Ultimate List of Viral Video Ideas

Placing videos on social media and your website is only HALF the battle…

The other half is creating something that your target audience will actually want to watch.  So a creative approach is essential!

If you’re not naturally creative, don’t worry.  The video ad ideas on this page will spark your creativity.

Now, we are aware that many of these ads we are about to show you featured very famous celebrities and had state-of-the-art equipment and a full production staff…basically they had ridiculous bugets that most small businesses don’t have.  But that shouldn’t stop you from using the ideas behind the ads for your own videos. 

The ideas in the following list can be used for videos with shoe-string budgets as well.  Videos that can add value to your business, generate buzz and attract your target market in a way that can increase your audience and grow your brand.

Video marketing has become one of the most popular methods for traffic generation and conversion that exists online.

The best part of video marketing is it’s accessibility to anyone with an online presence. Amazing marketing videos and huge social media followings are built every day with little to no budgets involved. Of course if you have some budget that will always help, but it’s not necessary in order to be effective.

You’ll find some of the most popular videos online are just short videos that are not that hard to produce yourself.

And now on to our ultimate list of viral video ad ideas…

TV Show Spoof

Made to utilize a popular television show, the TV Show Spoof uses themes, characters, and settings that are familiar to the audience.

They immediately recognize a familiar television concept and that keeps them watching to see what will happen.

Best for:  Most business types

Objective: Creates a positive mental and emotional association between your product or service and the popular television show.

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Don’t use for serious subjects that are too serious in nature and make sure the television show doesn’t conflict with your brand image

Why Does It Work?

People become very attached to television shows and their characters, which is why utilizing or imitating a popular drama or comedy can be very persuasive in advertising.

How Does It Work?

Snickers, as a part of their widely-known campaign about what happens when you’re hungry, featured an advertisement in early 2015 that mimicked an episode of the Brady Bunch. The ad showed a conversation between Carol, Jan, and Marcia about how awful the girls can be when they’re hungry and haven’t had a Snickers.

Effective for its use of a universally-known show, this major company was able to attract viewers through its adaptation of a fan favorite, prompting views based on theme alone.

How to Make It Work for You

Implementing this strategy in your business is best done with a common show that viewers in your target audience will recognize, like Gilligan’s Island for older markets or Friends for the millennial generation. By taking an idea your fans are already attached to, you’re more likely to get users to take a few extra seconds to see what your ad has to say.

The Song Parody

The Song Parody features a popular song, like a current well-known mainstream song or a historical tune most viewers will recognize.

It portrays it as a jingle, creating an amusing imitation that still advertises a product or service.

Best for:  Businesses with a lot of competition from others with similar products or services

Objective: Allows viewers to easily remember your product, name, or other information

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Don’t use the same exact music or lyrics to avoid copyright infringement.

Why Does It Work?

This concept has been used extensively throughout advertising history, offering a convenient way to hook in viewers with a song that is readily recognized and beloved by a wide numbers of consumers.

How Does It Work?

In an advertisement for the American Music Awards, iconic Muppet Kermit The Frog is seen covering Adele’s song, “Hello.” A smash hit when it was released, this song has been played widely across the country and is well known by virtually all demographic groups in the US.

By using it, the awards show was able to successfully advertise a tie to modern music with a song viewers users want to stop and listen to.

How to Make It Work for You

Incorporating song parodies into your advertising strategy can be an easy shift to make, assuming all proper permissions are secured.

1.  Choose a song that is both recognizable and relevant to your products or services

2.  Change the lyrics into something funny, incorporating your brand in it.

3.  Create a fun, animated video with cartoony characters to make your ad visually appealing and watch it go wildly viral around the social media.

Anachronism

The Anachronism is a common advertising strategy that uses an element out of place in order to emphasize a product or service, generally in a way that makes a humorous or otherwise attention-seeking point.

Best for:  Most business types

Objective: Catch the viewer’s attention by creating novelty.

Target: Public consumers, B2B

Avoid: Using references that are too obscure or that people won’t understand.

Why Does It Work?

Examples include…

1.  Elements that are in the wrong time period, such as a person or item from the future or past in a modern setting

2.  Environments that call the viewer’s attention to one element on the screen.  For example, one item that is in full-color with the rest of the scene in black and white, or one large thing among small things.

How Does It Work?

Ads that use one element that’s out of place to make a point can be extremely effective.  They can give viewers an amusing look into an out of place person or idea that is then is used to embellish or make light of a situation. One of the best examples of the use of an out of place character in advertising is Geico’s prolific “so easy a caveman could do it” campaign.

As a statement describing how easy purchasing insurance can be, the ad spot depicts a man using this same phrase while filming a commercial. When he is done, a caveman who is part of the camera crew gets upset, throwing down his equipment in outrage. In this situation, the use of a caveman in modern life is a humorous anachronism, creating a memorable message that became a viral sensation.

How to Make It Work for You

Anachronisms are generally appreciated by viewers, creating a situation that immediately makes an idle stroller curious. By finding a creative, relevant way to place a character or situation out of the norm in your video, you will instantly draw viewer attention.

Dream Sequence

In the media, a dream sequence is often used to indicate a fantasy situation that is better than reality, bringing to mind super-human or larger-than-life capabilities of a company’s products or services.

