Viral marketing manages to create interest and potential purchases for a brand or product through messages that spread like a virus, that is, quickly and from person to person, the old word of mouth but in modern media. The idea is that its the users themselves who choose to share the content.

Viral ads are short, thought-provoking videos that are designed to make their recipients want to forward them to lots of other people. They work as a kind of “self-propagation” technique.

The most common means of propagation is social media.

We want to focus in this blog on advertising campaigns that went viral, leaving aside user content that has received millions of views overnight thanks to dances or catchy songs.

We leave you examples of brands that used little exploited media and we can consider them “pioneers” of this type of spontaneous and fortuitous marketing.

MTV campaign

I start strong with the most successful campaign in the history of viral marketing in our country, I love Laura. Made by BBDO for MTV, it is the first initiative that used only the internet to broadcast it. The success was such that today all of us at the time remember it.

The worst job in the world

One of the keys to success for an ad to become viral is to arouse the viewer’s emotions. Laughter, empathy, sadness… the stories that touch our hearts always triumph. This is the case of the special ad for Mother’s Day from the American postcard company American Greetings. We can see how a series of people appear for a video job interview, at first everything seems normal, but when they begin to explain what the conditions of this job are, the reactions are immediate. A beautiful tribute to the hard work that millions of mothers do every day.

This campaign was very popular, but we have always wondered if in the end there was a vacant position for those candidates or they would go home with the disappointment of still being unemployed.

Van Damme

What happens if you mix Van Damme and his impressive physical condition, two trucks and Enya’s music? Well, you create one of the most viral ads in history. The official Volvo Trucks video has more than 80 million views on YouTube.

A stick

This Limón y Nada campaign wanted to prove that the simplest thing: a stick, a stone, a box… a lemon, is often the most successful. And so it proved, exceeding one million views on YouTube. Another one of those ads that has left us with a phrase to repeat ad nauseam.

Real Beauty Sketches

The personal care brand Dove took real beauty as its slogan and has been showing women and men for several years that you can succeed in advertising, and in life, without responding to the rigid canons established by the industry. In this emotional video they show us an experiment in which a cartoonist makes two portraits of the same woman based only on the descriptions she hears. The first portrait is made according to the description that the portrayed woman makes of herself. For the second he takes into account the description of a third person. Which of the two portraits do you think is closer to reality? Do we tend to describe ourselves by focusing on our virtues or our defects?

Al dente pasta

The Barilla pasta brand surprised its customers and users with playlists on Spotify with the exact duration to get al dente pasta. Mixtape Spaghetti, Boom Bap Fusilli, Moody Day Linguine, Pleasant Melancholy Penne, Best Song Penne, Top Hits Spaghetti, Timeless Emotion Fusilli and Simply Classics Linguine are the names of the playlists that provide a soundtrack for Barilla customers when they prepare to cook.


KFC’s slogan was “it’s finger licking good” for more than 64 years. However, the arrival of the pandemic and what it meant for society did not seem to line up very well with the situation the world was going through.

Rather than come up with a new tagline, they decided to stray from “finger licking good” for 48 hours and take a more fun and edgy take, it was probably just what we needed at the time. The strategy in question was to adopt the slogans of other well-known brands, for a short period of time, we do not know if it was to increase the rate of virality or if it was to avoid problems with intellectual property. Under the hashtag #UntilWeCanFingerLickAgain, KFC used other company slogans from McDonald’s “I’m loving it” to Redbull’s “Gives you wings” and managed to go viral on social media in no time.

Conclusion, nobody knows the formula for a video to go viral, but one thing is predominant, you have to be original.

If you have studied marketing and do not know where to start, we suggest you focus on your target audience, appeal to strong emotions and humor and take the risk of surprising the world.