What happens when you give a chimpanzee an AK-47 and let it run riot on YouTube?Well, Twentieth Century Fox is banking on the answer being a box office hit. The signs are certainly good. The controversial hoax video depicting mocking African soldiers handing the ape a sub-machine gun only to be sent running for cover as it started shooting was by far the most shared video ad during July.
Part of a marketing campaign designed to generate online buzz ahead of the release of the latest chapter in the Planet of the Apes franchise, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the campaign attracted 701,512 shares across Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere last month, almost double that of the second-placed commercial.
But, with the film due for release this Friday, the question remains: has it done enough to whet the appetites of cinema-goers after the bitter memories of Tim Burton's terrible 2001 remake?
Certainly, the numbers stack up well. However, the message is a little blurred.
For example, despite masquerading as an authentic piece of library footage, its association with the upcoming movie cannot be clearer.
The video was uploaded to a channel called Apes Will Rise – where all the official trailers and other supposed 'authentic' footage of gorillas walking upright and beating humans at intelligence tests – are also featured.
Plus the title at the bottom left of the movie screen says '20th Century Fox Research Library'.
However, judging by the thousands and thousands of comments left, a large proportion has totally missed the point, while others even found the content offensive. Only time will tell if this AK-47 will backfire on Fox.
While 'Ape With An AK-47′ makes it very clear it is an ad, the video in second spot on the global ads chart is a little less certain.
Crazy Marriage Proposal features a man falling off a roof while trying to propose to his girlfriend, only for it to be all part of the proposal plan from the start.
It may sound like a nice bit of funny user-generated content, but the blatant product placement and rather phony acting has led many to believe it is a stealth ad for Neuro water.
But is it an ad or not? Well, a better question is surely how much impact can such an ad have?
Sure, Rube Goldberg machines are one of the most relentlessly employed visual devices of the last 10 years, but that did not stop lead photographer David Dvir and his team at the Toronto studio scoring a huge hit last month.
Featuring a Rube Goldberg machine comprised entirely of camera parts and accessories, it racked up over 2.32 million views and 284,223 shares across Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere during July, putting it third in the chart.
In fourth is an ad for Google Chrome which really makes you question the power of the web.
Yes, the Internet is responsible for a lot of good in the world – but launching the career of Justin Bieber is not one of them. The Devil does not wear Prada, it wears a daft haircut and the sheepish expression of a Canadian teen who just can't believe his own luck.
Bieber and Google also feature later in the chart, in 10th and 12th respectively.
One possible surprise omission from the top 10 is the latest Old Spice campaign. To help breathe new life into the fading success of its monster hit, The Man Your Man Can Smell Like, agency Wieden and Kennedy created a rather one-sided popularity contest between the Old Spice Guys.
In the red corner, there was the Old Old Spice Guy, the much loved Isaiah Mustafa, who has spent more time on the big screen than in his trademark towel in recent months.
While in the blue Lycra opposite, you had New Old Spice Guy, Fabio, the not-so-young pretender to the crown and possibly the worst actor in history.
Who will win in this battle for social video supremacy, based on Facebook 'Likes', tweets and blog posts? Well, Mustafa, obviously, but not before the web was bombarded relentlessly with what seemed like hundreds of videos of the preening pair.
However, surprisingly, only one of these videos appear on last month's top 20: Mustafa accepting Fabio's challenge – at number 19. This was probably down to the fact that the campaign only really began last Monday and was diluted across so many different videos.
In fact, the original Old Spice Guy video, released way back in February 2010, received the biggest boost, featuring two places above the latest crop.
Top 20 Branded Viral Videos Of July 2011
1. Ape with AK-47
Brand: Twentieth Century Fox
2. Crazy Marriage Proposal
Brand: Neuro water
3. 2D Photography Rube Goldberg
Brand: 2D Photography
4. Google Chrome: Justin Bieber
5. Angry Birds Live
6. Unleash Your Mobile
7. Way Back Home
Brand: Red Bull
8. Ken Block's Gymkhana Three, Ultimate Playground
Brand: DC Shoes
9. Google+ Project: A Quick Look
10. Roller Babies
12. Justin Bieber and Usher Happy Birthday Song
Brand: American Cancer Society
13. The Force
14. The Most Amazing Beat Box Ever
15. Assassins Creed E3 Trailer
16. X-Factor – World Premiere Preview
17. The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
Brand: Old Spice
18. Dear 16-Year-Old Me
Brand: David Cornfield Melanoma Fund
19. Challenge Accepted
Brand: Old Spice
20. Hugo – Just Different, Featuring Jared Leto
Brand: Hugo Boss
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