If you can stand on the backs of giants, why shouldn’t you? This article tells you how other successful video campaigns made it, and how you can follow in their footsteps.
Video is a great storytelling tool, and it has the ability to hook people into the idea immediately. Because of this, more and more people prefer viewing videos over any other media form. Video has grown not just as an entertainment but also as a marketing platform, and one of the biggest markers of this fact is the entrance of the term “viral videos” into common parlance.
But just because videos have gone viral in the past does not mean it can instantly be reproducible. Almost everyone who uploads a video nowadays does so hoping that it will be “viral” at some point. There is strict competition, and your video has to really stand out for it to be noticed. You will need to know the successful video marketing campaign secrets.
Of course, there is no set “blueprint” for a video to be viral (or else everyone would be doing that today). Instead, there are some general qualities that your video should have before it can achieve more than 5 million views in a week — the concrete definition of “viral” as mentioned by YouTube sensation Kevin Nalty. And hint: the road to virality does not depend on the low-level marketing tactics — though they certainly can help. It all starts with the innate virtues of the videos themselves.
To understand this, let’s take a look at 17 of the most viral video campaigns of recent memory. We’ll take a peek behind the scenes and see how these campaigns broke the mold and dissect the successful video marketing campaign secrets.
17 of the Greatest Video Marketing Campaigns
17.) Google — “Friends Furever”.
Google’s Android ad became the most-shared video advertisement of 2015. During that time, the video was shared by more than 6.4 million viewers, not counting the countless who adored it without sharing. The curious thing is that the video content was hardly original. Neither did it really break any grounds in terms of presentation.
And yet, the idea was an instant hit. Visuals of unlikely animals getting together formed an adorable whole. The simple footages were used by Google to highlight the value of getting together and sharing experiences. The simplicity also served to intensify the focus on the subject.
If there’s one thing to take away from this video, it’s the fact that campaigns do not always have to be mind-boggling, reality-shattering affairs. Even the simplest ideas, when utilized correctly, can make for a good campaign. Choose a concept that’s a perfect fit for the subject, and you’ve gotten a headstart — this is one of the successful video marketing campaign secrets.
16.) Google — “Homeward Bound”.
Google proves that the Friends Furever campaign was not a one-hit wonder. This time promoting the Google Earth service, the software giant took on the story of Saroo Brierley’s search for home.
The ad wasn’t as much about the Google Earth service as it was about a story of love, loss, and eventual triumph. However, the story was able to magnify Google Earth’s value in the eyes of the viewer. To them, Google Earth took on a life-changing capacity. It became the key that enabled the protagonist to win in the end.
This is a sterling example of a brand appealing to emotion. It’s not easy to pull off, but an emotional take on your service can propel your video to new heights.
15.) Nike — “Find Your Greatness”.
The concept here is simple but incredibly effective. For the campaign, Nike broke from its original image of high-flying superstars to focus on the everyday person. Instead of superhuman sports feats, the ad took on regular people doing their best.
This ad, much like the two before it, was not all about how great the product or service is. Instead, it enabled people to do their best. This subtle advertising is very effective, especially when paired with very relatable visuals.
14.) Reebok — “25,915 Days”
The sports brand’s campaign title drives home the gravity of its message. According to studies, the average person has about 25,915 days to live. The campaign does not have any words, but it conveys its message very clearly.
One unique thing with the campaign is the call-to-action at the bottom, which asks viewers to “Calculate your days”. This is another powerful (if a little morbid) way to drive home the point.
This highlights the reason for the campaign’s success — a strong and well-executed message. Reebok excels in driving home the point. Unlike Nike, Reebok stays within its usual “tough fitness” idea. And yet, the brand gives us something different by presenting us a no-nonsense picture of reality — one of the successful video marketing campaign secrets.
13.) Prudential Insurance — “Age Stickers”.
While Reebok succeeded in increasing the gravity of the “fitness” topic to near-morbid levels, Prudential did the opposite. The usually-morbid idea of insurance was reduced to a more light-hearted portrayal, by telling people that they can live for decades even after retirement. This highlights the importance of insurance as a means to sustain oneself after the fact.
The campaign was interesting in that it presented a new possibility to the viewer. This piqued curiosity, and drove home the point. Prudential gave people a new prospect, which they found share-worthy.
12.) Red Bull — “Gives You Wings”.
Known for its high-flying, adrenaline-pumping visuals, Red Bull seeks to inspire people with its videos. The main message was to break through barriers and stretch one’s limits. In contrast with Prudential, Red Bull’s ticket to virality relies on something that is extremely familiar — the persistent itch to go higher.
This highlights the idea that common positive emotions — love, excitement, happiness — can serve as powerful hooks if your brand’s message or personality relates to them.
11.) Dove — “Beauty Sketches”.
If Red Bull drew on everyday aspirations and positive emotions, Dove took the opposite end of the spectrum. In this much-acclaimed ad campaign, Dove asked women to describe themselves while an FBI-trained artist sketches their descriptions. The same was repeated, except this time friends and loved ones provided the descriptions. As it turned out, the sketches made with the use of external descriptions provided a more flattering image of the woman.
This drew on the common attitude of depreciating one’s owns qualities, especially in the physical department. This is a negative trait, and Dove positioned its product as a means of shattering it — one of the successful video marketing campaign secrets. It drew on the shared sentiments of the countless women who shared the video — the search for beauty and self confidence. Dove successfully channeled it into a viral campaign.
