So, it’s August – and finally, people have just about forgotten the First World War advert that Sainsbury’s produced for Christmas, as part of a strange (and for the time of year, literal) Cold War where stockpiles weren’t for nuclear weapons, but for the broken hearts of the liberally-spending general public. Now, we take a look at five successful adverts that have been produced since then, in a year that we (rightly) appreciate the great leaps that video marketing has made in 2015.
While we’ve still got five months’ worth of great video campaigns to go – and we all know there’s plenty of holidays, events and pseudo-concepts for these to hinge on (hello, Black Friday. Thanks, America) – let’s take a look back on the great videos that have impressed countless millions around the world. They may not have truly driven the message of the brand – aside from some sort of visual “tone of voice” document about a company’s sense of humour or style – but they’ve all contributed to universally positive reviews all round.
Pepsi Max – “Chain Reaction” (5,400,000 views)
Okay, so this was just before the turn of the year, but it was after Christmas and was missed by a lot of people. Essentially, Pepsi set up a lot of mouse traps with a lot of ping pong balls, and let battle commence. The second part of the video carefully balances an overt corporate branding and colour scheme with beautiful visuals. It’s quite an incredible balance.
The only slightly cringeworthy factor is when the production team all start hugging one another at the end, as if they’d just built a gateway to another dimension where rats will no longer be feared by humanity. Still, the video it a fantastic watch.
Budweiser – “Best Buds” (29,000,000 views)
In the first of two Super Bowl adverts – and we all know how important (and expensive) they are – Budweiser managed to kick us all right in the feelings with this touching video of a man who loses a dog due to careless driving, only for it to return, nearly get mauled by a wolf, and inexplicably get saved by the camaraderie of a group of horses.
If you look carefully, the man’s wearing a Budweiser hat and has a beer to celebrate. There ends the ties with Anheuser-Busch. Hopefully people will remember the link between the brand and the advert – but likely, no more than they did between tragic soldiers and Sainsbury’s.
Doritos – “Crash the Super Bowl” (over 20,000,000 views total)
This isn’t so much a single video as a UGC-based contest by Frito-Lay, the creators of Doritos. Now the largest online video competition in the world, the company pays up to $1,000,000 for the best submission to their Super Bowl contest, and said video gets shown during one of the big game’s ad breaks.
The winner was “Middle Seat” (two million views), though one of the lesser-seen classics was “MisSpelling Bee”. We’ve selected the latter, and perhaps you’ll see why.
Red Star Macalline – “OK Go Commercial” (1,500,000 views)
It may only have fewer than two million views, but bear with me on this one. The band OK Go, who are more famous for their videos than their songs, were approached by a Chinese interiors firm to make their newest advert – and it’s brilliant. Aside from bassist Tim Nordwind being forced to speak Chinese over the song to presumably promote high-quality furniture, the song I Won’t Let You Down – which hit 12 million views in a fortnight in its incredible original video – was used to great effect.
The point is, this form of advertising is incredibly simple if you have the right people on board. Given the budgets available for production, it’s actually pretty easy to set up a Rube Goldberg machine (like Honda, or OK Go with State Farm) or pay a huge director and actress to do… not much (like Chanel No 5 with Baz Luhrmann and Nicole Kidman). Why not go crazy and creative? Why wouldn’t companies do that to show off, instead of cynically weave their brand into a wider, unrelated message?
Durex – “#Connect” (37,000,000 views)
There may be no better place to end this short list than with an incredible advert from Durex. The brand, which took couples from all backgrounds and sexualities, challenged them to use technology in a way that seemed almost alien to many. Indeed, with today’s human condition, it shocked many to the brink of tears. Watch it and see – it’s longer than most visual efforts, but it’s pretty mind-blowing. You can also be really rather prudish and get through it – it’s video marketing at its finest.