Nike’s “Believe in Something” ad featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the most viral brand moment of 2018, generating more than 8.2 million online conversations, according to the U.S. research firm Brandwatch.
The company used its proprietary AI-analyst tool, Iris, to analyze more than 1 billion online conversations about 500 brands and compile a list of its 101 most viral moments. It found that going viral is often “utterly random,” with brands frequently attracting attention for the wrong reasons, or even for crafting a witty response to the day’s events.
Many of viral events were the result of what Brandwatch describes as “colossal screw-ups,” whether it was perceived racist ads from leading brands such as Heinekin and H&M, to McDonald’s blundered attempt to co-opt International Women’s Day.
But brands did get acknowledged for doing good, from MetLife’s decision to cut ties with the National Rifle Association, to Bank of America’s decision to stop lending to firms who build firearms.
The complete list, in all its why-didn’t-we-think-of-that and head-scratching glory, is here.