Best for: Businesses with products or services that offer improved or better conditions, such as cleaning, weight loss, gyms, luxury cars, travel, etc.

Objective: Allows viewers to envision themselves in an improved state

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Don’t make the “before” condition too negative or it will trigger negative feelings

Why Does It Work?

In advertisements, dream sequences can be used in two separate ways: as a fantasy illustrating that a product is worth dreaming about, or a bad dream centered around life without a product.

How Does It Work?

A great example of this is the Emirates airline ad featuring a woman who has a nightmare about an airplane without the luxury Emirates planes have to offer, like a bar and full beds.

Upon waking up, she realizes that is\t was all a dream and that she is indeed lucky enough to be enjoying a trip with Emirates rather than their cold, gray, drab alternatives.

How to Make It Work for You

A dream sequence offers advertisers the ability to create an alternate reality within the confines of normal life, and is generally easy to execute as a dream or nightmare scenario can be applied to virtually any product.

Dream sequences can frame an advertisement in a way that is beyond the norm, creating a situation that hooks viewers in within the first few seconds of content.

Hidden Camera Prank

The Hidden Camera Prank video can be quite profound in ads.  They can create a way to examine how products or services can influence buyers, often by creating a funny moment that viewers can associate with a place, product, or idea.

Best for:  Many business types

Objective: Creates a funny image of a common, relatable, negative experience

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Don’t make the prank too mean-spirited or you risk turning off some viewers. Also make sure that the joke is easily understandable to viewers.

Why Does It Work?

As the long-running show Candid Camera indicated, viewers love content that provides humorous views into real-life situations, whether staged or not.

How Does It Work?

When Carrie came out back in 2013, they created a well-thought out and acted hidden camera prank in a coffee shop.  It featured a girl with telekinetic powers who got upset when her coffee spilled.  When she used her mind to throw a man up against the wall and move other objects in the room, the camera caught the reaction of the unsuspecting customer at the cash register.  The video went viral and created lots of publicity for the new movie.

How to Make It Work for You

Incorporating a hidden camera prank into your own advertising works best when you have a place or situation to effectively create a joke that can be easily understood and interesting to viewers. By developing an instantly recognizable situation, you’re in a much better position to captivate idle scrollers looking for something amusing.

Familiar Character

A Familiar Character can be a valuable tool in advertising, putting forward an instantly recognizable face that viewers will be more likely to stop scrolling to watch.

Best for:  Most business types

Objective: Creates an instantly recognizable link to your brand image.

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Don’t use characters that are controversial or unprofessional.  Make sure your character represents your brand image because it is hard to change once the association is made.

Why Does It Work?

Familiar characters can be used in many different ways in advertising. Many Facebook video campaigns incorporate well-known characters from video games, television, and comics, while other companies create their own characters, like Geico’s gecko, Progressive Insurance’s Flo, or Apple’s Mac representation.

How Does It Work?

When viewers recognize a character, they are far more likely to stop and watch, creating instant view for a video simply through association with other advertising campaigns or well-known individuals. Through prolonged use, companies can even create fan bases for these characters, transforming a one-time commercial into a metaphorical content smorgasbord.

How to Make It Work for You

Incorporating familiar characters or other symbol of your business is a very simple strategy that can be exceedingly effective. By creating a unique, comical, or creative representation for your business that viewers can learn to love, you are more likely to generate views simply by putting a recognizable icon into place.

Product Endorsement

In a Product Endorsement Campaign, a celebrity or other well-known individual speaks for a product or service, putting a famous face with a brand in order to create a positive association for viewers.

Best for:  Most business types

Objective: Establish credibility by having a celebrity or expert endorse your product or service.

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Don’t use people who are controversial or unprofessional.  Make sure your endorsement represents your brand image because it is hard to change once the association is made.

Why Does It Work?

The use of a product endorsement is an incredibly common strategy in advertising, and one that works very well.

In general, consumers like to envision relationships or connections to favorite celebrities, and using products that feature celebrities in advertising spots can be an effective way to establish this kind of association.

When a layperson feels as though an individual deserving of respect stands behind a product, they are far more likely to make a purchase.

How Does It Work?

Gillette used tennis superstart Roger Federer to endorse it’s Limited Edition razor, featuring him shaving with their product before a tennis match.

How to Make It Work for You

Securing a celebrity willing to discuss your product is generally the hardest and most expensive part of this approach to advertising, but if there is a famous face in your area willing to speak up for what you have to offer is all you need to employ this long-standing strategy.

If you don’t know how to contact a celebrity, there’s an interesting site you can check called ContactAnyCelebrity.com

How It Works

The How It Works strategy offers insight into how a product or service works, showing users how easy it is to take advantage of what a company has to offer.

Best for:  Businesses with a complex product or service

Objective: Helps viewers understand the product orservice and how they can benefit from it.

Target: Public consumers, employees, B2B

Avoid: Don’t go into too much detail or include too much jargon.

Why Does It Work?

In many situations, the only thing holding a customer back from a sale is a lack of understanding. This how-to style of video advertisement seeks to change this, creating
an opportunity to educate an audience that may not otherwise realize the value available in a given solution.

How Does It Work?

Companies like Wix, the do-it-yourself web host, have mastered this principle, explaining in a matter of seconds the simplicity of the interface, the design potential, and how many applications they can offer. When an advertisement launches right into a purpose, especially one that can be evident without a lot of talking, viewers are far more likely to pay attention.

