Our friends at Visible Measures helped us compile the 10 most-popular viral campaigns of 2011, excluding movie and game trailers.
Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles
Launch date: Feb. 3
Views: 62.7 million
Who could forget Little Darth, the endearing kid in the Vader mask attempting to use The Force on his dog, a peanut-butter sandwich and, more successfully, a Passat. Volkswagen gave this the ultimate paid placement in the Super Bowl but launched it the previous week on the web, where it garnered 14 million views before the game. With 600 placements, the video is on pace to become one of the most-watched viral ads of all time.
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, London
Launch date: April 12
Views: 28.4 million
Brands rarely act fast enough to jump on a cultural phenomenon and create a meme, but since William and Kate's event had a date, T-Mobile had time. The resulting spoof featured royal lookalikes prancing down the aisle in an homage to a true viral video, "JK Wedding Dance" (71 million views). It was released a few weeks before the nuptials and added to a T-Mobile legacy that includes such huge hits as "T-Mobile Dance" at London's Liverpool Station.Apple: "Introducing iPhone"
Agency: TBWA Media Arts Lab
Launch date: Oct. 5
Views: 27.8 million
Demo videos are their own animal, frequently driving huge views for Apple, Google, Xbox and others. Until this year, the iPhone Facetime demo was Apple's biggest online video, but the iPhone 4S video featuring voice assistant Siri took it out in less than a month. The campaign includes 10 original spots by Apple and more than 450 copies and derivatives around the web.
Launch date: Sept. 12
Views: 27.4 million
Sales of the cute and nostalgic Fiat 500 have been disappointing, but ads starring Jennifer Lopez on what's portrayed as her "block" have reached critical mass on the web. The "Papi" ad introduced on Monday Night Football, illustrates the enduring power of her celebrity. Then again, a fair number of views might have come from people curious about what many have called one of the worst car ads in recent memory.
Launch date: April 29
Views: 26.4 million
Done on spec by a German film school, this ad spoofs the horror classic "The Exorcist." It shows that great work can come from anywhere and that any brand can play when it comes to creating media that people want to share.
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy Portland
Launch date: July 14
Views: 26.3 million
Old Spice's 2010 "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" will go down in the annals of marketing as one of the first CPG brands to crack the viral code. This year, Wieden & Kennedy kept the joke going by tapping Fabio to battle original Old Spice guy Isaiah Mustafa. The campaign generated 200 short videos and had Fabio responding to viewer tweets.
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy Portland
Launch date: Feb. 6
Views: 22 .3 million
It was the spot to redefine Chrysler, and it aired during the Super Bowl for an unprecedented two minutes, forcing Fox to shuffle its broadcast to accommodate it. Online, the ad, starring Eminem, outperformed with nearly 300 placements. Chrysler broke the ad the traditional way, but one wonders if it left views on the table by not doing it before, as VW did with "The Force."
Google's Chrome browser is becoming its second-most successful product, behind Search. It passed Firefox and is closing in on Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Google enlisted Lady Gaga, Johnny Cash (posthumously) and Justin Bieber, among others, in 11 creative executions. Some have been promoted to TV from YouTube.
Agency: Sid Lee
Launch date: May 1
Views: 19.9 million
Adidas's global branding campaign was created for the first truly global medium. The celebrity-driven spots featured Katy Perry, David Beckham, Leo Messi and Derrick Rose, among others. Views were spread across 400 placements, including copies and derivatives.
It's a testament to the power of the original idea that Old Spice has two campaigns on the list. Barely scraping in is "Old Spice Man is Back," released at the beginning of the year and a comeback for Isaiah Mustafa after a short hiatus.
Top 10 Viral Trailers
1. "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1," 179.3 million
2. "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," 152.3 million
3. "Cars 2," 151.4 million
4. "Battlefield 3," 135.8 million
5. "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3," 123.7 million
6. "Fast Five," 82.9 million
7. "Assassin's Creed Revelations," 81.3 million
8. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," 74.7 million
9. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," 68.7 million
10. "X-Men: First Class," 66.4 million
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