Top 10 Viral Videos of 2011

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If you purchased a cassette tape with your allowance, you probably remember a time when the phrase “gone viral” wasn’t synonymous with Internet sensation.

In 2011, the phrase has become so embedded in our vocabulary that it is included in the dictionary as a verb meaning “quickly and widely spread or popularized especially by person-to-person electronic communication; a viral video.”

According to a report in Business Insider, 53% of all videos posed on YouTube get fewer than 500 views. About 30% have less than 100 views, and just 0.33% have more than 1 million views. 

Occupy Wall Street got fired up about the 1%.

We’re fired up about the .33%

Here are our picks for the Top 10 Viral Videos of 2011.


1.       The Force: Volkswagen Commercial

In addition to being a Super Bowl XLV commercial, this advertisement for Volkswagen was an Internet sensation. It has received more than 44 million hits since being posted on YouTube in February.  The spot features a pint-sized Darth Vader who uses the Force to start his dad’s car. The spot was directed by Lance Accord, a successful cinematographer who has shot many feature films, including “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Lost in Translation,” “Adaptation,” and “Being John Malkovich.”  The ad campaign won a CLIO Gold in the Television/Cinema category for a Product or Service.


2.       The T-Mobile Royal Wedding


2011 was the year of the Royal Wedding. And where there is royalty, parody is not far to follow. This video celebrates the marriage of William and Kate with the help of a host of royal lookalikes and music from East 17. T-Mobile deserves credit for the spot, especially considering it earned more than 24 million clicks on YouTube since its debut in April. However, equal credit also goes to “JK Wedding Entrance Dance” – the Web sensation that put fear into the hearts of every mother-in-law-to-be since its broadcast in 2009.  If you’re not sure what the JK Wedding Entrance Dance is, you’re one of the few. It has more than 71 million viewers and counting…

3.       Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Reveal Trailer

Combine celebrity endorsements, shoot-em-up video games, explosions, and a Hollywood production budget and you’ve got the blend for a viral video. This spot for the popular video game is no exception. It features Jonah Hill and Sam Worthington. Since being uploaded to YouTube in May, it has gathered more than 20 million hits.

4.       eHarmony Video Bio

Unlike the first three videos in our list, this video doesn’t have the high-profile characters or Hollywood glam. In the video, the actress pretends to be creating a video profile for eHarmony. The woman calls herself Debbie, who seems shy and a bit ditzy but nevertheless is looking for a soulmate. After announcing she's an MBA graduate from Villanova University, she says she love cats and then bursts into tears. As she wipes away the tears she says: "Sorry, but I love cats, I just wanna hug all of them but I can't." It’s been called the “Tearful online 'dating' video that's burning up the Internet” for good reason, because it has received more than 18 million views on YouTube, and inspired a whole slew of hilarious parodies.


5.       DC Shoes: Ken Block’s Gymkhana Four


This video, created for DC Shoes, is the fourth installment of the Gymkhana. Known around the WWW as GYM4, it surpasses the high-production style of Gymkhana TWO with even more spectacular effects. Shot at Universal Studios, Calif., over the course of five days, the Hollywood productions hosts a myriad of pyrotechnics, stunts, and tricks. With more than 12 million hits on YouTube since its installation in August, it goes to show that quality – even without much of a plot – gets a click every time.


6.       Hunchback Cat

If you search for “kitten video 2011” on Google, you will get more than 56 million results. Unlike most of the videos on this list, this video has virtually no production value. It is 16 seconds long, but there is really only two seconds of action.  But, like vampires and Harry Potter, spontaneous kitten activity is a guaranteed Web hit. Speaking of hits, this video has received more than 11 million hits since August it was first uploaded on July 31.


7.       Snoring Dog, Laughing Baby

It’s not the most viewed video on the Web, but it has received more than a million hits in just a few months; it was posted on Oct. 24. But, no Best Viral Video list is complete without kids and pets.  This video has both. Featured on the "Ellen Degeneres Show," the video shows a 6-month-old baby girl giggling as her French bulldog takes a snore on the couch.


8.       Web Cam for Seniors

Bruce and Esther Huffman of McMinnville, Ore., were simply trying to use their webcam to record videos for their grandchildren. But, what started as an electronics education ended up becoming an Internet sensation. The couple managed to click the record button for a three-minute video in which Bruce makes funny faces, sings, burps and harasses his wife. In August, their granddaughter, Mindy, posted the resulting video on YouTube. Since then, it has gathered more than 9 million hits.


9.         Official Ojai Valley Taxidermy TV Commercial

Intrigued by a DIY bird-mounting kit ordered from the back of a magazine, Chuck Testa’s curiosity in taxidermy started as a hobby. Today, Testa is the proud owner of Ojai Valley Taxidermy in Southern California. Providing full-service Taxidermy since 1987, Ojai Valley will perform a “Full Mount” of your recently deceased bison for just under nine grand. If that’s a bit pricey, a bobcat head mount runs $495 plus tax. His local commercials are Internet sensations, raking in more than 8 million hits in less than four months.


10.       Hey Ya

George H.W. Bush was still president when Charlie bit his brother’s finger, causing an Internet sensation to the tune of nearly 395 million YouTube hits. In 2011, Justin and Jeremy Garcia started their climb toward Internet fame. If they added a kitten to the video, they might have doubled their 4 million hits since June. But, no ‘Best Of’ list is complete without dancing twins.

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