As a Harbinger of Our Times, or Just for Fun: A Look at Top Ads on YouTube for 2018

By YouTube Insights Archives
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Want evidence of how Legos made their way into the zeitgeist of media and culture?  Does the popularity of the League of Legends convey more optimism among gamers than the nihilism of Doom and post-apocalyptic environments?  What does our love of the little guy beating the megalomaniac say about our social consciousness?  If those thoughts are too straining, then just enjoy a look at the top ads on YouTube for 2018 and leave the implications to others.

While looking at this year's top ads, YouTube found:

  • 2018 -- The Year of Cameos.  Six of this year's winners feature two or more celebrity ambassadors in their ads.  This year's faces included A-listers like Cardi B, Rebel Wilson, LeBron James, Serena Williams and more.
  • Animation Fits In.  For the first time since launch, the Year-End Ads Leaderboard features three animated videos:  Turkish Airlines' Lego Safety Video, Gatorade'sHeart of a Lio and a five-part Choose Your Own Adventure-type series from Lego promoting the new Jurassic World.
  • Humor eclipses social issues. While many of the ads on last year's list touched on social issues like immigration and diversity, humor and fun were the winning themes in most of 2018's ads except one: Nike's Dream Crazy ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, which reached the fourth spot in just three months.
  • 2018 Year-End Stats.  The total watch time for all videos is approximately 300M minutes with 1M likes.  (Amazon accounts for the highest number with 232K likes.)

2018 Year-End YouTube Ads Leaderboard and Global Views (through 12/14/18):

  1. Alexa Loses Her Voice – Amazon Super Bowl LII Commercial, 50.1M views
  2. YouTube Music: Open the world of music. It's all here., 39.5M views
  3. OPPO F7 - Real Support Makes Real Hero, 31.7M views
  4. Nike - Dream Crazy, 27.3M views
  5. Turkish Airlines: Safety Video with The LEGO Movie Characters, 25.3M views
  6. Groupon 2018 Super Bowl Commercial | "Who Wouldn't", 21.5M views
  7. Samsung Galaxy: Moving On, 17.4M views
  8. HomePod — Welcome Home by Spike Jonze — Apple, 16.3M views
  9. Gatorade | Heart of a Lio, 13.7M views
  10. Rescue Blue the Dinosaur - LEGO Jurassic World - Pick Your Path, 10.8M

2018 Global Game Trailers Leaderboard and Global Views (through 12/12/18):

  1. Fortnite Season 5 | Announce Trailer, 48.6M views
  2. Fallout 76 – Official Trailer, 33.8M views
  3. Red Dead Redemption 2: Official Trailer No. 3, 27.9M views
  4. Clash of Clans: Hammer Jam!, 22.3M views
  5. Clash Royale:  Clan Wars Is Here!, 20.3M views
  6. Doom Eternal – Official E3 Teaser, 13.4M views
  7. Just One More | League of Legends, 12.2M views
  8. Update Aquatic -- Dive in!, 12.4M views
  9. GTA Online:  After Hours, 10.6M views
  10. Official Call of Duty® Black Ops 4 -- Blackout Introduction, 6.4M views

From the media and creative agency perspectives:

  • OMD ranked as the No. 1 media agency with the most number of client wins -- 18 out of 20
  • Wieden+Kennedy earned the No. 1 spot as the creative agency with the most number of wins -- 18 out of 20 as well.


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