Great YouTube video marketing takes a lot more than just putting your product in front of a camera.
It needs to appeal to your audience on an emotional level.
People need to feel something about what they see on their screen or they’ll forget about it.
Unfortunately, creating content that does exactly what you want it to is easier said than done.
Many companies have tried and failed to go viral. There’s no exact formula for making a viral video, but chances are you’ll know one when you see it.
Whether they were backed by huge marketing budgets or put together from nothing, they have two things in common. They’re creative and they’re memorable.
To help you in your video marketing endeavours, we’ve created a list of the 50 greatest examples of successful YouTube video marketing. So, in no particular order, here they are.
1. DollarShaveClub.com – Our Blades Are F***ing Great
One of the classic examples of how effective YouTube video marketing can be, Dollar Shave Club’s minute and a half of gold rocked the internet.
The video brought in 12,000 orders in just 2 days and made Dollar Shave Club an overnight sensation.
Funny, punchy and eye-catching content like this is so difficult to get right, but CEO Michael Dubin managed to achieve exactly what he set out to. Six years later, Dollar Shave Club is now part of Unilever after being purchased for $1 billion.
2. Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
Featuring Isaiah Mustafa’s incredibly smug The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, this short and snappy ad was incredibly successful for Old Spice.
They managed to be creative, show their funny side and make their product look great all at once.
A series of ads and YouTube videos based on the same theme soon followed and Old Spice is now synonymous with great video marketing.
3. Android ‘Friends Furever’
There’s no set formula for making something go viral, but if there was, cute animals would certainly be a part of it.
Few things captures an audience’s attention like a lovable puppy or a cuddly kitten. That’s why Android’s ‘Friends Furever’ video was such a big hit, it paid heed to this trend and expanded upon it.
Not only do we get to see all the usual animals, but there are more unexpected combinations too, such as a rhino running with a sheep and a tiger playing with a bear.
4. Blendtec ‘Will It Blend? – Marbles’
Way back in 2006, Blendtec launched its ‘Will It Blend?’ Series. The concept involved using a standard blender to mash up objects you wouldn’t expect to see inside it.
At first they blended some marbles, but then they transitioned to larger objects like iPads and iPhones.
The internet went crazy for their videos and the series is still running today with the same reliable format. Some would argue that Blendtec were one of the pioneers of viral marketing.
5. Canadian Tire ‘Wheels’
This heartwarming video actually features very little branding, but the message is still clear, ‘we all play for Canada’.
Canadian Tire are telling people that their values promote inclusiveness and diversity. At a time when Canada is taking in lots of people from a wide range of countries, it strikes a chord.
It all feels natural too. Despite the video clearly being an ad, it doesn’t look contrived. This could just as easily be a scene that could play out in any neighborhood.
6. Budweiser ‘Puppy Love’
Super Bowl ads are usually fantastic examples of great video marketing, none more so than Budweiser’s iconic 2014 ‘Puppy Love’ commercial.
A lot of thought went into developing the story of the ad, and it shows. It taps into the viewer’s emotions, making it hard not to feel something for the separated puppy and Clydesdale horse.
Budweiser highlight how strong the bond between the puppy and the Clydesdale horse is. They are telling viewers that if they drink Budweiser, it will bring them closer to those around them.
7. Dos Equis ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World’
‘The Most Interesting Man in the World’ was an advertising campaign from Dos Equis that took on a life of its own.
Each ad featured the narration of various satirical factoids about the most interesting man before he is seen saying, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis. Stay thirsty my friends.”
Dos Equis wants to show its customers that it values living interestingly and the most interesting man acts as their spokesman in this regard.
8. Pou-Pourri ‘Girls Don’t Poop’
Pou-Pourri came up with a refreshing way to market their toilet sprays when they launched ‘Girls Don’t Poop’.
Playing on the idea that many women are secretive about their bathroom visits, they turned the tables with this honest approach.
There is no room for awkwardness here as Pou-Pourri openly talk about poop, while simultaneously emphasizing how good their product is at masking its smell.
9. Google Earth ‘Saroo Brierley: Homeward Bound’
Based on the true story of Saroo Brierley, this piece from Google Earth highlights how useful their tool can be in real life situations.
Brierley was adopted by an Australian couple after going missing in India and this video tells the story of his efforts to be reunited with his family. It’s essentially the best customer testimonial any company could wish for.
Such was the power of Saroo’s story that it was eventually turned into a film. Entitled Lion, the film starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman was nominated for 6 Academy Awards.
