News & Views

Global Ads Chart / February 2016

by Contagious Contributor

For the advertising world, February is a month like no other, writes David Waterhouse, Unruly Media's head of content. As NFL fans around the world spend January anticipating the pageantry of the Super Bowl, brands and creative agencies busy themselves working on their masterpieces. After all, winning the Super Bowl isn’t simply for football players.

So it’s no surprise that Super Bowl mega-ads dominate this month’s list. What is surprising, however, is that a Big Game commercial does not take the number one spot.

What could possibly beat the biggest Super Bowl ads during February, you may ask? Unless Android manage to find some more animals, the only reasonable answer, of course, is a new OK Go video.

Now, even if you’ve never seen a video by the Chicago band, you’ve almost certainly seen one of their videos. Undeniably the masters of the sponsored music video, OK Go have used brand partnerships to take their viral ambitions to greater heights.

In the case of Upside Down & Inside Out, Russia’s S7 Airlines took this literally, shooting the band into the upper atmosphere for a gravity-defying dance sequence. The ad has been shared over 1.1 million times and it’s not difficult to see why.

While comparing favourite OK Go videos is a pretty subjective exercise, there’s no denying that Upside Down & Inside Out must rank highly thanks to the brilliant execution of its central gimmick. Despite the fact that they’re floating off the floor, the band are remarkably composed, zipping across the screen like Sandra Bullock in a more funky version of Gravity. As always, the choreography is superb, culminating in the masterful visual of exploding paint balloons drifting in the air. OK Go (and their genius creative team) have an instinct for indelible images.

Despite losing the top spot to a weightless indie pop band, the Super Bowl ads shouldn’t feel too bad, racking up a reasonable number of shares between them, although nowhere near as many as the record-breaking year before. Leading the bunch is T-Mobile with a tribute to 2015’s beloved cube-based smash Hotline Bling. Casting Drake himself, the ad takes a recognisable pop culture figure and sprinkles on wry humour – a tried-and-true Super Bowl formula if there were ever was one.

Of course, Drake isn’t the only famous face on this month’s list. Hyundai’s Ryanville populated an entire town with Ryan Reynolds doppelgangers, while in Budweiser’s #GiveADamn Helen Mirren does a remarkable impression of a person who has ever tasted a Budweiser. The Super Bowl is always a good time for celebrity self-effacement, and Amazon’s version of Alec Baldwin’s game day party takes the cake (or should we say ‘cheese football’?) on that front.

Kevin Hart gives a popular comic turn in Hyundai’s First Date, which casts him as a concerned father spying on his teenage daughter’s date. At the other end of the spectrum, Skittles’ spot with Steven Tyler kind of defies easy summary. But then, this isn’t out of character for the brand.

Besides letting creatives play dress-up with their favourite actors, there’s some cracking premises in February’s ads. Audi crafted a surprisingly ambitious tale of a former astronaut reliving his glory years in Commander, while small business Death Wish Coffee produced a Viking epic in a mug. Doritos’ Ultrasound (above), the biggest ad of Super Bowl 2016 after a dominant performance during January, succeeds largely because it plays like a no-frills comedy sketch.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a new month in advertising if there weren’t some cute animals to grab our attention. Heinz doesn’t mess about with their daringly-titled Weiner Stampede, which finds puppies dressed as hot dogs running in slow motion. The result is exactly what you’re imagining. Slightly more difficult to picture is MTN Dew’s truly baffling Puppymonkeybaby, which makes a confident stab at being the year’s weirdest ad. Congratulations, you did it. Rounding out the bottom of the list, Honda decided to make sheep sing acapella. Because, why not?

For fans of bold, ambitious and, yes, bonkers advertising, February is an embarrassment of riches. Finishing off a truly bumper month, we have Coca-Cola’s excellent Hulk vs Ant-Man, Turkish Airlines’ tribute to Gotham City and a few old favourites in the form of Disney’s shadow surprise and, you guessed it, the indomitable Friends Furever.

See you next month!

1. S7 Airlines: OK Go – Upside Down & Inside Out
Shares: 1,141,297

2. T-Mobile: Restricted Bling
Shares: 354,716

3. Hyundai: First Date
Shares: 318,093

4. Heinz: Weiner Stampede
Shares: 269,884

5. Coca-Cola: Hulk vs. Ant-Man
Shares: 200,385

6. MTN Dew: Puppymonkeybaby
Shares: 191,877

7. Hyundai: Ryanville
Shares: 128,711

8. Death Wish Coffee: Storm’s A-Brewin’
Shares: 97,427

9. Pokemon: Pokemon 20
Shares: 90,572

10. Doritos: Ultrasound
Shares: 919,919

11. Audi: Commander
Shares: 81,306

12. Acura: What He Said
Shares: 77,869

13. Budweiser: #GiveADamn
Shares: 67,937

14. Android: Friends Furever
Shares: 62,093

15. Amazon: Cheese Footballs
Shares: 59,846

16. Disney Parks: Disney Characters Surprise Shoppers
Shares: 53,398

17. Coca-Cola: Sebastian Villalobos en el amor
Shares: 37,215

18. Honda: A New Truck To Love
Shares: 34,082

19. Skittles: The Portrait
Shares: 34,081

20. Turkish Airlines: Fly To Gotham City
Shares: 33,615