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When it comes to marketing, videos are the gifts that keep on giving. Not only will a viral video attract new customers in its own right, but it will also improve the visibility of all your other content. Companies that have videos and other forms of media on their websites tend to do better in search rankings than those that only use written content, in part because videos perform well on mobile devices. Likewise, video marketing is one of the most effective ways to draw Facebook users to your page through sharing of your videos. This boosts awareness of other content you published, encouraging the success of your entire marketing strategy.

As powerful as video marketing is, it’s no easy task. Creating a viral video is at least as much an art as a science, and like most arts, the most effective learning method is to look at past masterpieces and figure out why they succeeded. The following three viral video campaigns represent the gold standard of modern marketing. The better you study and understand their techniques, the more likely you are to succeed:

Barbie – Imagine the Possibilities

Featuring a cast of small girls with big dreams, this campaign began as an attempt to push back against an undesirable view of the Barbie brand. Many view Barbie dolls as representing rigid stereotypes of female achievement, with an emphasis on looks over brains and skills. This view was confirmed in a recent study at Oregon State University, where researchers found that girls who played with Barbie dolls were less likely to think boys and girls were equally capable of achieving various career goals than those who played with Mrs. Potato Head dolls. These results led many to conclude that Barbie products dampen girls’ ambitions.

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The “Imagine the Possibilities” campaign turned this image on its head. The video shows little girls attempting to work as veterinarians, professors, paleontologists, and other skilled professionals, first in public and then with their Barbie dolls. Whereas the public audiences laugh at the girls, the Barbie dolls provide a safe, judgment-free environment in which to act out their dreams. This establishes in the viewer’s mind that Barbies give girls confidence to imagine and prepare for their dreams.

While it remains to be seen whether children who play with Barbie dolls will rethink gender roles, the campaign was a clear success commercially. It has garnered nearly 25 million views on YouTube, as well as more than 33,000 Facebook likes, 600 “love” reactions, 100 “laugh” reactions, and 38,000 shares. Facebook users also left nearly 2,000 posts in the comment section. Given that Facebook users who engage with marketing material are 20 times more likely to visit the brand’s store, these results likely translated into thousands of new Barbie sales.

Turner Benelux – A Dramatic Surprise on a Quiet Square

Created to promote TNT’s Belgian subsidiary, this video shows a quiet town thrown into chaos when someone presses a “Push To Add Drama” button. The ensuing drama includes a mishandled medical emergency, a scantily clad biker, a public shootout, football players, and finally, a sign directing onlookers to watch TNT for similar drama.

More than the dramatic events and music, this campaign succeeds by using onlookers’ reactions. Seeing real people respond naturally creates a feeling of empathy among viewers, indicating that they will be similarly enthralled watching the real TNT. It is little wonder, then, that this video went viral, garnering more than 54 million views and 404,000 likes on YouTube. In its first 6 days, the video was shared 3.1 million times. This indicates a high rate of engagement and suggests that many of its viewers began watching TNT.

Purple – How to Use a Raw Egg to Determine if Your Mattress is Awful

Featuring a wisecracking Goldilocks, this video takes advantage of the visual medium to reinforce the speaker’s points. As Goldilocks explains a scientific method for testing mattress effectiveness, the viewer watches the tests unfold in real time. This helps audiences to remember exactly what sets this brand apart. Meanwhile, the speaker’s no-nonsense presentation style and savvy sense of humor create positive feelings and encourage the viewer to watch until the end.

This video has garnered more than 41 million views and 10,000 likes on YouTube. On Facebook, it has more than 249,000 likes, 16,000 “laugh” reactions, 10,000 “love” reactions, and 175,000 shares. The video also received 49,000 Facebook comments, indicating high viewer engagement. These results helped drive Purple’s rapid growth. In only eight months, the company grew from a local firm to a major player in the mattress industry, expanding its workforce from 30 employees to 300.

The power of a viral video can not be understated. For big brands, it can give them that boost they need to rise above the crowd, and for small upstart companies, it can launch them into the stratosphere.


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