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Some Impressive Viral Commercials

Obtaining updated assessments of the world’s best ‘viral’ impact commercials, are hard to come by as numbers often vary, depending on when, and in which year they were notated.

There are however, some reliable appraisals by advertising industry insiders, of the ‘viral’ viewing scores, and social-media success tallies, for some notable commercials. 

1. Samsung Service, We’ll Take Care Of You

209 million online views

Advertising Agency: Cheil, Gurugram, India

Production Company: Crazy Few Films, Mumbai, India

Superbly directed by filmmaker Anupam Mishra, who elicits actual and genuinely portrayed performances from his cast, this Samsung Service short film, is an emotive story of remarkable global impact.

Accompanied by a soundtrack that features the music of Dhruv Chanekar, and the resonant vocals of Mohit Chauhan, what at first appears to be a predictable scenario, leads to a totally unpredictable and touching conclusion.

2. Evian, Baby And Me

104 million online views

Advertising Agency: BETC, Paris, France

Production Company: Iconoclast, Paris, France

Filmed in Buenos Aires, and Paris, Evian’s ‘Live Young’ integrated advertising campaign commercial ‘ Baby And Me’, was masterly directed by the filmmaking duo of Pierre Dupaquier and Clement Durou, who go by the name of ‘We Are From LA’ or simply, WAFLA.

The charmingly compelling, Cannes award-winning commercial, features a soundtrack of “Here Comes The Hotstepper“ by French electronic music producer and singer, Yuksek.

3. Dove, Real Beauty Sketches

163 million online views

Advertising Agency: Ogilvy, São Paulo, Brazil

Production Company: Paranoid Films, Los Angeles, USA 

The intuitive human truth of Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ that strikes a cord with viewers, is that women are often their own worst critics. Global research insightfully revealed, that only 4% of the women participating in the study, regarded themselves as being beautiful.

Filmed over three days in loft in San Francisco with forensic sketch artist Gil Zamora, the aim of the commercial was to convince women that they are more beautiful than they think. 

Directed by filmmaker John X Carey, with much pathos and sensitivity, in a captivating documentary style, the social media responses were emotively motivating and far-reaching.

The Unilever Dove campaign, ‘Real Beauty Sketches’, won a Cannes Festival Titanium Award, that recognises advertising communication initiatives, that are so groundbreaking, that they pave the way to new advertising industry paths.

4. Evian, Baby Bay

123 million online views

Advertising Agency: BETC, Paris, France

Production Company: Wanda Films, Paris, France

Visual Effects: Mikros Studios, Paris, France

Filmed in South Africa and directed by filmmaker James Rouse, the Epica and Gold LIA commercial, builds on Evian’s hugely successful ‘Live Young’ theme. 

Starring actor Robin Clive, the featured music soundtrack of the Beach Boys’ classic “Kokomo” hit, is performed by the French-Israeli folk pop duo, Lilly Wood & the Prick.

5. Procter & Gamble’s Always, Like A Girl

90 million online views

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago, Toronto and London

Leo Burnett and P&G’s ‘Always’ social activism experiment, ‘Like A Girl’, is based on a universal human truth, that genders stereotypes are so ingrained in societal culture, that they are even part of our language.

As P&G FemCare Marketing Director, and Organisational Psychologist, Dalia Feldheim noted at the time: 

“The expression ‘like a girl’ in fact, is often used as an insult to tease somebody who is weak, over-emotional or useless. If it happens to young girls at a time when identities are already very fragile, it can have a devastating effect”. 

The societal impact of the Always brand initiative was huge. All over the world, men and women of all ages, joined the ‘Always’ brand’s social responsibility drive, to help reclaim ‘like a girl’ as a positive statement, and the #LikeAGirl hashtag skyrocketed on social media to unprecedented levels.

Leo Burnett’s, networking agency initiative, with joint winners LB Canada, were honoured with a Cannes Festival Titanium Award, that recognises advertising communication initiatives that are so groundbreaking, that they pave the way to new advertising industry paths.

6. Volvo Trucks, The Epic Split

86 million online views

Advertising Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors, Gothenburg, Sweden

Produced by Forsman & Bodenfors, and directed by filmmaker Andreas Nilsson, the  ‘Epic Split’ commercial, for the launch of Volvo Truck’s new dynamic steering system, was filmed in a closed-off airstrip south of Madrid in Spain, and took the Internet by storm.

The film stars Belgian martial-arts expert and actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, performing a live-test demonstration, to the resonant soundtrack of Irish singer and songwriter Enja’s “Only Time Will Tell”, that adds an evocative and emotive aspect to a truck commercial that is unexpected, and very effective.

Many communication industry awards followed. ‘Epic Split’ was the most awarded viral commercial of 2014 and Andreas Nilsson was named as the year’s most-awarded director worldwide.

Awards included a Black Pencil from D&AD, Best of Show at The One Show, a Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Cyber and Film, a second Cannes Lion Grand Prix for Creative Effectiveness, and a Film Grand Prix at the Eurobest Awards in Helsinki, Finland.

And from the International ANDY Awards, 4 Gold tributes for Best Automotive Commercial, Best Use of Celebrity, Best Direction, Best Use of Existing Music, and a Silver tribute for cinematography.

7. VW Passat, The Force

63 million online views

Advertising Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles, USA

Production Company: Park Pictures, Los Angeles, USA

This charming story about a Star Wars inspired little ‘Darth Vader’ is a skilfully directed portrayal of child-like imagination by filmmaker Lance Acord.

The multi-award winning visual narrative, is accompanied by a music soundtrack of “Imperial March” by composer John Williams. 

Aired during the Super Bowl American Football Championships, ‘The Force’ commercial, according to Advertising Age, has become one of the most watched and shared Super Bowl commercials of all time, and to this day, its remarkable public impact globally, remains a much discussed, and written about topic in advertising communication case studies.

8. Old Spice, Hello Ladies

62 million online views

Advertising Agency: Weiden+Kennedy, Portland, Oregon, USA

Production Company: MJZ, Los Angeles, California, USA 

Directed by filmmaker Tom Kuntz, the hugely popular parody of ‘manliness’, stars American actor and former National Football League player, ‘Old Spice Man’ Isaiah Amir Mustfa.

The Cannes Grand Prix for film, and The Primetime Emmy Award award winner as ‘The Commercial of the Year’,‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’, campaign, sparked many entertaining advertising ‘spoofs’ by other brands.