The World’s Best Video Ads: VW, adidas, Ubisoft, YouTube, Nike

Written on
Jun 13, 2014 
Unruly Media  |

ADOTAS — Volkswagen sends out a memorable message, “Assassin’s Creed” is revolutionized and top footballers get animated for the World Cup. Yep, it’s just another week in AdLand.

So which ads have been setting the global web alight over the last seven days? Here are our five picks.


5. Volkswagen: “Eyes on the Road”

Driving safety adverts famously veer towards the morbid or the gratuitously shocking. Volkswagen takes a more subtle tactic in “Eyes On The Road,” conveying its message through suggestion and clever manipulation of technology.

The brand invited members of the public to a cinema screening, where they watched a short film of a car driving down a country lane, shot from the driver’s POV. Using some kind of technical wizardry, a text message was sent simultaneously to every viewer. When they took their eyes off the screen to check their phones, the car summarily crashed. See what they’re getting at?

It’s a highly effective and strangely startling spot, and pointed towards a vital, life-saving cause. Also you can’t underestimate the added benefit of reminding people to turn off their phones at the cinema. It’s just polite.

4. adidas: “House Match” ft. Beckham, Zidane, Bale and Lucas Moura

When I was younger, my mum used to reprimand my brothers and I for trying to play sports in the house (living room cricket was particularly controversial). adidas’ latest spot “House Match” demonstrates that some of football’s greatest names never learnt this lesson, as they go about destroying property in the name of fun.

The ad begins with grizzled veterans David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane sitting around watching young bucks Gareth Bale and Lucas Moura play video games.

Quickly exasperated with their inheritors’ newfangled gizmos, the Zidane-Beckham dream team assembles to teach them a lesson or two.

Carnage predictably ensues, as Beckham’s beloved trophy case is smashed and an ill-placed chandelier plummets to the floor. Thankfully, the scene cuts before the players’ mums appear to tell them off, because that would have been embarrassing for everyone.

3. Ubisoft: “Assassin’s Creed: Unity” Trailer

With the world’s biggest tech conference E3 now behind us, this is the time of year when video game trailers start to assert their dominance over the viral rankings. With new additions to the FIFA, “Battlefield” and “Uncharted” franchises on their way, there’s certainly a bumper crop forthcoming.

The trailer for the new “Assassin’s Creed: Unity” may be the most breathtaking of all, taking the cinematic feel that’s defined game trailer in recent years to new heights (literally). Following an eagle as it soars over the rooftops of Revolution-era Paris, the game’s dazzling setting promises all sorts of historical delights (not to mention “Les Miserables” references).

Topped off by a silky Lorde cover of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” which brings to mind Gary Jules’ version of “Mad World” in a famous ad for the “Gears of War” franchise. it’s easy to see why the spot has been shared over 70,000 times in a few short days.

2. YouTube: “#ProudToPlay”

This touching and hopeful spot from YouTube addresses the place of LGBT+ athletes in mainstream sports, and encourages everyone to be “proud to play.” With Britain’s Tom Daley coming out to his fans online last year and the NBA’s Jason Collins becoming the league’s firstly openly gay player, the issue is becoming more relevant every day.

Underscored by a speech from the late Nelson Mandela (played on, what else, YouTube), the video gives the space for a vital conversation to be had. With Brazil’s World Cup beginning yesterday, it seems a particularly apt time to address it. In fact, the spot closes with words from Liam Davis, Britain’s only openly gay professional footballer.

Inspirational rather than alarmist, #ProudToPlay sets precisely the right tone for continuing what have already been important seismic shifts in the sporting world.

1. Nike Football: “The Last Game”

Last but certainly not least, Nike Football continues to surprise and delight in the over-crowded field of World Cup related ad. While many gritty, cinematic football ads have found viral success in recent years, the brand’s animated effort “The Last Game” sticks true to their motto, “Risk Everything.”

Designed in a style familiar to Pixar films like “Toy Story” or “The Incredibles,” the surprisingly sweeping five minutes depicts a world in which homogenous clone footballers have taken over the sport, leaving mavericks like Zlatan and Neymar Jr. to become hairdressers and try to sell their memoirs. It’s a little like the town that banned dancing in “Footloose,” only with Wayne Rooney instead of Kevin Bacon.

Seeing hugely famous athletes done up in Disneyfied style is a strange joy, and the short film flies by with wit and imagination. With nearly 400,000 shares already, Nike have shown definitively that this isn’t their last game either.

– David Waterhouse

Video technology company Unruly is the leading global platform for social video marketing and works with top brands and their agencies to predict the emotional impact of their videos and get them watched, tracked and shared across paid, owned and earned media. Unruly uses use its proprietary technology to turn target audiences into engaged viewers and engaged viewers into customers and advocates. Its  end-to-end solution cracks the code on social video sharing. Brands can predict shareability with Unruly Labs, engage their audience with Unruly Activate and prove social ROI with Unruly Analytics where we provide real-time competitive benchmarks across 2.7 million customizable data points.
The Unruly Viral Video Chart has tracked 365 billion video views since 2006. With an engaged audience of over a billion consumers, across the full range of mobile, tablet and second screen devices, Unruly has delivered, tracked and audited 3.5 billion video views across 3,000+ social video campaigns for over 400 brands including Volkswagen, Dove, Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, Microsoft, Warner Bros and adidas. The company has worked with 60% of Interbrand’s Top 100 Best Global Brand and its mission is to deliver the most awesome social video advertising campaigns on the planet.
Founded in 2006, Unruly has 12 offices and employs over 130 people globally. In 2012, Unruly secured a $25 million Series A investment led by Amadeus, Van den Ende & Deitmers and Business Growth Fund - the largest ever for a private company in the social video space. The company has won over 15 awards including “Best Content Distribution Service” at the Braves Awards; “Digital Innovator of the Year” at the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100; “International Management Team of the Year” at the BVCA Awards 2013 and #14 on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA. To find out more visitwww.unrulymedia.com

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