It isn't even Thanksgiving, and Unruly has already announced the Top 20 most shared video ads of 2013. Pity the poor marketers who were waiting until Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday to launch their social video ad campaign.
A three-minute video from Dove which aims to show women they are more beautiful than they think is the most shared ad of 2013. "Dove Beauty Sketches," created by agency Ogilvy Mather for the Unilever personal care brand, tops the 2013 Top 20 Global Social Video Ads Chart – an annual ranking of the year's most socially-shared video ads – which was released today by Unruly.
The ad, which was also distributed by Unruly, has attracted 4.24 million shares across Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere since its launch in April. "Dove Beauty Sketches" is also the most viewed online video ad of all time, as reported by the Unruly Viral Video Chart, which has been tracking the most shared videos on the web since 2006.
Other ads to appear in the top 20 include: GEICO's "Hump Day" commercial (4.03 million) in second spot; Evian's "Baby&Me," the follow-up to its record-breaking 2009 hit "Roller Babies" ; Kmart's "Ship My Pants" commercial; and a prank played on coffee shop drinkers to promote the remake of '70s horror classic "Carrie". Here's the full list:
"Marketers are increasingly challenging the value of a view and instead are starting to focus on creating content and distribution strategies which drive deeper levels of engagement, such as sharing, data capture, brand uplift or online purchases," Unruly U.S. President Richard Kosinski said in a press release. "Shares are the currency of social success and for leading brand marketers discovering how to create and distribute highly shareable content repeatedly and at scale is now at the top of their wish list. Dove succeeded in this by creating an ad that not only elicits strong emotions from consumers, but also gave its viewers a strong reason to share it with their social networks."
It's also worth taking another look at the social video in second place. It's a commercial by insurance firm GEICO which celebrates the middle of the working week – "Hump Day".
"What makes this ad special is when it attracts its shares," said Ian Forrester, Insight Director at Unruly. "Normally, an ad would generate around a quarter of its total shares within the first three days of its launch. However, with GEICO's 'Hump Day' ad, it has trended every Wednesday since its launch back in May. In fact, around 67 percent of the 4.03 million shares it has attracted have occurred on a Wednesday. By associating itself with a day of the week, the advertiser has seen exceptional social video success."
Back in July, Search Engine Watch took a first look at how the GEICO Hump Day commercial dominates social video – at least on Wednesdays.
"The top 20 shows how brands, big and small, local and global, can make a big impact using social video across the Open Web," Kosinski added. "With the right content and the right distribution strategy, advertisers have the ability to engage consumers at speed and scale. Over the last 12 months we have seen more brands embrace the role of content creator. However, in 2013, brands did not have the large tent pole events they had in 2012, such as the Olympics, so they have created their own dramas, experimenting with a wide range of emotional triggers, including hilarity, shock and fear demonstrated again in the top 20 listing."
Methodology and Timing
Unruly's rankings are based on the number of shares across Twitter, Facebook, and the blogosphere as opposed to the number of views. As such, it is a measure of the ad's virality, ranking ads by the volume of active pass-on rather than the passive metric of video consumption. The top 20 does not include movie or TV trailers.
Why did Unruly make its announcement mid-way through the fourth quarter?
Well, Google is expected to announce its annual Year-End Zeitgeist in early December, and no marketer wants to appear to be making a "me too" announcement after that time. And no marketer wants to be forced into making an announcement during the shortened week of Thanksgiving.
This may be another example of what Magnolia Ripkin of The Huffington Post has called "Christmas Creep." That's her term to describe the 12-week period that starts in early October "when large retailers start the subterfuge of small sections of shimmery crap that harks of herald angels."
On the other hand, the marketers at Unruly may have borrowed a habit from the Red Auerbach, the legendary coach of the Boston Celtics. Auerbach won 938 games and nine National Basketball Association (NBA) championships in 10 years, making him one of the most successful coaches in the history of North American professional sports. He was well known for smoking a cigar when he thought a victory was assured, a habit that became, for many, "the ultimate symbol of victory."
So, if Unruly lights up its victory cigar mid-way through the fourth quarter, it may be another sign of Christmas Creep. Or, who knows, it could be the ultimate symbol of victory. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.