Turkish Airlines “Selfie Shootout” Tops the Most Viral Travel Campaign of 2013

Molly Fessenden / December 17, 2013

As the holidays approach and the year draws to a close, many of us find ourselves wanting to get away. Whether we’re dreaming of Mom’s homemade turkey or warm sand on a faraway beach, travel is on everyone’s mind. So what better time to recap the most viral travel campaigns of the past year?

The campaigns have been ranked using our True Reach methodology, which takes into account views for both original brand-released content as well as audience-generated copies and response videos. All views in this chart are user-initiated, meaning that a real person needs to press the “play” button to watch the ad.

This year’s Top 10 were a diverse bunch, creatively speaking. Brands used everything from humor to sentimentality to appeal to (or inspire) viewers’ wanderlust. Perhaps the one overarching theme, though, was boldness. Whether it was through the use of huge celebrity sponsors, holiday surprises, or innovative and flashy spectacles, 2013 was a year of going big.

Topping the charts is Turkish Airlines’ The Selfie Shootout, the brand’s follow-up to the hugely successful Legends on Board campaign from 2012. The ad shows jet-setting Kobe Bryant and Leo Messi as they dash around the world, constantly one-upping each other in a “selfie shootout.”

Released in the first week of December, the campaign has capitalized on the huge star power of its spokesmen to blow other 2013 travel campaigns out of the water. Just two weeks after release, it already has over 127 million views (almost 100 million more views than the next most-viewed travel campaign).  

Coming in second is WestJet’s Christmas Miracle, which has barreled its way onto the list by earning 30 million views in just 8 days. In this heart-warming and whimsical campaign, lucky passengers have their Christmas wishes granted by a WestJet-blue Santa who delivers presents via the baggage claim carousel. Whether they asked for the newest tech-gadgets or just new socks, our guess is that these travelers walked away with both a renewed holiday spirit and a newfound loyalty to WestJet.

And rounding out the top three is Virgin America’s Safety Dance, a music video-style reimagining of tired in-flight safety videos (link to other post). Directed by Jon M. Chu, the campaign is centered around a high-energy, pop-fueled song and dance number that has caught viewers’ attention both in and outside the flight cabin. It has earned almost 9 million views in just its first month.

Other brands that cracked the Top 10 were SeaWorld San Antonio, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Marriot, Holiday Inn Express, Expedia, and Air New Zealand.

What was your reaction to these ads? Which were you favorites? Were there campaigns you expected to see that didn’t make the cut? Let us know in the comments section below!


The Top 10 Most Viral Travel Campaigns of 2013

The Selfie Shootout
True Reach: 127,292,310 views
Turkish Airlines
Crispin Porter + Bogusky London
Christmas Miracle
True Reach: 30,357,056 views
Safety Dance
True Reach: 8,929,128 views
Virgin America
Harlem Shake
True Reach: 7,849,616 views
SeaWorld San Antonio
The Lengths We Go
True Reach: 6,437,864 views
Singapore Airlines
The Land of FC Barcelona
True Reach: 5,872,497 views
Qatar Airways
180 (Amsterdam)
Travel Brilliantly
True Reach: 5,148,327 views
Stay Smart
True Reach: 3,649,823 views
Holiday Inn Express
Ogilvy & Mather
Find Your Perspective
True Reach: 3,584,627 views
True Reach: 3,282,294 views
Air New Zealand

Editor’s Note: This data was pulled on December 17. At that time, the viewreship of Turkish Airlines’ The Selfie Shootout was still growing a fast rate. It will likely be much higher than this by the end of the year.

Tags: 2013, kobe, Messi, Selfie Shootout, top 10, travel, Turkish Airlines, viral video, Virgin America, Visible Measures, WestJet,

  • About the Author

    Molly Fessenden

    Molly is a Senior Analyst and frequent contributor to the Visible Measures blog. Prior to joining the Analytics department in 2012, she received her B.A. from Johns Hopkins University.

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    2013 kobe Messi Selfie Shootout top 10 travel Turkish Airlines viral video Virgin America Visible Measures WestJet