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How a touch of toilet humour helped Kmart go viral

By Mel Peck

April 22, 2013 | 5 min read

Mel Peck from the Viral Ad Network picks out the best bits from The Drum's Viral Video Chart

These days there’s no such thing as an ‘underdog’ when it comes to viral videos. We’ve seen brands and individuals alike jump from relative obscurity into the media limelight in a matter of hours. From one hit wonders to viral memes, the interweb is constantly churning out new viral gems and shooting straight to the top of the most Viral Brands Chart, with over 11 million views and 36 thousand Facebook and Twitter shares, is the latest ad for US chainstore Kmart.

Recently we’ve witnessed a string of big budget commercials using elaborate stunts, celebrity appearances or fancy CGI and special effects to appeal to online communities, so it actually makes quite a refreshing change to see a simple, no frills ad campaign become an overnight viral smash. So what is it about the 35-second slot that made it so sharable?

Let’s take a look…

Created by Chicago based agency, Draftfcb, the ad features a series of shoppers celebrating the store’s new home shipping service by excitedly exclaiming “I just shipped my pants”. Others explained how they had just shipped their draws, shipped their nightie or even shipped their bed. The obvious play on words is rather juvenile but the crude humour is just the kind of thing that the internet loves.Here at VAN we use TubeRank to analyse the effect of a variety of viral triggers on the share to view ratios of trending videos. Clips that elicit a strong emotional response in a viewer always score highly in the ratings and ‘LOL’ is one of the triggers that is most likely to initiate a share response in a viewer.Obviously humour is pretty subjective. What one person finds hilarious could seem stupid or offensive to someone else and toilet humour in particular can be a risqué choice for a brand. Remember when Harvey Nichols released a series of ads for a clothing sale that would literally make customers piss their pants with excitement? The campaign received a mixed response from the public, many of whom found the images to be vulgar or distasteful.But it looks like Kmart has managed to get the balance just right. Avoiding any potentially offensive imagery and relying on a simple play on words, with a cheeky nod at a childish joke.Taking the number 2 spot with over 3.5 million views is Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches. The brand has been pioneering female focused marketing for over a decade now, winning praise for featuring women of all different shapes, sizes and ages in its advertising and the new short documentary style ad comes as the latest installment in its campaign for ‘Real Beauty’.Produced by Ogilvy Brazil, the video takes the form of a social experiment to prove that women are their own worst critics. A selection of ladies were asked to sit behind a curtain while a former forensic sketch artist drew their portrait based on how each woman described her features. The same artist then drew a second portrait of each of the women using the descriptions of strangers. At the end the two pictures were compared, highlighting the differences between how women saw themselves and how they appeared in the eyes of others.The campaign has already clocked up over 200 thousand shares and looks set to be another addition to the Dove’s repertoire of empowering ads for women.

Moving over to the UGC chart and there is a bit of a nature documentary theme going on. Ever wanted to know how different animals eat their food? Well, topping the listings this week with nearly 40 million views, Youtuber MisterEpicMann, has released a hilarious video explaining just that. And proving that if an idea works once, there’s always room to squeeze it some more, now a German duo who go by the name of Onkel Bernis Welt have produced their own version.

Also trending across the UGC chart this week – Roman Atwood plays an amusing prank on a rather obnoxious Ferrari driver by pretending to pee on his car; Simon’s Cat is back with another installment of mischievous moggies and the Slow Mo Guys treat us to some more beautiful freeze frame action - this time it’s exploding nail polish bottles.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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