But for us, our favorite brand videos tended to fall into one of two categories - narratives (ie, more akin to short- or long-form commercials) and prankvertising (mostly covered in our upcoming list of Best Prankvertisements of 2014) - and tended to be specifically built to maximize sharability (ie, more humorous or poignant, less demonstrative and visually astounding).
So sit back and enjoy our picks for Top 10 Best Branded Videos of 2014. Then let us know if you agree or not, and which videos made your own personal list over the last 12 months.
Okay, so this wasn't technically a brand video in the online sense, though it has flourished there, generating 3 million views in its first two weeks. Indeed, I only saw the spot (which is an unconventional 90-seconds long) once over the holidays - and found it as compelling, if not more so, than last year's much ballyhooed "Misunderstood" (which went on to win a Creative Arts Emmy for "Outstanding Commercial). Apple has posted a special look at the story behind "The Song," here.
Whooping it GoPro-Style: Helping new moms in South Korea capture everyday moments is nice. How Huggies packaged them up into this video is pure magic.
Lincoln probably didn't love this SNL video featuring Jim Carrey spoofing Matthew McConaughey's spots promoting the brand. In fact, this is probably the last way the brand (or McConaughey) hoped the spots would be perceived. But we enjoyed it. And I'm not sure we'd be talking about the Lincoln campaign without it.
This initiative is illustrative of an important element to social media marketing: It's not just the promotion itself; it's the video that captures the promotion and spreads the word. Hard not to love this effort from Evian, which among other things boosted social engagement stats dramatically (click through for more.)
Unilever's Dove brand has been revolutionizing the way women's brands connect with the audience by helping change perceptions of the nature of beauty (as counter-intuitive an approach as they come, as I pointed out to Broadcasting & Cable magazine, and in my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND).This last fall, P&G's Always brand got in on the action. And while it clearly is borrowing a page from Dove, what's nice here is that its perspective isn't about outward appearance at all. It's about what it means to be a capable, powerful human being. For the effort, the campaign won the coveted Grand CLIO Award. That's beautiful all the way around (though not with without some controversy)
Also a mandatory case study on generating media coverage of your online video campaign. But hey, how can you not love a video series that includes a modern spin on "School House Rock" that reminders to all of us to avoid "Word Crimes" in our real-time, online stream-of-consciousness?
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? ... oh wait, it is a plane. Flight 186 from New York, in fact. This effort from OgilvyOne and Storm won the Direct Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival for the effective use of ground-breaking technology matched with a brilliant idea.
Another case of capturing the initiative being as important than just implementing it. In this case, the latest installment of Coca-Cola's Happiness Campaign—involving two vending machines on opposite sides of a sports stadium, where you can't get a Coke for yourself. But you can give one to a fan of the opposing team. Genius.
It's not like Dove left the field to P&G's Always this year. Indeed, despite some blow-back for efforts like Dove's "Beauty Patch" video, the 10th anniversary of the "Campaign for Real Beauty" found Dove scoring yet again with "Selfie."
This video had gone supernova with 11 million views in just hours before anyone realized it was actually an ad for an up-and-coming fashion brand called Wren. Then the spoofs began (the kind a brand dreams of achieving) — from the likes of Jimmy Fallon ("First LIck," featuring puppies and kittens) — followed by spoofs of the spoofs (including "First Sniff"). Now at nearly 100 million views, this has to be the biggest return on investment for a startup fashion brand ever.
Yes, everything is awesome when you're part of a team. Especially when that team created what was without a doubt the single greatest piece of content marketing of the year, maybe the decade. A piece of content that found audiences gladly paying to immerse themselves in a one-hour-and-twenty-minute commercial about a "highly sophisticated, interlocking brick system" made of plastic. Sure, the same can (and has) been said for movies like the GI Joe or Transformers franchises. But those films were based on toys. This movie featured the actual toys, both as animated avatars, and as actual toys. And it solidified the brand's value proposition as the ultimate catalyst for childhood creativity. This movie shouldn't (just?) win an Oscar. As the Guardian points out, it should win a Grand Prix at the Lions.
What videos made your list? And more importantly: How will your brand plan to use video in 2015?
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