The top ads watched by Australians on YouTube in 2020

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 8 February 2021
See It To Believe It - Hyundai

YouTube has released its list of the top ads Australians watched on YouTube in 2020.

The YouTube Ads Leaderboard showcases the most creative and engaging ads, determined by a formula that factored in organic and paid views, watch time, and audience retention (how much of a video people watched) for the year to December 2020.

“2020 was a year to remember in many ways - for the creative industry it was a year of invention: finding new ways to create and produce, different ways to tell stories in a new and sometimes untested environment, and working out what resonated as we all went into a global pandemic within a sense of uncertainty," says Fiona Walford, head of creative development for Google Australia and New Zealand. 

"What transpired is exemplified by the 2020 AU Ads Leaderboard, which is a testament to the breadth of highly effective creative work we saw on YouTube every day of that strange year, and brings to life the best ways to speak to that huge and diverse audience. It was rich and diverse, from pure brand ads, to long form storytelling to EOFY sales; all of them have found a place in the 2020 top 10.”

She says the YouTube leaderboard highlights trends:

  • Marketers are experimenting and serving new experiences.
  • Creatives and advertisers are moving beyond the traditional story arc - with viewers engaged quickly through new techniques.
  • Ads were highly customised for their audiences and interests.
  • Marketers are exploring curiosity in creative advertising.
  • Winning viewers’ attention in the era of personal primetimes comes down to prioritising passions.

The top 10:

1. ‘Did Somebody Say Menulog?’ campaign featuring Snoop Dogg - Menulog

Summary: ‘Did Somebody Say Menulog?’ gets the Snoop Dogg treatment.

Fiona Walford: “Who could forget the distinctive voice of Snoop Dogg and that tune? So catchy and memorable, and clearly a huge success for the brand. It picks up on some key YouTube creative principles; great music, a famous face, fast moving scene changes to maintain attention - and a great first five seconds to kick things off! The long form 60 second ad coincided with a change of logo and a ‘Dogg’s Diner’ menu to enjoy. Brilliant stuff and a stand out number one.”


Company - Menulog

Creative Agency - McCann London

Media agency - Universal McCann


2. Galaxy Z Fold2 - Samsung Australia

Summary: An ad to showcase the newly launched Galaxy Z Fold2 mobile device, featuring product close ups and feature highlights.

Fiona Walford: “Fast pacing is a well tested principle on YouTube to maintain attention and this is well delivered by the Samsung Galaxy work, which also leans heavily on showcasing the new fold feature and zooming in on the benefits. Some crisp, sharp visuals outlining use cases delivered clear messaging.”


Company - Samsung Australia

Creative Agency - Che Proximity

Media agency - Che Proximity


3. Sportsbet's Elite Average Games - Sportsbet

Summary: This ad introduces some perhaps unknown average sporting events to Aussie viewers.

Fiona Walford: “Also working with longer form - nearly 3 mins - and equally attention grabbing is this ad from Sportsbet. It’s a brilliant parody on the Olympics (sadly the only Olympics running in 2020!), and ‘laugh out loud’ funny, with many ‘average sports’ featuring Aussie world beaters. The branding is super clear throughout, and the Aussie-isms well entwined in the voiceover. Onya Australia! I especially loved the Wheelie Bin race at the end, and the nod to Cathy Freeman’s iconic outfit. The bright high contrast colours, fast pace and attention driving story arc really pack a punch.”


Company - Sportsbet

Creative Agency - Sportsbet's Marketing Content Team

Media agency - Sportsbet's Paid Social Team


4. Feel the Rhythm of Korea - Korean Tourism Organisation

Summary: The Korean Tourism Organisation collaborated with an alternative pop band LEENALCHI and Ambiguous Dance Company on this ad, with music based on a traditional Korean folk tale and colourful dance and costumes.

