YouTube Ad Awards: The ZEFR Results

Among the many celebratory events planned for (and by) YouTube on the occasion of its 10th birthday, the platform just announced the favorite YouTube ads of the past decade according to “the ad makers and fans.” The voters have spoken and the winner is Turkish Airlines (and their teams at Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, and Starcom) with their 2013 spot, Kobe vs. Messi: The Selfie Shootout.

While most of the nominees were driven to the top of the leaderboard by views on official content, ZEFR dug deeper into the data to unveil our own Top Five. Instead of focusing solely on views of the official ads, we have included fan-uploaded content related to (or inspired by) these beloved clips, revealing surprising insights related to engagement and other metrics.

For example, Kobe vs. Messi: The Selfie Shootout has the highest number of views, but it has the lowest engagement out of the top five picks. We saw an average ratio of 206:1 views to engagements across all the ads, while the Turkish Airlines commercial had 555:1. In other words, view metrics do not tell the entire story. Here, ZEFR provides an alternative Top Five to the official YouTube Ad Awards.

youtube ad awards


Overall Winner

Nike: “Winner Stays”

This clip features no less than Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Gerard Piqué, Gonzalo Higuaín, Mario Götze, Eden Hazard, Thiago Silva, Andrea Pirlo, David Luiz, Andrés Iniesta, Thibaut Courtois, and Tim Howard—some of the world’s biggest soccer stars, all in one place. So, it’s no wonder “Winner Stays” boasts the highest video uploads, views, and engagements overall. With 648 fan and official videos, 128 million views, and 690,000 engagements, this Nike spot comes out on top in all categories.

Highest Average Views Per Video

Dove: “Beauty Sketches”

This ad places first in views-per-video, with an average of 442,000 views of both fan and official uploads. The month of the commercial’s official release (back in April of 2013) saw an average of 1.2 million views per video across the board.

Best Parody

Old Spice: “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”

Parodies of this spot from Old Spice became nearly as viral as the original, accounting for more views than any other other brand in this category with 3.2 million total views of user-generated spoofs. Fan-uploaded videos drew 50 percent of total engagement for this commercial.

Most Engaging

Volvo: “The Epic Split”

This viral Volvo ad, featuring martial arts superstar Jean-Claude Van Damme, inspired the highest level of engagement among the nominees, garnering a (dis)like or comment for every 148 views; 33% above the set average.

Highest Engagement on Fan-Uploaded Video

Budweiser: “Puppy Love”

This Budweiser spot that aired during Super Bowl XLVIII saw the highest jump in views and engagement on fan-uploaded videos after the game. For the month of February 2014, there were 480 percent more engagements on fan-uploaded versions than on the official video.


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