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Sobhani & Bullmore: what works best on YouTube

Leo Burnett's brilliant creative minds discuss the latest work on the YouTube Ads Leaderboard. Chaka Sobhani and Josh Bullmore reflect on and analyse work centred around the World Cup, Mariah Carey and an alternative superhero

Brands that are using YouTube as an entertaining platform are the ones "breaking through", explains Leo Burnett’s chief creative officer Chaka Sobhani while speaking candidly with colleague Josh Bullmore, chief strategy officer at the agency. 

"Those who are understanding the audience, the type of content they want to watch and how they are going to watch it are the ones making work that really resonates. The view counts go up."

Sobhani picks "The defiant ones" by Beats by Dre – from the YouTube Ads Leaderboard in April, May and June – as an example of this, praising its "attitude".

Bullmore finds Dominos' "Staying at home for international tournaments" entertaining. The ad features ex-footballer Jimmy Bullard, who never made it to the World Cup.

"The silliness and the daftness of it appealed as a counterpoint to all the bombards [during the World Cup]".

Bullmore also cites Deadpool's ad with Manchester United as an example of knowing how to use the platform and understand what audiences are into: "Deadpool is dead smart," he says.

YouTube is a unique platform due to the different modes that a brand can play with, says Bullmore: "It can go from interruptive advertiser through to content you can bathe in for the length you want to, to moving someone through to clicking and buying something."

Bullmore names Hostelworld's tongue-in-cheek ad, which features Mariah Carey as an example of an which taps into more than one mode: "It's out and out advertising and brilliant content." 

Sobhani describes YouTube as a platform that’s very democratised, so if brands don’t entertain they risk being ignored: "You are in control of what you want to watch and what you don’t want to watch. If you don’t want it, you move on. The stakes are high so you better make sure you turn up."

Bullmore is struck by how immersive YouTube is, he says: "It may be wide screen and it can be small screen but you lean in."  

For Sohbani, understanding how to work more closely with YouTube at the beginning of the creative process is important if brands are to make the most of the potential opportunities or bring different ways of thinking that might influence the creative. 

Bullmore believes the key tip to winning on YouTube lies in understanding and respecting the audience.

"You’ve got to spend time as a user on YouTube, so you know what it’s like to be at the other end of the screen."

See the nation’s favourite YouTube ads here.