But when something truly catches fire, the results can be spectacular.
With that in mind, we present our list of the Top 10 Best Branded Viral Videos for 2013.
By “branded,” we mean the piece was developed to promote a brand (even if, in some cases, the brand was the video’s creator).
By “viral,” we mean it took off in some form, whether it was an online original or simply a heavily shared TV spot (that’s where the “strategy” versus “outcome” part comes in – some of these had heavy media support to ensure their “virility.” Which gets to our next point).
By “best,” we mean according to our purely subjective and, as you’ll see, heavily biased point of view. Some of these were indeed monster hits in terms of views and shares. But a list built on those scores alone would look quite different than ours.
In other words, these were just some of our personal favorites.
Kobi Bryant and Lionel Messi are back in this ridiculously popular follow-up to their 2012 Legends on Board video. To us, this had more meaning to us than Legends, as it promoted the airline’s value proposition in a way to which the first only nodded. And let’s face it, 2013 was all about the selfie and photo bombing. So extra points for currency.
Call them 2013’s answer to Psy. Love it or hate them, this promotional piece from Vegard and Bard Ylvisaker put the Canadian brothers on the pop culture map with 275 million views and a spot on Billboard’s Top 10 songs, according to the Financial Post. Still, for all the uproar, I’m a little surprised nobody’s yet done a mash up of this and video from Fox News.
It does seem that late-year entrants have snagged a number of our top spots this year. Maybe it’s just proximity to exposure. But it’s not without dangers. At least one critic compared Apple’s holiday spot to the “mid-century effort by the tobacco industry to assuage fears about its products,” adding that “Apple knows it has turned us into iZombies and has become defensive about it.” In this particular critic’s mind, Apple seemed to be saying “Buy an iPhone in order to get in touch with loved ones sitting on the couch next to you.” Point taken. But caught up in the holiday glow, we bought into it ... and immediately took to our iPhones to share it, like the good little iZombies we are.
Sophomoric? Yes. Crude? You betcha. But did you ever think you’d be sharing a Kmart spot with your friends?
Definitely in the love-it-or-hate-it department, this spot from Poo Pourri (full disclosure: a client) brought together the considerable talent of the Jeffrey and Daniel Harmon (of Orabrush fame), writer/director Joel Ackerman, star Bethany Woodruff and an army of others for what Buzzfeed called ‘The Most Epic Sh*t-Related Ad Ever.’ Not everyone was quite so enthusiastic. Earlier this week, USA Today named it one of the five worst ads of 2013 (as did Kmart’s “Ship My Pants,” by the way), saying “maybe there's room for Poo-Pourri somewhere in the marketplace. But nowhere, in a civilized society, is there room for this ad.”While admittedly biased, we will point out in Poo Pourri’s defense that there’s really nothing in this spot you wouldn’t find in an SNL spoof commercial, and was designed to appeal to the same demographic. We also have it on good authority that sales went through the roof. And bottom line, we think it's repulsively (and ingeniously) hilarious.
One beauty of a campaign: Pereira O'Dell's social media film for the Intel Toshiba partnership has been awarded the Film/Branded Content & Cyber Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. The six week series, called "The Beauty Inside," stars Topher Grace as Alex, who wakes up every day in a different body - each new body played by a cast of consumers who auditioned via Facebook for their roles. The strange adventure, which Alex chronicles on his Intel-powered Toshiba laptop (naturally), gets problematic when the body-switching character falls in love.
Yet another reason Coca-Cola was named Creative Marketer of the Year at Cannes this year. This "Wearable Movie" concept, from Ogilvy and Psyop, is so simple and yet so true to the nature of the brand. Here, users participate in the creation of a short film featuring a beloved brand - and become the viral engine by which it is spread. It's enough for any brand - and its army of fans – to smile.
Talk about tapping into the Zeitgeist. In one fell swoop, Jimmy Kimmel simultaneously mined the buzz around Miley Cyrus’s twerking escapades on the MTV Music Awards and spoofed the viral video craze to polish his pop culture cred. Be sure to catch my audio interview with Kimmel’s twerking girl, Daphne Avalon, here.
I write extensively about the power of Dove's 'Campaign for Real Beauty' in my book, THE ON-DEMAND BRAND; I got seriously caught up with "Real Beauty Sketches" (see YouTube video, above). As a husband and father, I think this is another fantastic effort. As a marketer, I think it's the latest in what has been the perfect blend of cause + commerce. Kudos to all involved.
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