A Look at Ten Successful Viral Videos


The whole "viral advertising" thing has been around for a while. The term itself has been misused and abused ("let's do a viral video!") and a clear definition has never truly been established. But, no matter. We're going to take a look at ten videos that have, according to our guest writer, Tom Norman, achieved viral notoriety. Take away, Tom.

By nature, viral videos are actively sought out and watched by thousands, often millions of people online and so if one can create an effective "viral" to promote one's brand, surely that's a better ad than paying for banners down the sides of websites or even paying for a spot on prime-time TV, right?

However, there is clearly more to it than that. What makes a successful viral ad? How can you go about making one to promote your brand? Well, all we can do is break down the most successful viral ads out there and try and establish protons and neurons of what makes them work. So without further ado, let's crack on with the top 10.

10 - This is a video by Nike featuring Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho to promote their new soccer shoes. As Nike is already a very recognised brand, I think the hand-held, not-very-high-quality camera had a lot to do with this clip becoming popular. It gives the impression that it was filmed candidly, i.e. not a planned and contrived. And of course the impressive skill displayed is something people would naturally want to witness.

9 - This next clip has a very different feel to it. It's an ad for a product but it has been successful nevertheless. I believe there are several reasons for this. Not only does it combine Tom Dickson's zany humor with the out-and-out destruction of valuable items, it uses instantly recognizable gadgets (the iphone in this case) that people know and can easily connect with their own lives.

The "Will It Blend?" series is also interactive in that people can get in touch and suggest things to blend. So overall I'd say that makes a pretty delectable cocktail of prime viral ingredients!

8 - The principle behind this next video is a simple one however the execution of the events depicted is far from simple. If you have the skill to pull off an impressive stunt like this, people will often flock to see the footage. This is an ad for Samsung, again, a brand that people are already familiar with. However videos like this will do a great job of reinforcing people's loyalty and showing them just how creative it's possible to get with their products.

7 - Next we have another well known brand with an ad that is clearly just that; an ad. All they've done is take something that everyone recognises (Star Wars) and made a fun little piece to highlight one of the features of their new car. It's funny, sweet and we all get the film reference. Simple right?

6 - This next clip is another one for Nike. It is one of a small series of clips of Coby Bryant jumping over things over which no normal human would be able to jump. These impressive displays of athleticism, combined with the familiar faces (of the Jackass crew in this example) that people love, make for a sure-fire hit on the viral market.

5 - This next video is a bit different from the others in that it's a music video. The band is Ok Go, the song is "Here It Goes Again". Yes it's the famous video with the treadmills that we've all seen, even if we wouldn't be able to tell you the name of the band or the song. However, being known as "that band with the treadmill video" is surely better than not being known at all? This is simply a very clever routine put to a catchy song; a proven formula for success.

4 - Back to the well-known brands now with Cadbury's. We've all seen the famous video of the gorilla playing the drums to Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight." In all fairness, it was on TV for a while which gave it a significant boost. But still, the ad has had a prolific online run as well. Cadbury's thought process was that they wanted to create the kind of lovely, satisfied feeling that people get when they eat chocolate. This is what they came up with. It's funny, light-hearted and well thought out.

3 - Now to mobile phones. The famous t-mobile flash-mob ad was simply a feel-good, dance-along smile-fest. Obviously it had quite the budget behind it but when a flash-mob video is done well it can become hugely popular. The look of genuine surprise on people's faces when the whole train station starts dancing in sync with each other is positively heart-warming. A very effective promotional video.

2 - Now another car ad and one of my personal favorites of all time. The Honda advert. This is another example of a very cleverly set up sequence of events that anyone would marvel at while watching. I don't think the popularity of this video needs much explaining. It really can speak for itself. Since its release there has been debate as to whether or not it was real or just clever CGI animation, but to be honest, I don't think I care.

1 - Here we are, the number one spot. If you're wondering which viral ad has made our number one spot, well, then you probably haven't spent a lot of time looking at videos online. This is quite possibly the most famous viral advert ever made, and in my opinion, deservedly so. It's funny, smooth and smells amazing! It is of course Old Spice's brilliant "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like"

In your experience where these videos successful? Do you think they achieved their goal? What makes a successful video? Is there a science to it or is it just luck? Let us know in comments.

This guest article was written by Tom Norman of www.millionpixeldriver.com

by Steve Hall    Jul-22-12   Click to Comment   
Topic: Viral