30Jun

Posted: 30 Jun 2016 Contributor: Therese Palmere

Examples of Successful Viral Video Marketing on YouTube and What We can Learn from Them

Examples of Successful Viral Video Marketing on YouTube

YouTube has nurtured some of the most famous viral marketing campaigns in history. The community consists of over a billion users with over four billion of its videos being watched daily. In fact, in the United States, YouTube reaches more 18-34 year old (which is one of the most desired target audiences) than any other cable network.

With so many people tuning in to watch videos, it’s no wonder how companies are able to spread their content like wildfire on this platform. Here are some of the best examples of viral video marketing on YouTube from Evian, Dove, and Chipotle and what we can learn from them to create a successful marketing strategy.

Evian – Incorporating Humor

The luxury water brand Evian won the Guinness World Record title for the Most Viewed Online Ad in 2009 with “Roller Babies.” The iconic video had two teasers posted on other social media sites leading to its release, “Baby Moonwalk” and “Baby Break Dance.” Leveraging the momentum, Evian also incorporated a Twitter strategy to increase awareness and activity for their “Live Young” campaign. They launched Roller Babies in France, UK, Germany, Belgium, Canada, US, Russia and Japan.


Video Source: youtube.com

The brand-defining video received over 25 million views and 500,000 Facebook fans in less than two months of its release.

The video incorporates CGI technology to show a playful scene of dancing, roller-skating babies to Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight. The babies are flipping, doing tricks, and showcasing Evian’s strategy of prolonged youth. Paving the way to success for Evian’s future videos, the babies became an indispensable part of the brand.  “Baby & Me” 2013, also featured on YouTube, exhibited the same success as Roller Babies in 2009. In a couple days, Baby & Me received over 13 million views. Utilizing YouTube as a social media platform to spread their message, Evian’s videos set the precedent for future companies in video marketing.

Examples of Successful Viral Video Marketing
Image Source: www.youtube.com

First strategy for success, make the content fun, inviting and enjoyable so consumers feel more engaged. Laughter is good for the soul and for your company because those giggles often result in shares, likes and comments.

The way to your heart may be your stomach, but the way to your audience is through their funny bone.

Dove – The Power of Empowering Ads

Another Guinness World Record Title holder is Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” for the Most Viewed Online Ad in 2013. Dove’s approach to releasing this video was carefully planned. Fernando Machado, Dove Skin VP, said to Business Insider

“The brand partnered with YouTube and Unruly to facilitate the distribution and seeding strategy. PR served as a key channel, generating initial placements with media such as the Today Show, Mashable, Huffington Post and Channel 7 Morning Show in Australia. The film was distributed to top media around the world and was quickly shared by women, men, media and even other brands.”


Video Source: youtube.com

Beauty Sketches features Gil Zamora, an FBI trained forensic artist, who sketches a portrait of a women as she gives a description of her face. They cannot see each other and when the picture is finished, and a stranger (who was asked to become acquainted with the women) gives an alternate take on what she looked like. At the end, Zamora reveals both pictures showing the second sketch to be a happier and more positive version of the first portrait. The women were taken aback by the differences.

Their Real Beauty campaign sought to deconstruct the societal perception of beauty and let women know “You are more beautiful than you think.”

Dove uploaded the video to Australia, Canada, Brazil, and the US, which were their four key markets. Afterwards, they uploaded the video in 25 languages to be seen across 110 countries taking advantage of YouTube’s diverse international community. In one month, the video received over 114 million views. In two months, the video had over 4.6 billion public relation and media impressions.

 Viral Video Marketing on YouTube
Image Source: youtube.com

Empowerment is a powerful tool. Remind your audience of their value, boost their confidence and as a result, they will view your company in a positive light. Did you know, women between the ages of 18 – 34 are twice as likely to think highly of a brand that made an empowering ad and nearly 80% more likely to like, share, comment, and subscribe after watching one? Increase engagement with your target market by creating an uplifting relationship.

Evian and Doves also both leveraged strong social media marketing strategies. By incorporating the strength of supporting platforms to promote and advertise their videos, the social media push helped these videos go from great to viral.

And, while it is indeed better to proceed with a strategy that has been carefully planned out and timed, once in a while, videos go viral on YouTube with a much more direct approach (and with a little bit of luck)…

Chipotle – Creating an Emotional Response

Chipotle’s “The Scarecrow” is an example of just that. Although it did not make the Guinness Book of World Records, in 2013 it received 5.5 million views in just 8 days. In 2013, the advertisement also promoted a game created by Chipotle and within six weeks of being available in the Apple store there were 500,000 downloads.


Video Source: youtube.com

The video follows one Scarecrow as he reports to work at a mass food production company called Crow Foods Inc. Scenes of the factory show their chickens getting injected with a green antibiotic to get bigger and cows subjected to tiny metal cages while getting milked. The Scarecrow returns home on the bus looking helpless as he gazes out the window to see giant machine crows spraying pesticides on farmland. Spending time in his own tiny garden, he notices a red pepper that has ripened (the Chipotle logo). He gets the idea to make food with ingredients that he’s cultivated on his own land. He sets up a stand in front of the factory with a sign that says, “Cultivate a better world.”

Successful Viral Video
Image Source: youtube.com

Although The Scarecrow was met with a lot of praise for its innovation, there were many who disapproved of the company’s portrayal of farmers.

Despite the controversy it raised, their “Food With Integrity” campaign caused a lot of buzz on social media platforms with 614 million public relation and media impressions.

Appeal to your target market by getting in touch with their emotions. Strike a chord in their hearts to make them understand why. Why your company is important, why your product is different, why they should care and pay attention to what you have to say. Connect with your audience on a deeper level by moving past face value and you will see a positive outcome.

The Takeaway for Your Video Marketing Strategy

Though very different industries and brands, these examples show how any business can improve their marketing strategy with three of the most valuable lessons for viral video production:
● Leverage a sense of humor
● Provide a clear, empowering message
● Reach out to people’s sense of emotions

Each company took different approaches to spreading their video content on YouTube. The interactive video sharing website helped these respective campaigns to gain millions of views in a couple months and in some cases, a couple days.

With video marketing on the rise, YouTube is definitely a platform to consider when creating a social media marketing plan for your next campaign. For more information on video marketing trends in 2016, be sure to check out the recap here.

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