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Five most-watched car ads of 2011

Thu, 15 Dec 2011 00:00:00 -0800

Page views: They're life and death on the Web, and for an automaker trying to make an advertisement go viral, page views and the eyeballs viewing them are what it's all about.

This year was big for the top-five viral automaker ads: Volkswagen's “The Force” spot hit 63 million views, while Fiat grabbed 27 million with its Jennifer Lopez song.

The Chrysler “Imported From Detroit” Super Bowl ad was next, with 22 million views. Kia's “Share Some Soul” came in fourth, with 13 million. Rounding out the top five was Bridgestone's friendly forest creatures Super Bowl spot with 11.4 million views.

Visible Measures is a company that measures the proliferation of these videos. In its TrueReach stat, it includes not just YouTube page views, but everywhere a video was reposted, revamped and/or repeated--as long as the message didn't change. TrueReach, according to Visible Measures, combines brand-driven and audience-driven videos that are related to the campaign.

For example, earlier this year, Greenpeace spoofed the VW Force ad after the company was named Europe's least-green automaker. The environmental group's video equated the company to the Star Wars Evil Empire, which was a change in message, so those views don't count.

Ken Block and DC Shoes are the masters of page views; their four Gymkhana videos have played more than 83 million times on YouTube, not to mention the boatload of views on other pages ( included).

There isn't much research into how sales are affected by the videos because most, like the VW ad, are about raising brand awareness, according to Visible Measures.

In that respect, they've succeeded. Every one of the clips is instantly recognizable, and with the Super Bowl just around the corner, a whole new crop is already in the works.

By Jake Lingeman