Image above: Julia Roberts in the high-ranked Ancestry ad on YouTube.
Is having a successful ad on YouTube a big priority for your brand? If so, you need to be promoting a TV show or game, or have a very catchy jingle.
Those are some takeaways from YouTube’s Ads Leaderboard for Q1 2023. The list, released earlier this month, is headed by the season 2 announcement for Netflix’s “Wednesday” and includes ads for Burger King, Squarespace, Uber One, Nintendo Switch, Ancestry and Apple. The rest of the ads are for media properties, including Apple TV+’s “Tetris” film, the trailer for Amazon Prime’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and Peacock’s “Bel-Air” series.
Some initial thoughts about the list:
It’s likely that fans of TV shows are watching out of interest. That’s especially true for Netflix’s “Wednesday series.” The announcement for season 2 dropped on Jan. 6 and the new season is likely to air in 2024. Fans of the show no doubt saw the teaser and shared it with their friends. The same is true of Peacock’s trailer for season 2 of Bel Air, an update of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and Amazon Prime’s trailer for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
There’s only one Super Bowl ad on the list. That is, an extended version of SquareSpace’s Super Bowl ad, starring Adam Driver – probably prompted by the idea of using YouTube to present an extended version of an ad to gain virality.
A-list stars meant big views. An ad for Ancestry garnered 2.4 million views because it featured Julia Roberts using Ancestry’s Finding Your Roots to trace her roots. In the video, Roberts finds out her name isn’t Roberts (it’s Mitchell) and that her descendant, Mitchell Jr., had an affair with a woman named Rhoda, who lived near her mother. Similarly, Uber One’s ad went big because it featured P.Diddy producing some viral artists.
Jingles rule. There’s only one jingle on this list, but it’s a monster, garnering close to 10 million views for a brand that’s hit some rough times of late. The ad also introduced a new tagline, “You rule,” which made the ad a linchpin in Burger King's comeback plan.