Josh Warner is president and founder of Feed Company, which promotes and distributes brand videos, including campaigns such as Levi’s “Backflip,” Ray-Ban’s “Catch” and Activision’s “Bike Hero.” In four years, Feed has seeded more than 200 videos across the social web.
Everybody loves viral videos. That’s why they’re “viral.” Ad agencies have been trying, in their own way, to replicate the success of viral videos to help their campaigns get exposure and new fans. While some may miss the mark, there are some truly great and innovative viral video ads out there.
For this year’s top innovative viral video ads, advertisers and ad agencies split their goodness between web specific videos and great TV ads that did well online. Regardless of origin, the top 10 videos share several traits worth noting. Every creator knows his or her audience well and what executions appeal to them most. The videos are also inclusive in tone, making you feel like you’re a part of the brand’s message and experience.
This positive, inclusive tone and tight content/audience match make this year’s social videos worth sharing. Let us know your favorites in the comments below.
1. NSFW. A Hunter Shoots A Bear!
Click HERE for the full interactive experience.
Ad Agency: Buzzman
Why It Works: What if you were a hunter and had to choose between shooting a bear or dancing with it? With a seemingly infinite number of responses to anything clever or dirty you might think of, this video from Tipp-Ex, a white-out tape, takes choose-your-own-adventure style videos to a whole new level. A distinctly old-school product does something brand new on the YouTube platform.
2. Embrace Life
Advertiser: Sussex Safer Roads Partnership
Ad Agency: Alexander Commercials
Why It Works: One of the most innovative videos of the year is a British PSA that encourages people to wear a seat belt. You expect it to be boring, right? But it takes your breath away with simplicity and emotion. It is a welcome respite from traditional scare-tactic PSA’s.
3. Guy Walks Across America
Advertiser: Levi Strauss & Co.
Ad Agency: Conscious Minds Productions
Why It Works: Walking across America should take more than two minutes but this imaginative stop-motion-film from Levi’s definitely makes you want it to last even longer. The 2,770 still photos of a hipster footing it through America’s byways and landmarks clearly strike patriotic chords for a country in search of good news. It even comes with a Google map that traces the route of the filmmakers.
4. Old Spice Responses
Advertiser: Procter & Gamble
Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Why It Works: Not having this as our number one ad is the same reason why you pick someone other than Arcade Fire as your favorite band. It’s just too obvious. But Isaiah Mustafa is, hands-down, this year’s social superstar along with W + K for the Old Spice response videos. All 200+ of them.
5. The Puma Hardchorus
Ad Agency: Droga5
Why It Works: Millions of men had to choose between soccer and their loved one when major matches fell on Valentine’s Day this year. So Puma put the toughest European footballers in a video to sing a romantic song that would help soccer fans out of their scheduling jam — a brilliant example of doing something nice for your customers. Take a look at the video comments on YouTube for a peek into the psyche of European football.
6. Google Chrome Speed Tests
Ad Agency: BBH
Why It Works: This video shows a race between Google Chrome loading a web page and a potato getting shot through a gun on its way to becoming a French fry. It’s a video for everyone that’s sick of waiting for web pages to load in their browser, which is, well, everyone.
7. Swagger Wagon
Advertiser: Toyota Sienna
Ad Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi LA
Why It Works: One of the best ways to find an audience online is to know exactly who you’re looking for — and then make them feel good. Toyota and its ad agency did both with a video that makes any parent in search of a minivan feel cool and hip.
8. There’s A Soldier In All Of Us
Ad Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day
Why It Works: Kobe Bryant and Jimmy Kimmel join us regular folk (the concierge, short-order cook, businesswoman) in playing real-life soldiers in this spot for Activision’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops” video game. The video’s inclusive message does a great job showing us the new game is for everyone.
9. Write the Future
Advertiser: Nike Football
Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Why It Works: This epic video takes you through make-or-break moments of three soccer greats and how their lives change either way. Shot by Mexican director Alejandro Inarritu (“Babel”), it got millions of web views in its first week and was a great promotion for both the FIFA 2010 World Cup and Nike.
10. Master of Business Card Throwing
Ad Agency: The Viral Factory
Why It Works: Viral video trick ads are dated, but this execution for Samsung’s new digital camcorder makes you want to toss business cards for a living. You can’t watch it without trying to do it yourself, or at least film it. Hopefully with a Samsung Digital Camcorder H205.
Thanks to Matt Koskela for research assistance.
More Video Resources from Mashable:
– HOW TO: Become a YouTube Sensation
– HOW TO: Start Your Own Internet Talk Show
– 4 People Who Let the Crowd Control Their Destiny
– 3 Things Any Video Needs to Go Viral
– 10 Memorable Viral Videos of 2010
For more Web Video coverage:
- Follow Mashable Web Video on Twitter
- Become a Fan on Facebook
- Subscribe to the Web Video channel
- Download our free apps for Android, iPhone and iPad