Embrace Life ad scoops YouTube advertising award

A campaign for Sussex Safer Roads called 'Embrace Life - always wear your seat belt' has beaten strong competition from some of the world's biggest brands to scoop the inaugural YouTube Ad of the Year prize.

The winner, shot in slow motion to emphasise the importance of wearing seatbelts, was created by Alexander Commercials.

It was chosen from a shortlist of 28 entries by YouTube viewers, pipping work from Old Spice, Foster's and O2.

Its creators received their prize of a YouTube homepage takeover worth £75,000 at Wednesday night’s Campaign Media Awards, an event sponsored by the video-sharing channel.

On its YouTube debut last January, 'Embrace Life' immediately went viral, gaining over a million views in its first two weeks.

In the final round of viewer voting, 'Embrace Life' was up against Old Spice, 'The Man Your Man Could Smell Like' by Wieden & Kennedy Portland, 'O2 Gorillaz' by VCCP and 'Good call' for Foster’s by Adam & Eve.

These four had received the most votes from a shortlist of 28 entries that included some of the most viewed ads on the channel, including Hi-Tec’s 'Liquid mountaineering' spoof documentary and the homepage takeover ad for 'The Expendables', the Sylvester Stallone film.

There were more than 170 entries for the competition, ranging from bespoke YouTube videos to ads that have originally aired on TV.

Bruce Daisley, YouTube’s sales leader, said: "In creating this award, we wanted to showcase the professionalism and creativity of long-form ad content as well as shorter executions that consumers can experience on YouTube.

"Viewers actively choose to watch ads on YouTube, so it is in effect a daily referendum on the world's advertising. Brands and their agencies are starting to meet that challenge and this award celebrates their creative efforts."