Top Ads Watched on YouTube in 2021

Advertising surrounds us. And while ads can be annoying, people still search online to view compelling ads. Starting a new year is a good time to examine the winning campaigns from last year and evaluate the elements that made them interesting enough that people searched for them on online.

The year 2021 was another challenging year and it had a lot of down moments, but on the whole we met the challenges and made the most of it. So, we’ve all earned a little time to relax, and no better way to do that than by viewing the top advertisements of the year.

The most compelling advertisements and videos are ones that have a strong story, humor, inspiration, and excitement. They build a bond with the audience, and inspire thoughts and action. It’s not easy to create a short video that engages audiences and inspires them to share the video and view it more than once, so it is worth examining the top advertising videos of 2021.

  1. Amazon – Amazon’s Big Game Commercial: Alexa’s Body
  2. T-Mobile – Tom Brady & Rob Gronkowski Big Game Ad
  3. HBO Max – Zack Snyder’s Justice League Trailer
  4. Netflix – The Mitchells vs. The Machines
  5. Apple – Privacy on iPhone
  6. Peloton – Beyonce’ Classes
  7. Uber Eats – Wayne’s World & Cardi B’s Shameless Manipulation
  8. Toyota – “The Pitch”
  9. State Farm Insurance – Drake from State JFarm
  10. Nintendo – Nintendo Switch OLED Model

Remember, these are the ads that people seek and choose to watch – a marketer’s dream! (Note: Ads are determined by an algorithm that factors in organic and paid views, watch time, and audience retention.)

What’s your top ad from 2021?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:  

  1. Discuss the importance of branding and brand management. How do the videos fit into branding?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team analyze one of the following videos with respect to target market, key message, type of appeal, etc.
  3. Ads are available at:
  4. When teams have completed this, have each team show the video and discuss their analysis with the rest of the class.
  5. What are the commonalities between the videos? What are the differences?
  6. What should other companies do to replicate the success?

Source:  YouTube. Ads Leaderboard: 2021 year-end-wrap-up.

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