How to Make It Work for You

For companies with products or services that could benefit from a little extra explanation, a how it works animated video advertisement can be very useful. Creating a simple, straightforward approach to what you have available can draw in viewers who are new to your company.  It can also draw back those who have been on the fence about your products because of a lack of familiarity or understanding.

Real-Life Use Case

The Real-Life Use Case creates a situation that places the viewer into the shoes of a product user, developing a relatable situation that makes conceptualizing a solution simpler.

Best for:  Most business types

Objective: Allows viewers to envision themselves using your product or service.

Target: Public consumers, B2B

Avoid: Using characters or situations that are not relatable to the average viewer.

Why Does It Work?

Real life users, even scripted ones for the sake of an advertisement, can make for an effective video.  This puts the everyman in the place of a character in an ad in order to develop a relationship between a consumer and a product.

How Does It Work?

This strategy can be especially effective in the food and drink market. By illustrating an enjoyable experience in an ad, whether at a party, out with friends, or enjoying a special moment with family, viewers will create a mental image of themselves taking part in these good times. This creates an association with positive experiences, making it more likely that viewers take these concepts into account when making purchasing decisions.

How to Make It Work for You

Employing this strategy in your own marketing is fairly simple, giving you the tools you need to set the stage for a fun, uplifting ad that will be immediately appealing to viewers. A party atmosphere, an extreme sports situation, or any other exciting event can be instantly enticing, making a consumer wish that he or she could be the one having fun with your company’s products.

Emotional Story Episodes

The Emotional Story strategy plays on human emotion, creating a touching moment centered around a product or service that serves to position a company or its offerings as compassionate, caring, and worthwhile.

Best for:  Many business types

Objective: Creates a positive emotional connection between the viewer & the product or service.

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Being too heavy-handed at pulling heart strings. Viewers don’t want to feel manipulated.

Why Does It Work?

Creating an emotional story can be a very effective way of drawing in a viewer, setting up a situation intentionally intended to pull at the heartstrings while sending a message about what products or services can do to ease pain, bring a family together, or support individuals through hardship.

How Does It Work?

Italian brand Inglesina Baby accomplished this effectively in an ad campaign, creating an association between strollers and the extreme joy a new baby can bring to a family. In watching these ads, viewers are likely to relate the company’s products with their own emotional moments, making a stroller into something much more significant for their own children and those of friends and loved ones.

How to Make It Work for You

Telling an emotional story can be an instant hook for viewers, allowing you to set a scene that makes viewers want to keep watching. By finding a way your product can support relationships between family members, overcome trials and tribulations, or create any connection to love and support, it’s easy to tell a story that your viewers will want to watch and share.

The Learn & Share

The Learn and Share strategy seeks to teach viewers a life lesson through a brief ad, offering valuable information related to a solution that is designed to be shared with others as helpful information.

Best for:  Healthcare, public service, charities, or other information-based companies.

Objective: Informs viewers about a topic while advertising a product or service.

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Be careful not to scare people or make light of a serious topic..

Why Does It Work?

When used effectively, the learn and share technique doesn’t advertise directly, but rather seeks to create a valuable message based on what a product or solution has to offer.

How Does It Work?

For example, the UK first aid charity St. John’s Ambulance created a video campaign about choking safety and how to respond when someone shows signs of choking.

By providing lifesaving information that can benefit others while still providing content related to the charity’s mission, the ad was able to effectively spread a company name while providing material designed to be shared and discussed.

How to Make It Work for You

The learn and share approach doesn’t have to involve healthcare topics, but is most effective when providing some sort of “how to” information that others will want to learn about.

Ideas with mass appeal, like how to handle choking, how a company seeks to reduce its carbon footprint, or what the production process is like for a common household good, are all easily sharable, creating an instructional yet still ad-oriented clip that viewers will want to talk about.

Provocative Challenge

The Provocative Challenge, by posing questions in competition with rival brands, forces consumers to evaluate the effectiveness of current brand choices in light of what other companies have to offer.

Best for:  Businesses who are #2 or #3 in their industry, looking to overtake #1.

Objective: Creates awareness of other options in an industry, other than the leading company.

Target: Public consumers, B2B

Avoid: Don’t use trademarked product names of the competition. Make sure all facts and claims are accurate.

Why Does It Work?

Ideal for a company trying to stand apart in a busy industry with many alternatives, an ad focused on challenging peers within a market intends to create a competitive advantage by highlighting what one company can do that others cannot.

How Does It Work?

For example, United Arab Bank ran a campaign focused on its strengths in comparison to others’ weaknesses, challenging customers to ask themselves whether their chosen banking institutions can keep up. By creating a competitive edge that forces viewers to consider their purchasing decisions, an ad campaign can highlight advantages while posing valuable questions viewers will want to share with friends.

How to Make It Work for You

For companies seeking a way to break into an industry, the provocative challenge strategy has the ability to really play up a brand’s benefits. By focusing on what makes your company better than your competitors, you can show your viewers quickly and easily what makes you worth the investment. When done in a way that utilizes catchy or captivating imagery, the right challenging campaign can transform a new brand into one that stands out from the pack.

