Close-Up: The whole world of advertising at your fingertips

As Campaign curates YouTube's homepage, Matt Williams looks at some of the best ads on the site from around the world.

This week, to mark the fifth birthday of the video-sharing site, Campaign is curating YouTube's homepage to bring you a sample of some of the best ads created outside of these shores in recent times.

In five years, YouTube has become a window on to the global world of creativity, and a reminder that great creativity is not the preserve of big agencies from major markets. More than that, it's also a sobering reminder that consumers can often be every bit as creative as the professionals.

But there's no doubt that the video-sharing site has completely revolutionised how people approach advertising - whether it's providing creatives with an alternative source of inspiration, allowing ads to enjoy a longer shelf-life, encouraging consumers to get directly involved with the commercial message or helping brands to produce more effective advertising on even smaller budgets.

And it's opened up ads to commercial audiences well beyond the markets for which the work was originally created. So while YouTube has enabled the UK to showcase such talent as Susan Boyle and Paul Potts to the world, it has also allowed the Great British Public to enjoy ads such as the iconic "carousel" campaign created for Philips by Tribal DDB Amsterdam and the epic "rollerbabies" spot for Evian by BETC Euro RSCG, which had been circulating around the internet months before it ever hit UK TV screens.

This sort of exposure means that we are no longer surprised by the talent that steps up on to the podium when the Cannes Lions get dished out in June. Even with the ceremony still a month away, you've probably already laughed along to the Cannes hopeful "smell like a man" Old Spice spot by Wieden & Kennedy Portland and immersed yourself in Euro RSCG's campaign for Dos Equis, which introduces "the most interesting man in the world".

So here's Campaign's selection of some of the best ads from around the world. They're not necessarily new but they're currently riding high in YouTube rankings.

Some of the ads we've chosen to spotlight will make you laugh (should balloon animals simulating sex really be that funny?), while others, such as the Orange "airball" or Movistar "connected" work, may leave you with a lump in your throat. You may even see a campaign for the first time that will provide the inspiration for your next piece of work.

From an epic US Super Bowl spot to a viral that forms the basis of a Swedish experiential campaign, sit back and enjoy a selection of the most entertaining, most intriguing and most impactful ads from beyond the London village.


Adidas - 'Star Wars' by Sid Lee

Bringing Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, David Beckham and Snoop Dogg together on screen all at the same time, Sid Lee expertly showed how two globally successful brands can seamlessly link up.

Dos Equis - 'The most interesting man in the world' by Euro RSCG

He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels. His organ donation card lists his beard. And he can speak fluent French - in Russian. Introducing the most interesting man in the world.

Gatorade - 'Replay' by TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles

Imagine being able to replay the most important sports match from your high-school days. Gatorade made this happen in an integrated campaign, which ended up as a TV series.

Nike - 'Music shoe' by Wieden & Kennedy Tokyo

By embedding flexible accelerometers and sensors into its shoes, Nike enlisted some supremely talented DJs to create an intriguing range of sounds for this unfeasibly cool ad.

Orangina - 'Bloody' by Fred & Farid Paris

Love it or hate it, this campaign is guaranteed to turn a few heads - as most ads that feature a domineering female puma whipping a naked businessman will tend to do.

Air New Zealand - 'Nothing to hide' by.99

Eight Air New Zealand staff members swap their regular uniforms for body paint to help put a sense of fun back into flying in this viral.

Durex - 'Balloons' by Fitzgerland & Company

A very funny spot that became hugely popular online. But be warned, you'll never look at a balloon animal in the same way again.

Google - 'Parisian love' by Google Creative Lab

Romance for the next generation as a touching love story is played out entirely on the search engine's site.

Old Spice - 'Smell like a man' by Wieden & Kennedy Portland

UK ads for men's toiletries tend to range from embarrassing to crap. Here, the US shows us how to do it, managing to bundle an insane number of wisecracks into a 30-second slot.

Philips - 'Parallel lines' by DDB

The follow-up to the Cannes Grand Prix-winning "carousel" did not disappoint, cleverly producing five short films, each taking a different approach to a single piece of dialogue.

Coca-Cola - 'The Simpsons' by Wieden & Kennedy Portland

Combine one of the world's biggest brands with one of the world's best-loved TV shows and you've got yourself a potent mix. This Super Bowl ad managed to prove that even Mr Burns has a heart.

E*Trade - 'Baby girlfriend' by Grey New York

In this Super Bowl spot, two babies discuss the hot topic that everyone their age seems to be talking about - building a diversified portfolio.

Knorr - 'Salty' by DDB Canada

A charming ad that carefully blends romance with slapstick humour. Never before has a saltshaker been given such personality.

Olympus - 'The pen story' by DSG Dialog Solutions Hamburg

A heart-warming tale of a man's journey through life, told using the eye-catching stop-motion technique.

Skittles - 'Tube sock' by TBWA\Chiat\Day New York

Skittles has gained a reputation in the US for producing quirky advertising. This latest spot, which explores an old man's relationship with a tube sock, proves that the reputation is well deserved.

Doritos - 'Crash the Super Bowl' by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

Crowd-sourcing ads may no longer be anything new, but few have been as good as these efforts by Doritos fans for this year's Super Bowl.

Evian - 'Rollerbabies' by BETC Euro RSCG

These loveable and multi-talented babies helped this Evian ad get recognised by the Guinness World Records last year for being the most viewed online ad of all time.

Movistar - 'Connected' by Y&R Peru

A striking use of split screens helped Movistar show how it "brings people together" in this evocative ad.

Orange - 'Airball' by Publicis Conseil

An inspirational and wonderfully shot piece of film that proves that there is no substitute for a spot of childish enthusiasm and a vivid imagination.

Volkswagen - 'Fun theory' by DDB Stockholm

Changing behaviour, the Volkswagen way. This viral shows what happened when Stockholm residents woke up one morning to a set of "piano stairs".