I love video advertising that skewers the typical YouTube experience. I love when ads like this one for The Expendables or this one for Tipp-Ex appear on the surface to be standard YouTube videos, only to then make use of the entire screen, revealing themselves to be full-page Flash animations. I have wondered aloud many times why more companies don't create ads like this. The element of surprise when the action breaks free of the boundaries of the video player is priceless, and will almost always wow the viewer and encourage them to share the clip with friends.
I've also been pretty vocal about my opinion of the work of Patrick Boivin. He's an animator, graphic effects artist, and stop-motion enthusiast who makes some of the best YouTube videos of all time such as Iron Baby or At-At Day Afternoon.
So you can imagine how giddy I am to see both of those things combined in a new ad for the Google Nexus S smart-phone. Because I"m not able to embed this ad as I would a normal video, here's a glimpse of what the experience looks like:
Of course, a screenshot can't possibly give you the full experience, so I'd encourage you to head over and view the ad as it was intended to be viewed. Go ahead… I'll wait.
This ad works on a number of levels, while skewering the popular "unboxing" trend. It's charming and fun watching the ninjas bust out of the video player as they compete with each other to grab the Nexus S. At the same time, you marvel at the artistry behind the stop-motion work–at least, I hope you do. And I still say this kind of ad works because people are so used to the standard YouTube experience that anytime something comes along that alters that experience unexpectedly, viewers take notice. Also, it doesn't hurt that the Nexus S, the latest Android phone from Google, is a hot topic these days. Roll all that together and you have an ad that is likely to generate exactly the kind of buzz that Google was hoping for. Heck, most of the viewers probably don't even notice they're watching an ad… and those that do probably don't care.
Chalk this up as yet another example of the blurring of the lines between regular online video and branded video advertising. I stand by my opinion that "branded" video will soon be indistinguishable from "regular" video. If the viewer has a good time, they really don't have a problem with advertising in online video. When all is said and one, the audience simply isn't as picky as they used to be about who creates and distributes the entertainment, they just want to be entertained.