Pro-gay Olympic Games PSA triggers a storm of controversy

The team behind the Viral Video Chart examine the latest trending videos and look at what it takes to become a web smash.

Video trending data curated by the VAN team.

Top trending viral ad campaigns:

Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion | LugeNow that the aftermath of the Super Bowl has finally died down, the eyes of the advertising world have turned to the Sochi Winter Olympics. However, with Russia’s anti-gay laws causing ripples of controversy across the world, the focus of this week’s trending Olympic themed ads is less about sports and more about diversity and social inclusion.Shooting straight to the top of the Brand Chart is an amusing, if somewhat contentious PSA from the CIDI, a Canadian charitable organisation attempting to raise awareness of Russia's institutionalised homophobia. Created by Rethink Canada, the cheeky ad spot features two spandex clad Luge athletes rocking back and forth against each other suggestively before launching down the track, all set to the tune of The Human League’s pop classic, Don't You Want Me.The campaign, which uses the strap line: ‘the games have always been a little gay. Let's fight to keep them that way’, has understandably ruffled a few feathers within the sporting community, with many (including openly gay activists) objecting to the sexualised portrayal of the sport.I have to admit it made me giggle, mostly because it was such a randomly left field way to deliver the message. However, in terms of viral conversation triggers the video hit the nail on the head, clocking up over 5 million views and generating extensive media coverage and debate over the marginalisation of homosexual athletes in Russia and in sports team across the world.

The CIDI isn’t the only organisation attempting to use LGBT marketing to hook into national interest in the Sochi games. Norwegian sports and outdoor clothing retailer, XXL, has also released a campaign in support of gay rights. Using the strap line, ‘Sports are for everybody, whatever team you play for, the big budget ad spot features a host of legendary Norwegian athletes showing off their sporting skills in an elaborate attempt to impress a beautiful woman. Packed full of special effects and CGI graphics, the video follows the woman as she makes her way through the airport, ending with a somewhat predicable twist as she plants a kiss on her girlfriend's cheek.

Also worth a watch this week is a hilarious TV ad spot from Channel 4, released in support of gay athletes in Russia and intended to promote the launch of a new documentary program about gay hate crimes in Russia.

Top trending UGC and entertainment videos:

If you’ve used Facebook recently you’ve probably been prompted to create your own Look Back video: an auto-generated, personalised snapshot showing the highlights of your social media life since you joined Facebook, all set to a predictably cheesy, emotional soundtrack. Personally I’ve resisted the urge to create one myself, but they’ve been popping up in my newsfeed left, right and center.Of course, whenever something like this becomes popular it doesn’t take the viral community long to pick up on it and this week’s UGC chart is full of spoofs and parodies. However, taking the number one slot with a more serious tone is a heartbreaking plea to Mark Zuckerberg from a father who wanted to access his dead son’s Facebook account to see his Look Back video. His video received over 200,000 shares across social media sites, generating a mass public appeal on his behalf and guess what, it worked! You can watch the Look Back video of his son, Jessie Berlin, who died age 21 here.

Elsewhere in the listings, the Facebook theme continues with a slightly more ‘honest’ interpretation of the Look Back video trend. Plus, a host of spoof celebrity versions including the videos of Darth Vader; US politician, Rob Ford and Breaking Bad’s Walter White.

Squeak of the Week:

As winter weather sweeps across the world, global news coverage is full of stories of misery and woe as people fight through freezing temperatures. But for some, this recent cold spell is a welcome treat - cue a super excited panda who really, REALLY likes snow.

Join the #KittenCamp Snackz mailing list for weekly updates on top trending videos and follow @JoinVAN for the latest viral gossip and industry news!Mel Peck