6 Viral Video Marketing Examples That Will Never Get Old
Oh, hi there. Have you heard the news about video? It’s
becoming really important for marketers to use. Imperative,
even. Perhaps mandatory.
“Sure,” you must be thinking. “And in other news, the sky is
Okay, we get it. You know how important video is. That much is
clear. In fact, 94% of marketers
plan to add either YouTube or Facebook video to their content
distribution efforts in the next
12 months. And that’s great — but we have a question. What
makes a video viral?
According to Dictionary.com, to
go viral means to become “very popular by circulating quickly
from person to person, especially through the internet.” And
when executed well, that virality can last for a while — in
fact, I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite ways to
reminisce about my childhood is to ask my peers, “Remember that
old jingle that went like … ?”
So not only have we hand-picked our favorite viral marketing
videos below — we’ve also explained what we believe makes them
so effective. And given the aforementioned ability of viral
videos to maintain evergreen popularity, you’ll notice that not
all of them are terribly recent. So, let’s get right to it,
6 Viral Video Marketing Examples
1) Dallas Zoo & Bob Hagh: Breakdancing Gorilla
We start off with a bit of an unusual example. It all started
when Dallas Zoo Primate Supervisor Ashley Orr captured this
video of Zola, a footloose and fancy-free gorilla splashing
around and dancing in a kiddie pool. Check it out:
But as if that wasn’t already fun enough to watch,
Star-Telegram Video Producer Bob Hagh noticed that the
gorilla’s “choreography” bore a striking resemblance to a
routine from the movie Flashdance, which was performed
to the song “Maniac.” Seeing an opportunity for a quick laugh,
Hagh dubbed the dancing gorilla video with the same track.
Why It Works
How many times have you watched a video and thought, “This
reminds me of … “? That’s precisely what Hagh did here —
took a video that was already cute, and added something simple
to make it even more shareable.
After Hagh’s “enhanced” version of the gorilla video went
viral, I resolved to start observing those fleeting moments
when I think to myself, “Wouldn’t it be funny if … ?” And while
there’s no guarantee that acting on those thoughts would have
viral results — and we wouldn’t recommend investing a
ton of time in something that isn’t likely to pay off —
Hagh’s experience makes us say, “You never know.”
So start paying attention to what you normally think of as
silly ideas, and if there’s a low-effort opportunity to act on
them, do so — but don’t just do it once, and pay attention
each time, analyzing any metrics that you’re able to pull
around performance. See who responds to each experiment and
how, and it could inform your video marketing strategy.
2) Dollar Shave Club: “Our Blades Are F***ing Great”
The video below is over five years old, and yet, out of all of
Dollar Shave Club’s YouTube videos — of which there are more
than 50 — it remains the brand’s most popular, with over 24
Why It Works
There’s something to be said for putting a face to a brand —
in this case, it’s Dollar Shave Club’s founder, Michael Dubin.
have up to 10X as many followers on social media as the
companies they work for, and content shared by them receives as
much as 8X the engagement. In
other words, viewers like it when the people behind a brand
advocate for it.
That’s exactly what this video does — and following its
success, Dubin hasn’t disappeared into the shadows, and to this
day, continues to personally appear in the vast majority of
Dollar Shave Club’s videos.
We get it. Founders and executives are busy. Where the heck are
they supposed to find the time to appear in all of these
marketing videos? To us, the answer is: They make the
time. By publicly making that investment in their respective
brands’ content, an executive sends the message that she still
believes in her brand, and that she hasn’t let its success
change her character. It’s a unique form of thought leadership,
but if Dollar Shave Club’s growth and popularity is any
indication — it works.
3) IBM: “A Boy And His Atom: The World’s Smallest Movie”
Here’s another video that you can file under: “Oldie, but
goodie.” Sure, this marketing video falls within the B2B sector
to advertise IBM’s data storage services — but similar to the
very B2C brand Dollar Shave Club, the example below remains its
most popular video on YouTube, with over six million views.
“Even nanophysicists need to have a little fun,” the video’s
description reads, explaining that, to make the video, “IBM
researchers used a scanning tunneling microscope to move
thousands of carbon monoxide molecules … all in pursuit of
making a movie so small it can be seen only when you magnify it
100 million times.” Today, it holds the Guinness World Records™
title for the World’s Smallest Stop-Motion Film.
