Volkswagen's Super Bowl teaser ad The Bark Side was top dog in January in Unruly's Global Ads Chart. The 60-second ad, created by LA agency Deutsch, attracted 646,766 shares last month, easily making it the most popular ad.
Certainly, the Force is strong with the German auto manufacturers' Star Wars-themed commercial, which features dogs dressed up as various characters from Star Wars barking Jon Williams' much-loved theme, The Imperial March.
The Bark Side feels like the natural successor to Deutsch's 2011 Super Bowl ad for the Volkswagen Passat, The Force – the most shared ad of all time.
It reprises much of the same content and emotional triggers, cleverly substituting a cute boy dressed up as Darth Vader with some even cuter pooches dressed up as various Star Wars characters. It even uses the same tune.
The ad also shows just how Internet-savvy Deutsch and Volkswagen are. Using a whippet dressed up as an AT-AT may serve as the perfect funny punch line, but it is also a clear nod to meme culture and, in particular, web sensation Bones Mello.
But while The Bark Side dominated the pre-match buzz during January, it is questionable whether it will remain the most popular Super Bowl ad of 2012.
Its biggest rivals for the top spot are Volkswagen's official game day ad, The Dog Strikes Back, and Honda's brilliant big game spot, Matthew's Day Off, which, despite only being launched on January 27, still managed to generate over 212,000 shares in 4 days, making it the fourth most popular ad last month.
The ad, for the Honda CR-V, sees a middle-aged Matthew Broderick reprise his role as 80s movie legend Ferris Bueller – 26 years since he last played the teenage skiver in the rites-of-passage film, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
And what an ad it is – a real homage to the 1986 cult movie. Created by RPA, it features Bueller doing what he does best – skiving. In fact, it's like Broderick has never been away.
Firstly, he calls in sick to a film shoot and then enjoys a good old day of slacking. Among other things, he rides a roller coaster, visits the local national history museum, goes to the racetrack, and, of course, sings at a parade. The commercial was also boosted by a controversial 10-second teaser, released a few days earlier.
It featured Broderick throwing open the curtains in a posh bedroom suite and offering an updated take on his famous line from Ferris Bueller's Day Off: "How can I handle work on a day like today?" We were even treated to a blast of Yello's Oh Yeah, the theme song to the iconic 80s hit, just in case you were in any doubt that you were watching the return of one of the most loved movie characters of the last 40 years.
The teaser clip also attracted some criticism for its lack of transparency. Because there was no brand name associated with the video, only the date of the Super Bowl, some Ferris fans were excitedly speculating it was actually a trailer for the much-anticipated sequel to Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
But auto blog Jalopnik was not fooled. Despite Honda initially denying it, the website revealed the 10-second teaser was actually an ad for the new Honda CR-V.
Honda finally came clean, releasing the full ad a few days later. However, with both videos appearing in the top 10, the controversy has certainly not affected the campaign.
Another ad to benefit from a touch of controversy is Megaupload's Mega Song. The file-hosting service has dominated the headlines recently, with founder Kim Dotcom arrested and the site shut down by the U.S. Justice Department over alleged copyright infringements.
Major industry organisations such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have both attacked the site for allegedly 'facilitating online piracy'.
But Megaupload has some very well-known celebrity supporters, who voiced their support in a surprisingly catchy music video. Kim Kardashian, Jamie Foxx, Chris Brown, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Diddy and Floyd Mayweather Jr. are just some of the famous faces who appear. The video attracted 620,978 shares last month, putting it second in the chart.
One place behind in third is a magical ad from Toronto bookstore Type Books, which celebrates the "Joy of Books". It's a superb stop-motion short film clip that features books playfully coming alive inside the store after hours.
Other new ads to make it on to the top 10 are a Tunisian short film created by FP7 McCann Tunisia for Coca-Cola, a trailer for the highly-anticipated second season of TV show Game of Thrones, an LG ad which comes up with a very clever way to demonstrate the thinnest television in the world and a commercial for the British Heart Foundation, which stars the rather unlikely combination of Vinnie Jones and the Bee Gees.
Top 10 Global Online Video Ads
1. Volkswagen: The Bark Side
Shares during January: 646,766
2. Megaupload- Mega Song
Shares during January: 620,978
3. Type – The Joy of Books
Shares during January: 236,355
4. Honda – Matthew's Day Off
Shares during January: 212,222
5. Coca-Cola – Si Lemhaf – Kharrej Legrinta Elli Fik
Shares during January: 185,133
6. Game of Thrones Season 2 – Shadow Tease
Shares during January: 130,576
7. Honda – Coming Soon
Shares during January: 81,344
8. GEICO – Maxwell the Pig Returns! Zip-line Piggy
Shares during January: 80,011
9. British Heart Foundation – Vinnie Jones' Hard and Fast Hands- CPR only
Shares during January: 79,767
10. LG – Smart Thief Caught on Cam
Shares during January: 62,888
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