Football and beer top the YouTube 2014 ad leaderboard

What ads did you watch on YouTube in 2014? Does anything stand out in your mind? Was there a specific character like the Old Spice man or a cute kid that stole your heart? Can’t think of one? Me, neither.

It was a funny year for online video ads. When I looked at the newly released YouTube 2014 Ad Leaderboard, I only remembered 1 ad on the whole list. Maybe that’s because I wasn’t the target consumer for the majority of what made the list.

The top two slots went to Nike Football – which isn’t football at all here in the US.

In “Winner Stays“, a local park soccer match morphs into the pro game with special appearance by Michael Jordan, The Hulk and a half dozen famous players like Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Zlatan Ibrahimovi?, and Amdres’ Iniesta. The final slogan is Risk Everything but this ad was no risk at all. It’s clocked over a 100 million views since April. The big names pull in the viewers but in the end, it’s the passion behind the story that made people want to share. One commenter says,

If you think this is a commercial, you’re wrong.  It is actually cinema, a story arc so well told, filmed and played that it should be “Oscar” material. This little short conveys EXACTLY how I felt as a kid.

If you can touch viewers that way, you’re golden.

Nike Football also claimed second place with the follow-up video: “Nike Football: The Last Game” , an animated feature about a scientist who believes football would be better a better game if you take out the element of risk.

A Budweiser Super Bowl ad took third place with more than 53 million views. It’s an odd story about the special friendship between the Clydesdales and a new puppy. It’s heartwarming in a strange way. Budweiser’s puppy follow-up ad came in 9th. Heineken’s “The Payphone with Fred Armisen” came in 10th, rounding out the beer ads.

Of the top ten, most watched ads on YouTube, only two of them were aimed at women. Always’ “Like a Girl” fights against the stereotypes we imagine when we hear phrases as such “throws like a girl”.  That ad came in 4th with 53 million views.

P&G scored with their Sochi Olympic tribute to moms. 8th place with 20 million views.

The real wild card was a real wild baby. In this prank video for the movies Devil’s Due, New Yorkers were drawn to an abandoned baby carriage with the sound of a crying baby. But when the unsuspecting, compassionate person leaned in to check on the child, a hideous devil baby popped up nearly scaring them to death. Funny, when it’s not you. 49 million people watched the video and the video got better reviews than the movie.

What can we learn from all of this? That storytelling trumps all. The top videos are all like mini-movies that make us feel like we have the ability to change the world. If you can’t do that, freak people out on the street because that works, too.

Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion