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3 of the Best Viral Marketing Campaigns of All Time

viral marketing

There’s no exact science to how a campaign goes viral, but it usually includes a mix of incredible content, engaging an audience emotionally, building in a natural sharing capability into your campaign, encouraging your audience to create user-generated content, and sharing your content at the right time. Read on for some of my most favorite viral marketing campaigns of all time.

3 of the Best Viral Marketing Campaigns of All Time

Dove – Real Beauty Sketches

Personal care brand Dove launched “Real Beauty Sketches” worldwide in 2013. The campaign's success was two-fold. Part one can be contributed to the fact that Dove uploaded the campaign video in 25 languages and was able to reach consumers in over 110 countries. This led to more than 114 million views in the first month alone, breaking online records along the way. 

The second, and more meaningful, part of the campaign focused on showing how women view themselves versus how other people see them. To execute this visually, Dove tapped an FBI sketch artist to draw women based solely on their verbal descriptions of themselves. The women were hidden out of sight behind a curtain. The sketch artist then had strangers describe the women, and he sketched them again. The beautiful message of the ad highlights that the sketches from the strangers were more flattering and accurate than the women’s descriptions. 

This campaign was one of the most successful ever; Dove and their agency partner Ogilvy & Mather Brasil won the Titanium Grand Prix at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the highest honor awarded.

Lay’s – Do Us a Flavor

Potato chip connoisseurs will remember the epic Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” campaign from mid-2012. The snack food company cemented their social media icon status by giving consumers and foodies alike a chance to submit a brand-new potato chip flavor for the chance to win $1 million. 

Just how successful was this campaign? There were over 4 million flavor ideas submitted and the final three flavors selected where Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, and Sriracha. All three flavors were released, and over 1 million consumers voted, naming Cheesy Garlic Bread the overall winner.

Not only did this campaign go viral, it tripled the number of fans on Lay’s Facebook page, boosted sales by 12%, and let consumers know that their opinion was important.

Poo-Pourri – Girls Don’t Poop

Poo-Pourri became a nationwide hit, and must-have product back in 2013 with the success of their “Girls Don’t Poop” campaign. The viral YouTube video shows an elegant young woman discussing toilet behavior and humor in various scenes, like at work and your boyfriend’s house. What sets this video apart is that it’s so well-written, funny, charismatic, and even a little bit poetic. Which is quite difficult to accomplish since she is talking about poop and a spray that masks the scent. 

The video was hugely successful, garnering 6 million views in the first week, and over 278,000 shares. The campaign also went on to increase Poo-Pourri’s Facebook fans by 354%. Now that’s quite a stink!

Which brands make your list of the best viral marketing campaigns ever? Tweet me @lorenridinger.