New Moon
New Moon
New Moon
New Moon

Videos That Changed The World Celebrating 17 Years of YouTube


10 MAY 2022

Video content is now the most dominant format across social media channels, with the media having a powerful ability to capture audiences in a way that still imagery never could. An ever-evolving medium, digital video has marketers scrambling to create and react, in pursuit of magic viral moments and real engagement with consumers. It’s hard to imagine a world before this was common practice, but before TikTok, Instagram, and the now defunct Vine, the year 2005 founded video giant YouTube and changed the world as we know it. Let’s dive into some of the key YouTube videos that created cornerstone moments in social media culture.

Me at the zoo

Seventeen years ago, co-founder Jawed Karim posted YouTube’s first ever video, Me at the zoo, and the digital landscape was changed forever. Karim, arguably the internet’s first Vlogger paved the way for Vine, Instagram and the boehemeth that is TikTok. Me at the zoo, is notable for being YouTube ‘Day 0’, however in 2022, that 18 seconds of elephant facts would be buried in the 500 hours of footage that is now uploaded every minute. Let’s take a look back at how video sharing has evolved since then to become an essential cornerstone of contemporary culture.

Nike Futebol apresenta: Reinventando Ronaldinho

Uploaded in 2005, Nike’s ad featuring football player Ronaldinho is considered one of the most iconic moments in marketing. Promoting the new Nike Tiempo football boots, Ronaldinho successfully attempted the ‘crossbar challenge’ four times, leading to widespread speculation surrounding whether or not the video was a hoax. Pioneering what we now consider ‘viral video’, the three-minute clip was the first YouTube video to reach 1 million views. While the original video no longer exists on YouTube, Nike releases it intermittently to celebrate its success, reinforcing the video’s cultural significance as the catalyst of YouTube advertising and viral content.


YouTube created a new platform for comedy, with content creators like Shane Dawson amassing millions of views, and established career comedians like Dave Chapelle posting 2020’s #1 trending video. You’d be hard-pressed to find a millennial that can’t recall being sent a click-baity hyperlink, only to be pranked by a clip of Rick Astley’s 1987 song, Never Gonna Give You Up. As to why Rick Astley? No one really knows. While getting ‘RickRoll’D’ was always irritating and occasionally funny, the trend became culturally iconic, spearheading the popularity of ‘bait and switch’ YouTube pranks, and demonstrated a lighter side to internet ‘trolling’.

history of the entire world, i guess

YouTube revolutionised education by creating easy, visual access to widespread teaching tools. Entrepreneur and business titan Elon Musk notably said “You can literally learn any skill you want for free on YouTube. You can become a person of value in a matter of months. Just a few years ago this wasn’t possible.” history of the entire world, i guess is a perfect example of a homemade educational piece which achieved viral popularity. The video compresses the ‘entire history of the world’ into a concise twenty minutes. With its digestible style, the video to date has garnered over 142 million views. Once upon a time, access to information was gate-kept by academia and institutional structures. The rise of the internet and the dematerialisation of educational tools changed everything – “How-to” searches on YouTube grow over 70 percent each year, with content being created by anyone who has the expertise and desire to share their knowledge. YouTube has essentially assisted in democratising education. Whether you want to learn a new language, perfect a winged-eyeliner or fold origami, YouTube will help you find a way.

With you – Chris Brown Cover – Justin singing

Youtube launches the careers of content creators, catapulting the lucky few to superstardom. In 2007, a then 13-year-old Justin Bieber began posting videos of himself on the platform, covering hit songs such as Chris Brown’s ‘With You’. These posts lead to his discovery by music manager Scooter Braun, and ultimately his signing to Usher’s record label.  None of this would have been possible without the visibility and interconnectivity that YouTube brings. Fast-forward to 2022 not only is Justin Bieber one of the most successful stars of his generation, but YouTube has been with him every step of the way. In 2020 the artist released Justin Bieber: Seasons in collaboration with YouTube Originals. In its first week, the intimate 10 part doco series recorded 33 million views, a record at the time for most watched original content on the platform. YouTube has evolved to become a premier destination for music video releases and content from the biggest names in music, from Dua Lipa to Kanye West.

KONY 2012

When KONY 2012 was first released by charity organisation Invisible Children, the global audience went into moral panic. Who was Kony, and how did we not know about him? The viral video brought to light atrocities of Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony and his forced recruitment of child soldiers. It was the first video to accumulate 1 million likes, and today has been viewed over 103 million times. Off the back of this campaign, Invisible Children raised a staggering $32 million, a testament to the video’s persuasive narrative. However, shortly after KONY 2012 was released, Invisible Children began receiving backlash. Many said the content was avoiding inconvenient facts about the Ugandan conflict, inciting ‘clicktivism’ and encouraging “white saviour complex”. Others said the video took away from bigger problems in central Africa and lacked essential context. The co-opting of documentarian techniques allowed unfact-checked narrative to flourish, highlighting the importance of journalistic ethics and functional differences between new and old media. KONY 2012 became a key discussion artefact on interconnectivity, virality and how to represent humanity in the digital age and journalism.


If you haven’t heard of this icon, your teenage sister definitely has. Emma Chamberlain is one of the most well-known Gen-Z creators of recent years, with her videos garnering millions of views. The key to Emma’s popularity is her relatability and authenticity, showing vlog style videos completing tasks that others would consider mundane: picking through a dollar store haul, going to Trader Joe’s, make-up free and wearing a sweat suit. As a result of her meteoric rise, Chamberlain is now an ambassador for luxury brand Louis Vuitton and has secured exclusive invites to 2022’s Met Gala and Vanity Fair Oscars Party, solidifying her status as a celebrity and style icon. Off the back of her YouTube success, Chamberlain launched a lucrative coffee company and apparel collections, seemingly allowing her to announce her retirement from the platform earlier this year. In an age where Gen Z idolises vloggers over pop stars, Chamberlain’s prominence in contemporary pop culture is an undeniable indicator of the omnipresent influence of social media’s impact on global celebrity culture.

Today, the immersive capacity of video is the standard in social media. YouTube continues to evolve its offering to create new and dynamic ways for creators to develop their profiles and connect with widespread audiences. The team at New Moon understands how to navigate the ever changing intricacies of YouTube, finding the most authentic, influential and rising voices, and using digital video as a medium to tell engaging brand stories.


Love from London,