Yes, they are unashamedly manipulative. There is, naturally, some toilet humour so silly it's hard not to smile. Adweek's list of the 10 most watched ads on YouTube – based on ones that had paid views but also earned clicks on the site – certainly suggests that, for all the options out there, many of us still find common ground on what counts as amusing or touching. Plus a very cheerful talking camel (18.6-million hits, finished seventh)? Gets us every time.
True to form, we love a good underdog story: The guy without a date to the prom who works up the courage to kiss the girl of his dreams – yes, it was all about his father's Audi (10.7-million views, finished 10th.)
We want to be heart-warmed and nostalgic: The RAM truck ad runs a picture slide show to a voiceover of a shortened version of Paul Harvey's God Made a Farmer speech. If images of Chrysler vehicles are subtle enough, the lines are plain-as-day sentimental: "God said, 'I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark' " (16.6-million views, finished eighth).
And poop jokes remain, as ever, a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. (Unless all those views are from millions and millions of 12-year-old boys.) Two make the list. A Kmart commercial about its website includes a play on the convenience of "shipping" ones pants has collected more than 20-million views and takes sixth place.
In fifth place is an ad entitled Girls Don't Poop, in which a prim and proper British redhead in crinoline offers a detailed explanation with diagrams of Poopourri.com.
The runner-up is Dove's viral hit, entitled Real Beauty Sketches, in which women are asked to describe themselves to a forensic sketch artist, who then also drew a second picture based on a description from a stranger who had just met them. It's brilliant and poignant, and nearly 60-million people have watched it so far.
But, in the end, dancing babies win the day, with more than 66-million views. In Evian's Baby & Me commercial, adults dance in sync with reflections of baby version of themselves in front of a street window. And, really, who can resist a dancing baby? Time called it "absolutely frightening," which was baffling. But it's so goofy, it's not hard to see why you'd want to click on it in the middle of a hard work day.
AdWeek has also released a list, with some overlap, of what it deemed the year's best ads.