Startup Reference Blog

5 Marketing Campaigns That Went Viral

Lack of adequate marketing funds is one of the leading causes of startup failure. True to that, new businesses spend tens of thousands of dollars each year promoting their products. This is money splashed on radio campaigns, online Ads, TV, and other advertising channels. But what most of these startups don’t know is that they can save a lot of money by getting a little creative. To demonstrate this, below are some 5 marketing campaigns that went viral, helping generate massive revenues for the businesses that created them.

1.      Volkswagen: The Fun Theory

The world-renowned automaker brand has some cool genius boiling up in its offices. In this marketing campaign, the company uses a series of experiments to find out if you can make people safer, more environmentally conscious, and healthier if you made a mundane activity fun. The company invited some creative minds to come up with ways of making boring stuff fun. It can be quite hard telling how a campaign like this affects sales, especially considered that the branding was so subtle. But all the same creates the impression that innovation can make lives more enjoyable, which somehow plays along with what the company does.

Regardless of the analysis behind the video, the campaign was shared widely.

2.      KLM Surprise

This is yet another fantastic example of marketing that went viral in recent times. Royal Dutch Airlines used Twitter and Foursquare check-ins to identify passengers who were waiting for their flights. The company scanned their profiles to learn more about them and later presented them with thoughtful gifts. This alone would have been good, but having a video crew recording everything while the company presented the gifts made everything fantastic. The company attracted a lot of interest from this video, simply because it used a creative marketing approach that involved making its customers happy.

3.      Old Man Spice Responses

Created by the Old Spice brand, this was a brilliant marketing antic that led to millions of views for the company. Riding on the success of an earlier campaign by Isaiah Mustafa, The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, the band went on to craft one of the most memorable social media campaigns ever!

4.      Dumb Ways to Die

Marketing something boring (e.g. public transportation) can be immensely challenging. But not to Melbourne’s Metro Trains, the company behind the viral ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ marketing gig (watch it below). There were three very simple reasons why this video was so successful – it was cute, catchy, and violent.

5.      Tipp-Ex: Hunter and Bear’s Birthday Party

In 2010, a European whiteout manufacturer known as Tipp-Ex launched a YouTube channel revolving around a hunter and a bear. Viewers were able to choose their own adventure simply by inputting commands. You could specify how the hunter handled the situation. Without a doubt, this creative gig was a major hit. And the company wasn’t willing to leave it there. Within two years, they made another one. It was equally successful!


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