These days consumers are flooded with more advertising than ever. As people consume media on more and more devices the challenge of making your brand stand out from the rest can be a daunting task. By now we all know that in order to be successful online you need to turn your customers into ambassadors for your brand by talking about you online. The word “viral” is often thrown around in the world of online advertising as if it is something that will magically happen. Let’s shoot a commercial, put it on YouTube and use a cool hashtag and it will go viral.

The answer is unfortunately not that simple. In order to generate buzz and interest in your brand you will ultimately need to start with something worth sharing. People don’t want to consume ads, they want to consume content. Providing your audience with great content is what is going to set you apart from your competitors. The best campaigns are those that demonstrate your product without people realizing they are being marketed to. Here are 4 examples of viral video campaigns that accomplish just that.

Epic Split – Volvo


Jean-Claude Van Damme and Volvo teamed up together in this ad to demonstrate both his flexibility and the stability of Volvo Dynamic Steering. This campaign saw huge success going viral within a few days of its creation. The ad does not bombard you with ad copy or a sales pitch and instead lets you focus on the incredible act of strength and skill displayed by Van Damme. Volvo struck gold with this video and within four weeks it became the most watched automotive commercial on YouTube ever.

The Duel – Kuka Robot Group



The Duel sees professional ping-pong player Timo Boll face off against a KUKA robot in an epic match of table tennis. While the campaign currently has 4.8 million views on YouTube it would have perhaps been much higher had this been an actual duel between the two opponents vs a stylized pre scripted match. In the days prior to the release of this campaign there was a lot of buzz for this match as Kuka did a good job promoting the duel on sites like Reddit, seeing front page success for their teaser video which currently has 1.8 million views on YouTube. Seeing as how the actual match only saw a little over twice as many views as the teaser it is a good example of how much people want to see good content. However, given the industry this campaign is still overall a success.


Built for it Trials – Stack – Cat© Products & Jenga



What do you get when you mix five pieces of Cat heavy equipment and 27 wooden 600 pound blocks? Answer: The world’s largest game of Jenga. In only the two weeks since its release this video has been seen over 1.5 million times on YouTube signaling a great success for Cat products. While it is obviously one big demonstration of how powerful these machines are the video distracts the audience and brings them back to their childhood for just a moment.


Ken Block’s Gymkhana – DC Shoes, Monster Energy, Ford


Gymkhana is actually a term borrowed from equestrian riding for a type of motorsport that is practiced across the world. Ken Block’s Gymkhana is actually a series of car racing videos that have been released over the past 5 years. In that span the 6 videos in the series have seen over a combined 200 million views on YouTube by focusing on exciting action and awesome visuals instead of the products being promoted. Gymkhana 5 takes place in San Francisco and is the most popular video in the series with over 61 million views on YouTube. Ken Block takes his 650 horsepower 2012 Ford Fiesta around San Fran at breakneck speed going from 0-60 in 1.8 seconds and at the 3:45 mark we see him fly his car over the top of one of the city’s iconic hilly streets. Who knew a Ford Fiesta could handle like that?


While all examples here are video the same principle applies to all forms of viral marketing. Focus on giving your audience great content and they will do the sharing for you.

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