10. Code.org ‘What Most Schools Don’t Teach’
Featuring a whole host of famous faces, Code.org’s ‘What Most Schools Don’t Teach’ effectively gets across the message of how important coding is and will continue to be.
Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Will.I.Am and Drew Houston are among those that talk about their experiences, add some real authority to the video.
It successfully shows how computers are such an important part of daily life and highlights that even Silicon Valley’s finest had to learn how to code.
11. Nine Line Hoodies Stout Hoodie
Short and sweet, Nine Line Apparel’s 29 seconds of brilliance gets straight to the point.
Their message is made clear without a single word being spoken. Their new stout hoodies have a place to hold your stuff. Period.
The choice of music is excellent and its sudden change adds to the humorous tone of the video.
12. Carrie ‘Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise’
Promoters of 2013 film Carrie pulled out all the stops with this chilling prank.
Set in a Manhattan café, a woman with apparent telekinetic powers causes chaos and frightens unknowing customers, resulting in some hilarious reactions.
Luckily for those in the vicinity, it was all a carefully arranged hoax, with actors, a stuntman, wire rigging, spring-loaded books and a false wall all used in the set up.
13. TrueMove H: Giving
‘Giving is the best communication’ is the message of this powerful commercial from Thai mobile provider TrueMove H.
A man who buys a young child medicine for his sick mother instead of punishing him for stealing it is rewarded, years later, when he himself falls ill. The young boy is now a wealthy man and he pays for his saviour’s medical bills.
There are no sales pitches or product placements in this video, but there doesn’t need to be. It has a strong emotional impact on the audience and this makes it memorable.
14. Dove ‘Real Beauty Sketches’
In this 3 minute long video, a forensic sketch artist draws pictures of women based on the descriptions they give of themselves.
This is compared to a sketch of how other people see them, with the latter yielding a more accurate depiction.
Dove connects with their audience by telling them they are more beautiful than they think and imbuing them with confidence. By promoting positive body image, Dove is simultaneously promoting a positive image of its brand.
15. GoPro: Fireman Saves a Kitten
Here we see a real-life rescue attempt that was captured on a GoPro camera and sent in by firefighter Cory Kalanick. The video instantly went viral and attracted attention from all around the world.
Kalanick shows bravery and compassion while saving a kitten, helped by GoPro’s camera.
His heroic actions encourage people that they too can achieve great things by using GoPro’s products.
16. Volvo Trucks: The Epic Split feat. Van Damme
Jean-Claude Van Damme is used to great effect in this video that Volvo made to highlight the precision and stability of Volvo Dynamic Steering.
The amazing thing is that he actually did the stunt and there were no green screens involved, further adding to the awe factor it generates. It’s hard not to be amazed at the breathtaking manoeuvre that Van Damme performs and the flawless movement of the trucks that allow for it.
The Epic Split was part of the larger ‘Live Tests’ campaign, which generated over 20,000 media reports worldwide.
17. Fanpage.it – “Slap Her”: children’s reactions
This interesting piece of content from Italian online newspaper Fanpage.it shows a reporter asking young boys questions about themselves.
Suddenly, a girl comes on the screen and the boys are asked questions about the girl. Finally, the reporter asks the boys to slap her, but they all refuse.
It’s a video that shows the value of innocence and brought the debate about domestic violence to a wider audience. While it doesn’t solve any problems, it certainly raised more awareness about them.
18. TNT channel launch ‘A dramatic surprise on a quiet square’
The launch of TV channel TNT in Belgium certainly started with a bang. It showed their audience the excitement they could expect if they tuned in to the channel.
A big red button was placed in the middle of a Flemish town and passers by were encouraged to press it. What followed was truly spectacular.
At the end of all the carnage a banner unfurls, which reads ‘your daily dose of drama’. The audience are left in no doubt that TNT can provide lots of entertaining drama for them to enjoy.
19. Air New Zealand ‘An Unexpected Briefing’
Playing on New Zealand’s association with The Lord of the Rings, Air New Zealand created a very unique safety video.
The airline have a history of hilarious safety videos and they manage to transform what admittedly can be a boring subject into something a lot more engaging.
That said, these are spoof videos, so while they do give safety tips, their main goal is to attract people to fly with Air New Zealand. They know that by using humor in their videos they have a better chance of achieving that.
20. Evian ‘Baby & Me’
Evian’s superbly animated ‘Baby & Me’ ad encourages viewers to unleash their inner child.
There’s no voiceover, no excessive branding, just spellbinding visuals that capture the viewer’s attention. Adults see their reflection in the mirror as a baby and when they dance, the baby dances.
