Great viral videos are hard to come by, but Volkswagen appears to have hit the bullseye. Their new campaign “The Fun Theory” is a series of experiments, captured on video, to find out if making the world more fun can improve people’s behavior. This video, Piano Stairs, has achieved over 1 million views on YouTube – I can’t count how many times friends have shared it this week. Among the experiments: does turning a set of subway stairs into a real-life piano encourage people to use them (answer: yes, 66% more). Another experiment asks whether making a trash can sound like a 50ft-deep well will make people pick up their trash. An upcoming experiment, meanwhile, will turn a bottle recycling center into an arcade game.
The brand placement is as subtle as it could possibly be: a simple VW logo dropped in at the end. And yet the content carries that logo all around the web, as tens of thousands of people pass around the video, along with their positive associations for the VW brand. Isn’t that the definition of a perfect brand campaign?