The Creative Sequence

Ad campaigns that use a Creative Sequence focus on ways in which a brand has affected consumers, linking operational information with an emotional connection that speaks to viewers with experience in a brand.

Best for:  Healthcare, public service, charities, or other information-based companies.

Objective: Informs viewers about a topic while advertising a product or service.

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Be careful not to scare people or make light of a serious topic..

Why Does It Work?

The creative sequence aims less to highlight a topic than it does to create a connection with viewers, reminding them of the history, experience, or impact a brand has had on a community or a demographic.

How Does It Work?

In Egypt, international fast food chain McDonald’s sought to celebrate its 20th anniversary in the country with an ad campaign that highlighted the role the company has played, from its first stores to its community interactions. By taking a creative approach, McDonald’s was able to emphasize its strength and necessity in the local market while reminding viewers of the merit of its food.

How to Make It Work for You

A creative sequence works best for established brands, but can be effective in telling a story in a way that makes viewers feel as though they are not being roped into making a purchase. By building a reputation in a community and reminding those who watch your ads about your importance, it’s easier to make sure your messages are heard.

Customer Created Content

Customer Created Content is exactly what it sounds like: video advertising created by customers. This strategy seeks to get true customer insights in order to build a following in a real, honest way.

Best for:  Businesses with lots of loyal, passionate customers.

Objective: Allows other viewers to relate to the experience of others like themselves.

Target: Public consumers, employees, B2B

Avoid: Make sure there is a system of control in place to edit or remove content that doesn’t fit your brand image.

Why Does It Work?

An advertisement by a company can say virtually anything and make any claim, forcing customers to take an anonymous entity’s word. While this isn’t all bad, it can make it hard for new viewers with no relationship to a brand to buy into a marketing message.

How Does It Work?

Galaxus asked customers to share videos of themselves using and talking about products available from Galaxus. The Swiss online retailer ran a very successful series of exclusively user-generated content, working to build trust and faith in viewers based on feedback from legitimate customers. The campaign inundated target audiences with a wide range of videos, essentially showing consumers the benefits of Galaxus from many different mouths.

How to Make It Work for You

One of the biggest hurdles in implementing a customer-created content strategy is, of course, motivating customers to create their own content about your company. This approach is most valuable when you have a strong fan base, but can be effective for startups as well. By providing incentives, like contest prizes and promotional material for those who make content, it’s easier to collect videos from customers and how to incorporate them into your marketing campaigns.

Cartoon Character

Instead of an ad that feels like an ad, the Cartoon Character strategy seeks to present a video that looks more like a comic in order to attract viewer interest in a unique, organic way.

Best for:  Many businesses

Objective: Catches the eye of viewers and tells a story through an engaging medium.

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: If used for serious themes make sure the characters and design aren’t too childish 

Why Does It Work?

Animation tends to keep people from having the expectation that they are about to watch an ad. Because you don’t need to use live actors or locations to film, they are incredibly flexible and more often than not much more affordable to create than ads with actors.

How Does It Work?

The organization American Rivers, which protects wild rivers and conserves clean water, uses a variety of animation styles and stories to spread the word on their efforts.  Animation gives them tons of unique story-telling scenarios to educate and inspire.

How to Make It Work for You

Employing this strategy requires the work of a good animation company and little else, making it a relatively simple approach to employ. With a well-written script and style that fits the message, animation is a great option from small to large companies.

Behind The Scenes

The Behind the Scenes video advertisement seeks to attract viewers with an inside look at a company, product, or service, showing an attractive perspective that may be new to customers.

Best for: Product-based businesses.

Objective: Creates a link between viewersand the brand, by making the viewer feel as if they have inside knowledge of the product or service..

Target: Public consumers, employees, B2B

Avoid: Overly complicated processes with too much detail.

Why Does It Work?

Giving customers an inside look into a company can be a very effective form of advertising. This method creates a link between viewers and a brand, providing buying information in a unique format.  A production setting is often effective at capturing attention, giving viewers a learning experience designed to create a connection to a product.

How Does It Work?

Apple’s MacBook Pro construction video is an excellent example, showing the manufacturing and machining process for a highly popular computer. By mixing the technological steps with commentary, Apple can draw user attention by giving viewers an inside scoop.

How to Make It Work for You

Giving customers a peek behind the scenes can be a great way to catch their attention and keep them interested in your products or services. By taking something unique about your company, like the manufacturing process or the secrets to your service, and giving customers a new perspective, you can create an enticing video that demonstrates why you are different.

Behind the scenes ads are effective in product-based industries or in any business where there is a significant process that customers would like to know more about. Manufacturing companies, for example, can show what goes into making goods while food suppliers can review the harvest or production process.

The Inspiration

The Inspiration ad campaign focuses on delivering an inspiring message while still providing product information.

By giving viewers the tools they need to feel encouraged or influenced, they are more likely to feel a purpose for buying..

Best for:  Businesses with a humanitarian orcommunity focus.

Objective: Create a positive emotional connection between viewers and the brand.

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Don’t oversell or pressure viewers tobuy, but instead inspire them to want to be like the people in the video.

Why Does It Work?

Inspiring videos have long been an important tool in advertising. Creating a positive message can be very impactful, making the viewer think
he is part of something larger simply by engaging with your products and services.

How Does It Work?

