'KONY 2012' Overtakes Major Brands with Most-Viral Social Video of 2012

KONY 2012 Overtakes Major Brands with Most Viral Social Video of 2012

The 2012 Unruly Global Viral Video Ads Chart, the annual ranking of the year’s most shared video ads, was released today by Unruly Media. Although Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, P&G, Nike and Volkswagen all feature prominently in the chart, the year’s overall winner is a little-known non-profit.

Kony 2012,” created and released by the not-for-profit Invisible Children, was by far the most shared ad of 2012, generating 10.1 million shares from March 5, when it was launched, to Nov. 21, 2012.

The incredible success of this 30-minute video demonstrates how a relatively unknown entity can make a global impact in social media with powerful content and a savvy marketing strategy. As I mentioned 7 months ago, young adults were the most “contagious carriers” in the viral spread of “KONY 2012”.

The social video rankings are derived from the Unruly Viral Video Chart, the definitive source of video sharing behavior across blogs, Facebook, and Twitter since 2006.  Since Unruly measures “shares” rather than “views” it is a better metric for an ad’s “virality” and the strength of the emotion it triggers in viewers.

Other brands in the top 20 include TNT, A&F, Volkswagen, and GoPro.  Only three brands appear in both the 2011 and 2012 rankings: Volkswagen, Red Bull and DC Shoes.

Overall, the number of video shares of branded content increased in 2012. The top 500 ads of the year attracted a total of 113 million shares in 2012, a 21 percent increase over 93.3 million in 2011.

Shares of the top 10 ads rose from 16.8 million in 2011 to 28.0 million in 2012 – an increase of 67 percent – and a clear sign that media consumption habits are continuing to evolve rapidly.

“Emotive content and bottom-up sharing stole the show this year,” remarked Unruly Co-Founder and COO Sarah Wood. “The world’s biggest brands can learn from Invisible Children: it’s not about a 30-second commercial anymore when a 30-minute video gets 10 million global shares.”

For those of you that havent watched the video, here it is with 10,068,928 shares:

The Top 20 Most Shared Social Video Ads of 2012:

The full rankings – based on data collected from Nov. 21, 2011, to Nov. 21, 2012 – appear below:

  1. Invisible Children: Kony 2012  - 10,068,928 shares
  2. TNT: A Dramatic Surprise On A Quiet Square – 4,352,283 shares
  3. Abercrombie & Fitch: Call Me Maybe - 2,435,774 shares
  4. DC Shoes: Gymkhana 5 – 2,292,354 shares
  5. P&G: Best Job - 2,227,528 shares
  6. Dancesport Studio: Two-Year-Old Dancing The Jive – 2,094,766 shares
  7. Melbourne Metro: Dumb Ways To Die - 1,217,751 shares
  8. Chevrolet: OK Go, Needing/ Getting - 1,140,769 shares
  9. Volkswagen: The Bark Side -  1,127,479 shares
  10. PBS Studios: Mister Rogers Remixed, Garden Of You Mind - 1,045,039 shares
  11. Google: One Day, Project Glass – 1,025,854 shares
  12. Go Pro: Black Edition, Smaller, Lighter and 2X More Powerful - 989,904 shares
  13. Coke: Unlock The 007 In You. You Have 70 Seconds – 933,601 shares
  14. Nike: Mercurial Vapor VIII: Cristiano Ronaldo vs Rafa Nadal – 921,039
  15. Nike: My Time Is Now - 902,609 shares
  16. Sesame Street Workshop: Share It Maybe – 863,969 shares
  17. Red Bull: Athlete Machine (Red Bull Kluge) - 804,418 shares
  18. Banco Som Sabadell: Som Sabadell FlashMob - 794,749 shares
  19. Air New Zealand and WETA: An Unexpected Briefing - 753,200 shares
  20. Febelfin: Amazing Mind Reader Reveals His ‘Gift’ – 695,896 shares

By the way, the above rankings do not include movie trailers. If they did, MEN IN BLACK 3 - Official Trailer - In Theaters 5/25/12, THE HOBBIT Trailer HD, Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 Official Trailer, Despicable Me 2 - Official Teaser Trailer (2013) HD Movie, and Ted Official Red Band Trailer [HD]: Mark Wahlberg Wishes His Teddy Bear To Life: ENTV would have made the top 20 list.


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About the Author -
Greg Jarboe is president and co-founder of SEO-PR, a content marketing agency which provides search engine optimization, online public relations, social media marketing, and video marketing services.  Jarboe is author of "YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day". He is also a contributor to "Strategic Digital Marketing: Top Digital Experts Share the Formula for Tangible Returns on Your Marketing Investment" by Eric Greenberg and Alexander Kates; "Complete B2B Online Marketing" by William Leake, Lauren Vaccarello, and Maura Ginty; as well as "Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions" by Guy Kawasaki. Jarboe is profiled in "Online Marketing Heroes: Interviews with 25 Successful Online Marketing Gurus" by Michael Miller. Jarboe is on the faculty of the Rutgers Center of Management Development as well as Market Motive.  He is also a correspondent for Search Engine Watch as well as the Knowledge Transfer blog. He is also a frequent speaker at industry conferences. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • Aaron Armstrong

    Here's my issue at hand, though... So many people shared this video or put the "STOP AT NOTHING" banner as their cover photo (in my area, it was "popular" half a year ago). Kony has received worldwide recognition as being the most evil person in the world, and if he decided to make a trip to nice ol' Canada, he'd most likely be murdered asap. WHAT HAS THIS VIDEO ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISHED? I did not see any sort of profit margin appointed to the group in this article, and I know that my friends (including myself) did not send any donations to the Kony 2012 organization. None of them called superiors in their countries to say "STOP KONY," so what did this accomplish other than making Kony look like the Darth Vader of the world?

  • http://www.facebook.com/greg.jarboe Greg Jarboe

    True, Aaron, true. But increasing awareness is a marketing objective, just as increasing traffic, generating leads, and driving sales (or contributions) are marketing objectives. So, very few people had ever heard of Kony before this video went viral. And I use "Kony 2012" in the Mini-MBA program that I teach at Rutgers to demonstrate that "Young adults are the most ‘contagious carriers’ in the viral spread of online video." So, there are lessons here for commercial and non-profit organizations -- even if it didn't generate a lot of contributions.