Top 4 viral ad campaigns of 2012

In today’s world, every marketer out there would love for one of their ad campaigns to go viral. A viral ad campaign could increase the company’s brand name by no end by increasing the company’s current online reach.

What makes an ad go viral?

Unfortunately, there’s no perfect formula for a viral ad. However, the following factors can influence an ad’s success:

Humour – the funnier your ad is the more likely people are to want to share it.
Relevancy – if your ad tunes into relevant themes in today’s world, people will take more notice.
New – people want to see something completely new, so copying a theme from another viral ad won’t work.
Compelling – viral ads that contain compelling content will produce an instant reaction. If it connects with your audience in some way, people will want to act on this reaction.

So, without further ado, here are four of 2012’s most popular viral ad campaigns.

LeBron’s Day by Samsung


This viral ad for the Samsung Galaxy Note II from marketing company 72andSunny stars LeBron James, an internationally renowned professional basketball player.

The American ad shows LeBron using the Note II in a ‘typical’ day.

It begins with his sons playing on the Note II in the morning, then shows him reading texts, video calling people, taking pictures, answering phone calls, watching online videos, listening to music, playing games, updating his Twitter and more.

ad campaigns
Image Credit:crystalxp.net


Why does it work?

This viral ad is a success because it features such a high-profile star, which instantly draws people in. The fact that it shows someone so famous doing ‘everyday’ things also works in its favour.

End result

The ad was uploaded to YouTube on 30th October 2012 and has received over 39 million views to date.

Dumb Ways to Die by Metro Trains

The Melbourne branch of McCann was responsible for this very quirky public service announcement from Metro Trains in Australia.

The video features a catchy song explaining the many dumb ways to die that there are, including poking a stick at a grizzly bear, eating a two week old unrefrigerated pie, inviting a psycho-killer inside and selling both your kidneys on the internet.

How does that link to trains?

Well, Metro Trains were quite ingenious in the invention of their ad. The last verse of the ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ song is:

Dress up like a moose during hunting season,
Disturb a nest of wasps for no good reason,
Stand on the edge of a train station platform,
Drive around the boom gates at a level crossing,
Run across the tracks between the platforms,
They may not rhyme but they’re quite possibly,
The dumbest ways to die.

This conveys the idea that doing anything that could endanger your life around trains really is just stupid, and so the public service announcement has been put across.

The main aim of the ad was to remind people to be careful around trains, and the catchy and funny aspects of the ad ensure it’s served its purpose well.

End result

The ad was uploaded to YouTube on 14th November 2012 and has received over 31 million views to date.

L’Invitation Au Voyage by Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton is one of the most luxurious fashion houses in Paris, and this viral ad sums up that quality perfectly.

Featuring model Arizona Muse, the ad is shot at one of Paris’ most famous location – the Louvre. It tells the story of a woman in search of secrets that have been hidden for over 150 years in a stunning Louis Vuitton trunk. In the trunk she finds a letter, which she neatly slots into her Louis Vuitton handbag once she’s retrieved it.

Why does it work?

The music has a lot to do with the success of this ad – it features music from the film 28 Days Later, which is very recognisable. The main aim of this ad wasn’t to promote the bags featured in it though, and instead to boost brand recognition in general.

End result

The ad was uploaded to YouTube on 11th November 2012 and has received over 19 million views to date.

Angry Birds Star Wars by Rovio

The Angry Birds Star Wars cinematic trailer is an animated ad.

It shows the Angry Birds versions of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker entering the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine to meet with Han Solo and Chewbacca, as in ‘Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope’. The same cantina music is playing and many of the same supporting characters can be seen, just in animated form. By the end of the ad C-3PO and R2-D2 have joined them.

Why does it work?

The success of this ad works on the basis of people’s love of both Angry Birds and Star Wars, and wanting to see how they work together. It also plays on Angry Birds’ previous success.

End result

The ad was uploaded to YouTube on 7th November 2012 and has received over 10 million views to date.

Viral ad campaigns can be manufactured, but it can be a very tricky process as you never know how your ad will be received. However, by following in the footsteps of these companies, businesses could achieve similar success.

This article was written by PR Fire, a company specialising in PR and news distribution.

Comments (7)

  • I agree with all the factors you mentioned over here.. You missed another factor ‘creativity’. It is a must to rock and make the ads campaign go viral.

  • I have read this post and got to know about all the viral ads. All are nice. I had already watched few of these and watched others today. Nice post.

    • Thank you for your feedback. I think what really makes these videos go viral is not just the creativity that goes into making them, it is a lot down to the theme of the video. As you will see each advertisement has an iconic theme i.e. angry birds, which is one of the most sought after mobile phone application on the market.

  • hi,
    wonderful post, I like the way you describe it. Specially videos.
    thanks for this great informative post… 🙂

  • i was not aware of that after reading the post fully agree wid u nice post u have mentioned ….thnx for this nice share about virtual ad campaning

  • nice tips for ads campaign go viral our ads should be creative and video are very nice thanks for sharing…


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