Viral marketing case study: TNT’s ‘dramatic surprise’ becomes second most shared YouTube ad of all time

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In April 2012, Belgian TV channel TNT posted this ad on YouTube, getting 23m views in just one week and becoming the second most shared video on the website. Published on April 11, the 'A Dramatic Surprise On a Quiet Square' video campaign has clocked a whopping 30m views and 250,000 likes with a fortnight. This case study takes a look behind the success...

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Brand: TNT | Media: YouTube, TV, Social Media | Agency: Duval Guillaume Modem, Belgium | Country: Belgium | Sector: TV, Media

TNT’s ad agency, Duval Guillame Modem, placed a large red button in the middle of a quiet square (where nothing happens, as the description of the video puts it) in a Belgian town along with a 'push to add drama' signage hanging near it.

It then captures the reaction of a part bemused- part astounded crowd when one of them actually goes ahead and, well, pushes the button.

A series of dramatic events follow, including the arrival of an ambulance with attendants dropping the 'patient' from the stretcher multiple times, a cyclist ramming into the ambulance's open door, and a fist fight between the cyclist and the burly ambulance driver.

Throw in a scantily-clad woman on a motorbike being chased by a car, a fake encounter that leaves a person 'dead' and the bizarre arrival of a team of rugby players, and what you get is a video that is dramatic in the true sense of the word.

TNT’s ad has become the second most-shared of all time, according to video research firm Unruly. The ad has been shared 3 million times, with only “The Force,” the 2011 Super Bowl ad from Volkswagen, being shared more.

Watch the video below:


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