5 Trends That Revolutionized Viral Marketing In 2010

2010 saw quite a few totally new and original trends that have revolutionized viral marketing. A few of our faves include projection mapping, interactive video, HTML5, YouTube takeover campaigns and response campaigns.

The very essence of viral marketing necessitates evolution. Marketers need to evolve creatively to come up with new, exciting ideas and formats because, after all, nobody is going to share something that’s been done before (Case in point: I don’t think I’m the only one who is getting tired of all the Old Spice parodies). Lucky for online consumers, 2010 saw quite a few totally new and original trends that have revolutionized viral marketing. My favorite revolutionary viral marketing trends of 2010 are projection mapping, interactive video, HTML5, YouTube takeover campaigns and response campaigns. Read on to find out more, as well as to look back at some great examples of each of these trends from the past year.


HTML5 has been one of the most revolutionary developments in viral marketing campaigns this year. HTML5 is the newest revision of the HTML standard and while it’s still currently under development it has allowed for some awesome viral video campaigns, the likes of which have never been seen before.

Arcade Fire’s HTML5 music video experience for ‘The Wilderness Downtown’ is a great example of the amazing stuff that can be done with HTML5. The video is an interactive experience that melds the music together with elements of your personal live, incorporating Google Maps pictures of your childhood neighborhood, choreographed video windows, interactive elements and more. Check it out from Google Chrome at The Wilderness Downtown website, or watch the YouTube demo below.

Interactive Video

Interactive video has been around since before 2010, but this year it really started to take off. Using YouTube Annotations, creators are able to make all sorts of multiple-video choose your own adventure stories and interactive games.

Back in August an interactive YouTube trivia game went viral starring Dustin Diamond (Screech from Saved By The Bell). Check it out below.

The French Connection also launched the first ever interactive YouTube boutique (they call it their YouTique). Interactivity is totally changing the way brands are able to interact with their customers through online video, customizing the experience and making it exciting for everyone.

There was even an interactive video experience created to teach youth about safe sex and the importance of condoms.

3D Projection Mapping

This year I have been absolutely blown away by 3D projection mapping, which Wikipedia defines as “any method of mapping three-dimensional points to a two-dimensional plane.” Video is then projected onto an object, such as a building, and it looks like the object is changing form or becoming animated. However, rather than defining what projection mapping is, the best way to understand how it works is to see an example. It may be hard to believe, but there are were no special effects added to this video. Everything you see has been projected onto the building.

We’ve seen a number of awesome projection mapping projects in 2010. Though by their very nature projection mapping campaigns are events occur on location, many have gone viral this year when they have been video taped and put online, including a recent projection mapping for H&M in Amsterdam and a campaign to celebrate the release of TRON: Legacy. If a projection mapping campaign looks this cool on a little web video player, imagine how amazing it must look in person! Check out the Seeper projection mapping installation for the Microsoft Xbox Kinect launch in Germany in the video below.

YouTube Takeover Campaigns

Another huge trend to hit YouTube this year was YouTube takeover campaigns. The first YouTube takeover that I had the opportunity to see was Samsung’s 3D Event, which actually incorporates projection mapping. The campaign looks like a normal YouTube page, playing a cool video of a Samsung 3D projection mapping event, but just as the video begins the entire YouTube page begins to crack and viewers are able to play a game, clicking on butterflies that fly out of the video and around the screen. Click here to check it out.

One of the most popular YouTube takeover campaigns this year was the Tipp-Ex ‘A Hunter Shoots a Bear’ campaign, in which a hunter, not wanting to shoot a bear, reaches out of the video player screen to white out “Shoots” from the title. Viewers are invited to fill in their own words into the title to see a series of different videos. Check out the campaign, starting with the video below.

Sylvester Stallone also did a cool YouTube takeover campaign this year to promote The Expendables. He is being interviewed by Shira Lazar when suddenly snipers start aiming at him from the recommended videos on the YouTube page and Sly whips out a pair of guns and shoots the YouTube page to pieces. Click on the image below to check it out.

Response Campaigns

Old Spice broke new ground this year with Isaiah Mustafa’s (aka The Man Your Man Could Smell Like) response campaign. The popular toweled man released a whole plethora of videos responding to fan comments on Twitter, Facebook and around the web, culminating in the most popular online video campaign of all time. The Old Spice guy even proposed marriage for one of his fans in a video that was viewed over 1.4 million times.

Old Spice started something of a trend with their response campaign. Several companies followed suit and tried to do response campaigns of their own. Some were better than others. Cisco’s “Ted From Accounting” answered fan questions from a bathroom as well, but didn’t achieve anywhere near the success of Old Spice.

Orange did a response campaign in which they turned their fans’ tweets into Singing Tweetagrams.

What’s your favorite viral marketing trend from 2010?