Strategic Viral Videos


YouTube was founded in 2005  and as of 2013 has over 1billion unique users every month and over 4billion hours of video content watched every month. (YouTube, 2013) With the growth of the internet and those using it, it has become commonplace for brands to use sites such as YouTube in order to create public interest and awareness of their brand.

Viral videos are videos that spread quickly over the internet. Videos are watched on sites such as YouTube and Vimeo as well as being shared on social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter as well as through blogs, email and instant messaging. (PCMag, 2012)


Building on this concept, ‘viral marketing’ is a method of online advertising. An advertising agency develops an advertisement which will be shown on television or in some cases, only as part of an online campaign. The term ‘viral’ should not be mistaken with viruses as videos are for advertising purposes alone.


Nowadays we attribute the term viral videos to funny or clever videos we share with our friends. But the term began with the company DFJ after it made a large investment into Hotmail. Following the investment, Hotmail displayed an advertisement at the end of every email, suggesting they move to Hotmail. By a year and a half later, over 12million new people had signed up to Hotmail. (PCMag, 2012)

I’ve complied a list of some of the biggest Viral Marketing videos from YouTube which are linked below.

1. Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (44,234,457views)

2. Volkswagon: The Force (55,845,238views)

3. Evian: Roller Babies (61,598,800views)

4. T Mobile: The Dance (37,109,014views)

5. Inspired Bicycles: Danny MacAskill

From my research, I have found that there is no secret formula to creating a guaranteed viral video for your brand, yet there seems to be common elements in these videos such as humour and surprise.

YouTube, with its wide scoping uses and users, I thought I would try and list some pro’s and con’s of the site in order to get thinking about a site we all take for granted these days.


  • Cheap
  • Very wide scoping range of videos – educational, music, tutorials etc.
  • Easy to use,
  • Building a customer base/fan base
  • Self expression
  • Potential to reach a huge audience
  • Instant


  • Anyone can post videos – huge amount of conent for people to sieve through
  • All videos you post are public so anyone has access to them
  • Not all videos are censored and everyone has access to potentially inappropriate material
  • Copyright infringement
  • Privacy issues of videos of people that may not want to be filmed

With regards the music industry, YouTube, is a very important tool as a platform for musicians to display their music videos, as a new or established band and has even been the means of discovery for some of today’s biggest selling artists such as Justin Bieber. It is a fantastic one stop source for fans to access interviews and music of their favorite artist and it a fantastic means of sharing a live recording with potential record labels and management companies, without having to post CD’s that will probably never get opened. The idea of creating innovative, fun videos works for music as well as businesses, as demonstrated by Irish band Raglans in their video for their song ‘Digging Holes’ which has over 38,000 views.

YouTube are currently developing their YouTube Live feature which allows enabled users (soon to be all users) to stream content live  which is making a huge difference to the the music industry, allowing fans to watch their favourite artists live from the comfort of their homes – a development of which will be really interesting to follow. An example of this is the recent SXSW festival having had many talks and performances streamed live via YouTube as the upcoming Coachella Festival, which is  also going to be streamed live which I, personally, cannot wait for. (YouTube, 2013)

Oveeall, YouTube is an excellent website that is sure to keep developing and growing for years to come. A key development that I am particularly excited about is the YouTube partner programme  which uses YouTube’s ‘audio-fingerprinting technology’ and basically ensures that people can upload videos that would normally have to be deleted for copyright reasons, and now simply pays royalties to  the rights owners – which I think is a fantastic innovation. (Van BusKirk, 2011)


PC Mag. (2012). Viral Marketing. Available:,1237,t=viral+video&i=58238,00.asp. Last accessed 23 January 2013.

PCMag. (2012). Viral Video. Available:,1237,t=viral+video&i=58238,00.asp. Last accessed 23 January 2013.

YouTube. (2013). Statistics. Available: Last accessed 30th March 2013.

YouTube. (2013). YouTube Live Streaming. Available: Last accessed 30th March 2013.

Van Buskirk, E. (2011). Is YouTube Bad for Music?. Available: Last accessed 28th March 2013.

My personal YouTube site can be found here:


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