YouTube's most-viewed COVID-19 ads with ‘Stay Home’ messages
The internet is inundated with brands’ "stay home" messages. Some made more of an impression than others.
On Tuesday, YouTube released a list of the most-viewed video ads on its platform from mid-March to mid-April. The list was based on a view-tracking algorithm and individual review to make sure the ads focused on staying home.
The top 12 ads, which generated a total of more than 32 million views, are ranked here in order of views received.
With 5.7 million views, Nike tops YouTube’s list of stay-at-home messages. Along with committing more than $15 million to COVID-19 relief efforts, producing protective equipment for healthcare professionals and livestreaming free classes, the brand launched a new campaign called “Play for the world” in late March.
Nike's 60-second spot, created with Wieden+Kennedy Portland, shows celebrity athletes including LeBron James, Ramla Ali and Sara Hughes working out at home, interspersed with everyday people finding creative ways to play indoors. Nike, which has 1.4 million subscribers on YouTube, posted the video on April 8.
Read more about the campaign here.
Coming in second is the National Football League with 4.3 million views for its “Stay Home, Stay Strong” PSA. In the five-minute spot, NFL heavyweights, including the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady and retired players including Michael Strahan and Tony Gonzalez, discuss how they’re spending more time with family as they stay home. The ad was created with creative agency 72 and Sunny and media agency OMD. The NFL, which has 6.5 million YouTube subscribers, posted the video on March 26.
Oreo’s “Stay Playful” campaign grew to “Stay Home, Stay Playful” when the pandemic began. The 15-second spot, posted to YouTube on April 9, shows families having fun indoors. It was developed by The Martin Agency with media buys by VaynerMedia. It received 4.3 million views on YouTube, where the brand has 342,000 subscribers.
Oreo also launched a TikTok challenge #CookieWithACause, which challenged participants to place Oreos on their heads and somehow move them to their mouths. Oreo said it would donate $1 for every use of the hashtag, up to a total of $1 million.
Pepsi hosted its star-studded concert “One World: Together at Home” along with Global Citizen and the World Health Organization on April 18. The concert showed stars including Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish and Andrea Bocelli singing from their homes. A 15-second spot promoting the concert generated 3.2 million views on YouTube, where the beverage giant has 845,000 subscribers. The video was posted on April 14, four days before the main event.
Read more about Pepsi’s marketing around the concert here.
With 3.2 million views, Lowe’s has the fifth most-viewed “stay home” video on YouTube. A 15-second spot encourages viewers to make signs supporting frontline heroes like healthcare workers and display them in windows or in front of their homes. Lowe’s, which has 840,000 YouTube subscribers, posted the spot on April 4. It’s one of several in the retailer’s campaign about the importance of home.
Read more about Lowe’s home-focused campaign here.
Ikea's 30-second spot for U.S. audiences received 2.9 million views on YouTube, where it has 306,000 subscribers. The spot focuses on “firsts” during the pandemic, such as the first time someone tries to cook or volunteer. “When the day comes when we’re no longer looking at our worlds from the inside out, it will be what we did in here that will make us stronger out there,” says the spot.
Burger King’s comical ad garnered 2.3 million views on YouTube, where the brand has 103,000 subscribers. In the 30-second spot from FCB New York with media buys from Horizon Media, the fast feeder concentrates on couch potatoes and how they can help healthcare workers by ordering delivery from the comfort of their couches. The video concludes with “Stay Home of the Whopper.” In the spot, Burger King says it has waived delivery fees, is giving free food to nurses and is supporting the American Nurses Foundation.
Read more about the ad here.
Bud Light’s 15-second spot called “We’ll Meet Again” has generated 2.1 million views on YouTube, and is one that will make tears drop. Johnny Cash’s rendition of “We’ll Meet Again” is played over scenes of empty stadiums and restaurants. The spot, which was posted on March 26, was created by Wieden+Kennedy with media buys by Dentsu and SocialCode. Bud Light has 176,000 subscribers on YouTube.
Old Spice brought back Terry Crews for its coronavirus public-service announcements, which tell people to stay inside and wash their hands. Wieden+Kennedy repurposed work Crews did for Old Spice in 2012 and 2015, dubbing new messages into old video. The “Wash Your Hands” video has seen 1.8 million views since it was posted on April 16 on YouTube, where the brand has 859,000 subscribers.
Old Spice has also joined other brands and BET Network to provide support to fight COVID-19 in black communities. Read more about that effort here.
In a 30-second spot that generated 1.8 million views on YouTube, TurboTax takes a similar approach to Ikea and highlights all of the stay-home “firsts,” including the “first time school is home and home is school and the “first time having to file your taxes from home.” It goes on to say that TurboTax Live has CPAs on demand to help along the way. The animated spot, posted on April 8, with creative and media buys by Wieden+Kennedy. TurboTax has 132,000 subscribers on YouTube.
A Realtor.com video received a million views on YouTube for an ad showcasing the changing relationship people are having with their homes. The 45-second spot, posted on April 6, is part of the brand’s #StayHome campaign developed by Huge, with media buys from Crossmedia. The ad begins with: “Home. A word that today takes on a whole new meaning.” Realtor.com has 28,900 YouTube subscribers.
In March, the Ad Council launched a partnership with the White House, Centers for Disease Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and several media organizations including ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal and Walt Disney for a campaign called #AloneTogether. The campaign, developed by Pereira & Dell, targets young people and encourages them to stay home and focus on mental health.
One of the PSAs, a minute-long video posted to YouTube on March 31, received 980,000 views. The video features famous faces including DJ Khaled, Michelle Williams and Nev Schulman, all emphasizing the importance of staying home.
The Ad Council has 144,000 YouTube subscribers. Read more about the #AloneTogether campaign here.