Alphabet-owned YouTube has released its ranking of the 10 ads most popular with New Zealanders in 2020.
The list showcases creative work of some of the nation's big internationally-owned ad agencies but also features a number of spots from some of the up and coming independent shops.
YouTube is a highly cluttered and competitive media environment that does demand a level of creativity.
Fiona Walford, the head of Creative Development for Google Australia and New Zealand, said the 2020 leaderboard showed there was no formula to standing out on the channel - but that a little humour goes a long way.
"2020 was a year to remember in many ways - for the creative industry it was a year of invention: finding new ways to create and produce, different ways to tell stories in a new and untested environment, and working out what resonated as we all went into a global pandemic within a sea of uncertainty," Walford said.
There is so much humour across the board, from long-form storytelling, giving a nod to the competition, to socially distanced Santa and even a cheeky ad from a leading tech company."
The coveted number one spot was this year taken by HelloFresh for its quirky work with local YouTube star How to Dad (Jordan Watson).
Amy Smith, the managing director and chief marketing officer at HelloFresh, paid tribute to Watson for his ability to connect through humour and entertainment.
"His focus on 'simplicity' when it comes to parenting is well aligned with the simplicity HelloFresh brings to dinnertime," Smith said.
"These factors combined made for entertaining, on-brand content that ultimately led to strong audience engagement and other key metrics."
New Zealand-owned Pitchblack was the only ad agency to feature twice on the top 10 list for 2020, securing second and third places.
The company's work with Burger King produced what was undoubtedly one of the most memorable ads to hit the local market last year.
Burger King didn't hold back in jabbing its main competitor, McDonald's, by pointing out everything that was wrong with the Big Mac. Not yet satisfied, Burger King then upped the ante further by creating what it saw as a better version of the crown jewel in the McDonald's lineup. It was ultimately a masterclass in competitive advertising.
Another standout ad from locally-owned ad agency could be found in the work Motion Sickness did for the Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua.
The agency's 'Keep it real online' initiative became a major talking point for the way in which it brought the dangers online into the real world. The various scenarios playing out in the ads of the year helped to show how our reactions to online threats don't always measure up to the level of danger.
It wouldn't be a 2020 list without a Covid public service announcement, and the New Zealand Police delivered with a little help from the quirky cops starring in Wellington Paranormal.
Despite the enormous challenges of the past 12 months, the ads on display in the YouTube leaderboard showed again that Kiwi creativity is in good health. Long may it continue.
So without further ado, here's a rundown of all the most popular ads of last year.
10. The Girl With The Cold Feet | ASB Home Loans.
Creative Agency: WiTH Collective
Media Agency: Acquire NZ
9. Important Covid-19 messages from Wellington Paranormal
Brand: New Zealand Police
Creative Agency: FCB NZ
8. Keep it real online
Brand: Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua
Creative & Media Agency: Motion Sickness
7. Choose your kind of happy
Brand: Fly Buys
Creative Agency: Colenso BBDO
Media Agency: Mindshare NZ
6. Apple Watch Series 6
Creative Agency: Media Arts Lab
Media Agency: OMD
5. OPPO Find X2 Pro | Out Now
Media Agency: Sinointeractives
4. Macca's You Choose Your Cheeseburger Combo
Creative Agency: DDB
Media Agency: OMD NZ
3. 'Twas the flight before Christmas
Brand: Air New Zealand
Creative Agency: Pitchblack
Media Agency: Carat
2. The Big King XL – A Big MMMprovement
Brand: Burger King
Creative agency: Pitchblack
Media agency: MBM
1. How to Dinner Ep 2 with New Zealand Rugby Star Richie Mo'unga
Creative and media agency: Emotive