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YouTube reveals most-viewed ads of 2015

YouTube has revealed a list of the most-viewed commercials of 2015. Adverts for mobile games and promotional campaigns for gender equality found the biggest audiences according to the top 10 ads, released by YouTube’s owner Google.

Liam Neeson plots revenge
A spot featuring Liam Neeson sternly contemplating revenge against an online gaming opponent on Clash of Clans while he waits for a coffee (pictured below) was the most popular commercial of the year with a staggering 95 million views. 

The advert puts a slyly comic spin on Neeson’s tough-guy persona from the Taken films and was created by agency Barton F. Graf, which had a strong year with two spots in YouTube’s top four. Both videos are promoting mobile gaming.

An animated ad with similar comedy stylings made for mobile game Boom Beach also helped Barton F. Graf secure fourth place on the annual charts. The ad features a gamer delivering a tongue-in-cheek rallying speech to his men as they prepare to storm the beach for an 18th time (see video link in Top 10 below).

Sexual equality
Campaigns promoting gender and sexual equality, and strengthening personal relationships, also featured strongly in YouTube’s top ten. Agency Leo Burnett and Italian website Fanpage both produced simple but effective campaigns focussing, separately, on female empowerment and the enduring problem of violence against women. 

Strikingly, both campaigns cast children to increase their poignancy. Leo Burnett’s Always #LikeAGirl – Unstoppable (pictured above) was made for the Always brand and featured girls and young women talking about how society reinforced their perceived limitations in life. Fanpage’s campaign was produced as a public service announcement highlighting the persistent problem of domestic violence (see video link in full list below).

The value of personal relationships was the core theme in commercials from Innocean Worldwide for Hyundai and Havas for Durex. Hyundai used a fleet of their vehicles to help a young girl write a message big enough to be seen from space by her astronaut father (see below). 

Relationships 
Havas’ campaign for Durex was entitled #Connect and focussed on how technology impacts couples’ sex lives. Viewers are initially led to believe Durex has developed new software to help somehow enhance people’s relationships, but the twist is that they just need to find the off switch on their phone to help focus on each other.  

Both relationship campaigns were big hits on YouTube, with Innocean capturing 70 million views for Hyundai and Havas securing close to 38 million for Durex.

What’s especially notable about the past year is that the biggest commercials on YouTube have generally been built around simple, stripped-down ideas and are often shot in a low-key studio setting. Epic cinematic scale isn’t required to win big audiences on YouTube, although online audiences generally opt for short-form content, which is more suited to comedy.

We’ll be keeping an eye on developing advertising trends through 2016 to see if the appetite for low-key comedy and social comment retain their popularity.

Here's the full Top 10 list:

1: Clash of Clans: Revenge (Barton F Graf - see video above)

2: Hyundai: A Message To Space (Innocean Worldwide - see video above)

3: Ad Council: Love Has No Labels/Diversity & Inclusion/Ad Council (R/GA)

4: Boom Beach: Speech (Barton F. Graf) 

5: Adidas: Unfollow feat. Leo Messi (72andSunny and Carat)

6: Always #LikeAGirl - Unstoppable (Leo Burnett and Starcom Mediavest Group - see video in main article)

7: Durex - #Connect - Official (Havas, Google and RB Global Media)

8: Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge - Official Introduction (Big Spaceship and Starcom Mediavest Group)

9: Fanpage “Slap her": children's reactions 

10: Budweiser USA: #BestBuds | 2015 Budweiser Super Bowl Commercial “Lost Dog” (Anomaly and MediaCom)




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