GoPro, the company responsible for the take-everywhere cameras that have become hugely popular with outdoor sports enthusiasts and others, has recently released a video marketing campaign that changed the face of advertising. Customers have taken it upon themselves to create their own videos and upload them to YouTube, making GoPro the most popular channel on the video sharing site. While GoPro started their channel in an effort to promote their technology, they never imagined their customer’s videos would act as such great marketing for the little cameras.

Because GoPro cameras are so portable, their popularity with outdoors enthusiasts was immediate. People who spent their free time hiking, rock climbing, and white water kayaking had previously been unable to share their adventures. With the introduction of the GoPro camera, these people could now show their friends and families exactly what they had been up to and document their often extraordinary experiences.

GoPro’s are also great for travelers who don’t have the space to carry large, fancy cameras. They offer a wide angle fisheye lens, and can be attached to the end of a walking stick to take selfies with amazing background scenery. Perhaps one of the best parts of the GoPro is its ability to be controlled remotely by smart phone. The GoPro app enables users to take pictures and view them on their phones.

Where GoPro has seen the greatest success, however, has not been in their customer’s pictures, but in videos. People love to watch videos of skydivers, kayakers, and extreme sports enthusiasts, and viewing those videos from a first person perspective engages the viewer even more. Because GoPro cameras can be attached to helmets or chest harnesses, they can take video while affording the cameraman use of both hands.

Many videos taken by amateurs are so exciting or inspiring they garner millions of views on YouTube, quickly pushing them to the front page of the website. One such video was taken by a fireman as he entered a burning building. The camera was mounted on the fireman’s helmet, and shows him discovering and rescuing a small kitten that had almost been suffocated by the flames. The sentimentality of the video combined with a showcasing of the camera’s impressive abilities provide GoPro with more buzz than traditional advertisement could hope for.

Other videos like this one, which invite the viewers to share in the excitement and sentiment of the person living and filming their experience, serve as serendipitous advertisements for the GoPro. With every video that is created, the capabilities of the small camera are once again demonstrated, and viewers are persuaded to purchase. Though unintentional, GoPro’s YouTube marketing campaign has proven itself an unqualified success.