10 most popular YouTube ads in Asia

Last week, YouTube launched YouTube Rewind  in an ode to all the videos that were trending in 2015.

The list showed that locally in Singapore, the audience prefers to share and view lighthearted content with videos like Mediacorp’s “Unbelievable I so stunned like vegetable” and Night Owl Cinematics’ takes on Singaporean life topping the rankings.

However, regionally, creativity is still what sells.

Brand such as Unilever, Samsung, Knorr all vied for the top spot in the list and the top ten videos in this year’s list were watched for an amazing total of more than 3.5 million hours (almost 400 years) and half of that watch time happened on mobile.

So what exactly works on YouTube?

According to YouTube's analysis of “TrueView” ad campaign that ran on the platform between January to June, it found that ads that last longer than 60 seconds result in higher engagement.

“Brands have understood that when they create great content that takes the time to tell a complete story, viewers will be interested. The results of the Leaderboard are clear: with nine out of ten ads lasting longer than 60 seconds, it shows that wellcrafted stories resonate best with consumers,” said Simon Kahn, CMO, Google AsiaPacific .

Based on the research, and the evidence of the leaderboard, here are some tips for how brands can win audience attention on YouTube:

  • Make movies, not ads

Half of the ads in the leaderboard play more like movies than ads. They have high production values and fully developed story lines. Product placement is kept to a minimum, but is included where it’s natural. Chotot and Knorr are great examples of this “short movie” approach.

  • Lights, camera, music

From JPop to CPop to everything in between, Asia is home to a rich variety of homegrown musical styles. What OMO and LG demonstrate is that the music video format is a powerful way to get your message across, as long as the branding elements are introduced in a subtle way.

  • Escape from reality

Sometimes you need to just get away from it all. Taiwan Mobile’s tale of kids dressing up is engaging and funny, but no one would mistake it for real life. This escapist element is great, but what makes the ad even better is that the kids can’t stop being kids — the blooper reel is very cute!

  • Use human reactions

YouTube is all about authenticity so showing real people’s reactions feels right in this medium. The reality show / documentary style is great for showing raw emotions that the audience can relate to. Hyundai and Knorr are great examples of this, although they have completely different settings (one home cooking and the other outer space), both center on the universal relationship between parents and children.

  • Keep the conversation going

With TV ads it’s hard to tell a story in several parts — aside from the expense, there’s no elegant way to help viewers catch up with previous “episodes.” Online, it’s easy to tell a story and build increasing engagement over a sequence of videos. Chotot and Sunsilk both realised this trend in their popular series.

While the leaderboard is a testament to creativity across the whole region, this year Thailand and Vietnam also deserved a special mention as only two years after the official launch of YouTube in both countries, they are in the top ten markets worldwide for numbers of hours watched.

In this year’s leaderboard, five of the top ten ads across Asia come from either Thailand or Vietnam. Vietnam experienced an eyepopping 120% year-on-year growth and Thailand at 70% year-on-year.

Kahn said:This year’s leaderboard demonstrates how YouTube can help brands break barriers — whether it’s helping propel new local brands to the top of consumers’ minds, like Chotot’s funny web series, or helping established brands develop iconic ads that travel across borders like Message to Space from Hyundai.”

Here are the top ten ads from across the region:

1. OMO / Unilever




3. YouTube


4. Samsung


5. Hyundai


6. Chotot


7. Knorr


8. Cpbrand


9. Sunsilk/Unilever


10. Taiwan Mobile