December 13, 2012, 1:29 PM — Next week we'll find out what were the most popular videos on YouTube during 2012 (I'm guessing that one of them is PSY's "Gangnam Style"), but the company has already listed the top viral ad videos for the year.
Despite many people griping about how they hate ads everywhere, making a good viral ad video can still bring more viewers than a non-ad video. Here's the Top 10 (for the Top 20, check out this Google site). Most of these ads were shown during the Super Bowl or other major sporting events, but the Samsung Galaxy S III campaign ("The Next Big Thing is already here") made the list too.
#10: Audi's Vampire Party: This ad appeared during "the big game" (aka Super Bowl), and currently has 7.8 million views.
#9: Nike Football's Ronaldo vs. Nadal: This ad featured two of the world's most popular athletes facing off in a football (soccer) vs. tennis battle, and has more than 10 million views.
#8: Chrysler's Halftime in America: Before Clint Eastwood got all bizarre at the Republican National Convention talking to an empty chair, he scored a big viral ad hit with this commercial, which played during the Super Bowl. The ad has almost 11.3 million views currently.
#7: GoPro's Hero3: Black Edition: With more than 12.9 million views, this ad showcases the latest version of the very popular action camera. Great footage all around (rivers, mountains, underwater, etc.). This makes me want to go snowboarding (or at least learn how to snowboard).
#6: Volkswagen's The Dog Strikes Back: Volkswagen dominated 2011 with its Star Wars-themed commercial, but the sequel couldn't quite match the original. While this video got more than 16 million views (and another one got #3 on the list), it fell short compared to the little Darth Vader one from the year before.
#5: Honda's Ferris Bueller returns ad: Honda did a brilliant job teasing its Matthew Broderick-led video in the weeks leading up to its Super Bowl ad, leading many to think that there was a Ferris Bueller sequel coming. In the end, the 16.2 million-views for its ad was impressive, but left many wishing for the days of the '80s (Ferris in a Honda? Meh).
#4: Samsung's "Next Big Thing" series: The maker of the Galaxy S III smartphone did a brilliant job mocking the throngs of Apple faithful that wait in line for days for the newest phone or tablet. Add in some satire of hipsters, and you have an ad that was viewed more than 17 million times.
#3: Volkswagen's The Bark Side: The German automaker scored another one on the top 10 list with this Empire Strikes Back-themed ad, but with barking dogs. This might be the biggest teaser ad to score this many views (17.7 million).
#2: Pepsi's Uncle Drew series: This ad, in which NBA star Kyrie Irving dressed up like an old man and then took on some younger players in a pickup basketball game (while shooting a faux documentary) has racked up more than 18 million views since May.
#1: Nike Football's My Time is Now: Another soccer-related video/ad, this one takes the top spot for the year, garnering more than 20 million views since it launched on May 18. Featuring a whole bunch of soccer stars, it proves that while football may dominate in America (American football, that is), the world can trump that quite nicely with its football stars:
What was your favorite viral video ad of the year?
Keith Shaw also rounds up the best in geek video in his ITworld.tv blog. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.