You may not be surprised to hear that an ad featuring a cute bird makes it to the top of this month’s Global Video Ads Chart. But what might get you in a flap is that the commercial in question does not feature a penguin (real or imagined). That’s right, John Lewis’s Christmas ad may have had people from around the world p-p-picking up a handkerchief during November. However, mawkish Monty was only second in this month’s pecking order behind a spot from non-profit organisation, Animal Australia.
Launched on November 17, “People Being Awesome” attracted more than 2 million shares in its first week alone. It has now racked up an incredible 2.7 million shares, making it the second most shared ad of 2014. Produced in tandem with saveourducks.com (that’s ‘Save Our’, not ‘Savour’, crucially), the spot features footage of good Samaritans helping out our fine-feathered friends in various ways.
So what’s behind the secret behind this surprise blockbuster? Well, firstly, it’s for a good cause (albeit with a political edge; the campaign was set to help convince the Labor party in Victoria to change their policy on recreational duck shooting). Secondly, who can resist a vague yet winning title like ‘People Being Awesome’? However, the real story seems to lie in Facebook’s domination of the social video landscape. The fact that a Facebook-embedded clip can explode like this promises a huge change in the video marketing landscape.
But, of course, the Animals Australia ducks are not the only birds in the top 20. John Lewis’s festive offering was also unleashed upon an eager internet last month, leaving everyone wishing they’d had a pet penguin as a kid. The story revolves around Sam and his pet penguin, Monty. They do everything together: play in the park, build Lego, sneaks treats at the dinner table, and watch TV. However, Sam knows that Monty pines for a partner, as he looks on enviously at couples kissing and holding hands. As this is Christmas, viewers may just guess that Santa has a surprise for Monty – and an even bigger one for the viewers of the ad.
With 856,657 shares so far, it still has a bit to do to surpass the success of last year’s Xmas hit, “The Bear The Hare”, which has attracted 1.17 million shares. But whether it manages it or not, you still have to take your hat off to brand and agency for repeatedly coming up with the Christmas goods.
However, it did face severe competition last month from Sainsbury’s ad, “Christmas is for Sharing”, which recreates the events of the famous Christmas Truce during the First World War. Sumptuously produced, the UK supermarket’s decision to appropriate the centenary has certainly been controversial. A number of national newspapers and broadcasters have not been shy in registering their contempt for the campaign, run in partnership with the Royal British Legion, while the ASA was bombarded with more than 700 complaints from disgruntled viewers. However, despite the backlash, the ad has been John Lewis’s toughest opponent yet, attracting 579,087 shares so far.
Burberry’s Christmas campaign, “From London With London”, also makes it into this month’s top 20. Starring David Beckham’s young son Romeo dancing, the ad attracted 181,424 shares during November, putting it in seventh position.
But this month’s top 20 isn’t all about Christmas. In the midst of all this festive cheer we’ve forgotten what really matters in life. That’s right, it’s the latest Gymkhana video from car-wielding maniac, and YouTube favorite, Ken Block. Block’s latest adventures find him in a customised 1965 Ford Mustang, tearing up the streets of Los Angeles. The video attracted 481,192 shares last month, putting it in fourth position.
Staying on the road, in 11th position we have a spot from Nissan featuring Maroon 5’s Adam Levine. Now everyone likes singing on a road trip, but the show-off judge from TV talent show ‘The Voice’ likes it just that little bit more. Dared by Nissan to attempt singing the band’s new single while being busting around corners in Nissan’s new GT-R, there’s a lot at stake. Can Levine keep his composure? Will he effectively plug the single? Isn’t this distracting the driver? A gift from heaven for fans of both falsetto pop rock and muscle cars, the spot’s 116,346 shares have made it another winner for upstart format Facebook Video. And if you thought that Levine’s voice couldn’t get any higher than ‘Moves Like Jagger’, then think again.
Another ad which hit all the right notes is Nike’s “Together”, starring NBA star LeBron James. Now in this tough economic climate, community solidarity can be hard to come by. But the sports brand has managed it, finding the new voice of the people (or at least one midwestern city) in the form of the multimillionaire basketball star. Inspiring his players like Al Pacino in ‘Any Given Sunday’, LeBron’s message of hard work and dedication spreads wide to the city of Cleveland, as citizens simultaneously drop what they’re doing to join the huddle. Shot in dead-serious black and white, the ninth-placed spot’s melodrama reaches such a tipping point that it seems LeBron is plotting the defeat of a zombie invasion, and not just putting a ball in a hoop.
There’s also a new ad from Amazon which suggests the online retailer is quietly plotting the end of the world. OK, they’re actually releasing a potentially home-transforming voice-commanded computer, but I’ve seen too many sci-fi films. The Echo, which looks a bit like Apple’s Siri captured in a Pringle can, allows users to queue up music, write shopping lists and all sorts of handy things just by addressing the amiable-voiced robot. And it’s able to do this because IT CAN HEAR YOU ALL THE TIME. Did I mention this? Excuse me, I’ll put my tin foil hat away. After attracting 76,288 shares last month, the ad has creeped its way up to 16th. But you have been warned!
Other new spots to make it into the top 20 include a new ad from Turkish Airlines starring footballers Lionel Messi and Didier Drogba having an epic food fight and an adidas spot starring NBA star Jeremy Lin.
Top 20 Most Shared Online Video Ads – November 2014
- Animals Australia: People Being Awesome – 2.77 million Shares
- John Lewis: Monty The Penguin – 856,657 Shares
- Sainsbury’s Christmas is For Sharing – 579,087 Shares
- Ford and Hoonigan: Gymkhana 7 – 481,192 Shares
- FCKH8: Potty-Mouthed Princesses –251,391 Shares
- Activia: La La La – 181,506 Shares
- Burberry: From London With Love – 181,424 Shares
- Turkish Airlines: Drogba v Messi #EpicFood – 146,356 Shares
- Nike: Together – LeBron James – 132,112 Shares
- Disney: Frozen Let It Go Singalong – 122,583 Shares
- Nissan: #VoiceOffTheStage – 116,346 Shares
- Rockstar Games: First Hand Experience – 114,980 Shares
- adidas: Employee Of The Year – 91,139 Shares
- Destination British Columbia: The Wild Within – 79,821 Shares
- Nintendo: Legend of Zelda – Majora’s Mask 3D – 77,601 Shares
- Amazon: Introducing Amazon Echo – 76,288 Shares
- Chanel No 5: The One That I Want – 74,377 Shares
- HBO: Girls Season 4 Trailer – 72,506 Shares
- Activision: Call of Duty – Discover Your Power – 62,747 Shares
- Dodge: Guts Over Fear – 57,153 Shares
All data from Unruly’s Global Video Ads Chart.