10.) Intel — “Meet the Makers”.
Intel is known for enabling high technology to develop, with its slew of processors and other products. But, much like Nike’s strategy earlier, this ad tends to focus on something very different. The ad still contains examples of technology, but the focus became on how the tech can be used to improve another person’s way of life.
By doing so, Intel projected itself as a “maker” who simply uses technology as a tool to improve the world by helping others. It successfully humanized the brand and gave them a “mission” that people can relate to.
9.) Beats by Dr. Dre — “Hear What You Want”
Much like Intel, the campaign showed just how technology can be used to improve life — but this time focusing on a very specific purpose. The ad — featuring NBA superstar Kevin Garnett — showed how the headphones are being used to block out critics and detractors in order to focus on the things that empower us.
The ad does two things that can explain its virality. First, it humanized a superstar figure and gave him the same struggle of the inner critic that most people encounter everyday. Thus, Beats made itself larger than life by solving that star’s problem. If it’s good enough for him, it should be good enough for the rest of us. Such way of thinking is one of the timelessly successful video marketing campaign secrets
Second, the ad appealed to a wider niche. Beats in itself is in the audiophile niche — but the ad placed it squarely in the realm of anyone who needs to “hear what they want” in the daily struggle of life. It gave the brand a human personality, not just as a piece of tech. This resonated with a lot of people, enabling the campaign’s success.
8.) Facebook — “Tips” Series
This is a great example of a campaign that utilized the “microcontent” format. Technically, microcontent is the usage of smaller bits of media in order to form a bigger picture. The campaign contained 12 videos that showcased 12 functions of the social media platform.
Facebook did something incredible here, because it’s not easy for a “how to” to be recognized by people — much less for it to go viral. But Facebook did exactly dad, using three techniques.
First, the videos were each only around 20 seconds long. This made the videos very easy to watch, and reduced the amount of “bore” that usually accompanies instructional videos. Second, the videos addressed the topics in a lighthearted manner. It became less like reading through a manual, and more like having a friend guide you through the process.
Third — and most importantly — the campaign answered very important questions people had about the product. This is a standout way to make sure your campaign gains traction. By addressing the people’s concern, you expose more of your brand therefore allowing more people to trust you.
7.) GoPro — “Fireman Saves Kitten”
In the middle of 2013, a fire took out a house and a kitten (who died of smoke inhalation). However, in the middle of that, one of the most viral videos of the season had its genesis.
In the process of trying to save the kitten, the firefighter managed to record everything from a GoPro Hero 3 attached to his helmet. His own upload was met with a good number of views and shares, but it exploded in popularity when GoPro itself branded it and released it in its own channel.
The highly emotional and true-to-life video bore testament to GoPro’s aim of being “in the moment”. The campaign used multiple strategies in order to succeed. First, it took a true-to-life video — one that was neither produced in any studio, nor filled with pretty visuals and effects. These used to be one of the successful video marketing campaign secrets, the importance of which are now waning.
Second, it took a video that was charged with emotion. Most of the people who shared the video did so because of the dynamics between the fireman and the kitten. Third, it showcased the true capability of the product under a real-life situation.
6.) American Greetings — “World’s Toughest Job”
By the earlier example, GoPro’s video became a hit because it honestly portrayed true-to-life events. By contrast, American Greetings’ ad is the perfect example of cleverly blowing up the everyday struggles of mothers. The interview-themed video was relatively free from all advertisement until the very end, counting on the sense of wonder it evokes within its length.
5.) Nike — “Better For It”
Another Nike campaign that had considerable traction was this video specifically geared towards women. The campaign, much like American Greetings, sought to expose the “inner” workings of the subject matter, this time women at the gym. The humanized account was popular with the viewers, allowing them to relate to the ones in the video.
4.) Progressive — “Small Business Tips”
Among all the videos listed here, this is perhaps the most straightforward. Nothing gimmicky here — just pure, usable, relatable business advice. Despite the high-sounding subject matter, Progressive made it stick by using regular people as the dispensers of advice. Hence, it felt less like a business counseling than a friend advising you on important matters. It also highlights the value of the business, and how it can help customers.
3.) Buzzfeed/Purina — “Puppyhood”
This video was done by the media wizards at Buzzfeed, and is a great example of how a video advertises something without overtly doing so. It makes use of the increasingly popular documentary technique, following the story of a man who adopts a puppy and takes care of it. The no-nonsense approach and real-life portrayal allows people to relate to it immediately.
2.) Always — “Like a Girl”
This campaign capitalizes on the brand’s line of feminine products to shatter the status quo. In the video, the company decides to break through the expression “like a girl”, showing how today’s women are no longer the “weaker” sex they were once portrayed as. While quite niche in its product offering, the message appealed to a very wide audience and hence gained traction. This demonstrates how turning an idea inside out can result in instant relatability.
1.) Artifact Uprising — “Legacy”
While many of the previous entries focused on a specific emotion to hook in its viewers, Artifact Uprising does it a little differently — it focuses on emotion itself. As a company that makes albums, photo books, and the like, Artifact Uprising’s campaign focused on the individual stories that are told by each item, therefore giving it a varied appeal.
With each success story, we can glean the successful video marketing campaign secrets each used. Now, it’s your turn to use them in your own campaign. How will you fare? After all these, you should be in a better position than just about everyone else.