When it comes to online marketing, nothing beats the success and word-of-mouth of a good viral campaign.

Which companies have mastered the art of virtual trending? Here are six online marketing examples.

Viral Online Marketing Campaigns

1: Old Spice

He's on a horse. In 2010, the "Old Spice Guy" became an overnight phenomenon with a clever, catchy commercial that was endlessly shared and re-blogged across the web. The buzz came with big financial benefits, too: Old Spice sales were up by 107 percent within a month of the commercial air date.

2: Lays

Lays launched an extremely successful online marketing campaign in 2013 by allowing users to vote between chip flavors. Three were produced and sold in mass markets, but only one was allowed to survive. By the time the battle was over, Lays was ubiquitous on social media networks, and thousands of customers were either celebrating or complaining over the fate of their chosen chip.

3: Red Bull

In 2012, Felix Baumgartner broke world records by becoming the world's highest sky diver at 128,000ft. The entire world was watching as he plunged off a platform into space, including celebrities, politicians and real NASA astronauts. What does this have to do with advertising? Red Bull sponsored the event, and every time Felix made it into the news, their logo was seen on the screen or mentioned in the article.

4: Burger King

Would you sacrifice your best friend for a Whopper? That was the challenge presented by Burger King in 2009, when they offered free Whopper coupons for anyone willing to ditch 10 Facebook friends. The ensuing drama, gossip and betrayal almost crashed the website, but Burger King achieved its goal: It was the company on everyone's lips for the entire length of their campaign.

5: Kmart

Another cleverly controversial idea, Kmart skyrocketed into the cultural consciousness in late 2013 with a video called "Show Your Joe." It was a Christmas-themed jingle involving a group of men dancing in their boxers while shaking their "bells." As viewers debated its appropriateness, Kmart enjoyed free publicity well into the holiday season and beyond.

6: Apple

Apple's 1997 "Think Different" campaign is one of the most successful of all time, challenging all kinds of preconceived notions about how to use their phones. For example, it taught users that you can shop with your phone. You can listen to music. You can also use business ecards for iPhones and iPads. The possibilities are endless across all arenas of work and play.

7. Poopouri

This recent YouTube video made the rounds on the internet. Poopouri is a product that blocks unpleasant smells from stinking up a public bathroom. The ad features a prim woman speaking eloquently about a product that is not so prim. It’s funny take on the product not only had people sending the video to each other, but it got people interested in a product they didn’t even know they needed.

8. TrueMove

It is likely you never heard of Thai telecommunications company TrueMove before this video appeared on your newsfeed. The video is a heart wrenching story that follows several characters through the years and how one good deed done by one character came to lead to good karma years later. This video pulled on the heart strings of millions.


As shown by these examples there are many different takes on viral marketing and many different reasons something may go viral. Whether ir be something funny like the Kmart ad, something inspiring like the Red Bull ad, or something sad like the TrueMove ad, if people find that it is worth sharing then they will.

What will be the next Viral Online Marketing Campaign? Only time will tell.

Rianne Hunter

About the Author: Rianne Hunter

Rianne has developed a strong passion for writing about various subjects including health, business, marketing, and finance.

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