If there’s one thing that’s clear from the top five most-watched YouTube ads from last year, it’s that there’s no formula when it comes to developing a viral ad*.
A product launch, user-generated content montage, social experiment, epic story and quirky song made up the final list, showing that what people engage with varies massively from video to video.
One thing that was, however, clear was that craft definitely counts for something. None of these ads were poorly made. Even the clip featuring the user-generated content plays out like well-edited music video, entertaining with each new beautifully shot clip.
As the release from YouTube said: “Regardless of format, length or topic, the top ads from 2016 show New Zealand audiences will engage with the fun or the serious if the ad hits the right note.”
So without further ado, here’s the rundown of the five ads Kiwis watched the most in 2016.
5. Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge: Official Introduction by Cumins & Partners
The launch of a new Samsung product benefits from two groups of interested parties. On the one side you have fans of the product enthusiastic to see the tiny adjustments that come with the new model and on the other side you have the legion of Apple fans desperate to hate whatever Samsung does. In 2016, these two polarising forces came together nicely to give the brand a massive audience on YouTube.
4. GoPro HERO5 + Karma: The Launch in 4K by Ogilvy & Mather US
As far as user-generated content goes, GoPro remains the gold standard. And this exhilarating montage of clips compiled to an infectious backing track again reiterated what makes GoPro such a popular addition to surfboards, mountain bikes, snowboarding helmets and even the palm of a mum taking her daughter for a walk on the beach.
3. Momondo – The DNA Journey by Leo Burnett
At a time when ethnicity and immigration are hot button political issues, exploited by populist leaders looking to stretch people further apart, Momondo told a series of stories showing that we are often more closely connected than what we realise.
2. Nike Football Presents: The Switch, featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane, Anthony Martial & More by Wieden + Kennedy London
Nike took the concept of stepping into your hero’s shoes to epic proportions in this six-minute clip, featuring some of the biggest names in football. It’s a good reminder that powerful sports ads don’t always have to tread the familiar path of the struggling sportsman who succeeds against all odds. Sometimes a bit of magic can also do the trick.
1. Air New Zealand presents Summer Wonderland #AirNZXmas by Host Sydney
While the rest of the top five were occupied by International campaigns, the top spot was taken by Air New Zealand’s hilarious reworking of a Christmas classic. Brilliant chemistry between Ronan Keating and Julian Dennison ensured that folks across the country hit the play button, incessantly.
*The top 5 ads featured on the YouTube Ads Leaderboard are calculated using an algorithm that factors in organic and paid views, from ads published and viewed during 2016.