It’s really interesting to see how times are changing in the advertising world, thanks to YouTube.  The 30 second commercial on TV is starting to take a backseat to the cool possibilities that lie with creating a viral advertising campaign online.  TV commercials on TV can’t be shared around to your friends from TV to TV, and they can’t be interactive – but YouTube allows both of those things, which is huge for getting viewers engaged.

I came across a post at that included YouTube’s top ten list of the most successful video ads on their website for 2010, and noted these interesting revelations in their analysis of those videos:

1. Accidental hype.

Etrade made a lot of buzz online when the internet financial company aired an ad about a “milkaholic baby” during the Super Bowl. The baby was named Lindsay, who happens to be also the name of a famous Hollywood child star, whose wild lifestyle had landed her both in the front page of entertainment tabloids and in jail. LiLo sued the company for a hundred million dollars for the “pain and suffering” Etrade had caused her, which only made the video more popular.

2. Pushing interactivity

One really remarkable concepts in advertising on YouTube videos was done by the European brand Tipp-Ex, which is a popular line of correction fluid/tape. The European counterpart to White Out launched last September a “choose your bear-venture” campaign on YouTube with a video of hunter asking people what to do next with a bear. This was done by filling in the blanks (A hunter ____ a bear) at the top corner of the screen. It got a lot of engagement and response from viewers who became in control of the ad in a way.

3. Experimenting with word-of-mouth

Advertisers also tested out YouTube’s distribution power by playing with its features. One of them was Nike’s Write the Future ad, which was first listed as a private video on YouTube before being widely distributed online. Nike wanted to see how the video might become popular through word of mouth,and being discussed on social platforms, which actually seems to have worked just fine with the 21.2 million views that it got.

4. Serializing content

And of course who can forget The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, Old Spice’s ad campaign on YouTube which was conceptualized by the Wieden + Kennedy marketing agency, became viral in just 24 hours of being uploaded on the video sharing website. The campaign included over 80 videos with former football star Isaiah Mustafa talking about how your man should smell like, as well as several personalized video responses to TV personalities and popular brands who’ve asked the Old Sprice Guy anything under the sun via social media.  They’ve recently relaunched the campaign with a new ad that again has gone viral.  People sure love these!

It must be quite exciting for big brands and advertising agencies to see this trend in advertising growing.  Thanks to YouTube and online video in general, the possibilities are pretty much endless now in terms of how companies can reach out to potential customers and really get their attention, unlike ever before.