7 Viral Marketing Examples Every Marketer Must Know

7 Viral Marketing Examples Every Marketer Must Know

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Virality is a fascinating and contradictory phenomenon.

It’s really hard (or even impossible) to predict what will go viral and what won’t. Ironically, the most viral marketing campaigns of all time bait people with their simplicity.

With the amount of data we create and consume every day, making a splash has become the norm. Forbes reports that we produce more than 2.5 quintillion (a number with 18 zeros) bytes of data every day. This means that people have generated 90% of the world’s total information within the last few years.

That’s mind-blowing, isn’t it? But please, don’t collect your thoughts just yet.

You’re about to check out some of the most epic viral marketing examples.

7 Best Viral Marketing Examples to Help You Make a Splash

Two things before we start.

First, here are 18 really bad advertising examples that show what not to do when you plan to go viral. It’s really important not to cross the line (because it’s really easy to do so).

Second, if you’re looking for Facebook viral marketing examples, make sure you’ve seen our list of the 42 best Facebook video ads made by world-famous brands.

Viral marketing examples — Facebook video publishers

Additionally, have a look at the list by Tubular Labs of the most watched Facebook video publishers. On this list, you’ll find a lot of online viral marketing examples to aid you in coming up with top-notch viral ideas for your own business.

The Bottle Cap Challenge and Ryan Reynolds’ Gin

Let’s start with a challenge that’s probably the most viral thing ever.

Started by designer Errolson Hugh as pure fun and then boosted by Max Holloway, John Mayer, and Jason Statham, the bottle cap challenge became the perfect occasion for another famous guy to boost his own gin brand.

Two days after Jason Statham published his bottle cap kick, Ryan Reynolds made his own contribution to the viral challenge on YouTube in a very creative way:

We recommend you watch Ryan’s other videos on his official YouTube channel if you haven’t seen them yet. Believe us, they’re worth your time. Ryan used a lot of crazy and genius ideas to promote his product.

Reveal your twin brother to the world and interview him? Check!

Show how bottles are ordained by the church and serenaded with healing music? Check.

Let your friend celebrity roast you? Check.

Put an ad within an ad that’s within another ad? Check.

The long and the short of it is that Ryan created his own cinematic giniverse that seems to be rapidly expanding.

Red Bull Stratos

Red Bull Stratos is one of the greatest examples of successful viral marketing that was initiated on behalf of science, not advertising. In October 2012, Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver and stuntman, performed a nearly 24-mile (nearly 40-kilometer) freefall jump from the stratosphere.

You’ve probably already seen the jump. If not, here it is:

And here’s extra GoPro footage from Felix’s perspective:

Of course, you’re unlikely to sponsor space programs like Red Bull Stratos. However, this marketing campaign fulfilled one of the big purposes of viral content — improving the world. The most important thing is you can do the same, and you don’t need a big budget or advanced technology.

The Epic Split by Volvo

In November 2013, Volvo demonstrated the directional stability and precision of Volvo Dynamic Steering, a technology that simplifies the negotiations between two reversing trucks.

Jean-Claude Van Damme performed the epic split in one take and went viral on YouTube, reaching 25 million views within a week. Considering Volvo truck sales increased 31% after the video was released, we can say it became one of the  best viral marketing videos uploaded to YouTube. 

The Force by Volkswagen

In 2011, Volkswagen made some of the greatest YouTube viral marketing examples.

The Force is a Super Bowl commercial that appeared on television one week after its appearance on YouTube, where it hit eight million views. The original video of this commercial is unavailable. But you’ll find a lot of copies on YouTube that amount to a few million views.

Our Blades Are F***ing Great by Dollar Shave Club

In 2012, Dollar Shave Club, the first company to deliver men’s grooming products via mail, changed the way a business can do online sales.

You’ve probably already seen this guy. He’s Michael Dubin, a Dollar Shave Club co-founder and the author of this video.

One of the most iconic viral advertising campaigns the world has ever seen attracted more than 3 million subscribers. With over $150 million in annual sales, Dollar Shave Club was sold to Unilever for $1 billion in 2016.

The Man Your Man Could Smell Like by Old Spice

As for this guy, you’ve seen him for sure. In 2010, Old Spice launched an unprecedented viral campaign on YouTube featuring Isaiah Mustafa, an American actor and former football player.

After uploading four mindblowing viral videos, the Old Spice marketing team uploaded over 200 videos where Isaiah reacted to social media posts of other brands and answered questions sent by users via Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and other social media channels.

Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln MKC

In 2014, Matthew McConaughey went viral after playing himself in a series of commercials promoting the 2015 Lincoln MKC. As one of the best viral marketing examples made by a world-known brand, the ad campaign almost doubled sales of the MKC between 2014 and 2019.

Not to mention that in December 2019, Lincoln uploaded another YouTube video featuring McConaughey fishing on the Upper Kananaskis Lake in Alberta, Canada. The Lincoln Aviator video ad hit over 20 million views.

Create Viral Video Ads with Artificial Intelligence

Are these most epic viral marketing examples on Facebook and YouTube enough for you to create an idea that will go viral? Give your own examples of viral video ads in the comments below.

If you want to go viral with video advertising, don’t hesitate to try Softcube to scale and optimize your video production with artificial intelligence. Wishing you a successful viral marketing campaign!