Viral Video Chart

YouTube Hero Danny MacAskill Is Back, Pulling Two-Wheeled Stunts for Red Bull

From Web Video Phenomenon to In-Demand Pitchman in One Year

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- One thing we know: when stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill rides a bike, and someone films it, millions of people will watch, and watch, and watch. Inspired Bicycles figured that out when Mr. MacAskill's first big video cracked 21 million views on YouTube over the past year. Now, the acrobatic Scot is back with an ad for Red Bull that is so unlike an ad that YouTube is slapping its own ads on top of it.

For the uninitiated, Mr. MacAskill is a former bike mechanic from the Isle of Skye. Think the Kelly Slater or Tony Hawk of his sport -- well, you get the idea -- except made famous entirely by a amateur video shot by his roommate of the biker literally bouncing across rooftops in Edinburgh. Almost instantly, sponsors lined up, and the TV offers started rolling in. It's an awesome story, one that youth-oriented brands would no doubt line up to endorse.

And a few have. In his latest video, "Way Back Home," which hit No. 1 on the Viral Chart last week, MacAskill returns to the Isle of Skye for more stunts, this time for Red Bull. It's a beautiful video, professionally shot and produced. While it loses a little of the DIY amazingness of the first one, it's not as overt as this commercial for Volkswagen.

Near as I can tell there's only one display of product when he takes a Red Bull break at minute four, at least I think it's a Red Bull break. It's hard to tell since his hand covers any label on the can. It raises the question: what does the sponsor get out of those millions of views? The answer, it appears, is content for their website Red Bull Web TV, which conducted a Q&A with McAskill the day the video was released.

The video and its distribution is very much like Ken Block's Gymkhana series, ostensibly for DC Shoes (and No. 7 on the chart), but with plenty of other brands along for the ride. It's advertising as entertainment, where branding takes a back seat.

Also new this week, one of the hilariously bad videos ever to make the viral chart: Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino and Bristol Palin's ad for The Candies Foundation, which promotes abstinence. And 'abstinence' does have the word 'abs' in it, right?

Last Week Brand Campaign Agency Current Week Views* % Change in Views** Watch the Spot
1 New Red Bull Way Back Home N/A 1,608,337 New Red Bull: Way Back Home
2 5 T-Mobile Welcome Back Saatchi & Saatchi 1,038,506 -7% T-Mobile: Welcome Back
3 Back on Chart Axe Clean Your Balls BBH 1,005,246 Back on Chart Axe: Clean Your Balls
4 6 Evian Live Young BETC Euro RSCG 863,736 -5% Evian: Live Young
5 7 Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Crispin, Porter & Bogusky; Universal McCann 766,837 -10% Microsoft: Windows Phone 7
6 9 Blendtec Will It Blend? In-house 727,491 +1% Blendtec: Will it Blend?
7 8 DC Shoes Gymkhana Three In-house 727,296 -10% DC Shoes: Gymkhana Three
8 New The Candie's Foundation 'The Situation' and Bristol Palin Talk Sex N/A 701,043 New The Candie's Foundation: 'The Situation' and Bristol Palin Talk Sex
9 Back on Chart Axe World's Manliest Rituals Mindshare 632,709 Back on Chart Axe: World's Manliest Rituals
10 10 Microsoft Xbox Project Natal World Famous 605,063 -14% Microsoft: Xbox Project Natal
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