Evian have previously used babies to great effect, such as the roller skating babies ad. Viewers are given the message that if they drink Evian they will feel young.
21. Google Photos: Best Picture
This touching montage was aired during the Oscars and centers around the theme of best picture.
The line ‘the award for best picture will always belong to you’ connects with customers on a personal level.
People are pictured in various pictures and videos laughing and having fun together, promoting the idea that if you use Google Photos you will feel more included.
22. Official Ojai Valley Taxidermy TV Commercial
Created at very low cost by YouTubers Rhett and Link, this short video hilariously advertizes Chuck Testa’s taxidermy service.
Testa’s beautifully dry delivery and the terrible acting makes for some laugh-out-loud moments. The catchphrase ‘Nope!’ also helps to make the ad more memorable.
Taxidermy isn’t your standard niche and the target audience was never going to be that big, so a different approach was required. With this clever piece of marketing, Chuck was able to reach people he never could before.
23. Tourism Queensland ‘The Best Job in the World’
Starting with the tantalizing line, ‘If you heard about the best job in the world…wouldn’t you apply?’, Tourism Queensland draws the viewer in from the get-go.
It goes on to detail the rudimentary tasks of the job but contrasts them with the setting that you would be carrying them out in.
They finish the video by saying ‘anyone can apply’, a tactic that’s guaranteed to attract more applicants for the role.
24. Ice Bucket Challenge
The Ice Bucket Challenge was started in an effort to raise awareness about and find a cure for ALS. It’s a prime example of how doing good makes people feel good.
The challenge combined entertainment with a good cause, which made so many people want to get involved in it. It was not a business that created one of the biggest viral successes of all time, but regular people and celebrities.
The 24-hour format of the challenge also encouraged people to act quickly, which resulted in lots of shares over a short period of time.
Bonus: Go viral with your own memorable YouTube marketing videos. Create amazing videos that will wow your customers. Choose from 1000’s of trending video templates and simply click to edit. Browse the full library here.
25. Always #LikeAGirl
The #LikeAGirl ad campaign set out to boost the confidence and self-awareness of the girls who viewed it.
It makes people reconsider why they say ‘like a girl’ and shows how it has an effect on societal norms. The ad sparks a change in attitude and a renewed positivity.
Always shows that they are experts on the issues that affect girls. While they do have a product to sell, they clearly show that they care about their customers too.
26. Zendesk “I like it when he gives me the business”
Zendesk takes the relationship between a business and a customer and portrays it as a lengthy marriage.
It turns out that a lot of the problems are the same! Communication between the two is sometimes all over the place, but Zendesk convinces people that’s a thing of the past.
Zendesk specialize in customer service software and this ad convinces a viewer that they can be the solution to any problems they have.
27. Sneaky Salt, brought to you by the American Heart Association
An alternative look at the negative effects of salt in your diet, ‘Sneaky Salt’ shows a man dressed in a white spandex bodysuit attempting to sneak up on people.
Its point is clear and simple, with the word salt emblazoned across the man’s chest to emphasize who he is and what he does.
First people are seen posing for pictures with ‘Sneaky Salt’, but then they try to avoid him. This short clip is a superb example of how metaphor can be used in video marketing.
28. Coca-Cola ‘Small World Machines’
If you’re going to go about attempting to bring two nations together, then you better be a big brand. Luckily, they don’t come much bigger than Coca-Cola.
India and Pakistan have had huge tensions in the past, but Coca-Cola is shown to be making efforts to alleviate some of those tensions. The viewer is prompted to ask, ‘If they can do that, what else can Coca-Cola do?’
In the first 15 days after the video’s release, Coca-Cola’s Facebook page received a whopping 1,679,689 new likes.
29. CarMax Goes All In for ’96 Honda Accord
CarMax approach the ultra-serious world of car dealerships in a light-hearted and informal manner.
They also manage to clearly state what their policy is and tell their audience that CarMax doesn’t ‘play games, haggle or pull the wool over anyone’s eyes.’
It’s relatable, humorous content that is easy to watch and stays in your memory.
30. Halo Top ‘Eat the Ice Cream’
Using dark humor isn’t the obvious choice to help market a product, but Halo Top Ice Cream pulled it off superbly here.
The ad features a robot repeatedly telling an elderly lady to ‘eat the ice cream’ in what becomes an almost sinister tone.
It draws our attention due to the fact it’s such an orthodox style of marketing. The level of controversy is ideal too. It’s enough to start a discussion surrounding the brand, but not enough to seriously damage it.
