How many of you remember the “Share a Coke” campaign created by Coca-Cola, one of the most popular beverage companies in the whole world? This has to be one of the most classic and groundbreaking examples of a viral marketing campaign that made waves all across the globe.
Fans were extremely excited and eager to come across Coca-Cola bottles with names of their friends, relatives or family on it so that they could actually share a coke with them.
The whole idea behind this campaign was to establish more personal relationships with the brand’s followers and consumers, and it did manage to achieve its goal.
Other than Coca-Cola, there are so many other brands and companies that came up with fantastic viral marketing campaigns, many of which are still talked about in today’s time.
Take a look at 5 of the best viral marketing campaigns of all time. You can also use these for inspiration for your own brand or business.
1. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
2014 was the year of dumping buckets of ice water on people’s heads, thanks to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This was a popular viral marketing campaign that was designed to raise awareness as well as funds for people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) disease.
The main requirement of the campaign was for people to film themselves pouring a bucket of ice-cold water over their head. They were also to make a donation to the ALS Association and further challenge a minimum of three people on their friends’ list to do the same.
The campaign gained instant attention and popularity on all social media platforms, and as many as 17 million people took part in the challenge that also includes a number of celebrities, such as Tom Cruise, Rafael Nadal, and Bill Gates.
The best part is that this campaign actually managed to reach its end goal by not only creating awareness about the disease but also raised about $115 million in a matter of just a few weeks!
2. Oreo: Dunk In The Dark
Oreo is known for its creative and compelling marketing tactics, but ‘Oreo: Dunk In The Dark’ probably lives down as one of the most clever and top viral marketing campaigns of all times.
During Super Bowl’13, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome experienced a massive 30-minute power outage in New Orleans. Oreo went on to capitalize on this event with the help of a mere tweet that said: Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark. The message was followed by a picture of the Oreo biscuit against a dark background.
This simple yet innovative tweet is a true example of quick-thinking that allowed the brand to shift all the focus on the biscuits instead of the game, albeit momentarily.
The tweet effectively went viral, resulting in thousands of likes, retweets and comments from people on social media.
3. Old Spice: Smell Like a Man, Man
Old Spice is a famous American brand that makes a variety of male grooming products and is believed to dominate viral marketing.
This is mainly because of its amazing campaign called ‘Smell Like a Man, Man’ that managed to transform a simple body wash into not only an interactive campaign but also a spectacular cultural sensation!
The campaign featured an American actor and former football wide receiver Isaiah Mustafa in a 33-second video where he recited a prompt monologue promoting the brand’s products. During the hilarious monologue, he maintains serious eye contact with the camera and ends it with the words, “Anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady. I’m on a horse!”
This commercial became the talk of the town in February 2010, resulting in thousands of likes, comments, and followers.
4. LG: So Real It’s Scary
In an attempt to promote its new IPS monitors that generated a lifelike effect, LG pulled a hysterical yet terrifying stunt in an online video where LG’s engineers replaced the floor of an elevator with their IPS monitors. The aim was to make the floor appear as if it were falling away.
The reactions of unsuspecting people that used the lift were filmed through cameras, which were quite hilarious indeed. As soon as they entered the lift, the monitors displayed a movie in which the elevator floor was falling apart, but it was merely an illusion.
The video generated millions of views and was shared all across the globe and is said to be one of the greatest viral marketing campaigns ever.
5. Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich
If you are a fan of fried chicken and fast food, you’ve obviously heard of Popeye’s, a leading American chain of fast-food restaurants.
In 2019, they introduced their newest addition to the menu, the chicken sandwich that created a buzz on the internet. Many people compared this with the popular sandwich of another American fast-food giant called Chick-fil-A.
This restaurant went on to post a tongue-in-cheek tweet where they credited themselves as the masterminds behind the chicken sandwich with the message ‘bun + chicken + pickles = all the love for the original.’
Popeye’s used this to their advantage and retweeted the post with quite a sassy response that said ‘…y’all good?’
This led to quite a roar on social media; thousands of people went to try this sandwich, and ultimately, the obsession caused a massive shortage of these sandwiches for over 2 months!
These are undoubtedly five of the best viral marketing campaigns of all times! If there’s anything to learn from these marketing efforts, it’s that you don’t necessarily have to go over the top to go viral. You just have to be quick on your feet and use the moment to your advantage.