Beyond simply viral content, there are also more opportunities for paid video advertising online as premium media outlets such as Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal and others put more effort in their own video offerings. (The Globe and Mail is among those media organizations investing in video.) While broadcasters at first charged “prohibitive” fees for pre-roll on the TV shows they stream online, the market is beginning to even out, Mr. Davis said.
A report this month from the Interactive Advertising Bureau showed that while still a very small slice of overall media spend, online video is the fastest growing advertising category.
But it can be a hard sell for clients – especially unpaid campaigns that are designed to go viral, said Brent Choi, chief creative officer at Cundari, the agency behind the BMW videos. Clients like to know they have paid for a certain-sized audience. But that audience may not be paying attention
“It’s so dangerous because if the video is not good, it’s wasted,” he said. “TV, it might be wasted too but at least you feel good because someone was forced to watch it … [Online video] is successful if it’s good. You can’t B.S. a view count.”
“The dynamics have changed,” Google’s Mr. Self said. “We’re not forcing people to watch. It’s the democracy of online video – everyone has a choice …User choice is really changing advertising.”
Watch these videos in a slide show: The 10 most popular Canadian-made ads on YouTube
Posted: Oct. 2006 (One of only two on this list that does not appear to have been posted by the advertiser – appears to be the account of the ad’s director.)
YouTube views: 15.2 million
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather
The Canadian duo of Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk helped to define the potential of online video with this campaign, which won the Grand Prix in both the Cyber and Film categories at the Cannes advertising festival in 2007.
Dermablend: “Go Beyond the Cover”
Posted: Oct., 2011
YouTube views: 10.8 million (the agency says it’s more than 15-million when other sources are counted)
Featuring “zombie boy” Rick Genest, the video showed just how effective the premium cover-up makeup is by making the model covered in tattoos from head to toe, look like his skin had never been touched by the needle. It then removed the makeup to show the elaborate art that the product had made completely invisible. It won a silver lion in the Cyber category at Cannes this year.
Kijiji Canada Corp.: “Eric wants to sell his stuff”
Posted: Feb., 2011
YouTube views: a bewildering 10.2 million, despite the fairly straightforward content
McDonald’s Canada: “Behind the scenes at a McDonald’s photo shoot”
Posted: June, 2012
YouTube views: 7.1 million
Agency: Tribal DDB Toronto
The fast food chain has been attempting to address its critics, and dubious customers, with answers to their most unflattering questions. The marketing strategy revolves around transparency and fostering trust in the brand.
Skittles: “Touch: Cat”
Posted: March, 2011
YouTube views: 6.5 million
Agency: BBDO Canada
The original goal for the campaign was to reach 800,000 views. The amount that it exceeded that number is an example of the importance of “seeding,” a technique that distributes a video to a network of bloggers and other online sources that are particularly influential for the ad’s target demographic. Spreading a video across the Web in this way gives it a chance to go viral. In the eight weeks after the “Touch the Rainbow” campaign launched (which “Cat” was part of), sales of the candy went up 78 per cent.
Adidas: “Star Wars Cantina 2010”
Posted: June, 2010
YouTube views: 6 million
Agency: Sid Lee
David Cornfield Melanoma Fund Canada: “Dear 16-year-old Me”
Posted: May 2011
YouTube views: 6 million
Barbie: “Glam Vacation Jet commercial”
Posted: Nov., 2010 (Not placed by the company, but by a Barbie Collectors fan group.)
YouTube views: 5.3 million (An example of the preponderance of Internet use among younger generations; many Barbie enthusiasts have grown up with YouTube.)
BMW Canada: “Walls”
Posted: June, 2011
YouTube views: 4 million
Agency: Cundari (Which launched a follow-up this summer, “Bullet.” It has already hit 4 million as well.)
Budweiser Canada: “Flash Fans”
Posted: Feb., 2012
YouTube views: 3.9 million