Viral marketing is very difficult to do well, but by studying the success these videos brought their owners you should be able to understand what it takes to make a good campaign. Viral marketing may be one of the most lucrative forms of advertising but it offers a ROI unlike any other.

Some of the examples in this compilation show that you can reach millions upon millions of people by spending under $1000. Using websites such as Youtube as a free means of distributing your video means you’re not shouldering hosting costs and using Will It Blend as an example, blending an iPhone on film is an inexpensive piece of advertising – but when you’re reaching over 6,000,000 people because of it, you need only sell 10 products to reclaim the costs.

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1. Blendtec – Will It Blend?

It is the best way for Blendtec to demonstrate the might of their blenders? Gun for product placement in films? Leverage food channels? No, all they needed to do was blend an iPod, a broom, golf balls and a multitude of other things.

This campaign attracted visitors like no other – people loved watching sturdy/expensive items turned to dust by this blender. On Youtube alone the iPhone blending attracted nearly 6million visitors, the iPod attracted nearly 6 million too, 3million for a bag of marbles – you get the idea. Sales of Blendtec blenders increased by something like 800% because of this cheap yet moreish campaign.

Visit Will it Blend?

2. The Old Spice Guy

An impossibly random campaign by Old Spice that featured a man whose rugged handsomeness was matched only by his rapid-fire surreality. Spawning catchphrases like silverfish he caught with his hands, the Old Spice Guy inspired reams of jokes, impressions, and even contemplations about how he was good for race relations in America.

Visit Old Spice

3. Honda – The Accord “Cogs”

I consider Honda’s marketing team to be amongst the best in the world because they frequently deliver rememberable, instantly recognisable advertising. This advert that they created for the new Honda Accord became iconic – it didn’t need to be subtle in it’s intentions, the sheer scope of what they accomplished ensured that people were forwarding this advert to each other across the entire Internet.

It was shown on TV’s worldwide and implied that if Honda could go into this much detail with their advertising, the car must be exceptionally well made. Which they were.

Visit Honda

4. The Best Job Ever

In January 2009, Tourism Queensland hosted a somewhat unorthodox contest, the winner of which would be put up in a posh hotel, their only responsibility being to tour the islands of the Great Barrier Reef and blog about it for six months. Oh, and also they would pay $150,000. You read that right.

Billed as “The Best Job in the World”, the campaign generated massive amounts of attention and thousands of applicants. Eventually a Brit named Ben landed the coveted position. Going off the latest numbers, he now makes $149,998.00 more than the average blogger.

Visit Island Reef Job

5. Transport for London – Do The Test

Transport for London created this absolutely astonishing piece of viral video. You’re challenged to keep an eye on the video and count how many times the team in white pass the basketball.

At the end of the video a new dimension is introduced that forces you to re-watch it – the message this video promotes is massively important and they conveyed it brilliantly.

Visit Do The Test

6. Sheep Art

As big name companies started to realize they could trick their customers into doing all the advertising at a fraction of the cost with viral marketing, they began recruiting all sorts of independent artists to create videos.

One of the most ball-dropping awesome of these was Samsung’s Extreme Sheep Art. This video of intricate masterpieces created using LEDs attached to carefully herded sheep garnered a jaw-dropping 12 million views.

Visit Samsung

7. The Kobe Bryant Jump

To advertise their newest line of shoes, Nike hired NBA star Kobe Bryant to jump over a bunch of crazy things. First it was an Aston Martin driving straight at him, then it was a pool of snakes. The videos popped up all over the Internet, to collective calls of “Nuh uh” and “no way” and “it’s totally a ‘shop I can tell by the pixels”.

Visit Nike

8. Evian babies

Evian released an ad featuring break dancing babies on roller skates exclusively on YouTube in July 2009. The computer generated video was done on the back of Evian’s “live young” slogan and supposedly shows what the water does to your body. It was a hit followed by parodies to remixed soundtracks, and “behind the scenes” interviews with the young stars.

It is the most viewed online ad in history according to last year’s Guinness World Book of Records, with more than 60 million views of the original video to date.

Visit Evian

9. Fun Theory

Car-maker Volkswagen set out to prove “something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better.” The viral video competition offered participants the “fun theory award” for the best video ideas on how to change behavior.

“Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator and feel better” is something we often hear or read in the Sunday papers. Few people actually follow that advice. Can we get more people to take the stairs over the escalator by making it fun to do? See the results here

Visit The Fun Theory

10. Quicksilver

The video has a very amateur, and thus very realistic feel to it. It shows some kids who take their surfboards to a calm body of water and throw dynamite in the way to cause waves so they can surf. A lot of effort was put into making the video look like it was real, including a real explosion rather than the use of CGI. The Quicksilver video got millions of hits in the first few weeks of its release.

Visit Quick Silver

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