News & Views

Global Ads Chart / August

by Contagious Contributor

Unruly Media's head of content, David Waterhouse, discusses the branded videos that have been gaining traction during August

Anyone with a Facebook account and a pulse is already fully familiar with the Ice Bucket Challenge, a social media phenomenon created to raise awareness of the disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

But last month it wasn’t just well-meaning celebrities and civilians who took the metaphorical plunge – advertisers also got in on the act.
Old Spice and The Pilsbury Doughboy are some of the many brands who got drenched taking part in the latest craze to hit the internet. However, one brand’s ice bucket video stands high and dry above them all – The Simpsons.

Homer Simpson's four-fingered, yellow-skinned take on it all leads this month’s Unruly Global Ads Chart, attracting 222,566 shares last month.

In true Simpsons style, Homer’s challenge contains a lot more casual violence than the average ALS Challenge video, as well as the expected shout-outs to the fans.

At the very top, Homer’s nominations are “Flanders, Lenny and Flanders again”. He also nominates Donald Trump. Although it doubles up as a plug for the latest episode of The Simpsons, let’s hope it also raises a little cash for the cause. Samsung’s ice bucket video also makes it into the top 20 after generating 62,299 shares.

In third spot is the latest tear-jerker from Thai Life Insurance. Street Concert follows the track of tears previously ploughed by such ‘cryathons’ as Unsung Hero and Silence of Love, playing out a sad tale that's supposedly based on a true story.

It features a schoolboy who picks up a guitar and starts busking, only to get bullied by some of the cool kids in the school band because he’s so bad. That is until they find out he's busking to raise money for his mother's cancer treatment.

Boasting a surprisingly catchy tune and a plot that is more than likely to have you reaching for the Kleenex, it’s no surprise the ad was a big hit last month, attracting 131,390 shares throughout August.

Catching the eye in fifth is a blockbuster ad from BMW. Now, if you’ve ever taken a bus or ever needed to be anywhere on time, then you most likely loathe road closures. I know I do. So when BMW’s latest roundabout drift-fest (or what I’m calling ‘The Fast and The Radius’) begins with some utterly needless road closure, I was understandably on edge.

Pedestrians safely shuffled aside, BMW’s eponymous ‘driftmob’ sets about racing as creatively as one can around a single roundabout. Predictably, there’s a lot of tyre screeching, smoke flying and some genuinely impressive choreography that manages to make impossibly expensive sports cars look like synchronised swimmers.

Even by the high standards of viral drifter extraordinaire, Ken Block, BMW’s efforts are eye-catching. But please, won’t someone think of the traffic delays?

Tiptoeing into sixth spot is an ad every bit as exhilarating. Regardless of its tongue-twisting title’s dubious grammar, Under Armour’s I Will What I Want boasts a classic, against-the-odds story in the mould of many classic sports ads.

But what separates its latest spot is that, rather than focusing on NBA stars or high-profile footballers, the commercial stars soloist ballerina Misty Copeland.

While the popular conception of the art form is coloured by the film Black Swan, Under Armour’s effort is notably lighter watching.

Over sumptuous shots of Copeland’s performance, we hear a child actor reading her rejection letter from a prestigious academy. I guess it is true that the best revenge is living well.

Johnnie Walker’s The Gentleman’s Wager is another strikingly beautiful campaign with a story to tell.

Starring Jude Law and boasting cinematography that will not look out of place on a Hollywood blockbuster, the ad features the ultimate bet among friends: one man’s self-imposed challenge to win a priceless Italian sailboat, not with any assets, but with a dance. I won’t spoil it by giving you all of the details, but suffice to say, Law dances in it.

The commercial, for Johnnie Walker Blue Label, strutted its way to just over 90,000 shares last month, making it the eighth most shared ad last month.

But then you don’t always need to have a good storyline or even good acting to make it into the top 20. After all, some things are just so bad, they're actually good. How else do you explain the mind-boggling popularity of shows like X-Factor, Made in Chelsea or WWE Wrestling?

In 15th place is a back-to-school ad that certainly falls into that category. Created to promote East Hills, a shopping centre in Missouri, it features dead-eyed vendors promoting their wares with all the enthusiasm and vigour of a wet chip.

Terrible singing, a toe-curlingly bad soundtrack, halfhearted acting and bad outfits – this is local advertising perfection. Backpacks? Haircut? You betcha!

Other ads to make into this month’s top 20 include a Cheerios commercial which offers advice on how to ‘dad’, a Nike campaign starring Cristiano Ronaldo and an old ad for the Wii featuring Robin Williams, who sadly passed away last month.

Top 20 ads of August 2014

1. Fox: The Simpsons ALS Ice Bucket Challenge - 222,566 shares

2. HBO: Foo Fighters Sonic Highways: Trailer - 141,211

3. Thai Life Insurance: Street Concert - 131,390

4. Activia: Shakira - La La La (Brazil 2014) ft. Carlinhos Brown - 131,191

5. BMW: The Epic Driftmob feat. BMW M235i - 127,908

6. Under Armour: Misty Copeland - I WILL WHAT I WANT - 108,027

7. Electronic Arts: Madden NFL 15: Madden Season- 92,143

8. Johnnie Walker: 'The Gentleman's Wager' - 90,315

9. TD Canada: Sometimes you just want to say thank you - 83,604

10. Nike: ‘Fast’ starring Cristiano Ronaldo - 73,653

11. Ubisoft: Assassin's Creed Unity Meets Parkour in Real Life - 64,712

12. Samsung: Galaxy S5 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge- 62,299

13. Always: #LikeAGirl - 59,180

14. HPI: HPI Racing's Ken Block Micro Gymkhana - 57,084

15. East Hills: Mall Commercial - 54,343

16. Airtel: Boss Film - The Smartphone Network - 54,163

17. Volkswagen: Eyes on the Road - 51,774

18. Wii: Ocarina of Time 3D - Robin Williams Commercial - 49,765

19. Cheerios: New Peanut Butter Cheerios presents: #HowToDad - 49,611

20. PlayStation: NBA 2K15 - Yakkem Trailer - 44,716