Golf goes viral thanks to a hovercraft and Beyonce travels back in time - the week's viral trends dissected

By Mel Peck

April 12, 2013 | 5 min read

Mel Peck from the Viral Ad Network picks out the best bits from The Drum's Viral Video Chart including the enormous viral appeal of golf star Bubba Watson.

With the 2013 golf Masters now upon us, debate is rife about who this year’s champion might be. Google searches for The Masters increase by nearly 500 per cent in the weeks leading up to the tournament, so it’s the perfect time for brands to champion their sponsorship of the athletes involved.

This week’s viral chart sees sunglasses manufacturer Oakley snatching the top spot with a fun little viral stunt to highlight the brand’s sponsorship of Masters contender Bubba Watson.

These days, simply excelling in a sporting field isn’t enough to launch you into the viral limelight; sporting mega stars work hard to cultivate their celebrity status and Watson is certainly no stranger to the viral scene. The golfing pro got his first taste of YouTube fame when he teamed up with fellow golfers Ben Crane, Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan to form the PGA’s exclusive boy band, “Golf Boys”, releasing their first single in 2011 which became an instant internet hit with over 6 million views.

Now Watson and Oakley have partnered up with the creative team at Thinkmodo, (the agency behind the awesome Popinator), to revolutionise the world of golf transportation, replacing the traditional golf buggy with an impressive new hovercraft machine. The so-called ‘BW1′ is designed to float across water hazards, sand traps and virtually any other obstacle a golf course could throw your way, reaching a top speed of about 60mph.

The viral campaign is part of a clever marketing strategy to generate awareness around Oakley as a golf brand and Watson as an Oakley athlete. Being strategically released the week before The Masters got underway on 11 April, the video has already seen over 7 million views and 85 thousand shares. The clip itself is fairly light on Oakley branding which is limited to logos on the vehicle and a few shots of Watson wearing the sunglasses, but the ad has received extensive media coverage championing both Oakley and Watson as the geniuses behind the flying vehicle, causing web traffic to Oakley’s main site to increase by over 40 per cent and Watson himself to gain over 100,000 new Twitter followers.

Coming in at number 2 in the branded listings this week is Pepsi with Beyoncé “Mirrors”, clocking up over 8.5 million views and nearly 63 thousand shares.It’s not unusual for brands to release trailer videos for big budget commercials these days. It can be a great way to get a bit of extra mileage from a campaign and build up anticipation within the viral community, increasing the shareability of the full ad once it’s released, and that’s exactly what Pepsi did last week with its ‘Bey Here Now’ campaign.After publicly stating that the number ‘4’ has always been significant in her life, (being the birthdate of both herself and her husband, Jay-Z, and the date of their wedding), the pop star had fans on the edge of their seats last week when she released a six-second video hinting that there was going to be a big announcement on 4.4.13. Using the hashtag #BeyHereNow, fans across the world speculated about what the news could be. Then came the big reveal… it was the latest Pepsi ad. (Slight anti-climax!)

Using the tagline ‘Celebrate your past, live for now’, the new video recreates some of the most iconic personalities from Beyoncé’s past career, with visual reminders from “Crazy in Love” to “Bootylicious” and “Single Ladies.” According to Knowles’ official website: “The global partnership is the next iteration of Pepsi’s 'Live for Now' brand spirit, which encourages fans to embrace the NOW.”In an effort to get yet more coverage for the campaign, Pepsi also released a behind the scenes video which entered the viral chart listings at number 5 this week with just shy of a million views - not bad for a video which probably cost little extra on top of the main ad budget to produce.Moving across to the UGC chart and going straight to the top of the listings with nearly 6 million views this week, Mozart and Skrillex face off in the most recent instalment of Epic Rap Battles of History.

Also trending in the listings: a US high schooler delivers a somewhat unique prom invite to the girl of his dreams; AsapSCIENCE is back with some fascinating facts about cats; and The Canadian Space Agency has released an awesome video to explain exactly what happens if you cry in space.For all of the chart news and the full rundown of top videos on the internet this week, check out The Drum Viral Video Chart, powered by VAN, or follow @JoinVan to stay up to date with the latest industry news and YouTube gossip.


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