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SkiftAds: The most viral travel video ads of 2012

Dec 07, 2012 11:00 am

Skift Take

Airlines are doing the best job at creating shareable travel ads, although the list doesn’t include videos like Gangnam Style that unintentionally promote a destination.

— Samantha Shankman

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Air New Zealand's video featuring characters from The Hobbit was the most viral ad in 2012.


A quirky and memorable ad can now travel around the world in hours, reaching previously out-of-reach audiences, thanks to the Internet. Airlines, hotels, destinations, and gadgets are tapping into this advertising power by creating unique visual ads that are shared across the web.

We’ve been tracking our favorite weekly travel ads at Skift for the past few months, but wanted to find out which travel ads were most popular around the world this year.

Visible Measures found the top 10 travel ads in 2012 using its True Reach methodology. The company ranked videos by views, including the original clips launched by the brands themselves, as well as the copies, mashups, spoofs, and video responses published by audiences across the web.

Air New Zealand tops the list with its quirky Hobbit-themed ad, An Unexpected Briefing, that was viewed more than 11.1 million times.

The ad is  part of New Zealand’s efforts to leverage its starring role in The Hobbit to boost tourism. These efforts include a Hobbit-themed aircraft design and Middle-earth ad. Air New Zealand pops up again at number 8 with an animated safety video, #airnz.

Not far behind is KLM’s Be My Guest ad with more than 10.4 million views. The ad features cameos from Dutch celebrities such as supermodel Yfke Sturm and DJ Armin van Burren.

Airlines dominated the list for the most creative and shareable ads this year with half of the ads (including ANZ’s double appearance) promoting branded air travel.

Canada’s and Stockholm‘s tourism boards take spots four and 10. The ad by Canadian Tourism moved especially fast as it debuted less than three weeks ago. The remaining ads are by TomTom, Expedia, and Disney.

1. An Unexpected Briefing by Air New Zealand (11,194,716 views)

2. Be My Guest by KLM (10,425,655 views)

3. What Are You Going to Do Next? by Disney (3,550,841 views)

4. Capital of Scandinavia by Visit Stockholm (3,167,523 views)

5. Find Your Understanding by Expedia (2,317,632 views)

6. Hello Tomorrow by Emirates (1,836,302 views)

7. Map Paradise Project by TomTom (1,342,084 views)

8. #airnz by Air New Zealand (1,273,276 views)

9. London 2012 by British Airways (1,092,617 views)

10. Keep Exploring by Canadian Tourism (949,929 views)

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