News & Views

Global Ads Chart / November

by Contagious Contributor

You may not be surprised to hear that an ad featuring a cute bird makes it to the top of this month’s Global Ads Chart, writes Unruly Media's head of content, David Waterhouse. 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 (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 encroachment over the social video landscape. The fact that a Facebook-embedded clip can explode so enthusiastically bodes well for continental shifts approaching in the world of video marketing.

But, of course, the Animals Australia ducks are not the only birds in the top 20. That’s right, quickly becoming more important to British culture than the Premier League and the Protestant Reformation combined, 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.

Yep, they say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – and the two-minute film, once again created by Adam&Eve/DDB – the agency behind many of the UK retail store’s Xmas hits – sticks to the tried-and-trusted formula that has made their ads such a Christmas staple.

The story revolves around the everyday friendship of a boy called Sam and his pet penguin, Monty. They do everything together: build Lego, play hide and seek, jump on a trampoline, run around the park.

However, Sam knows there is something missing from Monty’s life – a partner. He looks enviously at couples kissing; he casts wistful glances at people holding hands in the park. But this is Christmas, and Santa has one last surprise for Monty – and an even bigger one for the viewers.

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 present-hunting and pre-festive cheer, I think we’ve all forgotten what really matters in life. That’s right, it’s the latest Gymkhana video from everyone’s favourite YouTube sensation and car-wielding maniac Ken Block.

Working under the aegis of Ford and racing team Hoonigan, Block’s latest shenanigans find him in a customised 1965 Ford Mustang, tearing up the streets of LA. Even more than usual with Ken, the LA setting makes affairs feel doubly cinematic, particularly when he drives through that weird, dry riverbed from Terminator 2 (or is it Grease?).

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.

Meanwhile, just as this year’s Christmas decorations begin to peek out prematurely, along comes another Call Of Duty game to grenade launch its way under the tree of every man, woman and child.

Kicking things off in customary blockbuster fashion, Peter Berg (of Friday Night Lights fame) directs a veritable war-fest, replete with soaring missiles, a totally gratuitous cameo from ‘one Girl’s’ Emily Ratajkowski and some kind of futuristic hover-cycle.

Discover Your Power, 19th in this month’s chart, may not have the hook of Guy Ritchie’s Surprise from 2012, but then again, who needs wit when you can send CGI avatars flying across exploding suspension bridges? I think that answers itself.

With such a lot going on, it’s easy to forget 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 crept 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 ads - November 2014

1. Animals Australia: People Being Awesome

    Shares: 2.77 million

2. John Lewis: Monty The Penguin

    Shares: 856,657

3. Sainsbury’s Christmas is For Sharing

    Shares: 579,087

4. Ford and Hoonigan: Gymkhana 7

    Shares: 481,192

5. FCKH8: Potty-Mouthed Princesses

    Shares: 251,391

6. Activia: La La La


7. Burberry: From London With Love

    Shares: 181,424        

8. Turkish Airlines: Drogba v Messi #EpicFood

    Shares: 146,356

9. Nike: Together - LeBron James

    Shares: 132,112

10. Disney: Frozen Let It Go Singalong

      Shares: 122,583

11. Nissan: #VoiceOffTheStage

      Shares: 116,346

12. Rockstar Games: First Person Experience

      Shares: 114,980

13. adidas: Employee Of The Year

      Shares: 91,139

14. Destination British Columbia: The Wild Within

      Shares: 79,821

15. Nintendo: Legend of Zelda - Majora’s Mask 3D

      Shares: 77,601

16. Amazon: Introducing Amazon Echo

      Shares: 76,288

17. Chanel No 5: The One That I Want

      Shares: 74,377

18. HBO: Girls Season 4 Trailer

      Shares: 72,506

19. Activision: Call of Duty - Discover Your Power

      Shares: 62,747

20. Dodge: Guts Over Fear

      Shares: 57,153