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With brands increasingly using short-form stories to deliver impact for their video marketing, we set out to find some of the top six-second ads on YouTube. Behold our inaugural YouTube Ads Leaderboard: Bumper ads edition, which celebrates 20 brands from around the globe that are delighting viewers with snackable spots.

What goes into building one of the top YouTube bumper ads? We sat down with the team behind one of the winners—Duracell’s “Slamtone”—to dig into the video advertising strategy behind their success.

We’ll get the brand perspective from Ramon Velutini, VP of marketing at Duracell; the creative perspective from Eric Helin, creative director at Wieden+Kennedy; and the media perspective from Erin Breen, director of connections at Spark Foundry. Here they share how the ad came to life and their top piece of advice for others.

FINAL 1092-Duracell Inline

Use creative elements that are unique to your brand

Ramon Velutini, VP of marketing, Duracell

“‘Slamtone’ was conceived as part of our media mix for a brand campaign, ‘Trust is Power,’ which is built on the insight that trust is in short supply these days. While people have plenty of things to be skeptical about, Duracell batteries remain something they can trust. We wanted to build a story around that, with the goal of driving top-of-mind awareness for a No. 1 trusted brand.

To tell that story in a meaningful way, we had to account for how people consume media—in shorter bursts and often on mobile. Using six-second ads to complement our longer hero ads solved for that.

The challenge was how to champion the product and convey a message of trust in a short amount of time; nailing it required testing and learning. 'Slamtone' performed the best because it paired iconic features—our copper-top imagery and audible ‘slamtone’—with a clear brand message. It is unquestionably Duracell.”

Make your product the focus—and celebrate it

Eric Helin, creative director, Wieden+Kennedy

“When it comes to video length, there’s a tendency to equate shorter with worse, because the industry isn’t accustomed to shorter just yet. It’s a different creative approach that requires different thinking. For ‘Slamtone,’ it wasn’t a matter of cutting an existing 30-second story down—it was telling a different story altogether.

The succinctness of six seconds makes the Duracell battery feel larger than life.

The time constraint gives you freedom to do things you wouldn’t necessarily do in a longer spot.

A key tenet of the ‘Trust is Power’ campaign was to ‘hero’ the product. So the creative idea for ‘Slamtone’ and the other bumper ads was to do that in almost absurdly bold ways. The succinctness of six seconds makes the Duracell battery feel larger than life.“

Test and learn to optimize for your campaign goals

Erin Breen, director of connections, Spark Foundry

“We built ‘Slamtone’ and several other bumper ads, and remarketed them to viewers of our equity-building 30-second ads. Our media strategy was to reach viewers with these longer stories, then reinforce them with quick, hard-hitting six-second ads to keep Duracell top of mind.

Increasing purchase intent was key to proving our return on ad spend. From the outset, we ran Brand Lift studies to gauge which version of six-second creative drove the highest lift in purchase intent.

‘Slamtone’ was the clear winner, so we used it in our media mix to optimize for purchase intent lift.”

Brands are trying out various models for mixing short-form ads into a campaign. While the rulebook for making great bumper ads is still being written as brands experiment more and more, check out these short-form ad best practices to get the creative juices flowing.