Y’all know that I rarely traffic in sordid vulgarisms like “darn,” so you’ll understand just how profound a statement I’m making when I say that 2014 has been a darn fine year. The family unit got bigger, crises involving attic invaders and personal physical decay were handled with uncommon grace and I found some really comfortable new underwear. Indeed, in ways big and small, 2014 was very good to me. Since there’s nowhere else to express my gratitude, let me do so here: Thanks! That sure was swell of you!
On the brand-video front, things were no less… eh, who has the energy for a segue? By way of wrapping up 2014, we could go back over thebunchofthingsIliked and thelargerbunchofclipsandcampaignsIdidn’t. Or we could do what we did last year and close this one out by attempting to glean knowledgeicious wisdomitude from the year’s most-viewed clips as identified by Visible Measures. Option two it is. Myra, cue the video.
10. adidas, “The Dream”
In a few words: Lionel Messi has spooky-dooky dreams about solo winter forest soccer. Dude, what’d we tell you about eating Doritos right before bedtime?
Brand message conveyed: adidas has the coin and cred to get Messi and Kanye West (who scores the clip) to play in its brand-video sandbox. Hey, it beats A-Rod and Pitbull.
What we learned: The pressure of a nation’s World Cup hopes imposes itself on the subconsciouses of elite players. Also, it is helpful to wear shoes when playing soccer.
Effectiveness: I may have devoted a full column to this one, but the clip escapes my mind. So, no.
9. Samsung, “Galaxy S5 - Official Introduction”
In a few words: The Galaxy S5 is packed with features like water/dust resistance and after-the-fact photo focus, which renders it cooler than Antarctica and The Ramones combined.
Brand message conveyed: If you don’t have a Samsung device, you’re screwed in the event of a dust storm.
What we learned: Smart phones can be procured in hues like “shimmery white.”
Effectiveness: People dug prior iterations of the Galaxy so much that they were willing to endure 225 seconds worth of twinkly piano music and images of smart phones floating through blank space in slo-mo. If customers like your product that much, you’ve done so much right on the product-development front that your marketing is almost besides the point.
8. Dove, “Patches”
In a few words: Beauty is a state of mind, not unlike hope or hygiene or sandwich.
Brand message conveyed: Women have a complicated relationship with their physical appearance - and Dove, alone among all companies in all product sectors, is here not just to acknowledge this but to proclaim that it is totally okay.
What we learned: A patch affixed to the shoulder can have some kind of beneficial effect on a woman’s self-perception. At least I think that’s the point. The clip skimps on the science.
Effectiveness: Dove’s videos have been more thoughtful and thematically consistent than those of any other brand, so I’m inclined to give them a pass here. Also, it’s not Dove’s fault that the dog in my kid’s favorite firehouse book is named Patch, which left me disappointed when this clip proved 100 percent Dalmatian-free.
7. Budweiser, “Puppy Love”
In a few words: Awwwwwww!
Brand message conveyed: Awwwwwww! Awwwwwwwwwww! Awwwwwwwwww!
What we learned: Who’s a good boy? YOU’RE a good boy! Yes you are! Yes you are! Yes!
6. Turkish Airlines, “Drogba vs. Messi: #EpicFood”
In a few words: Soccer superkaduperstar Didier Drogba can’t enjoy an exotic meal if soccer superkashmuperduperstar Lionel Messi has experienced it first. I’m totally that way with Joyce Carol Oates.
Brand message conveyed: Turkish Airlines flies to many places where food is served.
What we learned: You haven’t lived until you’ve flown across the world in search of virginal, texturally uniform baba ghanoush.
Effectiveness: It’s not appreciably worse than the Messi/Kobe selfie-off from last year. The number of views probably ensures that we’ll get a three-quel.
5. Always, “#LikeAGirl”
In a few words: Saying that somebody does something “like a girl” - running, fighting, founding a start-up with a market cap of $32 billion - is a compliment.
Brand message conveyed: Always celebrates strength and self-confidence - as opposed to other brands targeting the same adolescent audience, which strive to portray users of their products as namby-pamby and destined for prom-night solitude.
What we learned: The next generation, happily, interprets the phrase “like a girl” far differently than the ones before it. That’s heartening.
Effectiveness: I’m not sure if the clip changes or reinforces anything I know about Always, but its message couldn’t be more timely. Great concept, great execution.
4. Samsung, “Galaxy 11 - The Training”
In a few words: Smart phones are as useful as a training implement for playing soccer on the grandest stage as they are in locating the nearest Starbucks in Denver.
Brand message conveyed: Again, that you can do a lot of stuff with Samsung smart phones. You can operate drones. You can make phone calls. They’re like the Swiss Army knife of electronic devices.
What we learned: That one shouldn’t use up all of one’s jokes about smart phones and the videos that celebrate them too early in one’s column.
Effectiveness: There was no more overexposed brand in 2014 than Samsung. Contrary to the messaging in popular songcraft, too much is often quite enough.
3. Nike, “The Last Game”
In a few words: Video-game doppelgangers of the world’s most daring soccer stars go up against a team of risk-averse clones.
Brand message conveyed: Nike is more creative than you are, unless you are Gustav Klimt.
What we learned: The brand’s status as a Hall of Fame marketer ain’t emeritus. Also, “Miss Alissa” is the perfect soundtrack for anything involving motion, madness or the kicking of multiple asses.
Effectiveness: The one soccer clip that stood out in a year practically choking on them. Loved this.
2. Nike, “Risk Everything”
In a few words: Heck to Betsy, more soccer?
Brand message conveyed: Nike has lots of soccer stars under contract.
What we learned: There is no limit to the amount of soccer marketing fans will endure.
Effectiveness: Let’s take a moment to place “fewer overcaffeinated, homogenously shot and edited soccer clips” alongside “world peace” and “less talk, more rock” on our list of 2015 wishes. There’s no World Cup in 2015. We’re safe, for now.
1. Wren, “First Kiss”
In a few words: Twenty strangers meet and then kiss. Some appear to enjoy it more than others.
Brand message conveyed: That Wren is as open-minded and pro-intimacy as any brand that does whatever it is that Wren does. They’re like a shoe or something, right?
What we learned: Bold premise + social-media OMG-gasm = lotsa views and attention.
Effectiveness: A few months after the fact, it still fascinates. The bigger question: Do you remember the brand or the smoochy-smoochy? For me, it’s the latter.