2011: Best and Worst in Holiday Marketing on YouTube

Video ads for Apple’s Siri and U.K. retailer John Lewis scored big on YouTube during the holiday season.

In contrast, Federal Express got unwanted attention when a delivery man tossed a package containing a computer monitor over a homeowner’s fence – instead of bringing the package to the door. The incident, captured on video, made its way to YouTube and served as fodder for jokes on “The Late Show With David Letterman.”

First, the winning ads of the 2011 holiday season:

Apple Siri: An ad, showing Santa Claus using a Siri to review his 3.7 million appointment list, and get weather information and directions.

“Apple has figured it out with over 2.3 m earned views (and counting) of their xmas ad,” tweeted Paul Barter, co-author of the book, “Stop Wasting Money on Advertising.” Due to its creativity, the Apple Siri ad succeeded as paid media (aka bought) on TV as well as earned media spread by word of mouth on YouTube, he said.

Apple’s Siri ad also topped an ad effectiveness index developed by Ace Metrix, a firm that measures the impact of advertising creative in TV ads.

“Santa’s negotiating power has increased based on the effectiveness of this year’s top holiday ads. T’was the season of story telling and Santa as Star,” Ace Metrix CEO Peter Daboll said in a statement. “It turns out, Santa sells.”

The firm identified 35 new ads that featured Santa Claus this season; it said each scored higher than the norm. Santa also appeared in ads for Coca Cola, Macy’s, and Aleve.

John Lewis Christmas Advert 2011: U.K. retailer John Lewis stirred up a lively debate with its video ad, “The Long Wait,” showing a seven year old boy eagerly awaiting the arrival of Christmas. On YouTube, the video had 3.8 million views by Monday, Dec. 26.

“If your heart hasn’t been melted by The Long Wait then it is made of flint, and Scrooge-like you deserve to be visited by every ghost going,” stated the BBC News in its review of the ad.

Gushed one fan on YouTube: “20th time watching this after tearing up at the cinema when it first came on. Just finished watching it again and i’m still crying after twenty times why?… Because its_ the sweetest, most thoughtful advert i have ever seen in my 19 years on this planet.”

Charlie Brooker, a Guardian columnist, emerged as one of the ad’s most vocal critic. “An advert for a shop. That’s all the John Lewis thing is… Anyone who cries at this creepy bullshit is literally sobbing IQ points out of their body,” he ranted in a column.

And then there’s this season’s social media loser:

FedEx: The delivery service earned attention that it preferred to do without. It occurred when an errant delivery man who was caught on video tossing a package containing a computer monitor over a fence. The video, uploaded by goobie55, attracted more than 6.6 million views.

In response to the incident, FedEx issued an apology in a video that appeared on its website and YouTube channel.

“The most disappointing thing about this, is that it does not represent the 290,000 professional dedicated team members worldwide,” said Matthew Thornton III, SVP, U.S. operations, at FedEx. He hinted that the company has disciplined the driver. “While we consider employee information private, I can assure you, we are working within our disciplinary policy. And the employee is not working with customers.”

FedEx faced an uphill battle getting heard on YouTube. Its video had 375,000 views as of late Monday; the video featuring the delivery man’s misdeed had 18 times as many views.

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