for a photo shoot, the product of which is airbrushed and then displayed on an advertising billboard.
Dove’s aim was to challenge the concept of traditional beauty, but they achieved far more than that, raking in an estimated $150 million in profits thanks to the advert. The video has well over 15 million views on YouTube.
The video has even spawned a multi-award winning parody, charting the effect an unhealthy lifestyle has on a male model.
6. Red Bull – The Stratos Jump
Last month, Felix Baumgartner’s Stratos Jump became the most viewed YouTube live video stream of all time, with 8 million concurrent streams.
Although more a feat of human endeavour than a viral marketing campaign, the video was so clearly branded by Red Bull that the millions who watched it couldn’t help but think about the energy drink company.
Red Bull are world-renowned for their extreme sports and technology sponsorship, the Stratos Jump being just one of the many ways the company has self-promoted successfully .
7. Blendtec – Will It Blend
With over 200 million views, Blendtec’s Will It Blend series is a YouTube phenomenon. The choice of items put to the test has been eclectic: oysters, an iPad, a crowbar and Germany have all been blended by Blendtec’s founder Tom Dickson.
The videos are simple, quick and cheap, but have had great success thanks to the appeal of their concept: people are interested to see whether Justin Bieber will blend. There have even been crossovers with other successful viral videos in this list, with both Old Spice and Ken Block’s Gymkhana facing the blend.
8. LG – So Real It’s Scary
Electronics manufacturer LG’s most recent publicity stunt was last month’s most viewed viral marketing video, with over 14 million views.
A team of LG engineers replaced the floor of an elevator in the offices of a Dutch building with high definition LG monitors. When unsuspecting people used the elevator, the screens displayed the floor tiles falling away to reveal the lift shaft underneath.
In the YouTube video, the victims of the prank scurry away from the falling tiles, grabbing onto the handrail at the edge.
The video is not only innovative and amusing, it also successfully advertises the picture quality of LG’s products.
9. Volkswagen – The Force
Although this video started life as a Super Bowl commercial, it has since snowballed on the internet, becoming one of the top ten most popular branded viral adverts.
With 55 million views on Facebook, and countless imitators, Volkswagen’s miniature Darth Vader is certainly a crowd pleaser. The video has had such great success that ‘The Force’ got a knowing wink in this year’s VW Super Bowl spot.
10. Sussex Safer Roads Partnership – Embrace Life
Originally a British television commercial, this video gained a worldwide audience when it was posted on YouTube.
The video’s simple concept, a man being saved by the embrace of his wife and daughter, has a real emotional impact thanks to the acting, directing and musical accompaniment.
The video has over 15 million views on Facebook.
Have you made any successful branded viral videos? Would you like to?
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