YouTube Mixtape: 6 marketers across Northern Europe share their favourite YouTube video of 2018

December 2018

Let’s say someone created a list of their favourite YouTube videos of 2018, and compared it with a friend’s. While they might have a few videos in common — perhaps the live stream of the Royal Wedding or the UEFA Champions League Final — most likely, each would contain different choices. We sat down with six leading marketers from across North Europe who shared their favourites from 2018 and predictions for the platform in 2019.

With worldwide trends like the #InMyFeelings dance challenge to Drake’s hit song (generating 100 million views in July alone), to niche categories like Van Life, which depicts the lives of people travelling the world in outfitted vans (and has over 1200 dedicated channels), YouTube offers limitless choice, making it possible for each person to find content they want to watch.

Understanding online video viewing behaviour is an important way of gaining insight into the culture and the world around us; as the primary video destination, YouTube offers insights that few other platforms can, allowing marketers to stay connected to the content that audiences care about.

So what has resonated with Northern European viewers in 2018? We asked six creatives and marketers from agencies across the region to reveal their favourite YouTube video of the year, why it was impactful, and what they look forward to in the industry in 2019.


Favourite video: #justdoit - Nike - Dream Crazy

I love the fact that Nike, once again, succeeds in finding the sweet spot between relevance to the many while keeping true to the brand, this time with a clear political message. When advertising is this emotional and powerful, it goes above and beyond just advertising. It becomes a movement!

The development of AI produced content will be very interesting to follow in 2019. For me personally, YouTube helps me keep up-to-speed with the latest, and curates everything I need to know — high and low. This weekend I learned how to make herringbone braids on my daughters thanks to YouTube. Easier than I thought!


Favourite video: John Lewis & Partners Christmas Ad 2018 - #EltonJohnLewis 🎹

This video is captivating, slow and highly emotional: storytelling in its purest form that touches a broad audience, not just fans of Elton John. I watched it in a busy hotel lobby and it kept me in a bubble for its entirety. Christmas ads in the UK are a big thing, and John Lewis excels in telling emotional stories.

I think we’re beginning to see brands and content creators looking into longer and more engaging stories. We’re all stressed about the amount of great content that we don’t have time to consume, but brands are realising that the solution is to create stories worth spending time with, and I think this is something we will see more of in 2019.

Ray Kay

Favourite video: Childish Gambino - This Is America

Music videos are one of the most popular content genres on YouTube, and I love when creators are able to make an impact on the world with social commentary. This video created headlines and major discussions about modern American society. I think it’s the ultimate outcome of any YouTube video — to not only entertain and create something interesting for a huge worldwide audience, but to also get people thinking about a positive message.

I think more and more marketers are learning the storytelling language of YouTube and social media, and that excites me. We’re moving away from the traditional TV commercial storytelling of the past and into a more interesting and engaging language that respects the viewers, giving them value. That definitely excites me for 2019.


Favourite video: Join Plan International Canada to #DefyNormal

The subject is very important to me, as I also work as pro bono chair for Plan International Finland. Children’s rights and especially girls’ rights are worth fighting for. The Plan Canada video captures your attention and creates a very powerful emotion. It tells a whole story in a very compelling way, in less than two minutes. How things are presently and how they need to be changed, what good follows when girls have equal rights.

For 2019, I am excited about how AI can change the way we work: how we can create new compelling content, share it more efficiently, create new consumer insights and use our time more on strategic questions compared to operational issues. Things are moving fast, and it is super interesting.


Favourite video: Discovering de Kooning: A WFAA documentary

What I love about this video is the mystery surrounding it and how a couple lived a happy life and travelled the world but were actually art thieves in their younger years that but were never caught. I kept thinking about it for several days afterward; this 30 min documentary had the effect of a good book.

I use YouTube almost on a daily basis, whether it’s watching news and financial updates from RTL Z’s channel when I take the train to work, or watching comedy on the way back (Stephen Colbert or Trevor Noah), but often I'll watch what the YouTube feed gives me.

At Essent we use YouTube to advertise and inform our customers on energy related business content. We try hard to specifically create content for YouTube, as we see great results when the creatives are made with YouTube in mind — such as our "blooper behind the scenes" video. What excites me about 2019 is that YouTube is integrated with Google Ads better than ever. We want to tell a story and we want to be able to tell it in a certain way; this feature enables us to do this, and we can actually measure it with brand lift.


Favourite video: The gender pay gap experiment

I love how this advertiser has highlighted an important and sensitive topic with this fun experiment.

For me, YouTube is an essential resource for researching my everyday "How to’s", as well as product evaluations, especially when it comes to sailing. It's also a great source for music.

For digital media in 2019, voice search will make a huge leap in being integrated and adopted by the broader public. We have already seen a huge increase in video ads over the past two years, and we are only at the beginning of this trend. We've seen a lot of classic televisual productions try short formats with alternative advertisement formats, with good results.

Building a brand in an age of hyper-targeted messaging