The 10 Best Branded Viral Ads

The internet community is an authentic, accessible, and completely candid audience… an audience that brands desperately seek the approval of. Today, brands are battling it out to make the next viral video – a true testament of a brand’s ability to reach a crowd.

When I hear the term ‘viral,’ I automatically picture caught-on-tape moments filmed with iPhones or personal camcorders of cats or home experiments gone awry, but it didn’t take long for brands to taint the internet by trying to sell us something. Ok, maybe that’s a bit harsh, considering there is enough garbage on YouTube that some branded garbage wouldn’t make a difference; but let’s all remember that (now more than ever) some brands are producing some unbelievably awesome content.

The game has changed. Once upon a time, brands would fork over heaps of cash to get their ad run during primetime television, now they can upload a video for free and reach 10 or 100 times the number of people they did before. But there’s a catch – the content has to be good, otherwise nobody is going to share it. Now that the internet audience has become one of the most (if not, the most) sought after and competitive markets, we all get to enjoy some really cool stuff.

Imagine your brand-of-choice trying to make a viral video. How do they set out to make a video for the internet? Bring in the cutest puppy they can find? Have a poorly covered model dance with their product? A lot of brands are doing it wrong, but the following examples prove that some brands have a grasp on this whole ‘viral’ thing.

10. Pepsi – “Uncle Drew”


After a tiring game of basketball, the first thing you reach for is a cold Pepsi, right? We all know you taste just like Coke, so if you want to look like the cooler brand, give us something cool to watch.

9. L’Oreal – “Zombie Boy”


How do we show that our makeup is good at covering things up? Maybe we can get an unattractive girl with a lot of blemishes and plaster her face with makeup… OR we can cover up a guy with a disgusting amount of tattoos. Less offensive and more effective. Score.

8. Carlsberg – “Biker Theater”


It’s tough to look like a manly beer without resorting to clich├ęs like chopping wood in a dirty flannel shirt. Here’s to originality.

7. Ojai Taxidermy – “Chuck Testa”


This looks like an “unintentionally viral” viral video but it was actually made by YouTube stars Rhett and Link. They had me fooled.

6. Old Spice – “Bounce”


Old Spice gets it. And they continue to get it. I’m impressed that the same ad campaign has managed to smell fresh and entertaining as long as it has.

5. Coke – “Vending Machine”


We know you taste just like Pepsi, so just bribe us to buy your version of cola instead of theirs. I like this stunt because it put some smiles on the faces of unsuspecting people. Also… giant sub.

4. Men’s Cosmo – “iPad Head Girl”


I didn’t know there was a Cosmo for men until I saw this video. Way to go for brand awareness.

3. TNT – add drama


I like the level of commitment. I can’t imagine how hard it was to get this idea green-lit.

2. Angry Birds


You’d think they’d have a better quality camera in space, but all the ingredients- from the homemade slingshot to the crudely drawn balloon-pig, made for a great video.

1. Dollar Shave Club


Wait, can we say that in a commercial? Yes, we can. And it will be f*cking great.

I hope brands continue to fight it out for the most-viewed rankings on YouTube because my attention span is getting shorter and my expectations are getting higher.

Up next… The Worst Branded Viral Ads. What are some of your favorites, best and worst?

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