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In the USA...

Convince people to engage with our brands….

As marketers, we share a common goal.

Truth be told, it can take a lot of work to make this happen. That’s why I’m always struck by YouTube’s Ads Leader board, an annual list of the most-watched video ads of the year. In a world of unlimited content, millions of people actually choose to watch these ads, so it’s useful to consider what makes them so successful.

While no single formula exists for a viral video ad, we can make observations about what works to inspire our own media strategies. Here are three proven approaches to try, pulled from the latest Ads Leader board.

Anchor your campaign in YouTube watch trends

For its “Harry Potter” 20th anniversary special, HBO Max wanted to reach two distinct audiences: die-hard “Harry Potter” fans eager to be reintroduced to the magic of the series and a new generation of younger viewers who hadn’t yet embraced the franchise.

To appeal to both groups, HBO Max leaned into a powerful trend: people like watching content that makes them feel nostalgic. With that trend in mind, the brand designed a video ad to give viewers a heart-warming, retrospective experience full of “Harry Potter” memories. Beyond showcasing the cast’s memorable moments, the ad pulled in fans and authentically celebrated their journey too.

HBO Max and Warner Media bring together the stars and creatives to relive the magic of “Harry Potter” in celebration of its 20th anniversary.

HBO Max used YouTube to power the campaign. As JP Mallo, VP of marketing for HBO Max Originals, explains: “YouTube is often our initial indicator when we release early marketing assets for how our audience is engaging, what sentiments we’re seeing, and what — if anything — they’re responding to in terms of content themes.”

YouTube proved to be an ideal home for HBO Max’s ads, since people of all ages gravitate to the platform for nostalgic content. According to a 2022 Ipsos survey, 80% of Gen Z reported watching YouTube to feel nostalgic;1 by running a nostalgia-based campaign on YouTube, HBO Max could appeal to “Harry Potter” enthusiasts, while also grabbing the attention of a younger generation.

The campaign launched mid-November with bumper ads, plus non-skippable and skippable in-stream ads to drive awareness and consideration. Then, in the days leading up to the New Year’s Day premiere, HBO Max used YouTube Select to feature the ads alongside premium content. Finally, they concluded the campaign by leveraging YouTube Masthead before and after the New Year’s Day premiere, placing the video on YouTube’s home feed to drive mass awareness. In the end, the approach drove 12.7% awareness lift — remarkable for a brand with high awareness already — and reached 49 million unique users.

Build creative to match viewers’ screens

WE, Egypt’s primary telecommunications company, needed an ad campaign that could cut through the holiday noise during the busy Ramadan season. To achieve this, it strategised videos that would help viewers understand evolving trends of Ramadan.

Since WE’s message had to appeal to viewers across multiple generations, the team determined that “the campaign should include a diverse mix of ads,” says Eslam Nassar, the brand’s head of digital marketing. “That’s why we turned to YouTube to tell a compelling, creative story across ad formats and screens.”

WE planned and executed a full-funnel video strategy that leveraged a unique blend of short- and long-form ads. For viewers in the awareness phase, the team launched 6-second bumper ads to tease the campaign and deliver a quick call to action.

Then, to further engage middle- and lower-funnel audiences, WE created a full-length, in-stream video. The campaign was a success, with the ad receiving over 3.3 million views and generating buzz on social media.

Last year, BMW launched its first ever fully electric BMW iX sports activity vehicle in the United States. To promote this milestone during the Super Bowl, BMW created a 60-second hero video ad that showed Zeus, the mythical Greek god of sky and thunder, retiring to Palm Springs and rediscovering his spark when gifted a BMW iX by his wife, Hera.

To extend the ad’s reach during this peak moment, BMW made YouTube a core part of its Super Bowl strategy. “YouTube is a great amplifier of content, which not only increased the audience size exponentially but extended the longevity of the spot,” explains Albrecht Pagenstert, head of brand marketing at BMW. “What ran once during the Super Bowl lives online and has received millions of additional views.”

BMW’s strategy hinged on reaching a wide variety of passionate Super Bowl fans through YouTube AdBlitz, the premier hub for fans to watch Super Bowl ads with playlists for the most comedic, dramatic, action-packed, and inspirational spots. Through AdBlitz, BMW could target specific Super Bowl-related video inventory, such as NFL Highlights watched by sports lovers, and Big Game Music Lineups watched by audiophiles.

Once the campaign peaked viewers’ interest during YouTube AdBlitz, BMW then strategised to satisfy their hunger for more content. It released behind-the-scenes videos, including interviews with the hero ad’s star-studded cast and director.

Audiences couldn’t get enough of BMW’s campaign. In fact, many YouTube commenters enthusiastically asked for the hero video to be turned into a full movie. In the end, the video drove 17 million unique views and 970,000 clicks. In addition to being recognised on YouTube’s Ads Leader board in the U.S., BMW earned the No. 7 spot in USA Today’s Ad Meter.

