5 Brilliant Viral Ads

Dollar Shave Club

A potty-mouthed, machete wielding, CEO who has people in bear suits roaming his factory; what more could you ask for? Having now received nearly 20 million views on YouTube, Dollar Shave Club hit the nail on the head when they created their first ad campaign for just $4,500.

Michael Dubin, the video’s star and founder of Dollar Shave Club, attributes the success of the video to its musicality and comedy. In an interview with Entrepreneur, he explained that people tend to remember things when they’re presented in this way; and, subsequently, have a better chance of triumphing.

Old Spice

If you ever find yourself twiddling your thumbs in a marketing lecture, this ad is bound to be mentioned, as it is quite arguably one of the most successful viral ads out there. The Old Spice ‘Smell like a Man, Man’ campaign had amassed around 220,000 views just a few hours after having been shown during the 2010 Super Bowl.

What was even better about this campaign was what happened a few months later. The marketing agency in charge decided to create personalized video responses to questions asked by fans on Twitter and YouTube. In just 48 hours, Old Spice had gained 11 million videos views, and over 70,000 new followers across their social media channels.

Mitre 10

Capturing the essence of the Kiwi spirit, Mitre 10’s ‘DIY, It’s in our DNA’ ad campaign was a cracker.

Seeing three small children playing in a sandpit would melt the hearts of most people. However, adding a typical ‘bloke’ conversation into the mix won Mitre 10 a lot of admirers.

The company puts the ads success – it won Best Ad of 2009 – down to Kiwi ingenuity and the nation’s pioneering spirit.

“Mitre 10 stores are owned and operated by Kiwis. They’re the stores we went to as kids with our dads and… has helped build Kiwi homes, build Kiwi decks, landscape Kiwi backyards and renovate Kiwi bathrooms for generations.”

Whilst the Aussies may think we’re dreamin’, we reckon they’re just a tad jealous.


If you thought King Midas had it tough, think again. Instead of turning everything you touched into gold, imagine if Skittles appeared instead – a frighteningly delicious thought. The video is ballsy and contains a sprinkling of dark humour, which definitely attracts attention; and, in some cases, controversy.

The ad features a man who is asked to demonstrate his gift by turning a stapler into Skittles. However, the tone abruptly changes when the man explains he accidentally killed someone on the bus after touching them; opening up his hands to reveal a pile of Skittles and saying “He’ll never see his family again.” Not surprisingly, this did not go over well with some customers.


Suffering from a severe lack of ‘coolness’, K-Mart proposed a solution in the form of a 30-second ad spot. In just over a week, the video had received over 13 million views online. In an ironic twist, some suggest that this video was such a great success because K-Mart itself was seen as “a tired snooze of a retail brand”; raising many eyebrows with its humorous tone.

The ‘Ship My Pants’ campaign set out to highlight K-Mart’s Ship to Home service. The joke was of course in the articulation of the word ‘ship’, with it appearing as though people were excitingly exclaiming that they were going to, ahem, soil their pants. This ad campaign goes to show just how quickly, and to what scale, a simple video can revitalize a brand.

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