top 6 viral marketing campaigns of 2016

January 6, 2017

2016: what a year it has been…

One thing is for certain, no one can say that the year has been boring!

When it comes to marketing, there have been plenty of standout viral campaigns for the year, but here are the top 6 which caught our attention (as well as the attention of millions around the world!)

6. SodaStream – HeavyBubbles/Shame or Glory

This campaign first set out to ridicule the bottled water industry, before revealing that the company behind the campaign was in fact SodaStream. There have now been several videos in this series (including a Christmas one), all featuring ‘The Mountain’ from Game of Thrones. Not only have SodaStream created a hilarious series of ads, but they have also managed to employ one of the most talked about celebrities of 2016. It’s no wonder the campaign is unpopular with bottled water manufacturers.


5. John Lewis – ‘Buster the Boxer’

Department store chain John Lewis was responsible for this one, with the YouTube version of the ad (another Christmas themed ad we might mention) racking up over 20 million views in just a month. While a UK based store and campaign, the video reached audiences worldwide, simply by being creative and capturing the Christmas spirit.

4. Shell – ‘Make the Future/Best Day of My Life’

This one appears more PR focused than anything else, with the campaign aiming to improve Shell’s image as a forward thinking and environmentally conscious brand. The majority of hype we imagine is from the star-studded line up used in the commercial.

*We do wonder if this was in a way aiming to rebound from their tarnished image resulting from the 2014 Greenpeace campaign against Lego’s partnership with Shell as they were expanding drilling in the Arctic…


3. Knorr – ‘Love at First Taste’

A hilarious video of couples spending their first ‘date’ having to feed each other dinner in this novel match-making game. Food and beverage company Knorr hit the nail on the head with this one, with the video attracting over 60 million views!


2. Doritos – ‘Crash the Superbowl’

This ad promoting Doritos is a cheeky one indeed,  and it’s no surprise this one went viral. It’s easy to picture husbands and wives across the USA sharing this one, combined with hype from the Superbowl itself. Some clever marketing.


1. Pokemon Go

Now this was a standout. Pokemon Go is an augmented reality app/game produced by Nintendo, which rapidly became a global success (obsession?) which, unlike most other campaigns did not rely on a viral video. Pokemon Go reached people in a way true the definition of viral marketing, with excitement spreading from one person to the next. It caused traffic jams, injuries, and all manner of chaos as millions of users played the game which required them to visit certain locations to collect the imaginary creatures.

Pokemon Go was downloaded over 500 million times worldwide in its first two, making it the most widely used mobile app of all time.

The hype may have died off now, with many users claiming it was repetitive and quickly became boring and some skeptical about their personal data and movements being tracked, but that doesn’t change the fact that this was arguably the most successful viral marketing campaign of 2016, not to mention to many people it was their first introduction to Augmented Reality!

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