Halfway into 2016, brands video ads scorecard is out. Let’s look at which brands got it right.

Google has published a list of top 10 YouTube ads from Jan – Jun 2016 by using an algorithm that factors paid views, organic views and audience retention. These ads have managed to gather whooping 400,000 hours of watch time with over 60% of these watched on mobile.

Bajaj has sealed the number one spot with an emotional brand video of INS Vikrant inspired Bajaj V bikes while Amazon’s #ApniDukaan and Makemytrip’s #Befikarbookkar were the others among the top three top watched video ads of the half year.

These ads demonstrate the important constituents of successful video ads that have managed to strike a chord with Indian audiences.

Here are top 3 lessons every marketer should look at –

Digital Storytelling is the new Protagonist !!

We are obsessed with stories and stories captivate our interest unlike anything else. Storytelling not only allows brands to grab attention of the consumer and stand out from other brands, but also to show the personal side of the brand.

We all remember Lifebuoy’s “Help a child reach 5” video ad (coincidentally leaderboard member of 2013) with digital storytelling at the heart of corporate social responsibility to raise awareness on hand washing and personal hygiene. The larger goal was to eradicate diarrhoea from Indian villages.  The campaign went viral and generated millions of eyeballs for the brand.

Bajaj’s V- The Invincible brought together the untold stories of valor, respect and pride of INS Vikrant, India’s first aircraft carrier, packaged in a documentary format in its video ad of latest bike Bajaj V. Customers loved the story of keeping India’s war-hero alive. The video ad gathered massive  3.5 million views.

Hitachi’s #NothingDirty is like an episode of Badshah figuring out the lyrics of his new song as a challenge by VJ Bani. Customers are indulged in the journey throughout the length of video and brand elements are smartly knitted into the video. The video earned more than 1.5 million views.

Coke, Pepsi, Makemytrip, Royal Challenge also created digital storytelling based video ads that helped them top the charts.

Gone are the days when brands use to rave about the product benefits through a jingle in the advertisement. Now storytelling is the protagonist and conveys the brand message in a more impactful way.

Create Real Human Connections!

Brands shouldn’t t try to sell hard but create an emotional connect by either picking up a relevant social issue or contributing in resolving a cultural tension. Remember, Google’s hugely popular “Re Union “Campaign( again 2013) which established that search isn’t a commodity but could also be an enabler of happiness. It created an emotional connect with the consumer by commenting on a social tension.

Award winning campaign – #sharetheload  by Ariel takes the viewer to an emotional journey and raised the right concerns of gender equality. The brand message resonated well with most consumers and the video became viral across the country. One of today’s most relevant issues of gender equality was addressed by the brand in a compelling, engaging and interesting way and consequently, the video ad generated over 1.2 million views.

#Playbold – the Fan anthem of Royal Challenge (Sports Drink), promotes the youth to shed inhibitions and play bold. The larger goal is empower the young Indian to come out of comfort zone and make bold moves. The video was released timely with the cricket season and generated 2.3 million views.

Brands have a more human side now. They talk about relevant issues in a very humane way by making real emotional connections with consumers.

Celebrities are the real influencers

Whats better than having a huge fanbase? Leveraging hyperactive fanbase of a celebrity for your campaign.

Dont believe it ?

Five out of ten of the top video ads involve one or more celebrity.

Make my trip’s high decibel #befikarbookkar roped in stylish Ranveer and charming Alia in a story format short TVCs. The videos promote the fragmented online booking of hotels by fun scenario based stories. Celebrity charisma and humorous touch fetched 2.53 million views.

#Playbold – Fan anthem of Royal Challenge (Sports Drink) features India’s biggest sports heartthrobs – Ms Dhoni and Virat Kohli. If you think that was enough, the anthem is sung by Vishal Dadlani and composed by Salim Merchant, both making a short feature in the video as well. As a result, a star studded campaign that became viral with over 2.3 million views.

Influencer marketing is becoming the new norm today. Brands should use celebrity influencers to amplify the campaigns effectively.

Is there a recipe to create successful video ads ?

It is interesting to note that none of the brands have been featured more than once in last three leaderboards. While relevant storytelling and human emotions are the common theme across the years, no single brand has emerged as a true leader.

Brands should focus on creating compelling video content with a rich and relevant narrative to create real connections with the end consumer.

With mega events like Olympics and festive season towards the end of the year, we are extremely positive on the video campaigns for the rest of the year. Lets see what the next half of the year has in store for us.


  1. Very interesting to see the trends emerging out of these 10 highly viewed ads.
    I 100% agree with point 1 and 3, but IMO point 2 is geography specific ..
    I would love to see how these 3 points play for ads outside India. say top 10 USA ads or top 10 world ads..


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