31. Bodyform Responds: The Truth
Responding to the Facebook rant of a man called Richard Neill, Bodyform decided to go all out and make a video. It turned out to be a brilliant piece of brand engagement.
Richard was disgruntled that Bodyform ads portrayed women taking part in activities like skydiving and rollerblading during their periods, which he felt was inaccurate.
Mock CEO Caroline Williams makes a series of tongue-in-cheek remarks, hinting that women know this already. The response adopts a playful approach to a taboo subject and allows Bodyform to poke some fun at itself, which often makes a brand more relatable.
32. The T-Mobile Welcome Back
T-Mobile picked a highly-emotional arena, the airport arrivals area, to stage this carefully orchestrated flash mob.
The video was skilfully choreographed, from the actors who performed in it to the PR campaign that preceded it.
This was the 4th instalment of the ‘Life’s for Sharing’ campaign, with each release helping to increase engagement. When consumers are re-targeted by the brand, they become a lot more receptive to it after viewing such a heartwarming video.
33. OK Go and S7 Airlines
We’ve seen product placement in lots of music videos, but OK GO and S7 Airlines went one step further.
OK Go are known for their innovative videos and their effort for Upside Down & Inside Out was no different, as it was the first ever music video made in zero gravity. It was all filmed on a real plane over the course of 21 flights over Russia.
The video has to date amassed 13m YouTube views and increased brand recognition for S7 Airlines.
34. Kony 2012
Who can forget the viral sensation that was Kony 2012? Created by Invisible Children, the video has gotten over 100m YouTube views.
The video takes the viewer on an emotional rollercoaster through some fantastic storytelling. We connect with the young boy Jacob and sympathize with what he has to deal with.
The film’s target audience are millennials, a generation who want to see change and make a difference in their world. It encourages people that they can become part of something meaningful by spreading the word about Joseph Kony’s crimes.
35. Molson Canadian ‘Global Beer Fridge’
Molson Canadian’s ‘Global Beer Fridge’ went about promoting diversity in a wonderfully creative way.
The fridge prompts people to say ‘I Am Canadian’ to open it, but there’s a catch, they have to say the phrase in 6 different languages before it unlocks.
The idea celebrates modern Canada and makes new citizens feel welcome in the country. It also ensures that they are more likely to make Molson Canadian their beer of choice.
36. Red Bull Stratos
Red Bull took their video marketing out of this world with the Red Bull Stratos project.
Despite Red Bull insisting it wasn’t an advertizing campaign, Felix Baumgartner’s plunge from outer space managed to attract huge attention, becoming the most viewed live-stream of all time.
They created a story leading up to the event, so it didn’t just look like a PR stunt. Their efforts proved to be successful, as Red Bull saw a 7% increase in sales in the first 6 months after the jump.
37. Heineken: Worlds Apart
Heineken came up with the idea to put two strangers with opposing views in a room and have them converse with each other and build a bar.
The views of each person was then revealed and they were given a chance to walk away or to stay and discuss their differences over a bottle of Heineken.
Each participant chose to stay at the bar, putting across the message that Heineken brings people together.
38. Geico Ad With A Hungry Dog
Sick of pre-roll YouTube ads? Geico are too it seems. Their hilarious approach to video marketing gets everything they need to say out of the way in just 3 seconds.
This leaves lots of room to manoeuvre and to show their funny side. An idyllic family dinner is interrupted by their hungry dog, who gobbles down all of their food.
Pre-roll ads are usually something a viewer would skip through, but Geico knows this and rallies against conventions, encouraging you to stay watching.
39. Burger King ‘Bullying Jr.’
Burger King decided to take a stand against bullying with a social experiment that involved pretending to bully a high school jr. and ‘bullying’ a whopper jr.
95% complained about their ruined burger but only 12% stood up for the child being bullied right in front of them. It serves to highlight how often we ignore people being bullied in public places.
The campaign shows that Burger King care strongly about such an important social issue and paints the brand in a positive light.
40. Oreo and Dude Perfect ‘Ping Pong Trick Shots 3’
YouTube channel Dude Perfect created these mesmerizing ping pong trick shots with the help of some sponsored advertizing from Oreo Cookies.
The first challenge finishes by setting a giant Oreo Cookie in motion, making it obvious that the brand is involved in the video.
With over 150 million YouTube views, the video proved to be a huge success, raising awareness about the Oreo Dunk Challenge in the process.
