Remember when Youtube didn’t have any ads? Well if you do, here’s another fun fact to make you feel extra good about your age: it’s been 10 years since the introduction of Youtube itself. As a birthday celebration, Youtube has launched a new campaign recognizing the role advertising has played in the site’s growth, especially considering that out of the top 10 most viewed videos of 2014, four of those were advertisements.
This got us thinking, what exactly makes a great ad? Not all fantastic marketing campaigns come from great ad agencies. Picking from some of the top advertisements hashing it out for best of the best, we’ve broken it down into one-word answers (followed by some insight of course).
Humor – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (Old Spice)
One of our personal favorites is Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” and its subsequent trail of follow ups. The success of this ad was virtually overnight and so much so that it became a cultural phenomenon and even granted the “Old Spice Guy” Isaiah Mustafa celebrity status. What’s clever about the ad is the fact that it caters to both gender audiences, especially since discovering that females were responsible for more than 50% of body wash sales. Even more so is the humorous monologue featuring diamonds, yachts and tickets to that thing you love, during which the Old Spice Guy explains “anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady.” The impact? In 3 days, the ad had over 20 million views, their social networks increased by 2,700% on twitter and 800% on facebook and by the end of 2010 (the same year it aired) Old Spice was the number one selling body wash in the US.
Charm – The Force (Volkswagon)
In 2011, Volkswagon killed us with cuteness when they featured a pint sized Darth Vader having some problems with the Force. While this advertisement also employs a humor aspect, it’s a true example of fun, unadorned storytelling that contributes to its charm and tugs at the heartstrings of parents and singletons alike. And not only does this guy win “Dad of the Year,” for 41-months straight this spot reigned supreme as the most shared of all time.
Shock – Most Shocking Second a Day Video (Save the Children UK)
We’re more than familiar with those TV spots that feature starving children in Africa with a Sarah McLachlan song playing in the background but it was Save the Children UK who really brought home the reality of global strife. It’s a thought provoking piece that uses time lapse to illustrate how quickly the life of an ordinary British girl falls apart in just a year. Drawing attention to the conflict in Syria, the ad uses the slogan “just because it isn’t happening here doesn’t mean it isn’t happening,” driving home the fact that the violence occurring in Syria is very real. After it’s release, the video garnered more than 23 million views in less than a week, its virality a result of immediate news coverage by notable publications and a title that elicited just enough curiosity to encourage click throughs.
Awe – The Epic Split (Volvo)
The success of this ad in particular was a bit weird to say the least, but while the commercial itself had it’s fair share of skeptics there’s no arguing with the stats. Accumulating over 59 million views in a matter of weeks, the spot is a combination of an old world action star, an outdated song and a world-class demonstration of the dynamic steering in Volvo trucks. Though however strange it seems on paper, there’s no denying that people love a good show and this ad certainly provides.
Inspiring – Like a Girl (Always)
There’s nothing like a good inspiring ad to make us shed a little tear and share on social media. From Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty to EnChroma/Valspar’s Color for the Colorblind, commercials that feature real people facing real issues usually do well for virality. Proof enough is in the “Like A Girl” campaign by Always who set out to redefine the meaning of doing something “like a girl” to create a positive meaning behind the otherwise poorly perceived phrase. With an empowering message and realistic portrayals of their target audience, Always stole the show at the Superbowl, walked away with over 80 million views worldwide, and successfully changed the minds of what it meant to do something “like a girl” in 76% of women between the ages of 16 and 24.
Interactive – A Dramatic Surprise on a Quiet Square (TNT)
Remember the glory days of flash mobs and hidden cameras? While both forms still have their fair share of success, in recent years we’ve been seeing a different type of advertising strategy, one that relies on audience involvement. Bud Light did it recently by surprising one consumer and placing him in a real life Pac-Man game, Doritos featured a live Mariachi band that was “operated” like a jukebox by the audience and TNT’s “A Dramatic Surprise on a Quiet Square” lent itself to the temptation of pushing a big red button to “add drama.” The latter proved to be the second most shared video of all time (next to ‘The Force’). And upon pushing said button, the innocent catalyst would suddenly find themselves in the midst of shootouts, street fights, lingerie clad motorcyclists and car chases usually only seen on the silver screen. However, once the street cleared a banner would unfurl revealing the whole scene as a “daily dose of drama” presented by expert dramateurs, TNT. The impact of this kind of guerilla marketing resulted in 23 million views in less than a week, 3.1 million shares and overall a major accomplishment in viral-ity by and advertising agency.
You can now vote for who you think is the all time advertising champ on www.10yearsofyoutubeads.com