The term “viral video” is one that evokes both excitement and groans when mentioned around people within the marketing world.
After all what’s viral? It means something to everyone.
Is it share-worthy? Do the masses relate?
Definitions aside, more and more videos like Shit Girls Say, or this News Anchor dancing to Where They At Doe are blowing up online and it has become natural to share these things online between friends, coworkers, and on social networks at-large.
With video projected to take up over 90 percent of the online content within the next decade, brands want in on this action.
But traditional commercials don’t cut it, which is why brands look to create these “viral” or shareable videos to achieve that same level of enjoyment to the viewer, standing out from their competitors while aligning themselves with the qualities or messages in the video.
This year more and more brands got involved with video online, be it on Youtube, Facebook, or shorter form with Vine and Instagram. Video consumption is taking off with advances in technology and availability of content.
Looking to 2015, we can only expect the number of branded videos to increase as platforms continue to mature and new ones emerge.
Below are our top 10 Branded Viral Videos from 2014, in no particular order. We tried to shy away from TV-first as much as possible and looked at their significance to the industry on the whole.
1. Buzzfeed and Friskies – Dear Kitten
Friskies partnered with BuzzFeed to produce a series of videos that tapped into Buzzfeed’s unique brand of storytelling and the internet’s affinity for cats. The result was viral success. But they didn’t stop there, they linked to a landing page where people could submit their own photos of pets and download a coupon for Friskies, this gave those who were interested more to explore (as well as being able to measure social conversions from the coupon code).
2. 20th Century Fox (Devil’s Due Movie) – Devil Baby Attack
To promote the new movie Devil’s Due, Thinkmodo created an animatronic devilish baby and a remote controlled stroller and took to the streets to shock and awe. The story is about a couple who is giving birth to the spawn of Satan, and the horrors that ensue, so a wild devil baby on the loose is a great way to build a new story around the movie.
3. Wren – First Kiss
Many people didn’t actually know that this First Kiss video was actually commissioned by a fashion brand called Wren. This intimate video captures the first kiss between 10 different pairs of strangers. It’s pretty easy for the viewer to put themselves in these stranger’s shoes, and you can feel the tension as people approach the kiss.
4. Shakira and Activia – La La La
In what you might call trackvertising, Shakira created a song and music video released online around the World Cup. Activia was briefly mentioned in the video, but then took elements of it and used it in their advertising. While this practice isn’t uncommon, it usually happens after the fact – with the brand having nothing to do with the original piece of music. This is different, they worked together to create a theme that spoke to a certain message that both Shakira was passionate about and would fit Activia’s consumers. In this case, the spot helped promote World Food Programme. an organization that aims to bring school meals to children in poverty-stricken countries.
The video blew up, and Ad Age reported that this summer it became the most shared ad, knocking out Volkswagon’s The Force.
5. Beats by Dre – #SoloSelfie
While this is definitely more of a TV commercial than a branded viral video, what’s most interesting about the #SoloSelfie is the origin. Originally known as the Donut Selfie, the idea came from a viral video that Karen Cheng released.
This idea of taking a selfie around your head was the perfect visualization of an idea that “life lives between your ears” and so Beats approached Cheng to use Donut Selfie as the inspiration for their global holiday campaign with her in the commercial. A great example of a brand taking a fun viral trend and capitalizing on it in a creative way.
6. Arby’s – We Have Pepsi
Arby’s is definitely having one of the best years as a brand in social. While it is hard to top their real-time success from tweeting with Pharrell at the 2014 Grammys, Arby’s took a mistake and turned it into pure magic.
What’s so brilliant about this ad is its simplicity and honesty.
Arby’s is acknowledging its partners, owning up to a mistake (featuring Pepsi in a specific number of commercials per year), keeps on brand with their campaign, and plainly states the product benefit.
It paid off, going viral and far outperforming any of the other similar #meatcraft commercials on their Youtube channel.
7. Dissolve – This is a Generic Brand Video
Dissolve took a piece from McSweeney’s and brought it to life, complete with stock videos from their library. While the tone of the piece was definitely more negtive and sarcastic towards brand videos, the Dissolve video really proved why people use that stock video in a pretty compelling piece.
8. Nike Football “The Last Game”
Bringing the world’s best footballers together in an animated spot telling the story of an evil scientist who has ruined the world’s game, Nike worked with Widen+ Kennedy to create this spot online in anticipation of the 2014 World Cup. The video teaches the importance of taking risks in life to keep the creativity alive in life.
“The idea behind ‘The Last Game’ is to show the world that Nike, like any true lover of football, believes that the game should be brilliant, daring and bold. Having the confidence to take risks is absolutely vital in football.” said Nike’s Chief Marketing Officer Davide Grasso.
9. American Greetings – #WorldsToughestJob
If you took the American Greetings logo off of the video, you might never know it was put together by a card company. this multi-layer campaign involved both getting people to interview for a job, and then setting up hidden camera video interviews.
10. Hello Flo – First Moon Party
HelloFlo is a monthly subscription plan for period care packages. Their video “First Moon Party,” went viral because of the painfully awkward but hilarious video of the relationship between a mother and her pre-teen during puberty.