HBO Max, WE, and BMW struck gold with video ads that entertained and engaged key audiences. By aligning their ads with popular YouTube trends, building bespoke creative for different platforms, and following the ABCDs of video effectiveness, these brands showed how to successfully combine immersive storytelling with the power of YouTube.

In conclusion, these three approaches to creating successful video ads on YouTube can serve as a starting point for marketers looking to engage with their audiences. By anchoring campaigns in YouTube watch trends, building creative to match viewers' screens, and leaving eager viewers wanting more, brands can create impactful ads that resonate with their target audience. YouTube provides a unique platform for brands to reach a vast audience and these tactics can help them make the most of it.

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Updated: Mar 24

New blog post coming soon regarding the difference between Vector files and Source files & usage and ownership information.

Designers, should you charge clients for source files? It's a question that raises a few points, both on the Designer and the Client side, on different levels — copyright, financial, ethical, to mention a few. But ultimately, it comes down to being a professional.

Source files are usually of no use to 70% of clients because they don´t have the software to use them. The remaining 20% that may have a copy of the software believe they can do just as good a job if they have the files and edit themselves, 5% eventually are able to not completely mess up, and the remaining 5% actually have some knowledge of design / aesthetic principles and understand how to make minor tweaks.

As a Designer, you are paid to deliver a finished product, not the blueprints that lead to making that product. If a client wants editable files, then a source files acquiring fee should kick in. This is because handing over editable files removes any opportunity for the professional (us, the Designers) to make recurring revenue from it.

Industry standards suggest that source files prices begin as a minimum at 3x the final product price. That's whatever a Designer charged the client for the execution of a project, multiplied by 3. It may be hard for the client to understand this and there can be resistance, but as professionals, it is also our job to educate the public.

There is a specific exception. The ONLY cases where I include all source files are with company logo work. And so should all professionals of Design.

To answer the question of whether Designers should charge for source files or not, the answer is a clear YES. It's up to the professional to work it out if he/she is willingly ready to part their work at a no cost rate to the client. However, big-name agencies do not practice this for a reason.

As a client, make sure you are not entitled to the source files by default. If you do want to have the editable files, ensure the Designer is aware, and this is stipulated before you start working. As a Designer, ensure your client is aware that a fee applies if source files handover is required, preferably at the start of the project. If not, educate and negotiate. Don't forget to negotiate right of usage for portfolio display and relevant copyright issues.

+44 752 500 6255


Creating & Delivering...Websites, Graphic Designs, Print, Motion Graphics, Animations, Videos, & SEO Google Ranking Results

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There are various factors to consider when choosing between a 2D 2 colour logo or a full-colour 3D logo for marketing and branding purposes. Let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of each option.

Pros of a 2D 2 Colour Logo:

Simplicity: A 2D 2 colour logo is simple and easy to reproduce. Could be argued that It is also easier to recognize and remember because of its simplicity.

Cost-effective: A 2D 2 colour logo is less complex than a 3D logo, which means it is less expensive to produce.

Versatility: A 2D 2 colour logo can be easily scaled and adapted for different uses, such as printing on different materials, and online usage.

Cons of a 2D 2 Colour Logo:

Limited Creativity: A 2D 2 colour logo may not be as visually engaging or creative as a 3D logo. The use of only two colours can be limiting in terms of design possibilities.

Lack of Depth: A 2D 2 colour logo lacks the depth and dimensionality of a 3D logo. It can appear flat and less dynamic.

Pros of a Full Colour 3D Logo:

Visual Appeal: A full-colour 3D logo has more depth, dimensionality, and visual interest than a 2D 2 colour logo. It can stand out more in crowded markets.

Flexibility: A 3D logo can be adapted for different mediums, including on print and digital platforms, making it more versatile than a 2D 2 colour logo.

Brand Recognition: A well-designed 3D logo can become an integral part of a brand's identity and be instantly recognisable.

Cons of a Full Colour 3D Logo:

Costly: A full-colour 3D logo requires more time, effort, and expertise to create, which means it is more expensive to produce than a 2D 2 colour logo.

Complex: A full-colour 3D logo can be complex and difficult to reproduce in different mediums. It can also be more challenging to modify and adjust as needed.

In conclusion, the choice between a 2D 2 colour logo and a full-colour 3D logo will depend on various factors, such as the brand's goals, budget, and target audience. While a 3D logo may be visually appealing and more versatile, it can also be costly and complex to produce. Conversely, a 2D 2 colour logo may be simpler and cost-effective, but it may lack creativity and depth.

Ultimately, a brand should choose a logo that reflects its identity and resonates with its target audience while also being adaptable and versatile for various marketing and branding purposes.

Paul G-Wood

+44 752 500 6255


Creating & Delivering...Websites, Graphic Designs, Print, Motion Graphics, Animations, Videos, & SEO Google Ranking Results

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