The Holidays In Viral Video

2013 turned out to be a banner year for video content marketing. Never before have we seen so many branded videos reach 20 million, 30 million, 40 million and 50 million views. And never before have videos reached those levels of viewership so quickly. The rate and consistency of viewership in 2013 shows how brands have not only embraced the medium, but also how they have a firm grasp of how to engage audiences.

While much of the year was dominated by the big guys of branded video – Samsung, Google, and really any brand in consumer electronics – the holiday season is a time when retailers get to step up to the plate and shine.

Since the beginning of November, we’ve looked at the most viral campaigns in retail each week to see what we can learn about branded video during the holiday season. We ranked brands based on the performance of brand-driven and audience-driven video clips across the web. All views are user-initiated, where a real person needs to press the “play” button to watch an ad.



Here were the top retail ads for the week of Dec. 12:

                  Rank                                    Campaign Name                                    Brand                                                      

                  #1                                    “What’s Your Deal?”                                    CVS                                                     

                  #2                                    “The Bear & The Hare”                                John Lewis (UK)                                   

                  #3                                    “Holiday 2013”                                           Victoria’s Secret                 

                  #4                                    “Show Your Joe”                                          Kmart, Joe Boxer                 

                  #5                                    “Christmas in a Day”                                    Sainbury’s (UK)                                   

                  #6                                    “#GetJenniferThere”                                    Kohl’s                                                    

                  #7                                    “Herding Cats”                                             IKEA                                                    

                  #8                                    “Dream Receipt”                                         Kohl’s                                                     

                  #9                                    “What’s In A Store”                                    Macy’s                                                     

                  #10                                    “Holiday 2013”                                         Zales                                                      

CVS topped the most-viewed chart with 2,885,267 views for an ad for its personalized deal service featuring celebrities like Joan Rivers, and George Hamilton. Interestingly enough, this ad had great traction despite having no specific holiday theme. In fact, the CVS campaign debuted in early fall to support the pharmacy giant’s new online circular and rewards program -- so it is surprising to see an older, non-holiday themed video hit #1 in mid-December. 

CVS is not known as one of the top holiday advertisers on TV or online. So are the marketing and e-commerce teams at CVS pushing the video more aggressively to convince consumers to use their CVS cards and shop more frequently during December?

Other video ad campaigns that topped over one million views were British retailer John Lewis and its “The Bear & The Hare” campaign and Kmart’s “Show Your Joe” ad as well as perennial favorite Victoria Secret’s “Holiday 2013” ad.

There was a second wave of holiday retail campaigns released mid-December, speaking to the idea that instead of providing continuous coverage throughout the holiday season, brands are really mimicking the supposed habits of shoppers. They’re being aggressive in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday and then again in the week right before Christmas to catch those last-minute shoppers.

While retailers still dominate the most viral holiday ads of the season, there are some other brands that have become perennial favorites. For the second year, the NBA entertained viewers with its own take on a classic Christmas carol. And Cartier produced another beautiful ad, the kind video viewers have come to love from luxury brands.  One of the favorites of the season has been WestJet’s “Christmas Miracle,” which saw the airline surprise passengers at the end of their flight with the most wanted items on their Christmas lists.

We expect to see greater investment in video content marketing from all major brands in 2014. The growth of online video in 2013 has shown that brands understand the power of short, captivating films to engage an audience in an often deeper and more meaningful way than traditional 30-second or 60-second spot. 

As these organizations seek new and better ways to attract and maintain the fickle interest of consumers that enjoy entertaining content, we will also see the video industry continue to grow at an exponential rate, as it has done the past five years. With 2014 on the immediate horizon, we believe we will see greater innovation in video quality and distribution, as well as in analysis and measurement in the year ahead. Stay tuned!

1 comment about "The Holidays In Viral Video".
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  1. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, December 31, 2013 at 7:03 a.m.

    Why would someone write a post reviewing videos and not include links? You must have had the URLs right in front of you, as the videos were playing. Is it a mediapost rule?

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