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Diet Coke and Mentos: One of the First Marketing Videos to Go Viral

One of the most successful viral videos of all time originally had nothing to do with marketing for the two companies featured in the video. The original concept was a simple experiment by a couple of friends — Fritz Grobe, a juggler, and Stephen Voltz, a former lawyer. They dropped six Mentos candies into a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke, only to witness a geyser-like reaction.

For fun, they shot a video in one take of choreographed fountains using 101 bottles of soda and 524 candy pieces and released it on June 3, 2006. The video, a YouTube sensation, quickly went viral, and its popularity was reported on by mainstream media.

The original video, which now has more than 14 million hits on YouTube, may have been seen more than 50 million times. In addition, copycat videos now account for more millions of views.

Certainly, this concept was beneficial to Coca-Cola, which saw a 5-percent sales increase, and to Mentos, which saw a 15-percent boost, but neither company had a part in creating the original video.

In fact, when the two companies joined forces to sponsor their own EepyBird — the company founded by Grobe and Voltz to develop other consumer product experiments and viral videos — video six months later, the result, though successful in driving traffic, paled in comparison with only 1.7 million YouTube views to date.

EepyBird has excelled in leveraging its videos into money for both itself and its clients, but only after the accidental, initial success that built its following. Therein lies the challenge for viral video marketers: How to reach the first 50 million views on purpose?

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