The competition is stiff today to create an advertisement with all the ingredients to go viral and outdo the rest.

Let's look at the Top 5 greatest YouTube ads of 2015. Each of them grabbed a No. 1 spot this year on the YouTube Ad Leaderboard, which shows top ads for each month of the year.

1. Imagine The Possibilities - Barbie

Over the years, Barbie has been both a beloved and hated figure. The popular toy has mostly gotten a bad rap for its portrayal of women that some argue is negative.

But really, Barbie needed a new direction, and the folks at BBDO gave it to her.

A reimagined Barbie campaign shows how young girls can envision themselves in any role they want when they grow up using Barbie to channel their dreams.

Many - even Barbie skeptics - are praising the ad campaign. Executive creative director at BBDO San Francisco, Matt Miller, said that "Barbie was originally created to show girls they have choices, a fact that most people have forgotten," so BBDO "set out to show everyone how girls really play and demonstrate that, when girls play with Barbie, they actually play out the possibilities their futures hold."

2. FIFA 16 - Play Beautiful - EA Sports

Combining some serious sports star power with shots of mind-blowing footwork and operatic music,  this EA Sports ad by Wieden + Kennedy promoting the video game "FIFA 16" was a huge hit.

Video game ads have been upping the ante over the years, and this one is no exception. Creative director at W+K Amsterdam, David Smith, said that "for a game that provides as much beauty as football, it's surprising more operas haven't been written about it."

3. Robbie Maddison's 'Pipe Dream' - DC Shoes

In this heart-thumping video by DC Shoes, we see motorbike stunt rider Robbie Maddison making waves (and history) by combining his love for stunts and surf - and literally riding on top of water on a motorbike in a place that has some of the biggest waves on earth--Tahiti.

After years of trial and error trying to perfect the mechanics that would allow his motorbike to glide across the water as if it were earth, Maddison approached DC with the idea for  Pipe Dream.

The video launched just in time for Maddison's signature shoe at DC--"Maddo." DC's global brand leader and Pipe Dream producer, Jeff Taylor, said that the concept was the "biggest gap between an idea and reality I have ever seen," and that "I knew that if this was physically possible, Robbie Maddison would find a way to make it happen."

Behind-the-scenes footage can be found  here.

4. #LikeAGirl Unstoppable - Always

As part of the #LikeAGirl campaign from Always, this tear-jerker by Leo Burnett agency shows young girls discussing limitations and the crucial point in life they begin to lose confidence and become more prone to accepting boundaries.

According to research released by Always, 72 percent of girls feel society limits them.

"You would expect that girls believe things will get better but, in fact, our latest research shows that one in two girls think that in 10 years there will be the same or even more limitations for young girls,"said Fama Francisco, VP of Global Feminine Care at Proctor & Gamble (the parent company of Always).

5. A Message to Space - Hyundai

Hyundai dreamed big for this one: an ad that aimed to write a message in sand that could be seen from space, using the tires of Hyundai cars, of course. The scene opens up with a 13-year-old Houston girl whose father works on the International Space Station. She wants to get a message to Dad, and Hyundai helps her do that.

Apparently, the task was no easy feat. Battling weather conditions, the orchestrated effort of 11 Hyundai cars created a message in tire tracks that spanned more than 2 miles - and was made to look like the girl's handwriting to boot.

Scott Noh, head of overseas marketing group for Hyundai Motor Co. said the concept came "while thinking of more easy-to-understand ways to deliver our philosophy of caring for our customers," and they "came up with an idea of connecting loved ones no matter how far they are apart from each other." 

What Do All These Ads Have in Common?

While there's no "magic" formula to making something go viral, many popular ads share common traits: they strike an emotional chord, they inspire and awe, and sometimes, they have celebrity power.

There are some things to consider when making videos that win. Many sources cite that if you haven't captured your viewer's attention in the first 30 seconds, you're dead in the water.

One thing all of the videos on this list have in common is that hook at the beginning that really pulls you in. And while each of the videos vary in length, many stay at or under 4 minutes.

That's wise, because Wistia says that after 4 minutes, there's not a whole lot of difference in engagement between that and a 10-minute video. Shorter is better.

With less than a month left in the 2015 year, we'll see if any of the ads that come out can top these five videos.

 

Published on: Dec 1, 2015
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