Top Viral Ads of All Time

September 7, 2010

The most-viewed viral ad campaign of all time is a series of more than 120 related clips from kitchen appliance manufacturer Blendtec, according to AdvertisingAge and Visible Measures.

Top 10 Viral Ads By Unique Views
1. Blendtec – Will It Blend – In-house: 134.2 million views
2. Evian – Live Young – BETC Euro RSCG: 103.9 million views
3. Old Spice – Responses – Wieden & Kennedy: 57.1 million views
4. Pepsi – Gladiator – AMV BBDO: 46.7 million views
5. Microsoft – Xbox Project Natal – World Famous: 42.7 million views
6. Dove – Evolution – Ogilvy & Mather: 41.1 million views
7. T-Mobile – T-Mobile Dance – Saatchi & Saatchi: 35.5 million views
8. Doritos – Crash the Super Bowl 2010 – Goodby Silverstein & Partners: 34.2 million views
9. Old Spice – Odor Blocker – Wieden & Kennedy: 34 million views
10. DC Shoes – Gymkhana Two – In-house: 32.9 million views

Humor, Sports are International Languages
Unique views are tracked globally, and humor and sports are two themes that seem to cross cultures. With the exception of the Dove and DC Shoes spots, every video used humor, often physical humor requiring little or no language, to some degree.

In addition, sports were a common thread through many of the 10 most-viewed viral videos. The Evian, Pepsi, and DC Shoes videos featured some type of athletic activity, while the Doritos video humorously centered on the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, both Old Spice videos featured a former NFL football player-turned-actor as spokesperson.

English May Be International Language, as Well
Half the videos: Blendtec, Microsoft, both Old Spice, and Doritos, require some degree of English proficiency and/or familiarity with US culture to fully appreciate. This reflects the increasing universality of English, as well as the global dominance of US brands (all featured brands except Evian, based in France, are headquartered in the US).

Celebs Not Necessary
Only one video, Pepsi’s “Gladiator,” featuring global pop stars Beyonce Knowles, Britney Spears, Pink and Enrique Iglesias, uses well-known celebrities to promote the brand. The actors in the Old Spice videos, Isaiah Mustafa and Terry Crews, were not major celebrities when the videos were made, although Mustafa has gained substantial popularity from online and TV Old Spice ads.

Time is Not Always on a Video’s Side
Although the longer a video has been available for online viewing, the more viewers it has had a chance to obtain, the videos on this list have a wide range of start dates, and most only launched in the past year or so. For example, the top video from Blendtec has been available since October 2006 (the series of connected clips are counted as a single video), but the number two Evian video has only been online since June 2009 and the number three Old Spice video since July 2010.

The Old Spice “Responses” video is the newest (July 2010), while the Pepsi “Gladiator” video is the oldest (January 2004). In total, the list includes one video from 2004, two from 2006, four from 2009, and three from 2010.

Sports, Humor Make goviral List
Video content distributor goviral compiles a monthly list of what it considers the 10 most innovative global viral videos (not necessarily the most viewed). So far this year, sports- and humor-themed videos have dominated goviral’s lists, with several entries from Old Spice featuring Mustafa included.

Get Help from a Pro
Although the number one video from BlendTec was produced in-house, eight of the 10 most-viewed viral ads were produced by a professional agency.

About the Data: The Visible Measures Top 10 Viral Video Ad Campaigns Chart focuses on brand-driven viral video ads that appear on online-video-sharing destinations. Each campaign is measured on a True Reach basis, which includes viewership of both brand-syndicated video clips and viewer-driven social video placements. The data are compiled using the Visible Measures Viral Reach Database, a constantly growing repository of analytic data on more than 100 million internet videos across more than 150 video-sharing destinations.

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