YouTube just announced their top ads for July of 2013.  These are based on views, which means many of these probably have quite a bit of paid heft behind them.  For instance, Dove has yet another ad, “Camera Shy,” that’s topping the charts.  But we know that even their “Real Beauty Sketches,” which got and still gets tons of press, got a massive kickstart through paid views.  So I guess with this entry in the top ads, I hope one day YouTube separates the paid views from the “chose to watch this” views.

We may never see that happen, but at least we get several such lists a month that measure ad success in many different ways.  For instance, Unruly goes by shares, and at the very least, Dove’s “Camera Shy” makes that list…but it’s #9 there.  It puts things in better perspective.  Now, “paid views” does not mean “bad ad,” (in fact, some of these are pretty clever) but when you see something that is not so extraordinary with millions of views, that’s a sign the views are inflated.

YouTube’s Chart-Topping Ads in July

#10. My Life As A Mom – Mindy from Cute Girls Hairstyles (800k)

This ad for YouTube’s new “For Mom” hub (sponsored by Hyundai) features Mindy from Cute Girls Hairstyles, showing the tough job it is just to be a mom:

#9. Happy Meal – Despicable Me 2 (1 million)

Despicable Me 2 ruled the box office last month, and this Romanian McDonald’s-Despicable Me 2 tie-in did enough to make the 9 spot.

#8. YouTube Geek Week (1.5 million)

This entry, of course, clouds the issue even further.  Because, well, this ad was everywhere on other videos I was clicking on–and it’s powered by YouTube.  And it was released just a couple of weeks ago.  Nonetheless, this ad made the list:

#7. Kmart – Back to School Layaway – Yo Mama (2.1 million)

Kmart has been hitting it big in the digital space this year.  This ad, featuring kids dishing out “yo mama” compliments instead of insults, lands them on yet another list:

#6. Qualcomm – The World Without Mobile (2.3 million)

This ad depicts the very world we live in right now–only without mobile phones.

#5. Heineken – Departure Roulette (2.4 million)

I love the idea of this ad–get the option to press a button at an airport, change your plans, and go to a random destination.  Many don’t take the risk, but a few do, and it’s great:

#4. Honda – Hands (5.3 million)

This ad was in the top 3 on the recent Unruly list.  It features hands transforming a small thing into a number of much bigger things:

#3. Foot Locker x Reebok – Conversation Lift feat. Shaq and Tyga (6.4 million)

Shaq is tall.  And people need lifting machines to converse with him.

#2. Galaxy S 4 – Flight Chat (13.9 million)

I don’t mean to pick on any one ad, because many of these ads have the same kind of engagement on them.  But this is a clear case of “mostly paid views.”  13.9 million is a ton, but only 3000 of those people actually decided to like or dislike the video (the like-dislike ratio is essentially 1:1, which for a video with nearly 14 million views is another sign that people aren’t really choosing to watch this ad).

#1. Dove – Camera Shy (17.1 million)

Dove tops the charts again, although this won’t get the same kind of coverage “Real Beauty Sketches” got.  This is more like a typical ad.