This year, some truly memorable videos made it onto out list of the top viral videos of 2013. Chances are you’ve seen or heard of many of them already, so we wanted to round them up for your viewing (or re-viewing) pleasure and also share some tips and takeaways from each one that you can apply to your own video marketing process. Here’s a look at some of the top viral videos of the year and what you can learn from them:
1) Kmart Ship My Pants
“Ship my pants? You’re kidding?” So starts the funny viral Kmart ad appropriately titled “Ship My Pants.” With over 20 million views, this ad delivers punchy, funny, euphemistic one-liners all centered on the use of well-scripted humor in this vein. But it’s not all just for fun and giggles. The punch line has a purpose: “If you can’t find what you’re looking for in store, we’ll find it at kmart.com right now, and ship it to you, for free,” the viral ad concludes.
The ad was so successful, Kmart released a series of euphemistic humor ads this year, including “Big Gas Savings,” promoting the store’s gas discount, and “Yo Mama,” which turned classic playground taunts on their head to promote the store’s layaway program. The takeaway from these viral ads?
Humor Works – Well-scripted humor can really pack a punch, especially when it’s well-delivered and tailored to your audience. Particularly funny and entertaining ads can have a life of their own online as well.
Pair Puns with Good Promotions – Not only did Kmart tackle humor admirably, they also paired each pun with a particular promotion that served as the punch line of each ad, helping the consumer not only have a nice chuckle, but also to remember the message of each promotion as well.
2) Dove Real Beauty Sketches
In this online video, Dove had a forensic artist sketch drawings of women based on their descriptions of themselves, and then a separate sketch done by a stranger they had met that day. The sketches side by side demonstrate how the negative perceptions women had of themselves shined through in the original sketches.
“I should be more grateful of my natural beauty,” said one participant in the project. The video is a part of Dove’s ongoing Campaign for Real Beauty, which uses powerful, positive messages and images of women and has been a huge success for the brand. The video’s tagline “You are more beautiful than you think” captures the spirit of this video, whose positive, uplifting message helped catapult this ad to over 60 million views and counting. What can you take away from this viral video success?
Humanize Your Customer – By using real women in their videos, their messages have resonated with millions of women. You can humanize your customer in your online videos by using real customers, telling stories, sharing case studies, and sharing authentic quotes or testimonials.
Get Emotional – Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty isn’t afraid to use emotion to make a strong, powerful statement. Video can be a powerful medium for sharing stories, concepts, and ideas that stir strong emotions, so if it’s the right fit for your business, don’t shy away from appealing to emotion in your online videos.
3) The Camp Gyno
“It’s a serious responsibility,” says the adorable star of one of this year’s with 6.5 million views, the video helped successfully launch a new brand called HelloFlo, a monthly subscription service for women.
When it launched, the video ad was sent by the company founder to women-focused sites and industry publications that ended up covering the ad’s unique angle. It was then passed along to millions of viewers via social media. So what can you learn from this video success story?
Tell Great Stories – This video was such a success because it makes great use of storytelling, uses humor, and presents an often awkward, yet very normal, part of life in the form of a great story – that also happens to position the product as a perfect solution. Plus, the video was interesting enough for media sites to pick it up and comment on its approach, helping to boost its visibility.
Target Your Customer – Another thing that makes this ad so spot-on is that it stars a girl experiencing a rite of passage, arguably unique in the market for this kind of product, and something that appeals both to parents of said girls as well as girls themselves. The takeaway here is to be knowledgeable about your target customer and find unique ways to target them in your online videos and ads.
4) What Does the Fox Say?
Chances are you’ve heard the catchy tune “What Does the Fox Say,” which not only became a viral hit, but also has become a bit of a meme in and of itself. But what you might not know is that it was originally created as a promo for the creators’ new season of the Norwegian talk show “Tonight with Ylvis” and that it was “created to fail.”
The duo says they intended to create a video that flopped in order to have a funny sketch for their talk show. The video did anything but flop. Instead, it has had over 273 million views, one of the breakout viral videos of the year.
“Viral” Isn’t the Goal – You’ll often hear people say they are creating a “viral” video, but most experts will tell you that truly viral videos are difficult to engineer. Instead, you should aim to surprise and delight your viewers. Say the creators of this viral video: “We’re not chasing the next hit. We’re just making stuff that we think is funny.” Which is exactly what they are in business to do.
5) Harlem Shake
In case you missed it (or have already forgotten), the beginning of this year kicked off with a new kind of video meme centered around the song Harlem Shake. In the meme videos, the song plays while participants dance to the song in funny costumes in a short clip, usually about 30 seconds. The original video that kicked the meme off was parodied countless times by everyone from companies like Facebook to celebrities Stephen Colbert to the Norwegian Army and various sports teams. The Miami Heat’s version of the meme video has received over 46 million views.
Videos Can Be Memes Too – Memes have become a popular way for companies to participate in pop culture to engage and entertain fans online. The Harlem Shake was a popular video meme that many large and small companies participated in. But staying up to date on what’s happening in pop culture, you can create videos that appeal to memes and trends and add some easy entertainment to your video repertoire.
Bonus: A ReachLocal Harlem Shake Video
These are just a few of the top viral videos of 2013. What were your favorites? What are your takeaways? Share your thoughts in a comment!