Adland's 10 by 10 - top ten Viral ad campaigns in the past ten years.

#1 Ten years ago, Paul Malmström and Linus Karlsson (Now Mother New York ECD's) shot a few purposely crappy films during their lunch break, went home at night and built even crappier homepages for them, emailed their pals and before they knew it as the pages spread to places like and beyond, they had kickstarted a viral teaser campaign for a Buddy Lee jeans. The pages spread like wildfire, and the Swedish idiom in literal translation on Curry's page "Do you think I'm out bicycling" tipped me off to the creators being fellow Swedes. The servers were slammed and eventually the films had to be removed due to their popularity. Rubberburner will never die. Long Live Rubberburner.

#2Nike - watch out for squirrels / Autumn in New York - because Nike laughed with us at the double-u-t-eff guy, then turned around and hired him before his initial hypewave on the interwebs had broken. I'll always think "Nike = Fast" now.

#3 What was once a cinema ad, specially designed to be extra funny in a cinema as one of the best viral ads. Because once Kylie got on that bull in 2001, and someone sent it out on the web, it seems she never got off it. (But I bet a few other people did, ha! I slay me.) A viral is after all, only something that is so much fun you'll pass it on, be it a game or a cinema ad that leaked online. There is no record of this ad ever being banned or even complained about at the ASA, but it is often labelled as such just to boost the views.

#4 In 2001, Clay posted Three Bears Attack! John West Salmon spawns stateside offspring comparing karate-kicking bears, but it is the John West Salmon ad that everyone still remembers. The tradition of blurry "Home video" sudden unexpected change in action began with a swift kick in the nuts here.

#5 Quicksilver. Dynamite Surfing. And only because Dan Savage spent a myhtbusters show trying to figure out if this was even possible.
#6 The BIG ad, poking fun at all big ads, topping it with Carmina Burana, and adding a thousand men in robes makes perfect sense. I better have sold some bloody beer.
#7 Honda Cog. It spawned a never-ending trend of domino-style ads and a thousand spoofs, and because the legal wrangling of possible copyright infringement we dubbed a wrench in the Cog. was almost as fascinating as the ad.

#8 Dove evolution. Because it blew people away, used no hand-held shaky cameras, ad-sleauthing fakery, karate-kicking bears or risque humor to slice through the noise of the web. Refreshing.
#9 Coke and Mentos the co-branded brand hijack, because at one point, we were all dressing up as Fritz Grobe (the short one) & Stephen Voltz (the tall one) and splattering soft drinks all over the place. Mentos embraced it, Diet Coke did not, and I finally forgave Mentos for those horrible ads they had put me through during the nineties.

#10 The Subservient Chicken. Not because it was the viral that conquered the world and changed how most people looked at interactive advertising. No, I'm giving it the top spot for those leg garters. On the fifth anniversary the Barbarian group reflected on what they had done to the poor internet with CP+B.

I can't wait to see what the next ten years will bring.

  • Adland's 10 by 10 - Top ten Viral ad campaigns in the past ten years.
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  • Adland's 10 by 10 - Top Ten Banned ads in the past ten years. (NSFW)
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