Dove, the skincare company, has long used this strategy in its soap, lotion, and bodywash ads, promoting body positivity and inspiring women to believe they are beautiful no matter how they look. Featuring individuals of all shapes, sizes, and colors, Dove has made it their mission to make sure all women know they attractive and strong, creating a reaffirming message for viewers of all different demographics. By believing in inner beauty, viewers are inspired to buy and use Dove products.

How to Make It Work for You

Inspirational ads can be effective in application for many different industries, especially if there is a humanitarian aspect to your enterprise. If there is something community-oriented about what you do or what your product offers, it’s easy to work in an inspiring message that will make viewers stop and watch.

Inspiration comes in many forms and can be worked into virtually any advertising campaign. If your company gives money to charity or has a product that can be framed in an inspiring light, such as one that promotes equality, inner beauty, or community outreach, your business is perfectly poised to incorporate an inspiring message.

The Thank You

The Thank You reaches out to your viewers and attempts to build a relationship with them by thanking them for helping your company reach a milestone or to highlight a particular group of viewers.

Best for:  Businesses with repeat customers or a large, loyal fan base.

Objective: Creates positive associations with thebrand and an emotional connection. Highlights the company’s success.

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Don’t use this ad for products where overindulgence is not acceptable, such as alcohol, or for products that people need or want to use in private, such as medicine or personal hygiene.

Why Does It Work?

Thanking viewers can be a strong advertising technique, letting customers know that they are appreciated. Thank you ads can be made in order to honor a significant accomplishment, like an
anniversary, revenue goal, number of purchases, etc.

How Does It Work?

American Airlines ran a thank you campaign in 2010, thanking military members for their service while emphasizing the number of American Airlines flights that carry military members overseas and back to their families. In doing this, American Airlines was able to applaud a group of citizens that many Americans respect and while showing viewers what the company contributes to local heroes.

Any company with significant accomplishments or products that benefit respected individuals can post videos thanking customers, creating a connection that may make users stop scrolling to watch.

How to Make It Work for You

If you are a product-based business, a thank you ad may be appropriate when you have sold a certain number of items, while service companies can thank customers for a significant anniversary or holiday.

The Outsider

The Outsider concept is used to emphasize a scenario in which an individual is on the outside looking in when he uses a competitor’s products or goes without a company’s products or services.

Best for:  Products or services that exist in a highlycompetitive environment or offer a technical or specialized product or service.

Objective: Creates a negative image of using a competitor or going without the product or service.

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Don’t be too heavy-handed or serious. Keep it light, or viewers might feel too much negative emotion associated with the video.

How Does It Work?

Old Navy’s 2015 ad campaign focused on this idea, showing characters who are ignoredor slighted for not wearing Old Navy’s new stylish clothes. In one winter ad, poorly dressed relatives are made to sit at the kids’ table while fashionable guests wearing Old Navy clothes are given the last two seats at the main table.

The outsider campaign can help companies highlight the importance of their products in an amusing way, emphasizing what can happen when viewers buy from other businesses. Any company with a competitive product or service can use this approach, creating a message that catches a viewer’s attention.

Why Does It Work?

Painting a customer as an outsider can be an effective way to share what happens when a product or brand is ignored, creating a sentiment that whatever you have to offer is absolutely essential. By giving viewers a mental image related to isolation or shame, this concept creates a need for your products or services.

How to Make It Work for You

If your company sells items of any kind, outsider campaigns can be used emphasize the ramifications of life without your unique goods. The same is also true for service industries, like tax preparation or computer repair. By highlighting how bad life would be without professional assistance, companies can show viewers why their services are crucial.

The Say Yes

The Say Yes video urges viewers to indulge, perhaps by setting aside diets or other logical rules, in a company’s product or service, painting a picture of desire or luxury to create a sense of need.

Best for:  Businesses with luxury or high-end products or services

Objective: Overcomes purchasing obstacles by creating a feeling of indulgence or luxury; “you deserve this.”

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Don’t use this ad for products where overindulgence is not acceptable, such as alcohol, or for products that people need or want to use in private, such as medicine or personal hygiene.

How Does It Work?

All businesses want their customers to say yes, no matter what is for sale. The say yes campaign goes above and beyond a normal sale, however; instead, these videos focus on luxurious or decadent products, like chocolate, alcohol, jewelry, or spa services,
to get viewers to say yes to something they otherwise wouldn’t utilize.

Why Does It Work?

This Nestlé Temptations ad that ran in the Philippines compares ice cream with a beautiful woman’s number, urging the viewer to say yes to the indulgence of a bowl of rich and delicious dessert.

How to Make It Work for You

The say yes concept can be implemented into any business, but works best for those with something that isn’t necessarily a standard product, like a high end adaptation of a normal item or an indulgent treat. By emphasizing how amazing your product is and what it would mean to have it, your viewers will be more likely to stop and watch.

If your company sells products, the say yes idea can be used to emphasize why customers should buy your higher end models or luxury lines. The idea is less effective for service-oriented companies, but can still be used for things like spa and beauty procedures or all-inclusive packages versus a la carte options.

The Old Fart

The Old Fart in Modern Society video features an older adult who is out of touch with technology, usually behaving in a way that can be improved by what a company has to offer.

Best for:  Businesses who offer a modern product orservice, aimed at non-early adopters of technology

Objective: Shows users how easy a product orservice is to utilize and makes consumers feel current or modern.

