Top 10 Clever YouTube Ads - TopX Ep.38

Welcome to the thirty-eighth episode of TopX, the show where we countdown the very best that YouTube has to offer! You can vote on future episode topics here: http://WatchMojo.comtopx Today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 clever YouTube ads.

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Top 10 Clever YouTube Ads

For this list we've narrowed it down to videos that were not only popular on YouTube but some of which were widely seen on tv, even during the Superbowl. Wink Wink.

#10: Ship My Pants

- Despite the fact that some of the people in this ad are not enunciating it very well, this is a very good example of an ad challenging censors in a rather clever way.
- With a young boy, a couple of seniors and more folks showing their excitement over the fact that they can get pants shipped to them for free if the ones they want aren’t available in the store, this ad for major American department store chain Kmart was meant to promote their Shop Your Way program, but the company ended up creating a monster.
- The ad went viral within days of being on YouTube despite some criticism for its juvenile humor – lame – and its popularity even spawned more ads from the company that focused on the famous line – such as a “Ship Your Trousers” ad the company promoted during Christmas 2013, parodying Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Ish. If A Christmas Carol were vaguely rude and took place in a Kmart.
- All in all, it’s an ad that uses immature humor in a way that’ll still make most people laugh, even though if you don’t listen closely enough, you’ll think that some people are way too excited about defecating in their pants. Actually, come to think of it, we don’t know anyone who’d be this excited about shipping their pants, either. But a clever ad nonetheless!

#9: Clash of Clans: Revenge
Clash of Clans

- Liam Neeson starring in a commercial can make just about any kind of ad better, but he particularly nailed it with this one. In arguably the most well known of many ads for this popular smartphone game, Neeson sort of reprises his role as Bryan Mills from the Taken movies – even quoting a famous line from the film – as he vows revenge against BigBuffetBoy85.
- Of course, we get a little bit of comic relief as well, as we hear a server at a bakery butcher his name while giving him a scone – which sounds like what we’re used to hearing at a particular major coffee chain.
- Whether or not AngryNeeson52 ends up winning – or if he gets humiliated and gets his gold taken – is unknown, but it’s an ad that uses a recognizable character that also gets taken out of character while promoting a hugely successful game, and it ended up being the most popular ad on YouTube of Super Bowl XLIX (49).

#8: Jeff Gordon: Test Drive
Pepsi Max

- At almost four minutes in length, this ad feels way more like a cool video than a commercial, but it’s nothing if not fun. In it, famous NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon dresses in a disguise and takes a car salesman on a drive that he doesn’t know is going to be the wildest – and maybe the most dangerous – one of his life. My personal favorite line is “Oh you’re an idiot; I’m gonna kill you.”
- Anyway, as it turns out, the whole thing is a prank, and Gordon eventually takes off his mustache to reveal his true self to his angry passenger.
- Despite some criticism that the drive was faked and Jeff Gordon was actually played by an actor, the video racked up tons of hits on YouTube – 44.6 million at this point, to be more specific.
- One of the people who accused the video of being fake, Travis Okulski, was the subject of a second test drive video by Jeff Gordon and Pepsi a year later where Gordon drives him around in a taxi at breakneck speed with the cops following them, causing Okulski to finally turn a new leaf and admit that the second ad was totally real. Talk about getting revenge! Also, who knew Jeff Gordon could act? Also also, what does this have to do with Pepsi?

#7: Our Blades Are F***ing Great
Dollar Shave Club

- Taking cues from a commercial that appears later on this list, this ad is designed as one helluva sales pitch that just does not stop. It’s used to promote the business model of this start-up razor company, where they deliver razors to customers’ houses, starting at only a dollar a month.
- With the Dollar Shave Club co-founder Michael Dubin (doobin) giving a great deadpan performance; the company makes fun of “brand name razors,” particularly making references to tennis star Roger Federer’s ads for Gillette.
- Whatever the strategy was, it caught millions of people’s attention, getting two million hits on YouTube within the first four days of it being posted on the site. As of now, it has more than 19 million hits, and the company got 12,000 subscribers in two days after the video’s release.
- The ad itself seems a little bit ridiculous and doesn’t always make sense, but it’s entertaining, irreverent and hilarious. And for videos about buying razors, that’s quite an accomplishment. The moral here? Be clever.

#6: A Dramatic Surprise on a Quiet Square

- The arrow pointing to the button in this ad does say, “push to add drama,” and that’s exactly what we get. The setup: we see a so-called quiet square in a Belgian town transformed into a complete and utter gong show thanks to a random civilian pressing that button.
- So what adds the “drama”? We see a guy being delivered to an ambulance, who’s dropped and then falls out; a cyclist collides with the ambulance door and then starts an epic brawl with one of the paramedics; a woman rides a motorcycle in red lingerie; and a black car coming through with people fighting each other with guns. Oh, and a group of American football players carries one of the gunfire victims away. All of this for an ad for a TV channel.
- The guerrilla style of the video caught plenty of attention on YouTube, as it got a stunning 4.5 million hits within its first 24 hours online – that’s almost half of Belgium’s entire population. Its current hit count is over 53 million; almost five times the country’s population.

#5: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
Old Spice

- Flipping the script and aiming an ad for men’s body wash towards female consumers, this commercial is not only a convincing way to help make a man smell like, well, a man, but also was incredibly well done.
- With instructions from actor/former football player Isaiah Mustafa – known as the Old Spice Guy – we see that anything is possible when a man uses Old Spice thanks to rapid-fire dialogue and one continuous take that brings us really, really fast from a shower, to a boat to a horse. Obviously.
- By targeting a female demographic for a male product, Old Spice saw this ad become hugely successful both on TV and on YouTube, racking up more than 51 million hits in five and a half years on the site. It even won an Emmy in 2010, bagging the award for Outstanding Commercial.
- Whether Mustafa’s inability to stop making eye contact with the viewer during the ad is impressive or unsettling is your call – I’m into it, personally – but his smooth delivery and the innovative use of special effects make it a very convincing way to have ladies make their men smell better than ever. I’m on a horse.

#4: The Epic Split feat. Van Damme
Volvo Trucks

- Jean Claude Van Damme has always been known for doing the splits very well. Oh, also epic martial arts skills, action-packed movies and cute butt – sorry! It’s true! – but this is just on a whole other level.
- With the soothing, serene sounds of Enya acting as the soundtrack for this ad, the Muscles from Brussels does the splits as he stands on the rearview mirrors of two Volvo trucks that are moving IN REVERSE, with the trucks moving away from each other to help with the split. The results are nothing short of impressive, but since it’s Jean Claude Van Damme we’re talking about, it’s not that surprising. Okay, no it’s still hella surprising.
- The ad was supposed to be promoting Volvo’s new steering system, but clearly Van Damme’s impressive splits – and the equally impressive reverse steering done by the truck drivers – was too good to ignore. The stunt was done over three days, but there was only a 15-minute interval where the sunlight was at the perfect spot – so basically, they didn’t do a lot of takes. And no, it is not fake.
- All of this adds up to an ad that still has a massive view count, with over 80 million hits.

#3: The Force

- When you combine cute kids with Star Wars and fancy cars, chances are you’re gonna get a pretty good reaction to your ad. For Volkswagen, that’s what they did here, as a little boy runs around his house pretending to be Darth Vader, trying to use the “force” against anything and everything he sees in the house – it doesn’t work out so great, but it is ADORABLE.
- As a promotion for the 2012 Volkswagen Passat, this Super Bowl ad not only promoted a cool-looking car, but gave people a bit of an aww factor as well. Using the Star Wars movies’ classic “Imperial March” as its backing music, the ad ends with the tiny Vader running toward the car – instead of his dad who just got home – and using the force to actually start it. Unbeknownst to him of course, his dad was actually starting it with the remote control from the car’s keys.
- Ironically, the seven-year-old kid playing Vader, Max Page, had never actually seen any of the movies because he was too scared of them. Nevertheless, he pulled off the scene nicely, and the combination of cute kids and a movie franchise that transcends generations paid off big-time for Volkswagen, as the ad got 8 million hits on YouTube before it even aired on TV.

#2: Kobe vs. Messi: The Selfie Shootout
Turkish Airlines

- What happens when you bring together two of the most iconic athletes in the world for one ad? Well, not exactly what you’d expect. You might think Kobe Bryant would be challenged to a game of soccer, or Lionel Messi (lee-oh-nel) would shoot some hoops, but nope! Instead, Turkish Airlines challenges them to… a selfie competition.
- As the two superstars travel to various exotic locales all over the world, they take snaps of themselves having amazing experiences in different corners of the globe – Beijing, Moscow, Cape Town, Istanbul, you name it. Kobe even photobombs Messi in Turkey.
- So who ends up winning? Well, neither of them really. The real winner here ended up being Turkish Airlines themselves, as this ad has over 142 million views on YouTube at the moment, and was crowned the company’s ad of the decade through a public vote on their website. When you take two of the biggest athletes in the world and add in one of the most popular modern trends, you’ve got yourself a recipe for viral success.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

HM1 baby&me

HM2 Girls Don’t Poop

HM3 T-Mobile Dance

HM4 Skittles Touch: Cat

#1: Winner Stays. ft. Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Rooney, Ibrahimović, Iniesta & more (naymar – ee-brah-heemovitch - een-yesta)
Nike Football

- It goes without saying that soccer truly is the world’s game. And in this video released by Nike just before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, we see some of the world’s biggest footballers go head to head in an epic showdown between stars like Brazil’s Neymar, England’s Wayne Rooney, and Portuguese world-class superstar Cristiano Ronaldo – all of whom are sponsored by Nike.
- Although really it’s a bunch of guys from England playing against each other who suddenly turn themselves into many different footballing heavyweights, the combination of simple a pick-up game and elite talent makes it unbelievably entertaining. They even go so far as to pretend they’re playing in front of 50,000 footy fans, and the fact that Kobe Bryant and even the Hulk show up only adds to the awesomeness.
- With the score deadlocked at 2-all, Ronaldo steps up to take a penalty in a winner-take-all scenario. However, one of the young pick-up players takes the ball off him, and with fans watching at the stadium, in pubs and at home with bated breath, he slickly chips the ball into the back of the net past American keeper Tim Howard.
- It’s intense, it’s thrilling, it’s light-hearted, it’s fun – and everything in between. The public seemed to agree too, as its view count sits at over 118 million, making it the most viewed ad on YouTube in Nike’s history as well as the most viewed ad on YouTube in 2014 period.

That’s it for our countdown; we hope you enjoyed these ads just as much as we do. Be sure to check us out on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and for more top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to


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