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Old Spice, Red Bull, and Bears Oh My! A look back at the last five years of ads on YouTube

By David Kagan

Product Marketing Manager

Do you remember life before the Old Spice Man? Or the epic split that launched a thousand splits? Since launching our skippable TrueView video ads five years ago, we’ve had countless iconic moments from brands on YouTube. That’s because with our introduction of ads you can skip, brands have amped up their game and created videos that feel less like ads and more like content you want to watch. In fact, last year four of the top 10 trending videos of the year were created by brands.

To celebrate our fifth anniversary of our skippable TrueView ads, we’re bringing you back to 2010, with a look at the top five trending ads on YouTube from five years ago. Do you remember them all? 

1) DC Shoes: “Ken Block’s Gymkhana THREE, Part 2; Ultimate Playground; l’Autodrome, France
DC Shoes took us behind the wheel with Ken Block on a track with banks as steep as 51 degrees—more than double the incline of most racecar tracks!

2) Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
In 2010, Old Spice took the web by storm with their 'The Man Your Man Could Smell Like' campaign. Even funnier were the resulting real-time conversations that ensued with celebrities like Alyssa Milano.

3) Red Bull: Danny MacAskill - Way Back Home
Two years before Felix Baumgartner jumped from the stratosphere, Red Bull was still leading the charge on creating breathtaking HD ads.

4) Old Spice: Questions
The "Old Spice Man" became so popular that two of his videos were among the five most popular of the year - totalling nearly 75M views of both ads combined.

5) Tippex: NSFW. A hunter shoots a bear.
We'd be remiss not to give a shout-out to Tippex, who made white-out, of all products, a YouTube hit with their incredibly clever play on “choose your own adventure, YouTube style” in this ad.


But 2010 was just a starting point for great videos from brands. We’ve seen more creativity from brands on YouTube over the past five years, and as a result we’re watching more. In fact, the top 100 brands are now generating 42 percent more views per month on YouTube, according to Pixability.1 And we're seeing great growth in new advertisers adopting video ads on YouTube--the number of advertisers using TrueView grew 45 percent in 20142 and all of the top 100 global brands have run TrueView video ads over the past year.3

To check out some of the most memorable ads on YouTube, take a look at our Iconic Ad Moments on YouTube playlist.



We look forward to see what brands will come up with this year!

David Kagan, Product Marketing Manager, recently watched "Volvo LifePaint."

1. Pixability Top 100 Brands report, March 2015; compares data from Feb 2014 to Feb 2015. Top 100 brands defined by Interbrand Top 100 Global Brands list.
2. YouTube global data, 2014. Top 100 brands defined by Interbrand Top 100 Global Brands list.
3. YouTube global data, 2013 vs. 2014