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Be careful not to be condescending to your viewer or adopt a patronizing tone.

How Does It Work?

This particular video concept can serve several purposes, emphasizing how easy a product can be to use, highlighting how valuable a company’s offerings can be to
people of all ages, and demonstrating how hip and young a particular company’s products and services can be.

Why Does It Work?

Esurance, the online subsidiary of Allstate, ran a video ad that featured an elderlywoman posting photos on actual walls in her home versus on her Facebook page. Her friends, also elderly women, attempt to tell her that “that’s not how that works,” after which a narrator discusses how insurance has changed and how Esurance has revolutionized the industry.

How to Make It Work for You

By utilizing the so-called old fart motif, companies can make their products look young, cool, fun, and fresh. Alternately, this strategy can help create a user-friendly image of a product or service. When you want to create a youthful attitude or the role your products play in the modern world, this strategy can be useful in drawing attention and changing viewer perspectives.

If your company deals in technology, like mobile phones, apps, or software, this method can help you showcase how innovative your products can be. This process is less effective for services, but can be helpful in pointing out new technology, like home and cyber security or marketing advancements.

The Life Event Memory

The Life Event Memory recreates an event that most adults experience throughout life as a way to play on emotion and memory, like attending school, going to dances, graduating, and starting college.

Best for:  Products that relate to significant life events

Objective: Creates positive associations with the brand and an emotional connection to life events

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Be careful when linking your product to negative life events, such as a funeral. Keep the tone positive.

Why Does It Work?

Many young adults and professionals, key target audiences for social media advertisers, are very nostalgic about significant life events. As such, using these monumental occasions can be very effective in advertising, linking a product or service with a positive memory.

How Does It Work?

Volkswagen played on this concept in 2015, airing an ad called Prom Night that pictured a father picking up his daughter’s date and bringing them both to prom. During the drive, he comes to a quick stop, causing his daughter to hold her date’s hand and breaking the awkward tension in the car. With the tagline “The SUV that puts you in control,” the ad effectively created a connection between a new car and a common memory.

How to Make It Work for You

Implementing the life event strategy can be used in almost any situation as it is a fairly universal concept. Virtually all products and services can be worked into a traditional event, creating an evocative image that viewers will want to stop and watch.

If you sell products of any sort, it’s not hard to fit almost any item into a universal memory, like food products served at a party or cameras used to document a milestone. Services may not be as easy to incorporate, but anything with personal ties can be linked to family life, bridging the gap between what a company has to offer and a memory that will resonate with viewers.

The Holiday

The Holiday is one of the most popular ad campaigns, featuring traditional holiday elements that fit in with major holidays, like Christmas, Halloween, and New Year’s Eve.

Best for:  Most businesses

Objective: Keeps the product and service in front ofthe viewer’s mind throughout the year.

Target: Public consumers, B2B

Avoid: Just make sure the timing is right

Why Does It Work?

Focusing on holidays is a way that appeals to a large demographic at one time, creating scenarios that many people can relate across different cultures and traditions. Christmas is the most popular holiday for advertising, providing a large window of opportunity and a message many people will relate to.

How Does It Work?

International soft drink brand Coca-Cola is well known for Christmas ads, spreading a message of togetherness and goodwill to men. The 2015 holiday campaign features common warnings parents give their children and situations that contradict them in ways that display good deeds and happy moments, representing the togetherness of the season.

How to Make It Work for You

Holiday ads can be implemented in virtually any industry, drawing attention from a wide variety of viewers who are engaged in the holiday season. While incorporating holidays may alienate those who do not celebrate, it can also engage thousands of users, creating a compelling reason for them to stop scrolling.

Whether you sell products or services, there is a way to implement holiday-themed advertising into your strategies. By bringing together common themes, like giving to others for Christmas or spooky tricks for Halloween, you can attract viewers to your message in a timely, relevant way.

The Love Story

The Love Story plays on the traditional falling in love theme, featuring a couple who meets and falls in love in a way that highlights a product or service.

Best for:  Products and services that bring people together, like food, household goods, furniture, events, and party items.

Objective: Shows how the product fills the human need for connection.

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Don’t make these videos too sappy. Be sure and show diversity so as to not convey bias.

Why Does It Work?

The love story trope has been used for thousands of years in stories, songs, and visual media, so it only makes sense that it plays a role in advertising as well. Human interaction is just a part of our nature, making video clips that depict love stories immediately interesting to many social media users.

How Does It Work?

Extra, the American gum brand, created a love-centered video ad in 2015, featuring a whole relationship, from first date to marriage proposal, based on sharing a stick of gum. In a truly charming advertisement, the product is diminished by a universally-understood sentiment, creating an evocative statement centered around something simple yet meaningful.

How to Make It Work for You

Implementing a love story strategy can be done easily, involving little more than a compelling story centered around your products or services. Anything sweet and sentimental has the ability to capture viewer attention on a news feed, making a simple idea highly effective.

The idea of a love story can be used in many industries, but is most influential when incorporated with products or services that bring people together, like food items, household goods, furniture, or party supplies. Services can also be easily incorporated into a love story, serving as a way to bring two people together in an unlikely way.

