Top Viral Video Campaigns Of 2013
We‘ve measured the number of times a campaign is viewed across the Internet, accounting for clips uploaded by the brands and their agencies, as well as clips driven directly by audiences.
As of Dec. 9, these brands emerged as the most popular stars in the 2013 viral video sky:
- 1. Samsung – 498,975,560 views
- 2. Google – 388,835,626 views
- 3. Sony – 171,073,457 views
- 4. Dove – 160,007,412 views
- 5. Rovio – 145,027,368 views
- 6. Evian – 124,976,652 views
- 7. 5-Hour ENERGY – 120,519,420 views
- 8. Volvo Trucks – 117,169,047 views
- 9. Nike – 111,836,785 views
- 10. Pepsi MAX – 92,636,510 views
It’s important to note that one of the most interesting and exciting characteristics of viral video is the speed at which one video can reach superstardom. Volvo Trucks, for instance, was not on our top-10 brands list just two weeks ago. Yet, with the performances of its latest campaign, “Live Test,” the brand has been catapulted onto the list. Brands are constantly racking up views, so the rankings can easily change, especially toward the bottom of this list.
We know what brands fared well in 2013, but which specific video campaigns were the most popular in 2013, and why did they generate so much heat? Let’s take a look at this year’s big winners and highlight the secrets of their success:
Most Viral Campaign: “Real Beauty Sketches” -- 133,548,209 views
This campaign, a continuation of the Dove “Campaign for Real Beauty,” reached over 100 million views within a month of its first release. With an emotional approach that questioned women’s self-image with the help of an FBI-trained sketch artist, Dove aimed straight for the heart of its primary demographic, women aged 25 to 50. Besides the genuine emotion this campaign elicited, the reason for its success was its ability to start conversation. While overall sentiment for the campaign was positive, some critics felt that the ad patronized women while cementing dated standards of beauty. That debate only helped Dove extend the life of the video.
Brand: Volvo Trucks
Most Viral Campaign: “Live Test” -- 94,127,942 views
As of today, this month-old campaign shows no signs of slowing down and will likely top 100 million views by the end of December. Starring nimble 1990s action star Jean-Claude Van Damme – who performs splits between two Volvo FM trucks as they drive backwards – the “Live Test” video relies on fearless stunts to attract a large, enraptured audience worldwide and drive headlines. The stunt concept has also lent itself nicely to user-generated content, as more than 22.1 million of its views are attributed to spoofs of the campaign.
Most Viral Campaign: “Magna Carta Holy Grail” -- 57,483,467 views
As part of this campaign, Samsung wisely promised Galaxy users free access to rap superstar Jay-Z’s new album “Magna Carta Holy Grail” three days before it came out. The videos feature behind-the-scenes footage of Jay-Z in the recording studio, making tracks for the new album. The centerpiece of the campaign – a three-minute short video – debuted during the NBA Finals and was an instant hit due to the popularity of Jay-Z and music videos online. The campaign also received a boost from copies posted by viewers, extending its earned media reach. Samsung had similar success with another celebrity-driven campaign this year, “Looking 4 Myself,” starring Usher.
Brand: Pepsi MAX
Most Viral Campaign: “Gordon Test Drive” -- 50,936,963 views
In 2012, Pepsi MAX found great success with “Uncle Drew,” a stunt in which they dressed up NBA Rookie of the Year, Kyrie Irving, as an old man and let him shock some players on the basketball court. In 2013, they followed up that campaign with “Jeff Gordon Test Drive.” This time it was the NASCAR driver’s turn to go undercover and give a car salesman the test drive of his life. While funny and entertaining, the campaign’s life was extended by the debate of whether or not the whole prank was staged.
Given the tremendous momentum these brands have generated with their viral videos, we expect to see them and other brands take greater creative risks, add new doses of “star power” and experiment more with their video content marketing strategies in the coming year.