For one challenge, the celebrities were asked to create a ‘viral’ video for Heinz, a traditional Australian brand with strong family values.  This was particularly interesting for me and no doubt other PR’s who are tasked with creating concepts for commercial brands on a daily basis. It was an episode that had my PR senses tingling and I thought it deserved a bit of a blog rant.

‘Viral’ is a term that gets thrown around a lot in our industry, probably too often when you consider how many videos, memes and infographics – despite every desperate attempt by the creator – don’t end up making it to the masses.

This is the age of sharable digital content with every marketer, social media operator and SEO provider under the sun, now on the hunt for concepts that have the viral x-factor.  Our news feeds are flooded with digital content but only some of it is good enough to make you hit the share button.

‘Must share’ material can be hard to come by for corporate brands and commercial entities.  The extreme popularity of cat videos and teenage boys flying on broomsticks is testimony to the fact that the best viral videos are often quite simple, appealing to a no frills, grass roots sense of humor at the heart of our humanity.

The celebrities were up against it with the Heinz challenge, knowing they needed to be outlandish and funny in order for people to actually watch the video, but also needing to appeal to the family values of the brand.  Finding the balance is something PR’s and marketers struggle with daily.  For risqué brands like Virgin, it’s a walk in the park.  But how do you generate virality for more conservative players in the B2C market?

Below are some ‘family’ orientated brands that have managed to hit the mark in this area and the tactics they have used to succeed!


1. Real Beauty Sketches campaign by Dove (55,118,883 views) The video doesn’t have to literally showcase the product for the brand to benefit. Working to communicate the key messages of the brand, not the product offering seems to be a key feature of successful viral videos.

The only branding was contained in the video summary on Youtube.


2. Ship My Pants campaign by Kmart (18,768,325views)

It seems to go viral you have to push the limits, perhaps finding the balance between inappropriate and funny is the key.


Somehow this video still seems family friendly, despite the rude allusion.


3. Photoshop Live – Street Retouch Prank (15,552,478 views)

Marketing stunts and pranks that involve a high level of interactivity with the general public can be extremely successful in achieving the viral x-factor.


15 Years of Fame