Top 10 Viral Advertising Campaigns of 2011

So 2011 is drawing to a close and everyone’s reviewing what’s been happening this year. Looking back lets us learn and what better way than to learn from the best?

Visible Measures has helped AdAge compile this wonderful list of the 10 most popular viral campaigns of 2011, excluding movie and game trailers.


1. Volkswagen: The Force

Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles
Launch date: Feb 3
Views: 62.7 millionvok

Little Darth Vader tries to use the Force on the family dog, his laundry, and a peanut butter sandwich but fails. He only succeeds with a Volkswagen Passat. Too cute. So perhaps the winning combination is kids + pop culture references – we wouldn’t be surprised!



2. T-Mobile: Royal Wedding

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, London
Launch date: April 12
Views: 28.4 million

Hats off to T-Mobile for jumping onto cultural events AND mixing it up with the reference to existing viral videos! The spoof featured royal lookalikes shimmying down the aisle, paying homage to a real-life viral video, JK’s wedding dance (71 milion views). A brilliant addition to T-Mobile’s repertoire of awesome viral ads – who can forget how their huge-scale flash mob viral videos in 2009?



3. Apple: Introducing iPhone

Agency: TBWA, Media Arts Lab
Launch date: Oct 5
Views: 27.8 million

YouTube is a hub for demo and tutorial videos and it’s a great place to show off products and services so it’s no wonder that the world’s most valuable brand is at one of the top spots this year with Siri’s introduction. The campaign includes 10 original spots by Apple and more than 450 copies and derivatives around the Internet.



4. Fiat: Life Is Best When Driven

Agency: Doner
Launch date: Sept 12
Views: 27.4 million

The Fiat ads starred Jennifer Lopez on what’s portrayed as her “block”. JLo drives around the Bronx in a cute little Fiat while breakdancers do their thing and old men stare at her passing by. It reached critical mass on the web, although we can’t really say it was for positive reasons. One comment that we have to share: “5 mins later they break into her Fiat and steal the´╗┐ radio.”



5. Dirt Devil: You Know When It’s the Devil

Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg
Launch date: April 29
Views: 26.4 million

Done on spec by a German film school, this ad does a great job of spoofing the horror classic “The Exorcist”. Watch it and tell us that it isn’t something you’d want to share with your mates!



6. Old Spice: New Old Spice Guy Fabio

Agency: Wieden & Kennedy Portland
Launch date: July 14
Views: 26.3 million

In 2010, Old Spice was one of the first brands to really show the power of viral video with their campaign “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”. This year, they kept the joke going with Fabio as a threat to the Old Spice Guy crown. The campaign generated 200 short videos that had Fabio and Isaiah (the 2010 guy) responding to people’s tweets. We like how Old Spice introduces their own troll in the form of Fabio and bring us laugh after laugh with their overly macho lines.



7. Chrysler: Imported From Detroit

Agency: Wieden & Kennedy Portland
Launch date: Feb 6
Views: 22.3 million

Chrysler’s spot aired during the Super Bowl in America and told a moving and powerful story that captured the American spirit. Online, the ad starring Eminem, outperformed with nearly 300 placements. Chrysler gave the ad traditional exposure – perhaps this affected its online view count.



8. Google: The Web Is What You Make of It

Agency: Google Creative Lab
Launch date: May 2
Views: 21.2 million

Google’s Chrome internet browser is becoming it’s second most successful product (of course, search is in the champ spot). Chrome is now more popular than Firefox and is closing in on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Google sought out Lady Gaga, Johnny Cash (posthumously), Justin Bieber, among others, in 11 creative executions to promote the seamless integration of various Google products, ranging from YouTube (duh!) and Google+ hangouts, search. We like how the ad reaches out to everyone by making the users the stars of Google.



9. Adidas: All In

Agency: Sid Lee
Launch date: May 1
Views: 19.9 million

Adidas’s ad featuring Kay Perry, David Beckham, Leo Messi and Derrick Rose, among others, captured the most exciting and emotional moments of sport. Views were spread across 400 placements, including copies and derivatives.



10. Old Spice: Old Spice Man Is Back

Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, Portland
Launch date: Jan 20
Views: 18.6 million

It really is a testament to the power of Old Spice’s viral power that they’ve got 2 campaigns on the list. This campaign was simply a reintroduction of Isaiah after a short hiatus. Clearly the people can’t get enough of these videos. An ad for more ads, but still lapped up!


What are some of your favourite viral videos of 2011?

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