Sports have a way of worming their way into every facet of our lives, whether we want them to or not, and viral marketing is a leading contributor to that growing trend.
Here, we look at five of the most successful viral sports advertisements of all time, ranging from football to basketball to general brand marketing and everything in between.
From Nike to Adidas, all the top brands have viral advertisements as a key part of there strategy. Here are some of those that were most successful.
5. Reebok Subway Pump Battle
The story goes that South Korean office workers were found guilty of not exercising enough in 2015, leading Reebok to enact a change in subway stations that would kick their population into gear.
The result? Commuters were filmed playing a game that pitted them in a race against the clock to push lighting buttons on either side of the subway doors as quickly as possible, and it made for entertaining viewing.
Title: ZPump Fusion. Source: YoutTube Reebok Korea. Published: 26th March 2015.
4. Ronaldinho Original Crossbar Challenge
Accurate viewing figures are difficult to find on this viral marketing campaign due to the fact it was re-released on YouTube after its initial footage had already clocked up a huge following earlier in the 21st century.
Nike handed former Brazil international Ronaldinho his newest pair of Tiempo football boots—glistening in gold, of course—and his one-on- one battle with the crossbar illustrated his mastery of the ball.
Title: Nike Football Presents: Ronaldinho Crossbar Remastered. Source: YouTube – YoutTube Nike Football. Published: 24th August 2015.
3. Earl and Tiger Woods
Thirty seconds of nothing but Tiger Woods staring into a camera lens while his father, Earl Woods, asked his son a few questions leading up to his 2010 return to golf.
While certainly not as comical as some of the others on our list, this selection certainly gets the emotions running.
Title: Tiger Woods Commercial: Earl and Tiger. Source: YouTube Nike Golf. Published: 7th April 2010.
2. Thierry Henry’s Premier League Time Travel
Fans of the Premier League were treated to a walk back through time as former Arsenal and France forward Thierry Henry took a trip down memory lane in time for the Premier League’s return.
Sky Sports landed a major coup by signing Henry to their punditry team, and this advertisement utilised his image in all the right ways (and eras).
Title: Premier League The Best League In The World – Sky Sports Commercial with Thierry Henry. Source: YouTube Published: 11th July 2017
1. LeBron James RE-ESTABLISHED
LeBron James advertising a pair of headphones may not sound like the most alluring viral prospect, but following his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, this was a work of art.
Throw in background music from Hozier’s Take Me To Church, complete with vocals from someone we can only assume has close ties to James, and you’ve got motivational mastery on your hands.
Title: LEBRON JAMES COMMERCIAL BEATS BY DRE – RE ESTABLISHED 2014. Source: YouTube. Published: 20th October 2014
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*Credit for the featured image: BOSTON, MA – MAY 27: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during Game Seven of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on May 27, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. Cleveland Cavaliers og LeBron James skal op imod det skræmmende mandskab fra Golden State Warriors i finaleserien i den amerikanske basketball-liga NBA. Det skriver Ritzau, torsdag den 31. maj 2018.. (Foto: Maddie Meyer/Ritzau Scanpix)