The Art of Persuasion: 5 Viral Videos You Didn’t Know Were Ads

When making marketing content, one of the best things you can do is NOT make marketing content. Viewers who have grew up on DVR and On Demand content have no intention of watching a blatant advertisement. That’s why it is so critical to make a piece of content that tells a story more than it sells your product. Take a look at how the videos below were some of the most successful ads of the past few years.

Common to each of these videos are a few core elements.

  1. There is no initial branding
  2. They draw on various human emotions
  3. They have quality audio
  4. They tell a story

To really capture the imagination of the viewer, you need to tell a better story. Take the time to plan out and write down exactly what you want to convey with the video. It should tap into human emotions so that you can grab the attention of the viewers and hold on to them long enough to deliver your message to them.

LG: The Meteor Prank That Drew Us All In

Take this video from LG, for example, it draws viewers in and gives them something to laugh at and be amazed by at the same time. They don’t deliver the marketing message until the final curtain call, but they have given viewers a reason to stay until then by telling a compelling story, so it works.

Dumb Ways to Die: The Most Viral PSA Ever

One of the most popular ads that wasn’t an ad is probably the Dumb Ways to Die video from Melbourne Metro. It is the perfect example of making something sharable. Within days of release, the video had become the most shared video in the world. Not only did it have a catchy tune to keep viewers hooked, but the hilarious animations created a must-see feeling In viewers that caused them to share the video around. If you can be unforgettable viewers will have no choice but to share your video ad around. The video not only had the song but it was also reinforced with a game and public ads that led to it being the most shared public service announcement in history and a 21% decrease in accidents and deaths the following year.

TNT: A Surprise For The Viewer On a Quiet Square

If you don’t understand viral content, work with somebody who does. TNT created their ad that generated a massive amount of conversation to the tune of over 50 million views. They demonstrated the importance of piquing the viewers’ curiosity in order to hold their attention long enough to deliver their message. What would happen if somebody pushed the red button? They also utilized the public space where they shot the video to get authentic reactions. Viewers wanted to stick through until the end to see what would happen next. So if you can’t find a way to hook viewers’ attention, be authentic and make something unforgettable, find somebody who can.

Chipotle: The Scarecrow and the Winning Song

The soundtrack is as important as the video. Chipotle did a fantastic job with their ad for fresh food with “The Scarecrow”. They included a soundtrack from a Grammy Award winning artist that helped to tell their animated story in a compelling way that draws in viewers. The mood and emotion of the soundtrack changes to match the video to the point where it could almost be as equally compelling alone, but together they are that much better.

Demonstrate your product without demonstrating your product. This is almost too easy for a company like GoPro. In one of their most popular videos, they show a fireman saving a kitten from a burning home. Not only does this video draw on some very powerful human emotions, but it lets the viewer wonder what they could do with a GoPro in their own hands.

GoPro and Kittens: A Viral Match Made in Heaven

What each of these videos did best was tell a compelling story that not only helped to sell their product, but gave viewers something memorable that made them feel an emotion and want to share that emotion with other people. Whether that is done through music or sparking emotions like curiosity, humor, love and shock, each has their own way of drawing in viewers, getting shares and keeping the viewers’ attention through to completion, where the marketing message is delivered. That message is then associated with the emotions felt throughout the video, making it that much more memorable in the future.


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