05/11/2011 09:44 pm ET Updated Jul 11, 2011

How Do You Follow Up the Most Viewed Online Ad Ever?

Babies--along with kittens and sex--generate the most clicks online. If ever I had any doubts, the nearly two years since we developed the Evian Roller Babies have clearly dispelled them. 170+ million views later, no one anticipated we would have seen such a viral success. Great news for the agency, right? Of course!

That is, until Evian presented us last year with a daunting challenge: "How do we take it further?"

Which is, of course, great news too. Because when a client asks you this, it's not simply a question of coming up with the next big viral "thing," it's about ensuring you develop ideas that fit the brand while going beyond what you've done for them before. It's what we've done for 10 years for Evian: from slices of daily life showing people singing with the voices of children to roller skating babies. And really, that's what's exciting about working with big brands like Evian.

So when presented with the question "what's next?," we started with Evian's key message: Live young. A brand with youth at its core must have the energy to renew itself and constantly surprise. It couldn't just be a dancing baby sequel--it had to be something more.

Then we started by looking at just why the roller babies did so well (beyond just being about babies getting clicks). Our belief: these aren't just cute little kids, they're in fact a bit bizarre and unexpected--without their parents, right in the middle of New York City, doing things that babies don't normally do. This bizarre-cute cocktail is at the heart of the enthusiasm we saw.

So, for our latest Evian campaign, which we've called Baby Inside, our idea was to maintain this cocktail of unexpectedness while keeping true to the idea of youth. We started by combing the streets of New York for people of all different styles, and asked each of them to don a white t-shirt and dance a little. From there, we proceeded to take 800 images of these 62 New Yorkers, super-imposed a baby on the shirt in each image and created a flip-book style film where the adults are dancing while wearing t-shirts featuring their inner baby at play. After all, it's always fun, energetic and stirring to see people dancing, but adult heads on baby bodies are also bizarre--just the mix we were looking for.

We couldn't just stop there, as we'd be missing one of the biggest lessons from our previous work. To really take it further, we took to heart that people really like to run with this brand - there were over 300 mixes of the Roller babies spot in different languages and a variety of music. So we went beyond what we did the last time and are giving the campaign to the people up front with an online, user-generated version of the baby dance film. Anyone with an iPhone or webcam can star in it and show how they live young -- it's already nearly two hours long and growing by the day.

While the Roller Babies earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most viewed online ad ever, we won't know for some time whether another record is in sight. We are thrilled with the result and will have to wait and see -- but for now, have a sip of Evian, join the dance and most of all, Live Young!