11 Viral Marketing Campaign Examples

Some marketing campaigns go viral unintentionally, but others are planned and executed with virality in mind. In either case, a viral marketing campaign can boost brand awareness, expand your reach, and help you attract potential customers. So what makes campaigns go viral? Let’s take a look at some of the top viral marketing campaign examples for inspiration.

11 Viral Marketing Campaign Examples:

1. Barbie Movie

Who hasn’t heard of the 2023 “Barbie” movie? From memes and social media discussions to themed products, it’s fair to say that the “Barbie” pink fever took the world by storm. That’s why it’s at the top of our list for the best viral marketing campaign examples.

The movie’s virality didn’t happen by accident. In fact, it was carefully executed to ensure that the movie was everywhere no matter where you looked. For instance, the Barbie Selfie Generator encouraged social media users to create user-generated content using a Barbie-themed filter. Everyone – from your best friend to your favorite celebrity – was seen using this filter to generate their own Barbie-style selfie.

There were also several brand partnerships that further boosted the movie’s popularity in the mainstream. For instance, Airbnb ran a contest where four lucky guests could win a stay at Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse for free. Meanwhile, brands like Zara and Nyx released limited-edition Barbie collections. Even Microsoft teamed up with the Barbie team to introduce pink controllers and Xbox-themed dolls. And these are just some of the more popular collaborations. 

During the movie promotions in London, the team turned the streets of London pink to further raise awareness. Barbie’s convertible was spotted near the London Eye while the city’s iconic black cabs were temporarily covered in pink. Even the Tardis was turned pink and placed near the Tower Bridge, where fans could take photos with it.


Needless to say, this was one of the top viral marketing campaigns of the decade. Some even consider it the “marketing campaign of the year.” The movie naturally crushed box office expectations with $337 million globally and $165 million in North America alone, largely owing to the viral promotion.

2. Cobra Kai Chop

@hunterwoodhall please cast me @netflix I won’t let you down #karate #WinterFit #ad #CobraKaiChop ♬ original sound - Hunter Woodhall

When Netflix was preparing to release Season 3 of “Cobra Kai,” they were looking for a way to reach a wide variety of audiences. They wanted to boost awareness and drive viewership for the show to be a huge success. So they turned to TikTok influencer marketing to execute a viral marketing campaign with the help of NeoReach.

The team activated a diverse range of influencers from various cultural backgrounds to bring people together for the new season of the show. For the campaign, TikTok created an interactive Cobra Kai Chop filter that allowed people to score points for “chopping” stuff flying across the screen. Each influencer was tasked with putting their own creative spin using the filter and generate content with the #CobraKaiChop hashtag.

These influencers produced various types of content ranging from contests to comedic skits that engaged their audience. With the influencers freely expressing themselves, the campaign sparked significant engagement across TikTok. 

The filter encouraged user-generated content on TikTok that further brought virality to the campaign. It has since been used in 1.1 million posts while the #CobraKaiChop hashtag has received a whopping 4.6 billion views. Moreover, the campaign generated 2.8 million views from paid content with over 24k engagement value and an ROI of 2.76x. 



IZIMINI campaign

Source: shipbob.com

Sometimes, virality comes from a single spark, or in the case of IZIMINI, an influencer’s post. When the brand was initially launched in 2021, they had only two products — a chair with a matching hat and sold to customers in Australia. Soon after launch, Steph Claire Smith, a parenting and wellness influencer and popular model (with over 1 million followers) posted about them, and they quickly sold out.

The brand had also partnered with several other influencers who shared discount codes to further encourage sales. They have since grown into a leading outdoor lifestyle accessories brand not just in Australia but around the world. 

IZIMINI has even been featured in Kidspot, a leading Australian publication, as a “summer holiday game changer” for parents. Within just three years of being in business, the brand has garnered over 37k followers on Instagram, giving testimony to their popularity.


4. Lirika Matoshi Strawberry Dress


Remember the viral strawberry dress that was all over Instagram and TikTok during the pandemic? Where there was no one specific campaign to attribute the dress’s virality to, the timing was the name of the game.

The strawberry dress, designed by Lirika Matoshi, came out at a time when people were stuck indoors wearing sweatpants and baking bread. But even as clothing sales fell 79% and pajama purchases rose 143%, the strawberry dress became an internet sensation. TikTok creators were unboxing it, Instagram influencers were posing with it, DIY creators were making their own version, artists were creating fan art featuring it.

So what’s the deal behind its virality? Most people account it to the “idea” that the dress represented. According to the designer, the dress reflects an idea of better times, created to make the wearer feel hopeful. Naturally, it got everyone on social media to grab onto that hope by talking about it, buying it, wearing it, and posting content about it.