The Movie Mimicry

The Movie Mimicry either mimics a well-known film or uses themes from films to attract fans, highlighting products and services in a way that relates to a major motion picture.

Best for:  Most products and services

Objective: Creates an emotional connection between your product or service and a beloved movie.

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Make sure you obtain any necessary licensing agreements. Also make sure the movie you choose is consistent with your brand image.

Why Does It Work?

Popular movies, especially ones with highly anticipated arrivals, like Harry Potter or Twilight films, are popular on a universal level, resonating with millions of viewers. These films have a significant fan base, creating advertising pitches that are likely to be watched.

How Does It Work?

With the anticipation of the first Star Wars movie in ten years, many ads have cashed in on this theme, including Duracell, the battery brand. In the ad, a young boy uses Duracell batteries to power a light saber, leading to a lively battle between the Force and Darth Vader’s evil empire. By merging a very basic household product with a fantasy world, Duracell is able to create a compelling ad worth watching.

How to Make It Work for You

Using movie concepts is generally not challenging, but may require special licensing and permissions if you plan to closely imitate popular concepts. Depending on the theme of the movie in question, movie mimicry concepts can be included in a wide variety of industries, both product and service related.

Virtually all industries are suitable for using movie concepts and ideas to enhance a marketing campaign, but the effectiveness will depend on the movie. A romantic comedy, for example, may not be appropriate for a line of children’s toys, while baking supply companies may struggle making a commercial using science fiction movies.

The Bait & Switch

The Bait and Switch is a concept that incorporates a commercial that at first appears to be one thing, generally a very traditional ad style, when it is in fact advertising a completely different product.

Best for:  Many types of products or services

Objective: Captures attention in a memorable way by challenging the assumptions the viewer makes about the ad.

Target: Public consumers, B2B

Avoid: Make sure that your product or service is distinctly identified so that viewers will remember its name.

Why Does It Work?

Many video ads follow a similar format, leaving viewers with little to be interested in or surprised by. When an advertisement does deviate from the norm for any reason, it’s instantly more attractive than the standard, formulaic ads that are so prevalent.

How Does It Work?

Lowe’s, the home appliance and improvement store, ran a commercial featuring a woman standing on the stoop of her home with her husband, jumping up and down and exclaiming about “the silver one with four doors!” The viewer fully expects this ad to be a luxury car Christmas present commercial, but when the camera pans, a silver four-door refrigerator is being unloaded from a Lowe’s truck, surprising the viewer completely.

How to Make It Work for You

The bait and switch is a way to put a twist on a standard ad formula, adding a little humor to a tired and overused concept. Any company can use this approach, taking a classic ad and turning it on its side. Mocking a stock formula is simple, but generally requires a great ad team to pull off successfully.

Taking a twist on a traditional concept can be undertaken by any company, regardless of industry or product. For example, a clothing company could feature models on a runway, who then tear off all of their clothes to reveal a company’s more exciting fashions underneath.

Series of Steps

The Series of Steps uses a traditional step by step formula, often sped up or enhanced to save time, which provides information to a viewer, like recipes, software installation, or service registration.

Best for:  Products or services that have a series ofsimple steps or processes.

Objective: Used to inspire viewers to use theproduct in traditional or innovative ways.

Target: Public consumers, employees, B2B

Avoid: Watch out that the video doesn’t becomeboring or academic. Keep the steps simple and engaging.

Why Does It Work?

Showing a step by step process is a very traditional way to show data, but with modern video editing techniques can be used in fresh, new ways. This video ad style is very popular on social media, giving a quick overview of a process, product, or service in a quick and direct manner.

Series of steps videos can also be watched without sound, sending a message without the need for words. Tasty, a company popular on social media for recipe videos, posts dozens of step by step ads that attract millions of views by using a fast, convenient format.

How Does It Work?

Implementing a series of steps video is easy and affordable, offering a quick and straight-forward way to share fast facts. This method is best used for simple explanations, giving viewers a visual representation of a series of steps in a product, service, or concept.

How to Make It Work for You

Step by step videos can be very effective, but are not appropriate for every industry. Sites like Buzzfeed post these kinds of videos frequently, providing menu or beauty advice quickly and easily. Perfect for simple, basic product application or service steps, these videos aren’t for every brand, but are excellent when properly used.

Adorable Animals

The popularity of “cat videos” since the beginning of the Internet shows how well these video types can be used in marketing. The Adorable Animals uses cute and cuddly animals, like kittens, puppies, and other baby creatures, to immediately attract audience attention, leading to enhanced engagement.

Best for:  Businesses with a product or service that doesn’t have an immediate emotional appeal, such as bathroom tissue or electronics.

Objective: Creates a warm, fuzzy feeling associated with your product or service.

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Be careful when using animals in videos that you don’t give the perception that they were harmed in any way.

Why Does It Work?

Despite the cliché, baby animals are very attractive, especially on social media. Immediately interesting to individuals of all demographics, animals can bring a smile to viewers’ faces and create a video that is worth watching start to finish. Whether directly related to a product or service or simply used as a way to garner attention, animal videos are all over the internet for a reason.

How Does It Work?

Android ran a very successful commercial called Furever Friends, featuring unlikely animal friends from online videos with the tag line “be together, not the same.” By making a point with adorable animal clips that users want to watch, the mobile operating system was able to create a viral video watched by millions.

