This Year in Viral Videos

Today’s evolving online architecture is being shaped by a new type of promotion – viral videos.

The birth of social media has created multiple platforms for individuals and companies to build their brands and gain exposure through the World Wide Web. YouTube in particular has cradled many up-and-coming artists, catapulted unknown individuals into the spotlight and lent a platform to companies looking to respond more directly to customer concerns. The once foreign idea of shared content is now a part of our everyday lives – which makes the viral video a marketing dream machine. recently released The 10 Most Viral YouTube Videos of 2012. Some, but not all, are the work of companies – can you spot them? But we thought we’d round out the selections with a few of our own: videos that tickle our marketing senses with their creativity, commitment to authentic content, and sheer share-ability.

Earlier this year, Bodyform, a feminine care company, posted a YouTube video in response to this Facebook rant targeting its company. Bodyform’s cheeky response has gone viral with over 3 million views. If you hadn’t heard of Bodyform before, chances are you have now.

More recently, hip hop artist Jay-Z used a YouTube clip to promote his new documentary, Where I’m From: Jay Z Barclays Center Documentary. The candid 51 second video shows the American rapper sharing a subway ride to Brooklyn with a woman who can’t quite place him. The video has nearly 2 million hits to date. Not bad for a grown man riding the subway.

YouTube has enabled everyone from multi-million dollar companies to someone from a small town (ahem, Justin Bieber) to promote their product, talent or brand by simply uploading a raw video clip to the web. That, after all, is YouTube’s irresistible promise: You too could become an overnight sensation.