Evian, Old Spice among top viral marketers

06 September 2010

NEW YORK: Evian, Old Spice and Blendtec are some of the advertisers which have delivered the most popular viral videos to date, new figures show.

AdAge, the industry title, partnered with Visible Measures, the online measurement firm, to identify the branded clips that have generated the most buzz.

Seeded placement by the companies concerned was assessed, alongside the spread of this material among consumers on the web, covering 200m videos and 150m separate sites.

Blendtec's "Will it Blend?" series, which has seen chief executive Tom Dickson test the strength of items from glow sticks and golf balls to Apple's iPhone and iPad in its blenders, took the top spot.

Since launching in October 2006, these ads have racked up 134.2m hits, having been developed internally and backed by a limited budget.

"Social media gives you a way to communicate directly to the consumer without them filtering things out," Jeff Robe, Blendtec's marketing director, argued in March.

"They have opted into this communication."

Evian's "Live Young", featuring roller-skating babies and produced with EuroRSCG, claimed second on 103.8m impressions.

It was introduced through a simultaneous homepage takeover on YouTube in six major markets in April 2009, and supported via a dedicated channel on the Web 2.0 platform.

"People click because they want to see it," Michael Aidan, global director of Evian said earlier this year. "If they then pass it on, that goes far beyond exposure."

Old Spice's pitchman Isaiah Mustafa propelled it to third, not for the "Smell Like a Man, Man" video, but for a series of responses to requests from netizens and figures like Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.

This initiative, created by Wieden + Kennedy, was recognised at the 2010 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, and the range of follow-up executions have secured 57.1m views.

When describing the success of this idea, Rob Enderle, an analyst at the Enderle Group, suggested Old Spice had demonstrated best practice and transformed public perceptions.

"Certainly, they showed everyone how to create viral videos," he said.

"This was surprisingly good work from a brand that most folks had largely written off as obsolete. They created an entertaining video that also made the company appear new and trendy."

Another irreverent Old Spice collaboration with Wieden + Kennedy, called "Odor Blocker", came in ninth on 34m hits having been rolled out in March 2010.

Pepsi's "Gladiator", a celebrity-focused effort featuring Britney Spears, Beyoncé Knowles and Pink, took fourth on 46.7m exposures, a total generated since January 2004.

As this was the only member of the top ten to be released prior to the launch of YouTube in 2005, its achievement may be more significant than first impressions suggest.

Microsoft's Project Natal - a hands-free controller for its Xbox games machine - snatched fifth position on 42.7m views.

Dove's pioneering "Evolution" campaign claimed sixth on 41m hits, followed by T-Mobile's "Dance", Doritos' "Crash the Superbowl" and DC Shoes "Gymkhana Shoes", all scoring over 30m.

Nike occupied the next three spots, with its "Write the Future" film premiered before the 2010 World Cup, and two "early" attempts starring basketball player Kobe Bryant and footballer Ronaldinho.

Data sourced from AdAge; additional content by Warc staff