YouTube’s 10 Most-Watched Ads in April

A pair of megahits led the way in a staggering month for online video

Headshot of Tim Nudd

It's shaping up to be an astonishing spring for ads on YouTube.

In March, Pepsi MAX's Jeff Gordon spot screeched its way to 33 million views, or about 13 million more than 2012's most-watched spot did for the entire year. But it turned out that was indeed just a test drive.

In April, not one but two viral juggernauts did even better than the Pepsi MAX video. The first was Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches" video from Ogilvy Brazil, uploaded to YouTube on April 14. Then, five days later, Evian posted its latest babies commercial from BETC Paris. Both spots stormed past the Pepsi MAX view count to become 2013's most-watched YouTube ads so far.

Click through to the gallery here to see which one emerged victorious in this particular clash of the titans:

• Video Gallery: YouTube's 10 Most-Watched Ads in April

Elsewhere on this month's list, Kmart shipped its pants, Beyoncé strutted for Pepsi, and Old Spice delivered a pair of absurd spots that bookended the latest "Replacers" video for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

Fernando Machado, vp of Dove Skin, spoke with Adweek about the phenomenal success of the Real Beauty Sketches campaign. YouTube view counts are nice, he said, but it's the emotional connection driving that engagement which is key.

"The brand has been overwhelmed by the positive response to the Dove Real Beauty Sketches film," he said. "We launched the film in mid-April and it has already received over 100 million views globally—45 million in the U.S—across Dove branded video platforms. The moment the film was uploaded to the Dove YouTube page, it received an overwhelming response and quickly started to gain traction around the world with women, men, media and even other brands sharing the film."

He adds: "Dove believes that all women are beautiful and is saddened by the fact that only 4 percent of women around the world think that they're beautiful. The Real Beauty Sketches campaign struck an emotional chord with millions of women who recognize that they are their own worst beauty critic. People felt compelled to share the film with others to inspire them to see the beauty in themselves that others do. Since the film launched, Dove has received an outpouring of testimonials from women around the world telling us how deeply the Real Beauty Sketches film has resonated with them."

The view counts on this month's YouTube Ads Leaderboard are as of May 2. To be eligible for the Leaderboard, videos must be marked as ads on YouTube (i.e., they get some paid views) but must also earn significant organic views. See all 10 spots at the link above.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.