Google has released its YouTube Ads leaderboard for the first half of 2016. The list represents the top 10 ads on YouTube in Singapore that resonated most with audiences between January to June.
It celebrates the brands that performed best among Singapore audiences through a combination of popularity and promotion.
This year's leaderboard showed the importance of locally relevant content, highlighting how powerful storytelling focusing on family values and sentimental ties can be an effective way to strike a chord with Singaporean audiences. Moreover, this year, the government leads the pack with two of the top 10 ads created by government agencies, including Gov.SG's "Make It Better – What ruined Wenjie’s night out?" and "Steady, Ah Gong!"
1. NOC No Wallet Challenge!
Taking the top spot is Singtel's collaboration with Night Owl Cinematics to promote its new mobile wallet app, Singtel Dash. The "No Wallet Singtel Dash" challenge involves its participants to spend the day without their wallets. The challenge is split into three rounds involving retail shopping, a blind food taste test and a manhunt. It featured local deejay Dee Kosh, YouTuber Tan Jian Hao and NOC cast members. The campaign was launched on 28 May 2016 and has had over 583,000 of views at the time of writing.
2. Make It Better-What ruined Wenjie’s night out?
Coming in second is a spot part of a series by Gov.sg to promote the value of embracing diversity in its "Make It Better" campaign. It featured a man called Raj on a taxi calling his colleague Wenjie, who was having dinner with his friends. What seems like a tense conversation ensuing was just Raj telling Wenjie that his favourite football player had gotten injured. The spot concluded with the phrase, "Impressions can change once you see the bigger picture."The campaign was launched on 18 February 2016 and has had over 420,000 views at the time of writing.
3. Happiness: Then & Now.
Coming in third in the lineup is a lighthearted video by TreePotatoes, it addresses the different happy moments in the past versus the present over a range of topics such as messaging, the weather temperature, games, shopping and even the nature of mobile phone plans. Some of the comparisons drew some similarities such as how the girls in the video reacted to boy bands in a similar "fangirling" fashion. The video concluded with a shout out about the Great Online Shopping Festival and exclusive Singtel sales during the April period. The campaign was launched on 19 April 2016 and has had over 470,000 of views at the time of writing.
4. Expectations Vs. Reality of NS Men - TSL Comedy EP 22.
Coming in fourth is a spot produced by The Smart Local to promote Nivea Men's facial wash. It follows an "expectation vs. reality" format about life in the army for men in Singapore. The campaign was launched on 5 February 2016 and has had over 380,000 of views at the time of writing.
5. Young & Fabulous Main Trailer.
The fifth most viewed video in Singapore is the trailer for Young and Fabulous, a movie about different youths in Singapore who have different ambitions, interests and passions. The trailer also features homegrown music group The Sam Willows. The campaign was launched on 3 May 2016 and has had over 300,000 of views at the time of writing.
6. Steady, Ah Gong!
Coming in sixth is a spot by Gov.sg which is a nod to lifelong learning. The spot features a grandfather trying to connect with his granddaughter who is currently studying in another a country, only to be turned down by his grandson for help. He picks up the IT skills on his own at a community centre and succeeds in contacting his granddaughter, much to his grandson's surprise. The campaign was launched on 17 February 2016 and has had over 140,000 of views at the time of writing.
7. Braking News! Nat Ho and DJ Simone Heng go crazy in a Kia!
In seventh place is none other than a 360-degree video by Kia Singapore. It features local celebrity Nat Ho and DJ Simone Heng being driven around wildly in a Kia vehicle. It offers a full look at the interior of the car and entertaining reactions to sudden breaks which showcase the car's braking abilities. The campaign was launched on 16 May 2016 and has had over 120,000 of views at the time of writing.
8. How Do I Produce Videos and Plan a Video Shoot?
Coming in eighth is a promotional video by Creator Collective. It features different video creation industry players commenting on the various challenges of video production. It ends with a call to action to join the new collective. The campaign was launched on 12 May 2016 and has had over 119,000 of views at the time of writing.
9. Because Jetstar Can!
Coming in ninth place is Jetstar's April Fool's video which touts the airline embracing Singlish as its official customer-facing language. This, it claims is its first steps towards greater market localisation. Passengers can apparently look forward to hearing announcements such as “kiap your seatbelt tight” and “kin kin return to your seat”. The campaign was launched on 30 March 2016 and has had over 126,000 of views at the time of writing.
10. Sparks - New Mini-series: Episode 1/3!
Coming in 10th on the list is the first episode of DBS Bank's mini-series called Sparks. It is shot in the perspective of a young office lady who is told to show a new employee around the office and get acquainted with their colleagues, as well as her annoyance with him. It also talks about the bank's motto of "Live more, bank less". The campaign was launched on 4 February 2016 and has had over 118,000 of views at the time of writing.
In a press statement, Google also narrowed down what resonates with consumers:
- Don’t be afraid of long format adDespite the fact that consumer attention is dwindling, people still enjoy a good long spot. The leaderboard is filled with ads that were born digital, with formats created specifically with YouTube’s audience in mind. Just looking at the length of the ads: Singtel’s and DBS’s ads clock in at 8.5 mins and over 5mins respectively.“This is remarkable — Singaporeans are choosing to watch ads, and long ones. Viewers will watch longer videos from brands as long as brands have an enjoyable story to tell,” said Google.
- If it is short, make it snappyGov.sg and the Creator Collective Asia’s under 1minute ads show that online video ads can also keep it snappy. Creator Collective Asia’s ad about how to make better videos is clearly well targeted to the YouTube crowd — a place that’s full of aspiring movie moguls.Gov.sg’s witty short film shows how an interesting storyline and a surprise ending can arouse the curiosity and interest of audiences.
- Entertain first, sell laterPeople head to YouTube to above all be entertained, brands that realise this and prioritise telling a story or a joke above selling are going to win over more of the YouTube audience.Kia’s ad brings viewers on a thrilling ride with local celebrities while Jetstar opts for a heavy dose of Singlish and comedy, in the form of a documentary programme. DBS’s ad features glossy, cinematic visuals and plays more like a short film with its three-part mini-series than an ad.
- Leave it to the expertsSingtel is featured in the leaderboard twice — including at the top spot — so they’ve clearly mastered the art of reaching an audience with online video.How have they done it? Wisely, instead of trying to turn themselves into digital video whizkids, they turned to the masters of the medium for help: YouTube creators. Both of Singtel’s ads — and Nivea’s too — use YouTube creators to tell the story: combining a winning formula of familiar faces, humour and subtle product placement.(Read also: Malaysia's top YouTube ads for the first half of 2016)