The internet has revolutionized a plethora of pastimes: the way people
communicate, find dates, commit crimes, you name it.
But the business of selling stuff and of building brands continues to see
one of the most radical transformations.  At the cutting edge is the viral campaign; the short video clip, game, widget or ad that is so
compelling much of an advertiser’s work is done for them when their
prospective customers forward it to their contacts quickly building up an
audience of millions.

What I love about the following ten campaigns is that they did not set out to be viral - they set their creative foot forward and the audience embraced the ideas and made them viral by continuing the conversation.  The ones that captured the most attention are edgy, surprising, original, erotic and emotional that
tapped in to sub-cultures or into popular culture.

1. Nike:  This clip is one of the all time greatest virals ever, with more than 50
million views globally. Featuring world famous soccer star Ronaldinho
hitting the crossbar no less than four times, without the ball touching the
floor. The creative material is from Framfab, in Denmark. The product on
display is the Nike R10 football boot. A massive discussion on whether the
clip was actually real or computer edited drove millions of interested
viewers to the campaign.

2. John West Salmon Ad:
A John West employee fights a grizzly bear off to land a fish – just to go
that extra mile for quality. Obviously, it is set up, but with costumes from
the Jim Henson Creature Shop it looks surprisingly real, until the bear
starts throwing Kung Fu tricks at the “fisherman”

3. Dove Onslaught:
Another classic out of Janet Kestin and Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto

4. Harley Davidson Widget:  This widget launched with a LIVE video feed for H.O.G's and now acts as a fantastic source of entertainment on web pages across the internet.

5.  Marc Ecko: Having
started several enterprises around the hip/hop, skater and style scene, Ecko
decided to create a ideological statement on the First Amendment. He filmed
a session of himself ”tagging” Air Force One and used the following hype to
explain why. Did he really spray grafitti on the President’s jet? Judge for
yourself @

6. Ice Breakers Watch and Whoa:  The Spring Break Casting call reality web cast followed four couples on their Spring Beak adventure that ultimately lead one couple to star in the Ice Breakers Beach commercial.  While the "Citrus Relay" ( lead the pack of 32 videos, the site received the biggest fanfare.


7. Coke Zero - Sue A Friend:  Two actors pose as marketing execs who start a grassroots campaign to sue coke.  A site, rich media with widgets facilitated the spread of the fun functionality.


8. The Trojan Games: Trojan Condoms in the United Kingdom, the "official"
web site for the so-called "Trojan Games" was created with several
clips by UK-based The Viral Factory.  This one is my favorite.

9. Quicksilver Dynamite Surfing:
How to go surf in a country without waves: a group of young men throw a bundle
of dynamite into an urban lake. Whether the clip was real or not was never
really discovered, a factor that itself garnered attention.

10. Criss Angel Freak Your Mind: EVB pulls off a multi-platform magic trick that plunges
users into the unbelievable illusions of A&E's "Criss Angel
MindFreak." (
Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest. That's certainly the case
with this site. By focusing the experience on "Freaking your friend's
mind" and the resulting magical video and follow-up phone call, the
designers were able to create an experience that requires little effort
from the viewer but has a very cool and impressive payoff.


What is were your favorites this year??  Help add to my list and study by submitting campaigns that were conversation worthy in your social circles.

ON: The Top 10 Viral Campaigns of 2007 via @jpenabickley