The viral ads we couldn′t resist | Lifestyle | DW | 03.12.2015
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The viral ads we couldn't resist

Laughter, tears, confusion, anger are just some of the feelings that ads evoke in us. Successful ads in the viral era can send us an on an emotional rollercoaster. Here's a look back at the most successful.

The major German supermarket chain, Edeka, launched a Christmas ad that has quickly gone viral. The tearjerker shows an elderly man faking his own death to get his adult children to come home for the holidays. The dark nature of the campaign has sparked an onslaught of both positive and negative reactions - resulting in more than 20 million YouTube views in less than a week.

But what does the ad have to do with the supermarket? Little to nothing. But as long as the clip continues to make its rounds on social media platforms and racks up more views, clicks and shares, the brand will continue to be on everyone's lips.

Edeka is no stranger to successful ad videos. In late February 2014, the supermarket released a video called "Supergeil" (roughly, "super cool") featuring the artist Friedrich Liechtenstein. The video also garnered attention for its unorthodox style and antics. The YouTube clip has been watched over 15 million times and has ultimately achieved a cult status.

Mastering the art of surprise

While apps like Vine, Snapchat and Instagram support videos that are not longer than 15 seconds and television airtime costs an arm and a leg, the video sharing giant YouTube provides companies an effective way to advertise. The platform allows companies to create official accounts that feature longer videos that normally would not be aired on television.

The South Korean electronics conglomerate LG released a video in October 2012 as part of their campaign to demonstrate its monitor's picture quality. In the video called "So Real It's Scary," the LG monitors have been installed on the floor of an elevator and the passengers are tricked into thinking the floor of the elevator has fallen out. The video has been viewed more than 24 million times, but has been criticized for possibly being staged with actors.

Whether fake or not, one thing is for certain: LG's campaign was a success.

Ahead of Christmas 2013, the Canadian airline Westway released a tearjerker video. In it, Santa Claus appears on life-size screens at boarding gates at airports in Canada and asks actual passengers what they want for Christmas, while WestJet employees take notes behind the scenes. Once the planes take off, the employees go on a mad dash of shopping, wrapping and labeling those very gifts for the passengers.

When the planes land at their destination a few hours later, the gifts make a grand entrance on the baggage carousel – from socks and underwear to a big-screen TV – amid laughter, shouts of "No way!" and even a few tears. The video has been watched over 42 million times and continues to get views.

The winner stays

Nike has long been a major player in the world of advertising. Its division of Nike Football releases a new campaign to coincide with major sporting events such as the World Cup or the European Championship. For the last edition of the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, the American manufacturer of sports equipment released a video called "Winner Stays" featuring football stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Mario Götze.

The video opens up in a park with two teams challenging each other in a pick-up game where the winner stays on. In a split second a seemingly simple game between friends has become a grudge match of sorts, aided by the unique skills of some of the world's greatest footballers. The ad has more than 118 million views on YouTube.

Whether we want to grab a tissue or punch a wall in, humans are addicted to feeling. As long as ads keep toying with our emotions, we'll keep rewarding them with clicks. If we also buy the products behind them - well, that's another story.

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