Abhilash Edathil
Sep 7, 2015

YouTube Spikes-to-Spikes leaderboard: Content that lasts

In the first of a two-part series looking at the most popular YouTube ads since Spikes 2014, Abhilash Edathil of Google counts down from 10 to 6 and catches up with Vietnamese online classifieds brand Chotot to go behind the scenes of its popular video series.

YouTube Spikes-to-Spikes leaderboard: Content that lasts

The annual Spikes Asia festival, which takes place starting Wednesday in Singapore, allows Asia’s brands and agencies to take a moment to celebrate great campaigns and innovative ideas. We’ve seen a lot of both on YouTube in Asia over the past 12 months, as the five ads below clearly show.

The ads are by a great mix of local brands, like Taiwan Mobile, and international brands like Snickers and Cornetto. And with eight out of 10 of the ads specifically made for the Asia-Pacific market, this represents a significant change compared to last year’s list, where only four of the ads came from the region. Clearly, online video in Asia-Pacific has matured.

All the ads are well beyond the typical 30-second TV spot, and were made with a YouTube audience in mind. Longer video ads is a growing trend—compared to the top 10 ads from Spikes 2014 the videos in this year’s list are 35 per cent (30 seconds) longer. With research showing that an average of 73 per cent of online video viewers in Asia Pacific watch videos longer than 5 minutes on their smartphones, compared to just 42 per cent for the UK and US, it’s no surprise that brands in Asia are gaining the confidence to use the broad canvas of digital to tell stories with longer videos across a series.

That brings us to Chotot, at No. 7 on the list. Chotot's 'Nam đẹp trai và dàn xe khủng' ('Handsome Nam & His formidable motor') is the ninth and final part of a series of creative and funny videos in Vietnam.

Chotot’s story is a fascinating lesson in the power of video to connect with consumers. In 2013, Chotot was a new brand looking to establish its presence in Vietnam. It commissioned a three-part series of videos to show YouTube viewers how its classifieds service worked. The series surpassed Chotot’s expectations—reaching a wide audience across Vietnam and amassing a devoted following from avid fans. In fact, the fans were so passionate that Chotot expanded the original three-part series into nine parts. With this series, Chotot went from an unknown website to a brand people love—while also making something of a pop culture hit in Vietnam. (See below for a Q&A with Lisa Nguyen, the brand's head of business development.)

Here are ads No. 10 to 6 in our leaderboard of the top 10 ads in Asia between Spikes 2014 and Spikes 2015:

No. 10: Snickers, 'Hungry rescue' (Korea):


No. 9: '唐小虎如何化險為夷,讓華府一家全部笑呵呵?' Taiwan Mobile, (Taiwan):


No. 8: 'Never stop exploring', Nike (Korea):


No. 7: 'Tập 9 - Nam đẹp trai và dàn xe khủng', Chotot (Vietnam):


No. 6: 'รักแรกเจอ (Love at first sight) - โจอี้ บอย Featuring. วิโอเลต วอเทียร์', Cornetto (Thailand):


Q&A with Chotot

We caught up with Lisa Nguyen, Head of Business Development for Chotot to learn the secrets of the brand's success.

Google: What inspired you to create the series?

Nguyen: When we started the series in May 2013, Chotot.vn was new and online classifieds were new in Vietnam. We wanted to generate reach, awareness and educate the market. One key difference between what we offer and a typical ecommerce experience is that buyers and sellers have to physically meet—in a safe place like a cafe, workplace, etc.—to verify the goods and shake hands on the deal.

The handshake is very important to us. It's a symbol of a successful and happy transaction. We wanted to show that happening as well as how easy and effective the process of buying/selling on Chotot.vn is, and we thought video was the best medium for that. We knew online video was really popular, so we thought we’d try a small project. We wanted to make a story to show our service as part of everyday life, so people would see how it works and remember the brand. As the format was pretty new and we were one of the first brands in Vietnam to create a series like this, we were thrilled about the results.

Google: The video is long (8 minutes) and well produced, can you tell me more about the creative process behind it?

Nguyen: We did some research and found that the optimal view-through rate was for videos that are 3 to 5 minutes long. In episode No. 6 and No. 9 we exceeded that by quite a bit, but in episode No. 6 we simply loved every minute of it and couldn’t find anything that needed cutting! After each episode we analysed each video’s performance carefully, finding where viewers dropped off and looking at viewer comments. For the finale, we thought we’d take a risk and make it slightly longer, and it seems to have paid off. As long as the story’s engaging, people don’t mind watching long videos.

Google: What sort of engagement did you see with the series?

Nguyen: We were amazed by the results: after the launch in 2013, we saw an increase by 50 per cent in traffic to our site; followed by a 20 to 30 per cent increase during the second and third launches in 2014. Google Trends shows the incredible rise in searches for the brand. The whole series generated more than 36 million views on YouTube. 

This format is now an accepted way for brands to promote themselves in Vietnam. For us, we’ve definitely seen it has made people remember and love our brand. The engagement also went beyond viewership—it became a real conversation between with our audience. We got many comments on YouTube and social media, with people saying nice things like they thought it was really funny. The audience also wasn’t shy to tell us when they thought things weren’t exciting enough.

We also incorporated user feedback into the series. We ran a competition on social media to allow people to submit their own story ideas, then we used that feedback for the next two waves. When we first started we only planned for three episodes, but we got such a positive response, we ended up making nine!

With the ninth episode, we got thousands of comments saying that they loved the story and even cried because of the touching messages.

Google: What next’s for Nam? Do you plan to continue the series?

Nguyen: We get that question a lot—people asking about a second season. Of course, we’re very happy that people love the story and the characters, but I feel like Nabi and Nam had a pretty happy ending. I think we’d need to find a new story. This format worked well—users love it—so we will continue to explore ideas. We’d love to do something like this again.

Abhilash Edathil is YouTube Business Marketing lead for Google Asia-Pacific

About the YouTube Leaderboard: This list represents the videos that resonated the most with audiences across the region and celebrates the brands that performed best on YouTube through a combination of popularity and promotion.

Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the top 10 countdown.


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