Not to mention it was released at a time when the “cottagecore” aesthetic became the biggest internet trend, and the dress fit the aesthetic perfectly with its pretty patterns and puffy frock. According to Matoshi, sales of the dress increased by more than 1,000% between late July and August 2020.

5. Stanley Quencher

Stanley isn’t a new brand. In fact, it has its origins in the early 1910s, originally targeting laborers and outdoor enthusiasts. So how has it become such a viral sensation over the past couple of years to the point of shoppers fighting in stores to get the latest release? The answer lies in shifting their focus to a new target audience (and revamping their products to align with said audience).

It all started with The Buy Guide, an online shopping and review guide with a largely female audience. Previously, the brand hadn’t thought of targeting women, who mainly saw it as an everyday item rather than a camping item. This meant that Stanley was missing a huge target market and, in the process, missing out on thousands of dollars in potential sales.

As early adopters of the Stanley Quencher, the website quickly mobilized after learning that the product was going to be discontinued. Stanley reached out to The Buy Guide and struck up a deal in which the website was able to buy 5,000 cups that they needed to sell on their own. All cups were sold out within five days.

Eventually, The Buy Guide pitched an idea encouraging Stanley to set up an affiliate program, which would then be powered by influencers who loved the product. So after the launch in June 2020, the cups sold out within just a few weeks. The Stanley site was also struggling to keep up, leading to 20,000 customers having a difficult time checking out.

Every launch since then has been a massive success with social media influencers amplifying reach and inspiring purchase decisions. Needless to say, the Stanley Quencher has been a viral hit as a result of influential publications and social media personalities.

One of the more recent contributors to the cup’s massive popularity is the viral TikTok video of a customer whose car burnt down while her Stanley cup survived. The video has since garnered more than 9 million likes, 59k comments, and 448k shares (talk about going viral).

@danimarielettering Thirsty after you catch on fire? @Stanley 1913 is like no problem i gotchu #fyp #carfire #accident #stanleycup ♬ original sound - Danielle

Although the incident wasn’t technically a planned marketing campaign, Stanley’s response to the customer sparked social media discussions. The brand gifted the customer a new car in response to people’s comments in the original video, showing that the brand listens and cares about their customers.

6. Chipotle TikTok Hacks

@keith_lee125 #stitch with @keith_lee125 Chipotle “Hack” taste test part 2 💕Would you try it ? ORIGINAL VIDEO 👉🏾 @alexis.frost 💕 #foodcritic ♬ original sound - Keith Lee

From what you’ve gathered so far, it’s pretty clear that TikTok is the source of viral sensations. That’s exactly the case with viral Chipotle hacks, where influential creators share ideas on how they customize their Chipotle orders. One of those viral hacks is the fajita quesadilla, also known as the Keithadilla, which originated from a hack shared by Alexis Frost and Keith Lee on TikTok.

As each of these creators has millions of followers on the platform, the hack became an instant hit with thousands of customers expressing their desire to try it. The content became viral, generating over 30 million views and 3 million likes. But since the item wasn’t officially on Chipotle’s menu, customers didn’t have a way to order it through the brand’s digital channels.

So to pay homage to the viral content, Chipotle temporarily added the item to their official menu and gave customers the option to order it through the website and app. Additionally, the brand has since continued to give influential creators the platform to share their own twist on some of their menu items and encouraged customers to try it out.

@chipotle if u know, @Yano 🌯 #chipotle #hack ♬ original sound - Chipotle

7. Dyson Airwrap

Like many of the other campaigns on this list, influential creators were behind the viral success of the Dyson Airwrap. The brand mainly relied on content from YouTube and TikTok influencers who provided their viewers with tutorials and before-and-after videos that showcased the product’s capability. 

These videos helped to highlight the powerful features of the Airwrap, helping to justify its high price. Seeing hundreds of influencers using the product and vouching for it played a key role in the product’s huge success.

With leading hair and beauty influencers like Mollie Campsie, Alex Gaboury, and Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness creating videos featuring the Airwrap, it quickly became a coveted item in the eyes of social media users. By 2022, it had become a top gift and sold out consistently in stores nationwide. Even during the 2023 holidays, it continued to be one of the most sought-after items for holiday shoppers. 

8. KFC x Crocs

KFC x Crocs campaign

Source: crocs.com

Crocs is no stranger to out-of-the-box marketing campaigns that get their audience talking. That’s exactly what happened when the brand decided to partner with — of all companies — KFC. The collaboration was unexpected and hilarious, meeting widespread appreciation from fans across the nation. It featured a pair of the iconic Crocs clogs designed to look like a bucket of fried chicken and a fake chicken leg to boot (pun intended).

