With 'Gymkhana,' Tiny DC Shoes Takes on the Big Boys

Debut Is Fifth-Biggest Week for a Branded Video Since Ad Age Started Keeping Track

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It should come as no surprise that the fifth video in Ken Block's "Gymkhana" series topped the Viral Video Chart last week. What is surprising is how he did it: 20.8 million views in its first week, according to Visible Measures.

If you're one of the few people who didn't click on this video last week, you're clearly not interested in watching DC Shoes' chief creative officer and rally driver tear up the streets of San Francisco, some of the best driving in the city by the bay since Bullitt. The entire Gymkhana series has amassed more than 150 million views since Mr. Block made the first video in 2009.

Now some perspective: 20.8 million is the fifth-biggest debut week for any brand since Ad Age began publishing the chart in 2009. Of the other five, two were Super Bowl campaigns (VW and M&M's) that happened to also win the USA Today AdMeter poll, one starred Old Spice's Isaiah Mustafa, and the other was Kony 2012, one of the fastest-spreading videos of all time. Here are the top five branded videos in their first week:

  • Kony 2012: 96.4 million
  • Old Spice's "Responses": 35.1 million
  • M&M's "Just My Shell": 27.6 million
  • VW's "The Force": 22 .8 million
  • DC Shoes' "Gymkhana 5": 20.8 million

While paid placements are part of any branded campaign, great content allows a small brand like DC Shoes to mix it up with the big boys.

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