How to Make It Work for You

Utilizing animals in ad campaigns should be handled responsibly, especially when live animals are involved. By incorporating an element that viewers have a hard time looking away from, it can be much easier to keep audience attention on a large scale.

Animals are not appropriate in every industry, but can be incorporated creatively in ad campaigns for a wide variety of home and nature-oriented products and services. Home goods, cleaning supplies, and clothing companies can all incorporate animals easily, adding a creative and engaging element in advertising. And, as the ad example dictates, so can other industries as well, provided there is a logical connection.

The No-Ad Drama

The No-Ad Drama is an advertisement that builds a story without explicitly referring to branding information, creating an emotional connection viewers want to learn more about.

Best for:  Products or services that are involved in everyday life.

Objective: Engages the reader by showing the product or service is part of an overall character-based storyline.

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Don’t stray too far from the use of the core product or service. It’s tempting to get too deep into plot and character development and lose focus on showcasing the product or service.

Why Does It Work?

Most ads are very evidently advertisements, using creative video techniques to successfully showcase a product or service. In contrast, a no-ad advertisement does not craft itself to look specifically like an ad but rather impersonates a drama, like a television show or movie, to maximize sympathy and viewer connection.

How Does It Work?

Vivien, a Korean lingerie company, launched a series of successful Facebook videos that sought to accomplish exactly this, weaving the brand’s identity into a drama’s storyline in order to create a beautiful, sensual experience for viewers. By advertising in such a way, viewers feel more like they are watching a show rather than viewing an obvious advertisement.

How to Make It Work for You

The no-ad ad strategy requires a strong storyline and creative writing, but can be implemented fairly easily. By creating a story that a brand fits into rather than a story that fits around a brand, companies can create compelling, unique video content that feels like settling in for the newest Netflix hit.

Not every company is suited for a no-ad methodology; this approach works best for products that can be integrated into a dramatic peek into daily life, like clothing, food products, or publications.

The Celebration

The Celebration focuses attention on gatherings of individuals in situations like birthday parties, graduation parties, and family reunions in order to develop a sense of community.

Best for:  Many types of products and services

Objective: Shows how the product or service can beincluded as part of a celebration.

Target: Public consumers, B2B

Avoid: Make sure that the celebration featured fits your brand image. Also, make sure that there is a logical tie-in between your product and service and the celebration at hand.

Why Does It Work?

Celebration-oriented ads stage celebratory events, like barbecues, holiday parties, or other happy celebrations, that create a sense of family. These ads play on the human emotion, crafting scenarios that are evocative and positive for viewers. By evoking emotions in viewers, they are more likely to associate your products and services with these memories. Coca-Cola frequently uses these concepts in their advertising, featuring families and loved ones having a good time while enjoying Coke products.

How Does It Work?

An ad called Family Gatherings featured many different parties, gatherings, and social events centered around drinking Coke and enjoying time with loved ones. By watching these ads, which often rely on fun music and a party atmosphere, viewers will picture themselves having these moments, too.

How to Make It Work for You

Celebration-style ads are fairly easy to implement, featuring parties and gatherings centered around specific products. If your product is appropriate to an entertaining atmosphere, it’s easy to incorporate your brand into a celebration of love, fun, and frivolity.

Whether a celebration ad is appropriate for your company depends completely on what your business does. If your products fit in a home or outdoor setting, like foods and drinks, furniture, or home goods, a celebration-style commercial may be suitable. Services are harder to celebrate, meaning that any relevant gatherings, like tax accountants after tax season, must be handled strategically.

The Stuntman

The Stuntman focuses on the bold and the intense in order to create a statement that viewers have a hard time looking away from, like car chases and cliff jumps.

Best for:  Many types of products and services.

Objective: Catches the viewer’s attention byshowing the product or services used in a novel way.

Target: Public consumers

Avoid: Be sure and run a “don’t try this at home” disclaimer at the bottom of the video, and avoid encouraging viewers to engage in risky behavior. Avoid this type of video if your product or service deals with a serious topic.

Why Does It Work?

Video advertisement with stunts, whether real or digital, are great at catching viewer attention, creating a unique experience that is worth watching a little longer. Creative editing or professional stunt work is very appealing, merging the real world with something surreal and extraordinary.

How Does It Work?

While this Mountain Dew commercial is a bit old, it’s still brought up as one of the best soft drink commercials ever made.  The commercial used this concept very effectively, featuring two young men who left their can of soda at the gas station.

Instead of forgetting the drink and driving on, they circle back, racing down the road and performing a crazy aerial stunt with the car, just in time to grab the can of soda out of the hand of a random man in the parking lot before he has time to take a sip. Featuring a captivating stunt over a simple premise, this ad succeeded in providing a compelling concept that viewers wanted to watch.

How to Make It Work for You

Stunts can be expensive when performed in reality but are almost always appealing. Action movie are very well-received, illustrating the power in fast moving cars or perfectly timed explosions. A stunt-centered commercial can frame products or services as exciting, whether literally or in a tongue in cheek sort of way.

A popular concept in everything from garbage bags to attorneys at trial, there are many industries that can fit exciting stunts into an ad campaign. If your company sells furniture, for example, a video ad could be created in the style of a jewelry heist, showing criminals desperate to get their hands on your inventory, no matter what the cost.

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