Viral advertising in 2011 generally did one of two things: used creative concepts that have worked before and upgraded them for more exposure (see: New Old Spice Guy), or broke the mold and went for the visceral appeal rather than the superficial.
Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., obviously went for the first. The perennial appeal of Old Spice has given that shop the top spot among creative agencies that have driven the most views in social video. Two of the top commercials from the agency came from Old Spice: the return of the Old Spice Guy and the the introduction of the New Old Spice Guy. Chrysler's "Imported from Detroit" work from the Super Bowl also made the top three for the agency. The agency's spots had 190 million views, double the number two shop, Deutsch, Los Angeles.
Deutsch, L.A., which came in second, went for the new, proving that a good story is the backbone of good creative. The agency was responsible for the tour de force that was the most viral video in 2011, "The Force" for Volkswagen. Although the agency's other work for VW in the Super Bowl, "Black Beetle," didn't pack the same content-driven punch, that spot was among its top three pieces of creative in the year.
Super Bowl work continues to get the viral clicks. All three spots from third place agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, which garnered 85 million views in 2011, came from the Super Bowl, led by the work that came out of the shop's crowdsourced campaign for Doritos. Other Super Bowl creative on the list comes from BBDO New York, which did Snickers' 2011 rendition of "You're Not You When You're Hungry."
And TBWA/Media Arts Lab, Apple 's long-standing agency, proves that when you have a product on your hands with a already assembled legion of followers, a simple product demo can also work. All three spots for the agency came from Apple , with nearly half of the agency's 62 million views coming from "Introducing the iPhone 4S."
The 2009 Evian roller-skating babies spot brought BETC EuroRSCG to No. 5 on the chart, an exception considering that most other agencies and brands were riding along on new executions. Other work from the agency was Evian's 2011 film spot, "Baby Inside," and work for French broadcaster Canal+.
T-Mobile, which has generally done well on the viral scale with its spoofs of flash mobs, brings Saatchi & Saatchi, London, up to sixth place, but the "Royal Wedding" spot is the standout in the 48 million views Saatchi, London, work garnered in 2011.
W&K's Amsterdam outpost, which took the No. 9 spot, created acclaimed work for Heineken, featuring a dashing super stud that might be the progeny of The Most Interesting Man In the World. Both spots had a great story set to wonderful music, with The Asteroids Galaxy Tour making an appearance in the first one, and a touch of sixties Bollywood music in the second. The agency's third spot was Nike 's "Write the Future," the Cannes-winning blockbuster featuring soccer greats. Altogether, the agency had just over 29 million views.
And since we're talking social, Google Creative Lab, which seems to have done everything right while using its own platform, also brings up the rear of the chart. Notable among its campaigns is the Chrome "The Web is What You Make of It" work, which shows celebrities, regular people and small businesses, all using the browser to do great things. That campaign was created with BBH , London, which ranked eighth. Demo Slam, which Google Creative Lab did in partnership with New York's Johannes Leonardo, also recruited the public into showing off the company's various services, then pitting the demos against each other.