Why It Works
Re-read the first part of the video’s description. “Even
nanophysicists need to have a little fun.” Replace that job
title with any other, and depending on your industry, it could
apply to your work, as well. All marketers deserve to have a
little fun. The question is, “How?”
It presents another opportunity to start paying closer
attention to those “Wouldn’t it be cool if … ?” thoughts, and
thinking about how you can actually act upon them to create
remarkable content. That’s especially important in B2B
marketing, where creatively communicating your product or
service in an engaging way is a reported challenge.
So, we’ll say it again: Write down your ideas for cool things
to do, and present them at your next marketing conversation
with a plan for implementing them.
4) TrueMoveH: “Giving”
TrueMoveH, a mobile communication provider in Thailand,
triggered leaky eyeballs everywhere when it published this
video in 2013. To date, it has over 20 million views and
continues to be the brand’s most popular YouTube video.
We’re not crying. You’re crying.
Why It Works
Let’s think about some of the ads that have given us “all the
feels,” as the kids would say, like Budweiser’s 2014 “Puppy
Love” Super Bowl
ad which, in January 2016, Inc. called “the All-Time
Most Popular Super Bowl Ad.”
They’re popular, and people continue to talk about them long
after they’ve aired. That’s because they invoke empathy — and
that can highly
influence buying decisions,
especially when there’s a story involved.
This video tells a story. It follows the tale of a man who was
unequivocally generous throughout his life and, in the end,
repaid when it mattered most. The best part: Not once
throughout the story is the brand mentioned. In fact, it isn’t
until the end that TrueMoveH’s general business category —
communication — arises.
Start with your industry. Then, think of a story you want to
tell — any story at all, as long as it invokes empathy. Then,
figure out how that story ties back to what your brand does,
and use it to create video content.
5) Tripp and Tyler & Zoom: “A Conference Call in Real Life”
Then, there’s the flip side of empathy — the kind that takes
some of life’s biggest annoyances and applies humor to them.
That’s exactly what podcast hosts Tripp and Tyler did in the
video below, to illustrate what a conference call would look
like if it played out in real life.
Why It Works
This example is an interesting case of co-marketing. Tripp and
Tyler made the video in partnership with Zoom, a video
conferencing provider — but Zoom isn’t mentioned until the
end, when the story being told in the video is largely over.
It’s as if the video says, “Ha ha, don’t you hate it when that
happens? Here’s a company that can provide a solution,” and
then quietly exits.
What are some of the biggest annoyances your customers or
personas have to deal with? Do they align with the problems
that your product or service is designed to solve? If the
answer is “no,” then, well … you have some work to do.
But if the answer is “yes,” find the humor in those problems.
They say that “art imitates life,” so don’t be afraid to act it
out, and use these common frustrations to create engaging
6) Poo~Pourri: “Imagine Where You Can GO”
Poo~Pourri, the maker of a unique bathroom spray, is known for
its vast array of viral videos. And while we’re a bit too
bashful to share its most popular one on here, here’s another
one — which has earned over 13 million views — that’ll give
you a general idea of what the brand is all about.
Why It Works
Let’s face it: Generally, what goes on in the bathroom stays in
the bathroom. It’s a taboo topic — but it’s one that everyone
experiences, and one that Poo~Pourri approaches and
communicates with bravado.
This brand’s products were created to solve a problem that
people typically don’t like to discuss publicly, but still
needs to be resolved. So Poo~Pourri created video content that
says, “Hey, we’ll address and talk about it, so you don’t have
What are some of the discomforts/uncomfortable topics around
the problem that your product seeks to resolve? Start a
conversation about them — the one that your customer wants to
have, but is too embarrassed to do so.
And guess what? It doesn’t have to pertain to bodily functions.
It can also be about bigger grievances, like wanting to quit
your job. That’s the approach that HubSpot has taken with its
Competition, for which
we created the video below. The opening line? An unabashed
declaration of, “Quit your job.”
So, there you have it. From tear-jerking to hilarious, these
viral videos illustrate the endless possibilities of how your
brand can create similar content — the kind that could keep
people talking about it far down the road.
What are your favorite viral video marketing examples? Let
us know in the comments.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published
in September 2010 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy,