1. Kony 2012 (Invisible Children)
Most Americans had never heard of Joseph Kony, the head of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, before. This March video from advocacy group Invisible Children changed that.
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Is Kony 2012 an ad? If so, it was the most-viral ad of the year. If not, it was just an extremely effective advocacy video and a Belgian video for cable network TNT was actually the most-viral ad of 2012.
Unruly, which keeps tabs on viral video activity, thinks Kony is, so it tops this year's list. Indeed, Kony's numbers are pretty staggering -- 10 million shares and 94 million views on YouTube make it the Gangnam Style of charity videos. Not bad for a 30-minute film that doesn't have a cat in sight and doesn't introduce a new dance move.
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Speaking of which, there are two tributes to Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" on this list. There are also a few examples of borrowed equity, including Hobbit director Peter Jackson (for Air New Zealand), OK Go (Chevrolet), James Bond (Coke Zero) and various European soccer stars for Nike. There are also viral ad stalwarts Ken Block and GoPro. As usual, though, there are a lot of surprises. Who would have guessed, for instance, that a public service announcement for Melbourne Metro (as in Melbourne, Australia), would rack up 30 million views in less than a month?
This story originally published on Mashable here.