BTS, record-breaking K-pop sensations, have claimed another title: The group’s appearance in Hyundai Motor Co.’s Earth Day-themed ad last year is No. 1 on YouTube’s latest global advertising leaderboard.
The minimalist Hyundai spot, released in celebration of Earth Day 2020, features BTS members in natural settings, as part of the Korean automaker’s global hydrogen campaign. While the guys don’t sing in the ad, the avid BTS fanbase — aka ARMY — have helped push the 60-second clip on YouTube to more than 105 million views to date.
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YouTube released its Cannes-to-Cannes Ads Leaderboard, a ranking of the top 10 most popular video ads globally, as measured between June 1, 2020, and May 30, 2021, timed for the Cannes Lions marketing festival this week. Cannes Lions was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic, returning this year in a virtual format and set to run June 21-25.
Star power is on display elsewhere on the YouTube global top 10 ads list. In the No. 3 spot is Amazon’s ad from this year’s Super Bowl in which Michael B. Jordan is imagined as the ideal physical form of Alexa. (It also scored as the No. 1 most-watched ad on Super Bowl Sunday in the U.S., per YouTube.)
Meanwhile, the Switzerland Tourism took No. 7 with its spot released last month, in which tennis star Roger Federer encouraging a reluctant, drama-yearning Robert De Niro to make a film in the drama-free Swiss Alps. “You guys are too nice!” De Niro complains.
In the U.S., the three ads that landed on the top 10 were Amazon’s Super Bowl ad; Nike’s “You Can’t Stop Us,” featuring sports stars like Serena Williams, LeBron James and Cristiano Renaldo (No. 5); and game maker Supercell’s short film “Lost and Crowned” (No. 6).
Other ads on list hail from Egypt (Orange Egypt), India (Oppo, Apple, Vodafone Idea) and South Korea (featuring the Korean Tourism Organization’s collaboration with alt-pop band Leenalchi and the Ambiguous Dance Company).
All together, the 10 ads on YouTube’s global ad leaderboard for 2020-21 have generated more than 635 million global views to date.
YouTube determines ad rankings using multiple variables — in addition to total views, the video platform also factors in metrics like watch time and the mix of paid vs. organic views. This list limited brands to only one entry each, to “enable brand diversity,” according to YouTube.
Here’s the top 10 global ads on YouTube’s Cannes-to-Cannes Ad Leaderboard for 2020-21:
1. Hyundai Motor Co. – “Hyundai x BTS – For the Earth” (South Korea)
2. Orange Egypt – “Orange Ramadan 2020, ‘The Year of Life'” (Egypt)
3. Amazon – “Alexa’s Body” featuring Michael B. Jordan (U.S.)
4. Oppo – “Oppo F17 Pro – Diwali Edition” (India)
5. Nike – “You Can’t Stop Us” (U.S.)
6. Supercell – “Lost and Crowned” (U.S.)
7. My Switzerland – “No Drama” featuring Robert De Niro and Roger Federer (Switzerland)
8. Imagine Your Korea – “Feel the Rhythm of Korea: Joenju” (South Korea)
9. Apple – “Introducing Apple Watch Series 6 — It Already Does That” (India)
10. Vodafone Idea – “#ViIsHere” (India)
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