You probably have a plan to advertise on YouTube, and probably you also have an idea for your upcoming video and how it should look like, that’s great! But did you ask yourself whether your audience will like it or not? Maybe. What was the answer then? Probably Yes.
The advertising scene changed a lot recently, advertising campaigns became more advanced, more creative than ever, and full of innovative ideas and cool things to make it viral between the users.
In this article, I collected some YouTube advertising campaigns that changed the way we think about YouTube ads, whether creative or innovative or ads with a message, of course, you shouldn’t copy them, just be inspired!
DollarShaveClub: Our Blades Are F***** Great!
Let’s start with an undisputed prince of video advertising: this viral hit from newcomers Dollar Shave Club
This Ad really does get so many things right. It begins with CEO Michael Dubin staring and talking straight at the viewer, an interestingly cluttered background behind him, and a punchy first joke – complete with F-bomb – all within 15 seconds.
It’s completely spot-on for the audience of 18 to 35-year-old men, playing off the success of previous ads from the likes of Old Spice. It makes viewers laugh, causes them to feel slightly foolish for spending so much money on razors, and finally directs them straight to the DollarShaveClub.com website.
But the true genius of this campaign is the fact that the company, then a relatively unknown brand, knew they had a limited budget for ad spend. While YouTube ads could provide an initial push to their target audience, they would need to rely on people talking about the ad to really get their name out there – so it was vital they made a big impact. Their all-out strategy paid off, with the company being sold to Unilever for 1 billion just four years after the ad ran!
2. Geico: Unskippable
YouTube pre-roll ads give viewers the option to skip after 5 seconds, but some brands have done really clever things with the medium. Here’s just one example.
It’s part of a four-ad campaign featuring videos that technically “end” after 10 seconds but carry on awkwardly for another minute afterwards. And it’s a stroke of super simple, totally refreshing genius from American insurance provider Geico.
Geico knew that as many as 94% of all pre-rolls ads on YouTube are skipped. So they decided to put the emphasis on those first 5 seconds, creating a sense of expectation in the viewer that made them unable to stop watching. They broke some rules along the way too. The ad is probably longer than it needs to be – but that’s what makes it just so awkward and funny.
Nor does the video feature a proper Call-to-Action, through the massive logo stuck in the middle of the screen throughout ensures brand awareness is high and that viewers know where to look if they want to find out more. Overall this quirky, unique campaign makes viewers smile, rather than feel frustrated and memorable enough to spark discussion.
3. Knorr: Love at First Taste
Knorr, a food brand famous for sauces and stock pots, created an ad campaign centred around our love of flavours and tailor-made to succeed on social media.
The brand was looking to reach millennial’s, up to half of which describe themselves as foodies. Beyond eating delicious food, millennial’s are also doing a lot of dating. Knorr’s global research project found that people are more likely to be attracted to those who enjoy similar flavours. And thus an idea was born.
By having strangers meet for the first time over a mutually enjoyable meal – and dictating that hey must not feed themselves, but each other – knorr trapped into the thirst on social media for videos featuring food, romance and real-life scenarios.
The campaign ran ads across Facebook, YouTube and other social networks. Knorr also partnered with the foodie community Tasty to help spread the video. Viewers are directed to a mini-site that asks questions about your favourite type of food. Before sorting you into one of 12 flavour profiles. As a perfect finishing touch, each ad was edited specially for the platform it appeared on.
4. Squarespace: Make Your Next Move
Video ads aren’t just for awareness at the top of the funnel. They can be used to target your leads at any stage in their buyer’s journey, as Squarespace show with style.
It’s part gorgeous visuals, part case study, and it features a snapshot of the story behind one of their customers. While this kind of an ad wouldn’t necessarily work with those unfamiliar with the Squarespace brand, it’s a great way ti build social proofs and stay top of mind for those who’ve already engaged with the company in some capacity. A retargeting campaign is an ideal way to promote this type of video ad.
The campaign culminated in a Superbowl ad.
If you’re looking for a confident, consistent brand that uses video advertising to connect with leads at all stages of the funnel, look no further than Squarespace.
6. Burger King: Pre-roll
Sometimes poking fun at what you’re trying to do can be a breath of fresh air when it comes to advertising, especially when viewers are so savvy. Enter Burger King.
The fast-food chain kind of wanted to have their cake and eat it too, which is why this ad campaign exists. Each video simultaneously bemoans YouTUbe ads while also being one itself (and even managing to sneak in a reference to the company’s stunner meal deal).
But as a true testament to how far Burger King was willing to go, there are an incredible 64 variations in this campaign, the videos reference a raft of things that viewer might have been wanting to watch on YouTube before the ad started playing film trailers, Jimmy Fallon clips, music videos and even “graphic animal attacks”. It’s a clever bit of targeting using Google AdWords’s ability to play ads before specific YouTube videos based on content and keywords.
Since Burger King was looking to reach young men in New Zealand, they picked some of the most popular and trending videos in the country to advertise alongside. So it’s no surprise why the ads make reference to All Blacks highlights and screaming goats.
7. Volvo Trucks: The Technician
Volvo Trucks ran an ad campaign with the goal of getting up close and personal with their products while retaining something of a Hollywood flair. This is the result.
It’s one in a series of videos called Live Tests. As the name suggests, each one features an incredible live stunt showing off the features of Volvo’s trucks as performed by trained professionals. You’ve probably heard of its bigger, more popular brother The Epic Split.
All of the videos are not worth stunts with huge visual appeal and an engaging story, Volvo were looking to gain awareness from the campaign, but not necessarily numbers of views: they were more interested in real engagement from their potential customers. That’s why the video above is so interesting because it generated exactly the response the company was looking for from potential customers (excitement, disbelief, admiration).
With a fairly weak advertising budget, Volvo knew their YouTube ads could only take them so far. They backed them up with a clever PR strategy that involved sending out plenty of information about the stunts to encourage industry bloggers and news media to watch the videos too.
Keep Your Brand Top of Mind with Video Advertising
And we’re done! Those were 7 examples of video advertising campaigns that grab their audience’s attention, keep them engages and ultimately manage to share their message.
Video ads are just one part of a full video content marketing strategy that should cover how video content works to support your goals throughout the marketing funnel. It should also include a healthy mix of paid, earned and owned kinds of video – so you can cover all your bases when it comes to reaching your target audience consistently and comprehensively.