2018 was quite a year across the globe. From Apple reaching the one trillion dollar mile-stone, to the British royal wedding, to a formal end to the Korean war, a lot has happened. And in the video marketing space, things are only heating up more.
If you’re planning on running a video ad on YouTube, check out our compilation of the best from 2018:
Amazon’s Alexa Loses Her Voice
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, makes nearly nine million dollars every hour. So you’d expect that he’d share some of that with his marketing teams, and it turns out he did in this commercial. Amazon is pushing their Alexa device hard online, and this video has made our list of best video ads on YouTube from 2018.
In this video ad that initially aired during the 2018 Super Bowl, a number of pop culture celebrities appear – along with the billion dollar man himself – and put the company in the new, humourous light. Alexa ends up losing her voice and gets replaced by rapping Cardi B, cursing Gordon Ramsay and a hilarious Rebel Wilson (among others), leaving users in rather uncomfortable situations.
If you’re lucky enough to have access to influencers or celebrities, including them in a great video script can send your video viral. This video has 50+ million views and counting. Here’s what people are saying about the video ad on YouTube:
Eduardo Alvarez: “I don’t even like Cardi B but she was hilarious in this 😂”
10k subs without any videos: “Can I get one of these with Gordon’s voice?”
Walmart’s “Grocery Pickup – Famous Cars”
Walmart, the largest company in the world in terms of headcount (2.2 million employees!) managed to make a video that appealed to the masses with this one. Pushing their grocery delivery service (but not until the very end), this video put you in the backseat of some of your pop culture automobiles.
With cameos from Knight Rider, Dumb and Dumber, Ghostbusters and even Scooby Doo, this video ad has a catchy soundtrack and just about every car you remember from the 80’s and 90’s. It plays almost like a Hollywood movie and does a great job at keeping you on the edge of your seat, before ending with one, simple message: Order groceries online and pick them up for free.
Pop culture references like ones here instantly build trust with viewers, since hey, if these characters go to Walmart why shouldn’t you? Consider using cultural references in your video ads if and where you can. Here’s what people have to say about the video ad:
Jenny VanderPas: “When I saw the commercial my jaw dropped! Best commercial I’ve seen in years!!!”
Doodle Face: “If commercials could win Oscars this would win.”
5dmc1: “My childhood lives in this commercial. Thank you WalMart”
Burger King’s “Whopper Neutrality”
The fast food industry is one of the most mature and competitive around. With Burger King up against giants like McDonalds, Taco Bell and Wendy’s, its video ads need to be top notch. In 2003 Burger King hired ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, who revived their king character to help differentiate.
The “Whopper Neutrality” video takes on a current controversy (net neutrality), adds some humor along with their products to create a fun and memorable. Irate customers fume at the idea of being forced to pay $26 for a Whopper if they want it sooner than later. This, like Nike’s Dream Crazy takes a definite stance on a polarizing issue, which in the end turns out to be great for business.
Include current events, humor (Mbps = Making burgers per second!), and a maybe even a political stance on a topic to get your video ads remembered, shared and maybe even loved. Just take a look at these top comments:
neogryph: “absolutely hate advertisements but this is something I can get behind”
FrenchieFries: “Haha love these analogy social experiments”
Yo Yo Raj: “Best advertisement ever”
Google’s “Home Alone Again with the Google Assistant”
Google’s Home device is going up against Amazon’s Alexa, both of which are built to help people do things hands-free. Both companies being two of the largest technology providers in the world, their big budgets and competitive prose make for some great video ads on YouTube.
The video ad taps into American nostalgia by updating the classic Christmas comedy classic with a little help from artificial intelligence. A grown-up Macaulay Culkin relives his infamous night but this time around he avoids aftershave burn and home invasion using a variety of connected devices.
In your video ads, consider including pop culture references. Doing so helps instantly create a connection with your viewers, puts a smile on their faces and keeping them watching (and maybe even sharing). Check out what viewers are saying about this video ad on YouTube:
Taikamuna: “Now this is how you advertise!”
