Internet: Finding the most watched advertising videos

img bravia website While many just switch to another channel when a block of advertisements starts on TV, others seemingly can’t get enough of it. And we’re talking dozens of million views here…

All-time-high winner Sony Bravia not only made it to the front-page news, got millions of views on the top download sites, it even got its own web site that last week was no 2,142 on Alexa’s worldwide traffic ranking.

Runners-up were a bit surprising when we first browsed around so we took a deeper look…

But how to find out what this is all about and where to start? We first tried to identify the most popular video download spot for ads / commercials:

Step 1: Where to look
There are quite a few statistics on which of the video sites are most frequented by users but we had to learn that this alone does not get you anywhere. First not all of them provide usable statistics and we found out that people do watch different things on different sites.
We ended up with the following list of web sites for our review:

  • YouTube
  • Google Video
  • Yahoo Video
  • MetaCafe
  • MySpace
  • AOL Video
  • MSN Video

We had a look at many others sites but numbers were not relevant for advertising / commercials or even their most popular numbers overall. Others like Photobucket don’t provide statistics but then when reviewing we could not find ads high on their most popular lists either.

Step 2: What to look for
We limited ourselves only to videos that are commercials for real products (there is the great Saturday Night Live tattoo removal clip, but we don’t believe any shop stocks that product). We tried to use tag searches but ended up with browsing through the “most popular ever” pages on all of the sites.

Step 3: How to count
We first tried some of the video search engines to find video clips of TV or other ads that are identical/similar. It seems technology will need a few more advances before video search becomes useful for something like this and we soon gave up that path and started searching each individual web site and counted the numbers up manually. This meant identifying the most popular ads within a particular threshold on one site and then searching all other sites for the same videos.

Step 4: The results
As we already said at the beginning we where a bit surprised by the results so we contacted the web sites…


…to verify some of the results in particular with MetaCafe where advertisement clips seemed to be exceptionally popular – we found one that had more then a million views on MetaCafe but only about a thousand on YouTube. Unfortunately MetaCafe did not reply till today but we provide indicators in the list below if a clip was only popular on their site or on multiple sites. One thing that became very clear to us that video search is still in its infant stage and one better relies on social networks to find even duplicates. It is also not clear how some of the sites count. It might be possible that advertising agencies have since quite some time started to use the Internet as a feedback channel to test response to ads internationally. Some of the videos still had the info from the advertising agency in it. One of the very popular plots used (naked girl and phone calls) popped up in ads for different countries and products.


The top 10 most viewed commercials on the Internet


So here are the results. It’s mostly “beer with girls” or “girls exposed” that were most popular also beyond the top 10. Only sometimes there is a funny or stunning idea that gets people watch TV or other commercials on the web.

Sony’s first Bravia ad is in its own league and has almost as many views alone then all others together. To us this demonstrates that there is a genuine interest in seeing clips done high quality with a new idea besides college humor.

  • (1) More then 20 million views: Sony’s first Bravia Ball ad – popular all over the net
  • (2) About 6 million views: Girl gets called on the phone while showering – popular all over the net
  • (3) More then 5 million views: What a Cutie Japanese ad for bras – only popular on MetaCafe
  • (4) More then 5 million views: Perfect soft drink ad – popular on MetaCafe and Google
  • (5) More then 4 million views: Beer ad – popular on MetaCafe – only a few thousand views on Google and YouTube
  • (6) More then 4 million views: Bear mating – popular on MetaCafe – only a few hundred views on YouTube
  • (7) About 4 million views: Girl running – popular on MetaCafe only
  • (8) About 4 million views: Oil of Olay advertising – popular on MetaCafe – only about 1000 views otherwise
  • (9) Below 4 million views: Fiat commercial- popular on MetaCafe only
  • (10) Below 4 million views: cosmetics commercial- popular on MetaCafe – only few thousand views otherwise


Others worth watching:
When we created the list we came across a few really fabulous videos which we believe are quite intriguingly done:

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