Aren’t we all just holding out for a hero? Judging by this month’s Unruly Global Ads Chart, it certainly looks that way. This month’s top 20 is dominated by ads which celebrate all things heroic - from the unsung superstars from our everyday lives to the modern day idols which dominate popular culture.
Standing proudly at the front is an ad which celebrates the people who do the hardest job in the world. Now, you may think that would be a brain surgeon, a deep-earth miner or Justin Bieber's PA - but you’d be wrong. In a ‘gotcha!’ vein, similar to Dove’s recent “Patches”, “World’s Toughest Job” features job seekers in a Skype interview for an undisclosed role. The job requirements? Well, let’s see, there’s working on your feet all day, paying constant attention to your ‘associate’ and never sleeping. Sound familiar? It should - it’s being a mother, of course.
Suffice to say, everyone has a good laugh about falling for it and anyone who got annoyed about being duped with a fake job listing presumably didn’t make the final edit. The commercial, created by American greetings cards retailer Cardstore and released ahead of US Mothers’ Day (May 11), has been a huge hit online since it was launched on April 14, attracting a truly heroic 1.32 million shares.
Another “Unsung Hero” stars in the ad which features in second place. Now anyone who has ever seen any previous ads from Thai Life Insurance, such as “The Silence of Love”, knows that the APAC advertiser likes to put viewers through the emotional wringer. And its latest ad is no different.
It features an ordinary Joe going about his daily grind, helping the world out where he can. Feeding hungry dogs, giving money to needy children, over-watering a house plant: it’s all in a day’s work. Not wishing to spoil the end, but all his good deeds do not go unnoticed and, just like the ad itself, it has a very happy ending. Yep, in a fit of perfect irony, Thai Life Insurance managed to create a spot dedicated to unsung heroes, which has then gone on to blow up on the social web. With 1.17 million shares last month, it’s not unsung anymore.
Just behind in third and fourth are two ads which celebrate the potential heroes of the upcoming World Cup in Brazil. In third is an ad from Castrol. The British oil brand has shown it doesn’t mind living on the edge by creating “Footkhana”, a health & safety nightmare which combines football (soccer) and the tyre-shredding practice of Gymkhana. If you've heard of Gymkhana, it’s probably because of Ken Block and his wildly popular social video series. Fittingly, Block represents the car side of things, while Barcelona forward Neymar Jr. steps up all for mankind.
It’s difficult to capture the sheer madness of some of the pair’s tricks, so check it out for yourself. However, you definitely shouldn’t try to do any of this in a driving test - it’d be at least a minor. There is still a long way to go till the action kicks off for real in Brazil, but Castrol has already taken an early lead among this year’s crop of World Cup spots. It attracted more than 850,000 shares last month, putting it one place ahead of Nike’s epic ad, “Winner Stays”.
Famed for blockbuster sporting ads like 2010’s “Write The Future”, the sports giant must already be feeling the pressure to live up to expectations. But judging by this action-packed ad, it looks like it has everything under control. Besides the requisite starring appearances from Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, there’s also cheeky cameos from Marvel’s Hulk and (slightly inexplicably) Kobe Bryant. If this is only Nike’s warm-up performance, we’re looking forward to the main event.
The Hulk is not the only superhero to make an appearance in this month’s chart. In 13th place, is a spot created by DC Comics to celebrate the 75th birthday of one of pop culture’s most resilient (and grumpy) figures, Batman. Spider-Man also swoops in for Evian’s follow-up to its highly-acclaimed Baby&Me spot. The ad, timed just ahead of the launch of summer blockbuster, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, managed 354,877 shares last month, putting it in 6th position.
Honey Maid also managed to do something any superhero would be proud of last month - it stood up to bullies. The biscuit brand showed the best way to deal with hate mail is not to tear it up or burn it, but instead to hire a couple of artists to turn it in a tribute to human love and understanding. Because even the moral high ground needs fine furnishings. You see, when its perfectly harmless ‘This is Wholesome’ campaign was lept upon by outraged YouTube commenters, the brand decided that instead of lashing out, they’d turn the other cheek. And then produce another spot, commemorating just how they turned the other cheek. The resulting ad is a sweet, if slightly twee, act of passive resistance against people whose views are appropriately glossed over. It appears in seventh in this month’s chart.
Other new ads to feature in the top 20 this month include Caterpillar staging the biggest game of JENGA ever, an April Fool’s gag from Google, Pedigree showing its love for dogs and a couple of international love stories created by Unilever ice cream brand Cornetto.
Top 20 Most Shared, Branded Video Ads During April 2014
- Card Store: World’s Toughest Job – 1,323,199 shares
- TVC Thai Life Insurance – 1,176,502 shares
- Castrol: Footkhana – 850,458 shares
- Nike: Winner Stays – 779,335 shares
- Google Maps: Pokemon Challenge – 497,847 shares
- Evian And Spider-Man: The Amazing Baby & Me – 354,877 shares
- Honey Maid: Love – 260,395 shares
- Cornetto – Yeniden - 185,539 shares
- Disney: Frozen – Let It Go Sing-A-Long - 164,959 shares
- Adidas: #NEOBieber – The Winner - 143,264 shares
- B Classic Festival: Dvořák - Symphony No. 9 Allegro con fuoco - 129,093 shares
- adidas: Qué significa ser del Real Madrid? – 126,002 shares
- DC Entertainment: Batman - Strange Days - 97,866 shares
- Sony: Xperia Z2 – 88,682 shares
- Evian: Baby&Me – 87,543 shares
- PooPourri: Girls Don’t Poop – 84,093 shares
- Belgian Road Safety Institute: What If You Were Invited To Your Own Funeral? – 73,438 shares
- Caterpillar: Largest Jenga Game - 66,510 shares
- Pedigree: Share For Dogs – 65,823 shares
- Cornetto Mexico: Kismet Diner – 62,979 shares
All data provided by the Unruly Viral Video Chart.