THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 Best viral campaigns

1. Mazda

Two old-age stereotypes, the bad woman driver and the surly, condescending construction worker, provide the perfect ingredients for this highly entertaining viral. The clip, by Maverick Media and DMC, shows a woman pulling up to a parking space that appears to be too small for her Mazda. Two men with a truck laden with planks mock her misfortune. She drives over the planks, across the top of the truck, and lands in the space. According to the portal Lycos' viral chart, the unofficial benchmark for the success of a viral, "women drivers" was the most popular execution of the year.

Agencies: Maverick Media and DMC

Writer/art director: Seamus Masterson

2. 118 118

The lightning-fast reaction times of WCRS, always ready to milk any press mileage for the 118 118 brand, led to one of the best pieces of tactical marketing of the year. In any medium. Originally intended as a television ad until blocked by Honda, 118 118's naff send-up of the slick "cog" ad is a classic. The comparison between the cheap production and raggedy runners and the polished craftmanship of "cog" makes this spot a brilliant example of how to air a quality parody and side-step the long arm of the law.

Agency: WCRS

Writer: Anson Harris

Art director: Per Kvalvaag

3. Ford

There's nothing like a bit of animal cruelty to send the notoriety - and viewing figures - of a clip into the stratosphere. A simple idea, Sportka is the evil twin of the Ka - so why not have it do nasty things to small, defenceless animals? Ogilvy & Mather created a short clip that has the hood of the car flick open and hit a pesky pigeon for six when it attempts to land on the bonnet. Deliciously dark and simple.

Agency: Ogilvy & Mather

Writer: Mike Crowe

Art director: Rob Messeter

4. Love Kylie Lingerie

A sneaky one this. Kylie took last year's number-one spot with a viral for Agent Provocateur showing her riding a rodeo machine while scantily clad. This time, she returns with an ad for her eponymous lingerie range. Stylishly shot in black and white with the diminutive popstar singing the track, the clip is both an ad for her business and a sneaky promotion for her latest single. An innovative use of the medium and more evidence that Kylie is still queen of the viral world.

Directors: William Baker and Alan McDonald.

5. Volkswagen

An endearing ad by BMP DDB that would have been a nice television execution but for the client being a bit sensitive about airing a spot featuring a little girl using swear words - family friendly and all that. The clip shows the little girl uttering the word "bollocks" as everything goes wrong in her day. Not likely to break any viewing records - lacking the sex or fun-with-animals staple of the highest-rating virals - but a great example of using the medium as an alternative outlet to deliver a well-crafted yet mildly controversial ad.

Agency: BMP DDB

Writers/art directors: Dan Hubert and Amber Casey

6. Nokia

Perhaps the most bizarre execution of the year is "swinging cat". A group of lads film a cat getting caught up swiping at a string hanging from a revolving ceiling fan. As the clip pans out, it becomes clear that the film was shot on a Nokia videophone. The end frame is branded with the Nokia logo, voiceover and endline. Nokia insisted it had nothing to do with said great film and tried - unsuccessfully - to halt the dissemination of the clip. The culprits remain at large.

7. Reebok

The sports giant created a phenomenon with the fictitious NFL player Terry Tate and his job as Office Linebacker. The spot was shown on television at the Superbowl but, outside the US, Tate was only seen through the viral distribution. Tate and his "tough love" management style of making bone-crunching hits on unsuspecting office workers for minor infringements has struck a chord around the globe. Distributed by Cake New Media in the UK, digital distribution has given Tate a life of his own and made the clip the most successful foreign-made viral in the UK.

Agency: Hypnotic

Writer/art director: Peter Arnell

8. Trojan Condoms

The attention to detail of the supporting campaign website behind the three virals that make up this campaign is only matched by the Terry Tate work. The Viral Factory and Media Therapy have produced an elaborate campaign (as opposed to a single cheeky execution) that is seriously blush inducing. Olympic events translated into perverted sexual competition including "judo", which features a woman competitor mounting a male to win, and "weightlifting" where a competitor uses his manhood to hold a woman aloft for three seconds. Only on the internet.

Agency: The Viral Factory

Writer/art director: The Viral Factory

9. Gallaher Hamlet Cigars

As cigarette advertising disappears into the sunset, cdp-travissully had one last hurrah online with this commercial that continues the happiness theme first developed in the 60s. The clip shows a wanky Ferrari driver getting his just desserts as the barrier comes down on his head as he leaves a carpark. Produced by The Viral Factory, this final Hamlet ad was released before the tobacco advertising ban was introduced but lives on as a creative monument to mark the end of an era.

Agency: The Viral Factory

Writer: Milo Campbell

Art director: Tony Burke

10. Zazoo Condoms

This Belgian-made viral sums up every parent's worst nightmare. Set in a supermarket, a father is out shopping with his young son. The child adds some junkfood to the trolley, which the father dutifully removes. The little boy then throws the tantrum to end all tantrums, which includes throwing items and writhing around on the floor screaming. The viewer's sympathy for the father is heartfelt as everyone in the supermarket stares in disbelief and embarrassment. The simple endline is: "Use condoms."

Agency: Duval Guilluame Antwerp

Writer: Stijn Gansemans

Art director: Stef Selfslagh


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