Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Your Favorite YouTube Ad of 2011? Apple, of Course.

Apple’s clever, effective ads have a well-deserved aura. But its brand is so powerful that even its relatively mundane marketing efforts draw an enormous amount of attention. Hence the most “viral tech ad” of 2011: Apple’s straightforward unveiling of the iPhone 4S.

That designation comes from Web video tracker Visible Measures, which says the official upload from Apple, plus unofficial uploads and derivative clips (parodies, “responses,” etc.), generated 28 million views this year.

Runners-up for the “most viral” title, according to Visible Measures: Ads featuring Lady Gaga, the International Space Station, PlayStation 3 and YouTube gaming god Freddie W. (One of these things …)

It’s worth noting that Visible Measures’ methodology and classifications for this one are a bit particular. For instance, it includes ads for videogame platforms, but not the games themselves. There’s some logic to that, because while videogames have many, many more views, the bulk of them come from “game play” videos that players upload themselves.

Which is fine, but that also means that straight-up ads like Jonah Hill’s Call of Duty spot don’t make the list. And that one has racked up  a minimum of 17.7 million views this fall.

But at the very least we can say that these are five very, very popular Web videos from the past year.

Google Chrome’s “The Web is What You Make of It” Campaign: 22 million views

YouTube/Spacelab: 17 million views

Sony PS3 “Michael/Long Live Play” ad: 15.8 million views

YouTube star Freddie W’s Samsung “Gamer Commute” ad: 11.5 million views


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald