YouTube’s legions of fans participated enthusiastically in deciding the top video hits for 2014. They clicked, viewed, liked, shared, and commented their way to ranking their favorites. In an annual mash-up this year entitled Turn Down for 2014, Google in six and half minutes summarizes which memes resonated with aficionados across the world.
In March YouTube made predictions in a sneak peek of what the year would bring, writing, shooting, and uploading the world’s viral videos. This year, they also invited their viewers to submit their own viral trend ideas. Their Meme Development experts converted the best among these into official YouTube trends on the site.
YouTube enjoys 1 billion plus visitors to its site each month. The top ranked videos collected a total of over 667 million views.
Sylwester Wardega, an actor, director and master web prankster from Poland took the top spot. His pet canine Chica is dressed as a mutant spider dog and runs amok through hallways and alleys. It succeeded in scaring up more than 113 million views. Although a commercial shot for a clothing company, many viewers took it as a spoof on the horror genre.
Leveraging the feelings created by the World Cup that captivated audience attention worldwide, a Nike advert starring Wayne Rooney, Neymar da Silva Santos, Junior and Cristiano Ronaldo, came in second. It garnered just under 100 million views.
First Kiss, a black and white video by Tatia Pilieva rounded out the top three. It documents the actions and reactions of perfect strangers exchanging their first kiss. Feelings run the gamut from nervous giggling, awkward silences to unexpected passion. It was clicked by 94 million people.
The Italian version of The Voice featured a 25-year-old nun, Sister Cristina Scuccia, from Sicily. The audience erupted into a spontaneous standing ovation as she began her rendition of No One by Alicia Keys. Her audition tape has accumulated more than 66 million viewings.
In fifth place was the video test of the new iPhone 6 Plus performed by YouTube user Unbox Therapy. He used nothing but his bare hands to test the strength of Apple’s much-awaited new model. The phone did give and bend slightly due to the thinner aluminum casing, and the issue has been dubbed “bendgate” by some social media sites.
Britain’s Got Talent judges were given the option this year via a “Golden Buzzer” that allowed each to send one act straight through to semi-finals. A young duo presented an act that rapped against bullying and prompted the usually hard-hearted Simon Cowell, to give them this jump-start. This was the sixth on the list of the top 10.
The seventh spot went to a Super Bowl commercial from Budweiser. Depicting a friendship between a puppy and a Clydesdale horse, it is at once heart-warming and sweet.
A ‘devil baby’ terrorizing New York is the eighth-ranked video, a promo by the makers of the new horror film Devil’s Due. A repulsive animatronic infant in a remotely manipulated stroller suddenly sits upright, letting loose a demonic, chilling scream when anyone nears.
Epic Rap Battles of History pairs polar opposites as opponents pitted against each other to “beat out” their way to a victory. So we have Justin Bieber against Beethoven, Ghostbusters vying with Mythbusters. In ninth place Ray William Johnson guest stars as Goku from DragonBall taking on Superman.
YouTube’s top 10 video hits for 2014 are rounded out by a more serious video, a social commentary on the vulnerability of women alone in an urban setting. It features Shoshana Roberts, a 24-year-old wannabee actress being secretly filmed as she strolls around the streets of New York for 10 hours. A total of 108 instances of suggestive catcalls, leers and jeers follow her as she strolls around the city. A visual insight into what women suffer each day as they go about their business.
It is hard to pin down an exact formula that makes videos go viral. As the top social media platform based on this format, YouTube says popular videos show three key characteristics. They inform and entertain, they engage the viewer and make them share with others, and emanate from a source that offers more of similar content.
Google’s annual mash-up features over 100 YouTube stars. In fleeting cameos musicians, Muppets, comedy talk show hosts, among others, prance and mime across the screen. Background music is provided by Pharrell Williams and Iggy Azalea. The annual production, which started in 2010 has come a long way and this year is more internationally inclusive than ever before.
Video is becoming increasingly powerful. Clips have played key roles in starting conversations about serious issues like police brutality, politics, gender and race. Videos also inform, amuse, entertain and generate thought leadership. YouTube’s top 10 video hits for 2014 do all of the above.
By Bina Joseph
Photo by Marlon E – Flickr License