Surely You Jest? Zefr Looks At The Value of Users' Parody Ads

Earlier this week, YouTube unveiled results of a poll of users’ votes to determine their favorite commercial ever (ever being ten years, in this case). 

But Zefr, which provides brands and marketer with insights into who’s watching and sharing what, used YouTube’s tenth anniversary to look at top engagements, the kinds of things that become viral hits.

And, you might say, in co-founder Zach James’ estimation, imitation is the sincerest signal of success. It measured the top 5 YouTube ads based on views and engagements. Significantly it turns out, views for parodies and ad re-sends are very good things.

YouTube’s top ad, Kobe vs. Messi: The Selfie Shootout, might be a damn fine. But Zefr found that while it topped the list for viewership, it was pretty low for engagement.

But  Nike’s “Winner Stays” from 2014, is also a great ad, with 648 fan uploads or remakes, 128 million total views and 690,000 engagements, and it is on the top of Zefr’s way of looking at things over the last decade

Interestingly, fifth on Zefr’s list, is the hilarious “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” for Old Spice, which had 50.9 million views. But it was re-sends and user generated parodies that added 20 million total views and fully 50% of the engagements. There were, Zefr says, 3.2 million views of parody versions, alone.

Crazy! Likewise, Budweiser’s “Puppy Love,” which ranked fourth, had its highest engagements from fan-uploaded replays--in fact 480% more engagements from fan reloads in its first month than the original spot. People wanted to respond.

“It’s because we are all part of it, ” James says about the Old Spice ad. “Parody allows that. The YouTube platform is built for people who love to participate. So if you build something, an ad, for YouTube, it’s smart to ask, ‘How are you using the platform to drive participation?' These YouTube viewers are like spokesman that the brand’s getting for free.” 

THE LONG VIEW: Software firm SQAD LLC disclosed a new survey of grumbling ad professionals that concludes 82% of them find the current definition of a qualifiable video ad “view”--50% of the pixels, viewable for at least two seconds on desktops-- isn’t good enough; only 18% say they think it’s okay. About half think the Media Rating Council’s minimum view standard should be five seconds. A lot of people, SQAD admitted, are stillconfused. I think that’s because the display and video viewability standards are, on quick reading similar, but not exact and they give headaches to people, if  “people” is defined as “me.”

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