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7 Brands That Have Mastered the Viral Video Campaign

Mastering the art of the viral video will lead to greater exposure for your brand’s unique story — take a cue from these 7 successful brands.

In the highly competitive arena of video marketing, going viral is the ultimate testament to a campaign’s strength. But to stand out from billions of other viral content hopefuls, brands have to get their triggering techniques in order.

Some viral videos go for humour, some for emotional release, and some lean on sheer quirkiness — but no matter what, every company is aiming to create a resonant, highly shareable viewing experience. These 7 savvy brands have successfully navigated the clogged, noisy lanes of the information superhighway to deliver video content that sticks.

1. Microsoft – “Love, Language and Lumia #MakeItHappen”

Cute and upbeat, this spot tells a charming love story without leaning too heavily on the gadget that makes it all possible. By presenting an inviting narrative, full of self-deprecation and universal sentiment, the audience (almost a million and half views and counting) can be reminded of the time they took risks, or be inspired to follow “Ed’s” example.

Allowing your audience to project their own experience onto a story is a great way to endear them to your brand, compelling them to share the love across their own social networks.

Fun Fact: Edward is Casual’s actual Chief Financial Officer.

2. Nike “Better For It – Inner Thoughts”

Nike has always been able to capture the public’s imagination with its clever advertising campaigns. Here, however, they’re paying tribute to a universal, largely unspoken experience: the discouraging inner monologue that often plagues us when we work out.

Quick clips of the inner workings of the subjects’ minds offer funny, relatable narrative stepping stones, building towards the video’s ultimate revelation: that the end sense of accomplishment make all the work, envy, stress and pep talks to one’s reflection well worth it. That message of collective struggle toward triumph is certainly one worth sharing.

3. Lay’s – “Wouldn’t It Be Yummy?”

Lays, (or Walkers in the UK, but that slightly spoils the gag) is really laying out a lot here…the combination of vibrant colors, well-manicured, animated food and a bright, catchy (but innocuous) jingle deliver the vital elements of this highly shareable video. Plus, this spot manages to assuage unfounded fears (“Classic Lay’s and BBQ are not going away”) and clarify the promotion (“If your flavor beats the others / you could win a million dollars”).

Beyond the video itself, the contest aspect whipped up a frenzy of submissions, inspiring huge boosts to the company’s social channels with enviable engagement and chatter.

4. GoPro – “Fireman Saves Kitten”

Originating from raw footage, “Fireman Saves Kitten” succeeds on several levels. Not only does it scratch the internet’s insatiable itch for cat videos, it does so with a harrowing twist: the little oxygen mask isn’t a cute prop, it’s a life-saving measure.

Great viral videos succeed because they trigger emotions across a wide swath of people; and such universal emotions lend themselves naturally to sharing. This video not only comes from an organic source, but it turns what could have been a winking campaign (“Be A Hero”) for the extreme sports set often associated with the company into something inspiring and more widely aspirational.

5. Marriott – “When You Smile Series”

Smiles are infectious. Or, you know, viral. Marriott’s spot is highly effective as a recruitment video, featuring beaming employees and inviting international locations; but it also extends that invitation to happiness beyond Marriott’s hotel grounds, urging viewers to “do something that makes you smile and share it with the world.” Even if you aren’t in the job market, this short, warm video aims straight for our human fondness for smiling. Sounds pretty shareable to us!

6. Android – “Friends Furever”

This spot from Android also seeks to harness the internet’s demand for cute animals, but from a very different angle than that used by GoPro. Although similarly reliant on found footage, “Friends Furever” doubles down on the cute, goes without the mild trauma, and adds a touch of harmony to tell a series of heartwarming stories.

Android invites viewers to pick their favorite dynamic duo, eliciting the opinions of others and generally fawning over the cute creatures in the process. If the video’s more than 28 million views and reported 6.4 million shares is any indication, this is a pretty great way to get people talking, if only tangentially, about your product.

7. Dove – “Real Beauty Sketches”

Dove, like Nike, takes the viewer into the minds of relatable strangers toward a cathartic conclusion. Since the beginning of Dove’s body positive campaigning, the company has sought to unpack culturally imposed insecurities and, once laid bare, expose them for the social constructions that they are. This spot takes that mission a step further, by turning the idea of social constructions into something personal and literal.

Despite its length (around six minutes), the video captivates viewers by speaking to a disconnect we unconsciously experience in every interaction; that is, what we look like to others and to ourselves. The video succeeds in pointing out the inherent flaw in adhering too strongly to either conception. By delivering a powerful, thought-provoking message within a striking visual medium, Dove created a campaign that has resonated with over 7 million viewers and counting.

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