10 Tips For Advertisers To Go Viral On YouTube

When it comes to advertising with videos on YouTube most companies are going about it entirely the wrong way. A lot of advertisers are stuck in the 30-secong television ad mentality and don’t know a thing about creating a promotional video that will go viral on the web. YouTube’s Hunter Walk gave a presentation to advertisers at Cannes and emphasized the importance of creating strong YouTube advertisements. He offered up a lot of great tips for advertisers and we’ve compiled them, along with some great viral advertising examples, to help your company create great advertisements for YouTube.

Make Content, Not Commercials

One of the most important things that Walk stressed in his presentation was the idea that advertisers need to stop thinking in the commercial mindset and start thinking about producing compelling content. An informative video that explains the benefits of your product and how it works just won’t cut it anymore. You need to tell a compelling story or show something that is so funny or unique that viewers just can’t help but share your video with their friends.
When coming up with a concept for your promotional video, take a hint from some companies that have run successful campaigns. Let’s take Kia’s new Hamster Commercial for the Kia Soul as an example. This certainly isn’t you average commercial. It’s a music video, featuring Black Sheep’s ‘The Choice is Yours’ and a bunch of giant hamster. Now, this clip is clearly an advertisement for the Kia Soul, but the very fact that it has giant hamsters rapping and riding through the streets in giant toasters, cardboard cars and dryers make it incredibly viral and compelling content.
Note that the company doesn’t skimp on the branding at the end. After all, branding is always important in advertising. However, add just enough information about your product to get your name out there and don’t over-do it or you may bore your viewers.


Evian’s Roller Babies campaign is another great example of creating great content, rather than plain old commercials. When you watch this clip you know that it was made by Evian, but you aren’t thinking about Evian while watching. You’re thinking about the fact that these babies are dancing! Try to be transparent in your videos – you want viewers to be entertained without thinking about the fact that they are watching an advertisement.

Think About Long Term Strategy

When coming up with a concept for your viral video advertisements, think about the long term. One of the best ways to gain recognition is by creating a series of videos with a single concept or character. This way viewers will get to know your campaign and be excited when a new video comes out.
One of the best examples of this is Old Spice’s current campaign. The Old Spice campaign is made up of a combination of television and web advertisements and has gone massively viral on YouTube and beyond. Check out a few of the videos from the campaign below.

Make Your Videos a Conversation

Creating a dialogue with your customers is incredibly important. Pay attention to what consumers are saying about you and your products and respond to them.
A great example of this is EA Games’ Tiger Wood Walk On Water video. The company created the video as a response to a popular video created by a fan showing off the Jesus shot, Tiger Woods walking on water in the Tiger Woods ’08 game. The response video features Tiger Woods actually walking on water and taking a shot. With millions of views, this was a fantastic move by EA. Check out the fan video as well as EA’s clip below.

Inspire Parodies

Parodies are one of YouTube’s most popular staples. Viewers love a good parody. Advertisers can use this to their advantage. As an advertiser, you can create a video that will inspire parodies and as parodies pop up on the web it will drive even more viewers to your original clip. Parody is the best form of YouTube flattery, so try to come up with video ideas that will inspire YouTube users to create parodies of your advertisement.