Fiona Walford: “It feels weird to think about international travel in these times, but we can all dream! Launching in July 2020 ‘Feel the Rhythm of Korea’ is attention grabbing from the first frame with memorable dancing, colourful outfits, and catchy music. You cannot help but be inspired by the beautiful locations shown throughout and the good vibes this 90 second ad delivers. Watch it once and that tune is stuck in your head for hours! Creative principles of bright high contrast colours and really strong pacing here.”


Company - Korean Tourism Organisation


5. Cyberpunk 2077 — Seize the Day

Summary: Star power added to this ad for Cyberpunk 2077 — an open-world, action-adventure game.

Fiona Walford: “Humorous and entertaining. Hollywood star Keanu Reeves appears from the beginning of the Cyberpunk 2077 ad, delivering immediate impact in a trailer-like ad for the action role-playing game. It also features a clear call to action, plus more about the game if you want it on their YouTube channel - always a winning formula when more content is available.”


Company/brand - CD Projekt

Media agency - Bohemia Media Agency


6. Hugh Jackman gets Comfortable - R.M. Williams

Summary: Global boot ambassador Hugh Jackman appears in this comedic ad to highlight the quality and comfort of R.M. Williams shoes.

Fiona Walford: “Famous faces (and other parts !) came to the fore highlighting a highly successful YouTube creative principle with the hilarious R.M.Williams ad featuring Australia’s own Hugh Jackman - their global boot ambassador. The ad was made by Ryan Reynolds’ agency, Maximum Effort. A naked Hugh (aside from his boots of course) chats to the awkward R.M.Williams representative who clearly doesn’t know how to say “thank you - but please get dressed.” Funny, warm and spot on for this iconic Aussie footwear brand.


Company - R.M. Williams

Creative Agency - Maximum Effort

Media agency - Audience Precision & Resolution Media (Digital Performance Agency)


7. Sink A Sub - Subway

Summary: Some pirate fireworks for Subway’s Sink-a-Sub app.

Fiona Walford: “Animation was cleverly used by Subway to bring to life their Sink a Subway high-sea gaming experience - with colourful characters, lots of action, and a strong call to action, ensuring everyone was a winner when they bought a ‘sub-and-drink’.”


Company - Subway

Creative Agency - Wunderman Thompson

Media agency - Ikon


8. Get Better at Bills - BPAY

Summary: Drag artist Leasa Mann takes people through BPAY features.

Fiona Walford: “This long form tutorial type ad featured the fabulous drag artist Leasa Mann - who became the new face of electronic bill-payment system BPAY after she offered to pay the bills of struggling Australians in the pandemic using the service. That initial act of generosity has continued to grow, with Leasa fronting a new BPAY tutorial video that will also raise money for the First Nations Foundation.. A really fun, fast paced and informative video, using large type supers effectively and including a donation at the end if the viewer completes the video - a very nice touch!”


Company - BPAY

Creative Agency - BMF

Media agency - Ikon


9. Made in Affalterbach. The new Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series - Mercedes-AMG

Summary: The new Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series ad. 

Fiona Walford: “Mercedes have created a mysterious, intriguing ad for the new Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series. Fundamentally celebrating all things wonderful about a performance automobile, you can see why anyone and everyone would want to test drive this car. Quick scene changes delivering multiple peaks in the story line, tight framing, beautiful shots of the car, and the sound of the engine accelerating. This 60 second ad holds your attention right until the end, and ultimately brings a smile to your face with an unexpected shift. Great deliverables of YouTube Creative best practice.”


Company - Mercedes AMG

Creative Agency - n/a

Media agency - OMG


10. EOFY. See It To Believe It - Hyundai

Summary: an ad campaign designed to entice shoppers to Hyundai’s EOFY sale.

Fiona Walford: “Clever ‘eye-catching’ animation in a real life scenario, and good signage acting as a background call to action. An effective and successful way to deliver creative during a time when production constraints made shooting ads very difficult, and when new car sales were starting to return to 2019 levels after a challenging first few months ”


Company - Hyundai

Creative Agency - Innocean Australia

Media agency - Hearts & Science


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