41. Movember Swim Team
This entertaining 32 seconds of quick-witted humor raises awareness for Movember; that time of the year when every man decides that it’s ok to grow a moustache.
We’re told that one man in a moustache can seem creepy, but 10 men with a moustache is a Movember team.
After watching the video, the viewer is likely to be more inclined to take part in Movember and tell their friends about it.
42. Tippexperience ‘A Hunter Shoots A Bear’
Tipp-Ex’s interactive YouTube clip ‘A Hunter Shoots A Bear’ was a highly innovative piece of video marketing.
The premise allows users to feel in control of what’s happening on the screen, giving them options to choose how they want the hunter to interact with the bear.
It hugely increased Tipp-Ex’s brand recognition and won numerous awards. It also helped established the benefit of their product to a large audience.
43. Ultra Reality: What would you do in this situation? – LG Meteor Prank
A job interview combined with an impending natural disaster has to be one of the most stressful situations imaginable.
Luckily, the interviewees were actors in this video, but the impact of the prank on the viewer remains just as effective.
The prank also sends a clear message that LG’s screen definition is so good that it’s hard to distinguish it from reality.
44. White Horse City Council Commercial
How do you get people interested in a boring city council meeting? Add some epic music, that’s how.
While lots of people may still have been unconvinced to watch the council meeting, it undoubtedly raised awareness that it was taking place, reaching nearly 200,000 YouTube views.
It’s a rare case of politicians not taking themselves too seriously, which coincidentally allowed them to engage with a younger audience.
45. Metro Trains Melbourne: Dumb Ways to Die
There will probably never again be a public service announcement quite like Dumb Ways to Die.
It was extremely creative and engaging, spreading out from Australia and raising awareness about rail safety all around the world. Spoof videos appeared on YouTube and merchandise like cuddly toys were sold in abundance.
The campaign told people to be safe, but instead of saying ‘don’t do this’ or ‘don’t do that’, it used comical animated characters to persuade rail users to be more careful.
46. A Boy and his Atom: The World’s Smallest Movie
To advertize their data storage services, IBM decided to take on the challenge of making the ‘world’s smallest movie’.
To animate the boy and his atom, they manipulated thousands of tiny carbon monoxide molecules that can only be seen when you magnify the movie 100 million times.
The video is as impressive as it is thought-provoking, opening people’s eyes to the world of miniature world of nanophysics.
47. Chipotle – Back to the Start
Ever felt emotional about farming? Watch this video from burrito chain Chipotle and you will.
Chipotle uses this thought-provoking animated video to teach us the benefits of traditional farming over factory farming.
The video was easy to understand and got a wider audience thinking about the issue. It also highlighted that Chipotle uses fresh farm ingredients and cares about animal welfare.
48. A Video Conference Call in Real Life
Zoom collaborated with podcast hosts Tripp and Tyler to film this hilarious take on all the frustrations that come with a conference call.
The video highlights how Zoom understand the problems their customers face and lets them know that they have the solution to those problems.
The company’s branding doesn’t appear until the very end of the video, allowing the story to unfold naturally.
49. Intel – Meet the Makers
Intel’s ‘Meet the Makers’ series focuses on people around the world who do great things with Intel technology.
This video features 13-year-old Shubham Banerjee, who built an affordable braille printer. Banerjee was inspired to create the printer by a leaflet he received asking for donations to the blind.
Showing how Intel is helping to improve lives leaves a positive impression on a viewer. Consumers are more likely to buy from a business that they can relate to and that has their best interests at heart.
50. The New York Times: The Truth is Hard
There are no images in this video, just text, but that doesn’t do anything to lessen its impact.
It highlights the difficulty of quality journalism and gives viewers the message that The New York Times is best equipped to achieve it.
This 30 second spot was the first of a series of videos which showed photos that journalists took while working for The New York Times in a whole host of difficult scenarios.
Bonus: Go viral with your own memorable YouTube marketing videos. Create amazing videos that will wow your customers. Choose from 1000’s of trending video templates and simply click to edit. Browse the full library here.
Now it’s time to press play on your own YouTube video marketing campaign…
These 50 videos really are the cream of the crop when it comes to video marketing, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be emulated.
While you might not have a huge marketing budget, you can still turn the resources you do have into a success.
You don’t always to have to try and promote your product. Try telling a story instead that will help you really connect with your target market.
Make sure the content is engaging, because if your audience doesn’t find your video entertaining or interesting they won’t want to watch it.
If you create something that’s very appealing for your viewers, you won’t have to do lots of product placement and your brand will speak for itself.