The best US commercials of 2012 based on Youtube views

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Youtube has just released their 2012 Ads Leaderboard which celebrates the best performing ads in the US based on Youtube views. The performance of these ads was driven by a combination of organic views and paid ads. As you may expect, many of the films come from the Super Bowl.

While not all of the ads are great, there are some true gems. The appeal of celebrity is clearly high given that many of the top 20 ads are supported by big stars. Unfortunately, some Brands try too hard, either by trying to be overly cool or overly funny. In my opinion they fail, but the number of views suggests that I am in the minority.

Those that are really strong get their entertainment power comes from being incredibly simple, very engaging, smart, executionally exceptional, and surprising. Below is the list of the top 20, and I’ve posted the spots that I most enjoyed. Let me know what you think.

1. Nike Football – “My time is now”: Views 20,884,282
A beautiful anthemic film that is a gateway to a broader online experience. After “Write The Future” this attempt feels similar but not as good.

2. Pepsi Max – “Uncle Drew”: Views 17,841,089
A great piece of content that takes the stunt approach to a new and surprising level by using a celebrity athlete in a very unexpected way. The humor reminds me of Dave Chapelle meets Fletch. Definitely one of my favorites (see below)

3. Volkswagen – “The Bark Side”: Views 17,718,507
They are really trying to leverage the home run execution of last year with the young Darth Vader. To me they are trying too hard, but they got a bunch of dogs to sing quite well 🙂

4. Samsung – “The next big thing is already here”: Views 16,912,896
A nice story that plays off the hysteria behind Apple product releases. Not a new idea but it is really entertaining and puts the product at the center of the story.

5. Honda – “Matthew’s Day”: Views 16,290,167
A modern-day Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. A great use of the product being central to reliving an iconic pop-culture story. One of my picks (see below)

6. Volkswagen – “Dog strikes back”: Views 16,082,782
Much like #3 on the list, VW are trying to add a new chapter in the story that they started last year in the Super Bowl (see here). Unfortunately, the cleverness is not quite there, nor is the human emotion that made the Darth Vader spot so liked.

7. GoPro – “Hero 3”: Views 12,453,546
A beautifully shot film that could be for a number of extreme sports brands – Red Bull, Burton, etc. Sure the product filmed the story but they could have found a unique identity and personality.

8. Chrysler – “Halftime in America”: Views 11,282,207
A nice story about the roots of the company, leaning into the reality of society now. Emotionally powerful but feels like a “version 2” of what they did with Eminem the year before.

9. Nike Football – “Rafa versus Ronaldo”: Views 10,017,653
A great story that puts two athletes together that shouldn’t be playing “their sports against eachother”. The real personality both Rafa and Ronaldo are evidenced making you connect with the story and the performance is amazing – it reminds me a bit of the Tiger Woods ad a while back where he juggled a ball on his clug (see here).  Also, the product is central to the experience) – definitely one of my favorites – see below

10. Audi – “Vampire Party”: Views 7,867,887
A very weird ad for Audi but the slap stick humor does put a smile on your face. The way that the product benefit is uses as the means to deliver the joke is pretty clever. Not my favorite but worth a see.

11. Chevy Silverado – “2012 end of the world”: Views 7,656,108
A huge budget film that is more show than story. I think people got dazzled with the execution.

12. Hot Pockets – “Pocket Like Its Hot”: Views 6,698,235
Why Snoop did this spot is beyond me. I think the views are simply because of Snoop. I also think he lost as many fans as a result of the commercial.

13. Old Spice – “Blown Mind”: Views 5,773,733
A solid Old Spice ad but not their best work.

14, Old Spice – “Bounce”: Views 5,603,223
This work is genius. They were able to cross promote with another P&G Brand (Bounce) and make fun of it. The tone is very Old Spice. A testament to the growing bravery of P&G – see here.

15. Sauza Tequila – “Make it with a fireman”: Views  5,348,876
Not sure what to make of this one. I don’t think I’ll every buy Sauza though.

16. Toyota Camry – “Reinvented”: Views 4,863,416
A pathetic attempt at being funny.

17. Hot Wheels – “Corkscrew Jump”: Views 4,656,605
A cool stunt that replicates Hot Wheels play tracks in real life. A really cool product demo! Have a look.

18. Abarth – “House Arrest”: Views 4,271,297
Another really bad example of celebrity borrowed interest.

19.  Old Spice – “Bed”: Views 4,245,346
An expected Old Spice ad. Not bad, but not as good as they can make them.

20.  Old Spice – “Vending Machine”: Views 3,885,113
A good example of where they pushed the attitude and personality of the Brand. One of my picks – see below.

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