Naturally, the collaboration went viral because it was so out of the ordinary, which helped the brand to build anticipation and buzz for the release. In fact, the shoes sold out within 30 minutes of the official launch. Even fans that had been waiting in a virtual line couldn’t get a chance to snatch a pair, expressing disappointment on Twitter (now X). These discussions further amplified the virality of the collaboration, giving publicity to both KFC and Crocs.

9. Halo TV Series

When Paramount was getting ready to release the Halo TV series, they resorted to an innovative guerilla marketing campaign that caught attention and got people talking. A drone swarm was the perfect strategy to promote a futuristic TV show. The studio displayed a giant QR code using drones over the Austin, Texas sky. People could scan the code to watch the trailer on YouTube.

The display was reportedly 300 feet tall and 600 feet wide, making it prominently visible to almost anyone in the city. This campaign received significant traction on social media, with many people calling it smart, amazing, and super cool.

While it’s not always easy to plan a campaign that goes viral, stunts such as this tend to be a major hit because they manage to capture attention and prompt social media discussions. But you need to be strategic to pull off something like this. Consider working with a guerilla marketing agency to help you put together a viral campaign that gets people talking.

10. Magic Spoon


Product seeding, affiliate programs, and strategic social ads powered by creator-generated content are some of the key ingredients of the viral Magic Spoon cereal. With the cereal boxes costing $40 a pop, the brand needed a way to get people to rethink their breakfast choices so they didn’t come across as just some overpriced cereal. This meant that they couldn’t rely on traditional ads and hope for the best or get mega influencers and celebrities to promote their products.

The answer lay in product seeding campaigns involving relevant content creators who could help raise awareness. With product seeding, more people could try out Magic Spoon’s products without having to spend their own money. Once they gave the products a try, they could genuinely promote the products and share the benefits with their followers.

To deliver a greater impact, their influencer marketing campaign prioritized on influence over popularity. Instead of choosing just any influencer, they decided to focus on creators who had a real influence on their audience and whose content aligned with their brand even if they didn’t have hundreds of thousands of followers. 

This included health-conscious creators who could authentically present the nutritional benefits of the product as well as parenting influencers who prioritized their family wellness. By collaborating with creators who shared the brand’s values and genuinely believed in their products, Magic Spoon was able to cultivate a strong community of like-minded consumers who helped spread the word. 

11. Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Hue Drops

@aysha_harun OH MY GOD @Glow Recipe HUE DROPS?!? IT’S SO PRETTY!!! #glowrecipehuedrops #huedrops #glowrecipe #glowrecipedewdrops #newmakeup #makeupreview ♬ original sound - Aysha Harun

As Glow Recipe was getting ready to launch their Watermelon Glow Hue Drops, they sent some of the products to everyone on their diversity board. The board included Aysha Harun, a TikTok creator who creates content about beauty, modest fashion, lifestyle, and travel. Due to human error, there was no note about whether the product shouldn’t be revealed yet.

So Aysha posted a video on TikTok with the question “Did I accidentally get sent an unreleased Glow Recipe product?” In the video, she tried on the product and showed genuine excitement for it. She also explained that she didn’t receive a notice to not share it, asking Glow Recipe to not sue her if she’s “leaking (their) product.”

Her 472k followers loved the video, leading to the product going viral. Comments were filled with people expressing that they loved it, it’s a “must buy,” and they’re “immediately buying once it drops.” The video has since garnered more than 3 million views, 321k likes, and 27k saves. 

Although it was still an embargoed product, the brand had to pivot their original launch strategy after seeing how great the product looked on Harun’s skin and how people were reacting to the video. Glow Recipe was getting texts from influencers wanting to try the product as well, which led to them quickly overnighting some boxes to 40 other influencers. These influencers included big names such as Mikayla Nogueira with 15.7 million followers and Katie Fang with 5.1 million followers on TikTok.

With their massive following, the influencers further amplified the product’s reach, helping it become viral. While this campaign wasn’t exactly “planned,” there’s a lot that brands can learn on achieving virality.

First, you need a great product that you can trust people will love. Then you can share exclusive previews to select influencers who can help generate buzz with authentic content. The exclusivity of the product preview and the genuine reactions will help you build excitement, helping your product go viral as you gear up for an official launch.

Ready to Go Viral?

These 11 amazing campaigns went viral because of different reasons. Most of them shared one thing in common – a passionate community of creators who put the brand or product in front of the right audience using their creativity and authentic voice. So closely check out what worked and why it worked for each of these campaigns to build your own viral marketing campaign.

About the Author
Jacqueline Zote is a freelance writer and content producer. She writes for leading blogs in the digital marketing space. Her areas of expertise include influencer marketing, social media marketing, social media management, and content marketing.