GTR: “Take my money Google!”
Collins O: “Whoever in the Google department that thought of this idea deserves a raise!!”
Nike – Dream Crazy
Nike has been making powerful video ads ever since Phil Knight hired his first ad agency back in the 1970’s. Since then, their tagline “Just Do It” has ingrained itself in pop culture and continues to motivate athletes around the world.
The “Dream Crazy” video continues the tradition by inspiring viewers to think bigger, push harder and believe in yourself even when all odds are against you. Clips from various Nike athletes like skateboarder Nyjah Huston, tennis player Serena Williams, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick – whose controversial kneeling during the national anthem in 2018 made headlines – help encourage viewers to not “ask if your dreams are crazy, ask if they’re crazy enough.”
Consider including current and even controversial content in your videos, as many times any news can be good news, like it was for Nike. Just take a look at some of the top comments from the ad:
Gabriel makoba: “Never thought I would ACTUALLY SEEK OUT AN AD”
BeerBiceps: “All time favourite Nike ad. This video has helped me SO MUCH.”
JR 091: “Still buying Nike products”
IHOP changes name to IHOb
The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) has been an American breakfast staple since 1958. They got that way by serving millions of customers at their 1600 locations while maintaining a solid quality control. Which is why their rebranding “gimmick” was so brilliant: changing their name from IHOP to IHOB (International house of Burgers). Including in the stunt was a fun video ad that brought a ton of attention to the restaurant chain.
Like most great video ads on YOuTube, including a bit of humor always seems to keep viewers watching. “Burgers so burgering good” and showing the main character falling off the top of a restaurant seems to do the trick. While the video isn’t anything too amazing, it did ruffle enough feathers online to spark a good number of comments and news articles about the fake rebranding.
Even if you sell products or services less inspiring than pancakes and burgers, consider creating spoof videos like these to get people talking. Just be sure your skin is thick enough to weather a barrage of online haters and trolls like these:
ckshap: “Because there aren’t enough burger chains in the world.”
Ellie Kilgallon: “Can’t wait till it’s called ihobo after the chain goes bankrupt.”
Brady Bossert: “This is a bad idea.”
Intuit, maker of TurboTax, QuickBooks and Mint helps businesses manage taxes, invoicing and expenses. What better way to market a mostly boring topic than with a great video ad?
In “A Giant Story,” Intuit uses a custom animated video to tell the story of an entrepreneur going from managing his own finances to streamlining them using Intuit. It’s a heartfelt narrative that runs over four minutes in length, and has no voiceover to accompany it. But it works!
Animation gives you freedom that live-action video ads can’t provide – like taking viewers to a futuristic land as in the “A Giant Story” video. You should consider creating an animated video of your own if your message is complex or abstract. Sharp Eye Animation can help you create great animated video ads like these, or here are some DIY options. Either way, animation is a powerful medium, here’s what viewers are saying about online:
Alexander Danehy: “I block ads. Somehow this one slipped through. Not only that, but I intentionally clicked it. And I freaking loved it.”
Commander Rob: “Dude, if it were like this, I’d watch more ads. This was great😊”Uriah Major: “One of the only ads I’ll actually click on.”
Salesforce is a customer relationship management (CRM) software that’s making its mark across the globe (and especially San Francisco’s skyline). It’s customer service platform – That may be why it decided to add a video highlighting it’s “service cloud” video ad on YouTube.
Being a customer relationship management company, it played up the relationship part of the phrase by portraying an awkward first date encounter, where an man leaves his date at the dining table and great customer service ensues.
Creating fun analogies that exist in your industry is great way to be engaging and educational all at once. Consider playing around with common terms and phrases in your industry to create humor, which has a powerful effect on viewers.
Now that you’ve seen some of the best video ads on YouTube from 2018, it’s time to get started on your own!
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