Viral videos of the year – 2012 edition

30 Dec 2012

More than 72 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube every minute in 2012, with more than 800m unique user visits and more than 4bn hours of video watched each month. As a result, we have seen some of the most viral videos ever this year, and as usual, music has dominated the most-watched videos on the web.

It was really a three-horse race in terms of music videos with PSY’s Gangnam Style, Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know and Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call me Maybe. But we’re not here to just paste the most-viewed videos from the year, otherwise Justin Bieber would be all over this, besides, it wasn’t all music that has set the internet alight this year. We take a look at the most viral videos to hit the web in 2012.

Dumb Ways to Die 

If there’s one thing we love here at, it’s viral videos. If there’s two things we love, it’s viral videos and safety around train lines (we’re weird like that!) Melbourne Metro introduced us to this catchy tune in November, which quickly spread across the internet with more than 2.5m shares on Facebook and 33m views on YouTube.


A dramatic surprise on a quiet square

I really hope the marketing team behind this video for TNT Belgium got bigger bonuses than any disgraced banker gets. The YouTube top 100 for the year is absolutely dominated with music-related videos, in fact, only two non-music videos made it in to the top 100 – Kony 2012 (remember him?) and this effort. Clocking a hefty 39.5m views, this is a marketing division’s dream.


LEAKED Official Apple iPhone 5 Promo Video – Keynote 2012

It was a major year for Apple, as it launched a new line-up of products in September. However, it was the iPhone 5 that got most people talking in the weeks leading up to the event itself. We dedicated an entire Viral Videos of the Week to the parody videos surrounding the launch of the iPhone 5, but it is this effort from YouTube user Adam Sacks which gathered the most attention online.


Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall from 128k’ – Mission Highlights 

An amazing feat from a daredevil or just one giant publicity stunt for Red Bull? Whichever way you look at it, Felix Baumgartner’s amazing freefall captured the imagination of the world, setting three individual world records in the process (the only man to achieve a supersonic skydive, highest exit from a platform at 128,000 feet, and the highest freefall without a drogue parachute, which was measured at 119,846 feet). The event also gathered the most concurrent views ever on YouTube, at more than 8m livestreams. This little recap video has hit an amazing 30.5m views!


‘The Star Wars That I Used To Know’ – Gotye ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ Parody

With an estimated 500m streams combined from Spotify (where the song was the most-streamed song of the year), Shazam tags, and YouTube plays, Belgian-Australian multi-instrumental musician Gotye certainly had a year to remember. The graphical video has become somewhat iconic and has been parodied many times this year, although the ‘five people, one guitar’ effort by Walk off the Earth managed to upstage the original for a while on YouTube. An old-school computer remix of the song was one of our viral videos of the week but here is our favourite Gotye cover from the year, brought to us from a couple of disgruntled Star Wars fans.


Sesame Street: Share It Maybe

Carly Rae Jepsen’s summer smash had everyone hooked this year, clocking up more than 360m views on YouTube since being uploaded in March. The song was even the biggest-selling song on iTunes this year. But you can never call yourself a true viral star until a guy dresses up in women’s clothes and dances on chatroulette to your song! But it is not the original or the chatroulette version that had us the most excited this year, it was the creative minds at Sesame Street who have won us over with their Cookie Monster-inspired Share It Maybe.


PSY – Gangnam Style

Sure there have been parodies, remixes, sports star celebrations, an entire Gangnam Style themed Irish Web Awards and even a mash-up with Wham’s classic Last Christmas, but nothing can compete with the original and most viral video ever. Set to top 1bn views before the end of the year, PSY’s Gangnam Style has burned a trail across the web since being uploaded to YouTube in July. As 2012 comes to a close, I think we should close the year with one philosophy – dress classy, dance cheesy.