This past year has shown us how effective leading smartphone and mobile app companies have become at leveraging viral videos. In Ad Age’s top-10 viral videos list for 2012, Samsung (005930) and Rovio each hog two spots. The Angry Birds Space video racked up 109 million views and the Angry Birds Star Wars hit the 41 million view mark. Meanwhile, Samsung managed to get 79 million views for its Galaxy S III video and 42 million views for the LeBron’s Day clip. It’s notable that Rovio’s Angry Birds clips were far cheaper to produce, with no major stars or lavish video production gimmickry.
The smartphone/mobile app industry thus held four of the top-10 viral video slots in 2012 — the rest of the list is a motley crew of names ranging from Invisible Children and Red Bull to Intel and M&M. It is telling that the smartphone/mobile app cluster is the only industry or cultural phenomenon that generated more than one spot on the list. Popular interest in mobile content continues surging.
It might also be a sign of the times that Apple (AAPL) did not hit the top-10. Samsung’s ultra-aggressive promotional efforts have started bearing fruit. What was once a boring, stale copycat brand in 2008 has suddenly started gripping the imaginations of consumers in a completely new way.
But perhaps even more interesting is that a mobile app company with less than 100 million euros in sales in 2011 managed to beat the mighty Samsung marketing machine in 2012. Rovio is in the vanguard of spreading mobile gaming into demographic niches that have never been all that interested in technology or gaming.