A look back at the best videos of 2014

2014 has been a year of charity challenges, animal pranks and heart-wrenching advertising campaigns. To mark the lead up to Christmas and the New Year, I’ve taken some time to look back over the past year to pick out our top videos of the last 12 months.

1) Would you help a freezing child?SOS Children’s Village International released an under cover video, earlier this year, to highlight the plight of Syrian children.  The use of hidden cameras to capture strangers giving the small boy scarves, gloves and coats enhances the heart-warming nature of the film as the branding is less obvious. This video hit the top spot on Ad Age’s Viral Video Chart back in March and has now secured almost 5 million views on YouTube.

2) Strangers First Kiss – It’s the moment everyone dreads – the first kiss. But doing it with a complete stranger in front of a camera is even more terrifying! Not for this group of 20 complete strangers in America who were paired up and asked to lock lips. What perhaps viewers may not have known is that this challenging experiment was for LA-based women’s clothing brand Wren.

3) Budweiser’s Puppy Love – Gone are the days of friends sitting around shouting Whatsuuuuuuup! at each other. The memorable yet rather irritating iconic phrase has been replaced with a more sentimental advert including two puppies that just want to be together. The video which appeared in January’s Super Bowl has been voted 7th in an annual list of top videos release by YouTube. This video marks the changing face of advertising which is seeing more companies pull on our heart strings to engage us.

4) Spider Dog – The ultimate prank of fooling people in thinking their worst nightmare has come true – that a giant spider has found its way to a town near you! This video, uploaded by the ultimate prankster on YouTube secured over 115,000,000 views since its upload in September.

5) Honda ‘The Other Side’ – Although this video has not been mentioned in YouTube’s trending videos for 2014 we think this video is extremely clever and very engaging. Providing the audience with an opportunity to be interactive with videos isn’t something new, however using technology which allows the audience to watch a different version or flick between the two is such a great way of advertising the intrigue of the new Honda. Have a go yourself and see if you can predict the end….

6) Ice Bucket Challenge – By far one of the biggest charity pushes in recent years, this campaign saw world leaders, celebrities, children and adults join together to feel the freeze of a bucket full of ice cubes in the name of raising money for Motor Neurone Disease. The success and popularity of the challenge even saw other charities piggy back on to the hype as well. From 29 July to 28 August this year ALS received $98.2m – compared with $2.7m donated during the same period last year. In total, a simple summer of buckets and ice water raised a total of $115m since July alone. Here’s one of the most viewed Ice Bucket Challenges with Bill Gates accepting Mark Zukerburg’s challenge. Check out the bucket dropping workmanship!

7) Hero cat saves child from dog attack – Now I’d say I’m more a dog person than a cat person but this video shows nature at its best! Although it’s not a branded video this received huge interest from new outlets and on social media. Who knew cats were so caring!

8) John Lewis Monty the Penguin – We can’t forget the long awaited Christmas advertising campaign from retailer John Lewis. Since it’s humble beginning in 2007 after a three year break from TV advertising which saw presents being stacked in a warehouse creating shadows to replicate the people they were for, John Lewis’ messaging has been clear: that it’s the place to find that perfect gift over the festive period. Audiences waited with baited breath over the next few years as they saw snowmen buy presents, the bear and the Hare, and this year; the much loved Monty the Penguin. These campaigns have changed the way advertisers are now searching for way to get into our emotions and hook us in to their products in a subtle way.

9) Nike Football: Winner Stays – The World cup was a highlight for football fans worldwide this year with committed fans travelling out to Rio to be involved with the action. Nike has always remained near the top when it comes to campaigns surrounding the World Cup – in 2010 their Write the Future commercial dominated YouTube. This year saw a modest children’s footie match taken over by a star studded pitch including the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr, and Wayne Rooney. Even the Hulk appears on the pitch! The messaging – to inspire its audience, to let them know that taking a risk has benefits.

10) McVities – Let’s face it, we would all love a cute kitten or cuddly corgi to appear from a pack of biscuits (most of us animal lovers anyway!) and McVities nails it with this diverse advert which is different every time. Something like this keeps the audience engaged and reflects the key messaging for the brand. Although it’s Christmas campaign joins the list of festive commercials coming under fire this month for suggesting people buy pets this Christmas, we still love it! So sit back, and enjoy some super cute animals sing for only you!