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Top viral video campaigns of 2013

‘Virality’ is the key aspect of any video advertising campaign today.

When your video ‘goes viral’, this means that your content has become exceedingly popular through online sharing in a very short period of time, whether it’s through video-hosting platforms like YouTube, or social media websites like Twitter or Facebook.

The future of viral video has more surprises in store for us, no doubt, particularly because of high-efficiency video coding (HEVC) being just around the corner. This new coding will allow us to load ten-minute videos in just ten seconds; combined with new, crisper resolution in the coming year, it’s clear that we have a lot more to look forward to.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the cream of the viral video crop for 2013 so far.

Evian: ‘Baby & Me’

Evian’s ‘Baby & Me’ advertisement, part of their Live Young campaign, generated 29 million hits in just five days, making it, surprisingly, the most watched advertisement on YouTube ever. Evian stated that their video campaign aimed to focus on its ‘longstanding commitment to the Live Young lifestyle message: youth is not a matter of age, it’s an attitude’.

How did they manage to pull off this amazing marketing feat? Firstly, they generated buzz around the campaign through social media as a part of their pre-launch campaign strategy. They also had YouTube-Twitter integration on the YouTube page for the video, which allowed users to share their comments directly on both platforms in one place, which helped increase the amount of engagement and shares.

Going further, Evian has now developed a mobile version of the ad as an app for iOS, Android and Facebook. The app allows the user to choose an existing image or take a new photo and select a skin tone and eye shape, thereby ‘baby-fying’ the photo. And yes – the app includes social media integration too, allowing users to share their ‘babified’ pictures.

Google Glass: ‘How it Feels’

In order to showcase their new, innovative product, Google used crowdsourcing content in order to make their Google Glass video, ‘How it Feels’, go viral. As of today, it has over 22 million views on YouTube.

Critical to the video’s success as a viral marketing tool was making mundane, everyday events seem magical and extraordinary through the eyes of Google Glass. The video is composed of short clips taken through the headset, deliberately showcasing the most publicised feature of the device: the ability to record memories from the person’s viewpoint.

Aside from the product, the video itself is something to marvel at. It seamlessly cuts in footage of fighter jets doing barrel rolls, to a table tennis champion giving it his all, to the more everyday memories, like following a ballerina down the stairs as she prepares for her show.

Kmart: ‘Ship My Pants’

Kmart was in a quandary with its advertising not too long ago. Its ad agency, DraftFCB, was going through some tumultuous times, starting off the year without a CEO. Having lost a few of their big clients, the future wasn’t looking too bright, particularly with Kmart’s financial woes.

DraftFCB managed to pull through the darkness in April this year with their ‘Ship My Pants’ ad, which effectively solved a number of problems at once. The commercial was a viral hit, being viewed 20 million times in less than four months. This pulled Kmart out of the slump and brought the brand a more youthful audience, too.

The commercial owed its success to its unique harnessing of toilet humour. The double entendre of the title took viewers by surprise, ensuring that pretty much everybody would want to share the video. Hot off the success of this video, DraftFCB has kept up with their output, releasing a follow-up titled ‘Big Gas Savings’.

It’s clear that viral success largely depends on having a truly unique idea. A totally unique product or service, like Google Glass, could potentially sell itself, but it takes a measured advertisement to show audiences what the true potential is. Once you have an idea, you need to make sure that you’ve picked the right channels and platforms to distribute it. The final step in securing ‘virality’, as it were, is to make your audience want to share it.