Best Viral Ad Campaigns of All Time

How the Admen get your money

Have you ever wondered how businesses create ad campaigns that become viral? Or more to the point, how they BECOME viral. Well, unfortunately, there isn’t much science to it, although many of the viral campaigns tend to have one thing in common – a good old case of the feels. Often it is the poignant, silly or downright outrageous campaigns that take over our social media feeds in a matter of hours. It is also often the best one’s that have people thinking about, talking about and/or humming along too (you can’t deny that you have never had Phil Collins ‘In the Air Tonight’ stuck in your head for months after Cadbury’s ‘Gorilla’ ad campaign). Getting your brand out there and raising awareness via social media is becoming increasingly more difficult with the excessive amount of content being shared every second of the day. So, we hope to inspire you and get your creative juices flowing by compiling a list of, what we think are, the 10 best ad campaign of all time.

 1. Dairy Milk (gorilla & eyebrows)

YouTube View Count to Date ‘Eyebrows’: 1.5m 

Cadbury Eyebrows

YouTube View Count to Date ‘Gorilla’: 8.5m

Gorilla Cadbury

If it is one thing Cadbury has managed to achieve, it is a string of super successful (and creative) ad campaigns. Their aim? To create adverts that would spark both conversation and reaction. Using nostalgia as a tool to engage the older consumers and an utterly silly concept to connect with their younger viewers. Simply genius.

2. Old Spice

YouTube View Count to Date: 53m

Old Spice

The genius for the Old Spice advert that famously declared “I’m on a horse” lies with the fact that they filmed the whole advert in one take! They cunningly recorded this advert in one take by simply moving backdrops, and using a very well rehearsed horse, of course. The ability to offer a product to the male consumer whilst also appealing to their female counter parts with the tag line “This is what your man could smell like” is sheer brilliance.

3. Think! Don’t Drink and Drive

YouTube View Count to Date: 119k

Think Don't Drink and Drive Image

This ad campaign may have only had 119k views on YouTube to date, but that does not reflect the impact that this particular advert, and other similar to it, have had. It seems that the most effective road safety adverts are those that communicate with the viewer in the most simple, real and, sometimes, shocking way. This advert in particular focuses less on the graphicness of how damaging drinking and driving can be and instead emphasizes the impact that drink driving can have on your life. It shows a man behind the bar responding to a customer, who is about to buy a drink, with a series of consequences of drink-driving. This includes a driving ban, which leads to job loss, which can lead to jail time and not being able to support your family. Powerful stuff.

4. Dove Evolution

YouTube View Count to Date: 18.7m

Dove Evolution Image

Dove have been ambassadors for ‘Real Women’ for a long time, so their long standing campaign stays true to its ethos and uses women of all shapes, sizes and colour to represent their brand in each of their adverts. Their campaign aims to not only support women’s bodies, but also celebrate them. This brand connects with their target audience by showing the viewer that most ad campaigns that promote beauty and skin care products use technology to achieve an unattainable and unrealistic standard of what we believe, as a society, is deemed as ‘beautiful’. Using this method ultimately aims to gain trust from the viewers and ‘expose’ other skin care and beauty companies.

5. Three #DancePonyDance

YouTube View Count to Date: 12.5m

Dance Pony Dance Image

Using a similar method to the Cadbury campaign, mobile company, Three, intend on engaging their viewers with an advert that supplies a catchy song and an utterly ridiculous concept of a pony moonwalking. Three also tap into the need to connect through social media platforms by adding the hashtag #DancePonyDance. The result of this hashtag is a way to spark conversation over social media that advertise their product whilst making people laugh and not take it too seriously. Ultimately, this leads to the video being shared through various online platforms multiple amounts of times and sparking interest in the product itself.

6. Evian Baby and Me

YouTube View Count to Date: 130m

Evian Baby and Me Image

I don’t know about you, but I know many adults who dreams of a simpler time. A time where we didn’t pay bills; a time where we could pull silly faces and dance in public and no one would bat an eyelid; A time where we could let loose and be ourselves. That time for many people is their childhood. This is probably why this advert has had a whopping 130 million views, because we simply can’t get enough of how relatable it is. A bunch of adults walking past a large mirror through a busy street and spot there reflections, but their reflections being their former self as a baby. They start to dance and make silly faces and it is the connection with their childhood. The tagline ‘Pure and Natural’ that Evian hope to show us that being our young and unassuming self is not a bad thing. Quite the opposite.

7. Carrie coffee shop

YouTube View Count to Date: 66.4m

Carrie Telekentic Coffee Shop Image

In recent years, hidden camera pranks have become one of the most likely to go viral videos on the Internet. It gathers viewers due to its intrigue of its outcome and desire to know why the prank has been carried out. Whether it is a friend pranking an old friend, a stranger making someone in their path jump or a guerilla ad campaign, we love to see people shocked. This ad campaign doesn’t reveal its true agenda until the end of the set of pranks to reveal it was, in fact, an advert for the upcoming cinematic horror remake of ‘Carrie’. The original was a 70’s classic that was being remade for the likes of us 21st century folks, so they had to catch our attention some how. Using a group of actors in a seemingly normal setting of a coffee shop to trick the unassuming public that someone amongst them had telekinetic powers that can throw another human being across the room is was had us hooked and watching right through to the end.

8. Always #likeagirl

YouTube View Count to Date: 62.2m


Always have used an ad campaign that touches on the strength of women and how, no matter what their bodies are going through, they should never be underestimated. They asked a group of young boys and older girls how they would do certain things as ‘a girl’, such as ‘run like a girl’ and ‘throw like a girl’. They all responded with meek and flimsy actions. Then they asked a series of young girls, that are seemingly unaware of the certain pressures put on them as a female, the exact same questions. The result? They acted out the same actions just as strong and fast as the boys when asked to carry out the same actions. They aim to show that women are conditioned into thinking they aren’t as physically capable as men and illustrate that this is not the case, especially when using their product.

9. John Lewis Christmas Ads

YouTube View Count to Date: <50m

John Lewis Christmas Advert Image

Ah, The John Lewis Christmas Advert. It is one we wait for, as a nation, all year long. We don’t expect anything less than a good old tug of the heart-strings and an emotional song to boot. Each year they do not fail to disappoint, from a little boy befriending a penguin, to snow people falling in love, it uses a little bit of magic with the theme of love to show us that John Lewis are the people to go to in order to get your loved ones the best at Christmas time. And don’t we all know it.

10. O2 ‘Be More Dog’

YouTube View Count to Date: 181k

Be More Dog O2

What is more adorable than a fluffy fat cat wearing a headset, telling a room of people that they can be whoever they want to be, even if they feel like they are a completely different species? Nothing! That is why we have come together to enjoy this advert in all its glory. O2 have managed to capture motivation using the most lethal weapon possible to advertise their product. This genius move shows us that you don’t have to live your life with tedious routine, but in fact you can take enjoyment from every day activities like running and jumping (and catching sticks). Of course this is a metaphor for inspiration to grab life by the… Well, you know what we’re trying to say. Either way, we love this little fur ball and everything he represents.

As you can see, each advert is incredibly different and creative, yet each one of them has the ability to capture our hearts’ and minds in many different ways, and we love them for it. If this has simply not provided you with enough inspiration for your next video marketing venture, then our experts at Stormnet Media would love to help you.