Every week, we publish the ads audiences choose to
watch most with our friends at Ad Age in the Viral Video Chart.
Many of the ads come and go quickly, but some are more resilient,
fighting off competition and digging their heels in to remain on
the chart for weeks. The views for these campaigns add up, and,
every so often, we like to take a look at their performance over
the long haul.
With this in mind, we've published a refreshed list of the Top
10 Viral Ads of All Time . These are ads audiences actually choose
to watch -- they don't include pre-roll or auto-play ads that
interrupt viewing. To generate these high-impact user-initiated
views, brands are creating more content (not ads) than ever before,
many with the goal of generating earned media. Creative plays a
significant role in the success of each campaign, but paid media
has become a critical factor in driving campaigns to what we call
their "earned media threshold," a campaign's tipping point for
generating earned media. This threshold varies depending on
creative quality -- the better the creative, the lower the
threshold. The campaigns on this list have each hit their earned
media threshold and are running on cruise control at this point.
Getting to this point, however, is incredibly difficult, as this
To determine who makes this list, as well as the Viral Video
Chart each week, we measure thousands of social video campaigns
across the web. Each campaign is measured on a "True Reach" basis,
which includes the original clips the brands and agencies upload as
well as the clips audiences copy, mix, mash, spoof and repost
across the web.
When we last took a look at the most viral ads of all time, only
two campaigns had crossed the 100 million view barrier, Blendtec's
"Will It Blend?" and Evian's "Live Young." Nearly a year later,
these are still the only campaigns with more than 100 million
views. This speaks to the significance of an ad being chosen more
than 100 million times.
And they keep on going. Blendtec cuts through more than 700,000
views each week on average, while Evian swallows more than 1.1
million. At this pace, Evian is on track to catch and surpass
Blendtec within the next year. The water brand may reach 200
million views before the popular blender.
Newer campaigns are more explosive, but fade more quickly. The
campaign that put Old Spice into a different viral league,
"Responses," broke speed records online. It flew passed 35 million
views in one week. After that , the campaign ran hot for about six
months, charging through 500,000-plus views each week. Today, the
campaign brings home about 200,000 views per week. It spiked to
400,000 views with Old Spice's new Fabio campaign, a phenomenon we
call viral reactivation, but fell back to 200,000 weekly views
afterwards. At this rate, "Responses" will hit 100 million views in
about two years.
Including "Responses," Old Spice dominates the list with three
campaigns. "Odor Blocker" and the campaign that introduced us to
the Old Spice Guy, "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like," both make
the list. Both campaigns have seduced more than 50 million
Volkswagen's "The Force" remains 2011's
dominant campaign and the biggest new campaign of the group. "The
Force" charmed and delighted audiences, who chose to watch it more
than 40 million times in its first three weeks. Since its splash at
Super Bowl 2011, the campaign has done consistently well,
generating north of 300,000 weekly views.
DC Shoes' "Gymkhana Two," Xbox's "Xbox Project Natal," and
Pepsi's "Gladiator" all make return
appearances on the list. "Gymkhana Two" will likely get a bump in
the coming weeks as "Gymkhana Four" tears its way across the Web.
"Project Natal's" and "Gladiator's" days may be numbered on this
list as new campaigns fight for position. Generating about 100,000
weekly views each, the public seems to be forgetting about these
campaigns slowly but surely.
Doritos' "Crash the Super Bowl 2010" takes the final spot on the
list, beating out "T-Mobile Dance" by just more than 500,000 views.
Other notable campaigns threatening to displace the most viral
campaigns include some of the usual suspects -- DC Shoes' "Gymkhana
3," Nike 's "Write the Future," Doritos' "Crash
the Super Bowl 2011," Old Spice's "The Return of the Man Your Man
Could Smell Like," VW's "The Fun Theory," and other favorites.
While these campaigns are currently the closest to making the most
noise, it will most likely be a new campaign that tips the balance,
or reactivates a dark horse, and climbs onto the list of the most
viral campaigns of all time. Stay tuned.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian Shin Brian Shin is the founder and CEO
of Visible Measures, the analytics and advertising platform for
social video. Brian will be presenting the Ad Age Webcast
"The Art & Science of Earned Media" Sept. 8 at 2 p.m.