It’s that time of year when we start seeing lists of the top everything from everywhere, and Visible Measures has just announced their top 10 most viral charity campaigns of 2012.  In the year that is clearly PSY’s as far as viral video extravaganzas, it’s easy to forget that there are a number of other videos in other genres just looking to make a noticeable dent on YouTube.  Charity/cause videos had a really good year, even if you don’t count KONY’s amazing run.  It goes to show that the worldwide reach of online video is an amazing tool in reaching a sympathetic audience.

The Top 10 Charity Videos of 2012

The total number of views are from Visible Measures, who have a “True Reach” statistic to measure the amount.  So these aren’t just YouTube-only views, but views across a variety of platforms and sites, although YouTube makes the bulk of the total viewership.

10. Africa for Norway: Official Christmas Video (1.7 million views)

This is the type of ironic video that will have some people missing the point.  The point of this is that it’s easy to think of a country, or even a whole continent, as a series of issues and forget that there is a more complex world out there.  Africa for Norway actually comes from The Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund.  It’s a funny video and it brings to light that countries, regions, continents, whatever, are more complex than a set of causes:

9. Girls Going Wild in Red Light District (1.7 million views)

Enjoy the show, fellas, but the women behind the glass are representative of victims of human trafficking.  This video, which has elements of the old “The Truth” cigarette videos that you used to see on TV for years, came from Duvall Guillaume.

8. How to Grow a Moustache with Nick Offerman (1.8 million views)

Offerman is best known as Ron Swanson on Parks & Recreation.  He made this humorous video on how to grow an amazing ‘stache for MadeManDotCom, raising awareness for men’s health.

7. The Real Bears (1.9 million views)

CSPITV has taken a popular soda company’s polar bears and has flipped the script, by showing those polar bears as obese and in danger of suffering from diabetes.  Along with a song by Jason Mraz, this video is something we don’t usually see in relation to soft drinks, the kind of video that would make anti-smoking campaigns proud:

6. First World Problems Anthem (1.9 million views)

The Gift of Water would like you to know that your really small, insignificant, non-life-threatening problems are not nearly the same as not having water to drink.  And of course, hearing impoverished people state these insignificant “first world” problems puts it in perspective:

5. Fragile Childhood – Monsters (2.1 million views)

To children, monsters can be a real thing: monsters created by the adults who drink too much.  This video actually is pretty scary when you see how close these “monsters” are to their children.  The lack of screaming and running actually makes this video scarier than most horror movies:

4. Thai Health Promotion Foundation – Smoking Kid (3.3 million views)

Watch as kids ask young adults for a smoke, and the supposedly older, wiser of the two gives ironic anti-smoking advice to the kids:

3. Boyfriend Went Vegan (3.4 million views)

Quite possibly the Rebecca Black “Friday” of the group, because it’s PETA and they often have controversial messages in their advertisements.  It has a nearly 4:1 dislike ratio.  It implies that once this woman’s boyfriend went vegan, he was an absolute force in the sack:

2. World Humanitarian Day (Beyoncé – I Was Here) (17 million views)

Buoyed by Beyoncé, the United Nations put out this video about people making a difference, giving to those in need:

1. KONY 2012 (213 million views)

Invisible Children came out with a video illustrating the evils of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, and it was one of the most amazing rises to virality you will ever see, especially since the it’s 30 minutes long.  Director Jason Russell didn’t do much to help the cause after an unfortunate incident in San Diego that was mercilessly spoofed by “South Park” later in the year, and the organization Invisible Children themselves were under fire after the video was made.  Still, for our purposes, it’s an example of content that took off when the media started running with it, showing that sharing with the right people can lead to overwhelming success if the content is just right:

We’d like to thank Visible Measures for their list!