The Swirl: December 18, 2017

Shout out to everyone for working harder than ever this year. We’ve got one more week until a few well-deserved days off. You can do it! On that note, Swirl will be taking a small break, but don’t worry - we’ll be back celebrating the New Year on January 8th. Happy holidays to all of our followers out there. It’s been a great year of content, and we can’t wait to see what 2018 holds. In this edition: the year in Google searches, political banter and most watched ads on YouTube.


Smart House (n.) - a 1999 film where a dream home turns into a computer-controlled disaster. Cue the 90s kid nostalgia. Also a movie concept that has essentially become reality for the masses with technology advancements like Nest. Next up on the smart home front, Sonos and IKEA are teaming up to create a offering that will bring “music and sound” to all aspects of the home. ‘Bout time, don’t you think?

For those already reflecting on 2017...

SwirlNotes: Google has recapped the year through top searches. Warning: the 2017 “Year in Search” video dives headfirst into the calamities and conflicts of the past twelve months. But it also ends on a positive note, reflecting on searches that revolve around the theme of powering forward.


A lot has happened over the year, and sometimes it’s easier to forget and move on rather than dwell on the past. As the video showcases clips from searches like “how to help flood victims” and “how do hurricanes form,” we’re reminded of all the bad things that happened this year. And while that may seem like something we’d like to put behind us, this video also shows how you can come together to overcome such catastrophes. There were some great things that happened, like the eclipse and the #MeToo movement, and we love how Google has positioned the video as a way to look forward with hope. Bring it on 2018.

For the politicians...

SwirlNotes: If you’re wondering what the 2017 advertising theme was, we think it’s safe to say that it had something to do with brands getting political. From Coca-Cola’s bowl spot to Expedia’s Inauguration-Day ad, things got a bit heated. Heated in a good way, that is.


Brands have steered clear of controversial topics in the past to avoid putting their name at risk, but things have definitely shifted this year. One after another, they are taking a stand against certain policies, and we don’t hate it. Consumers are expressing an interest in this too. Turns out 56% of Americans believe corporations should stand up for what they believe politically. Looks like transparency has reached new levels in 2017, and we don’t expect this to go away in 2018. Stay tuned.

For those who love a good recap...

SwirlNotes: YouTube compiled the top ten most watched ads (globally) on the platform this year. What you might expect: a few Super Bowl spots and familiar famous faces. What you might not: Samsung India Service steals the number one spot. Heart warmed.


To get the rules & regulations straight, in order to be eligible for the YouTube Ads leaderboard, the video must be marked as an ad (hint: it includes paid views), but also earn significant organic views. The winning formula combines those paid and organic views with audience retention - aka how much of the video people actually watched. Based on that algorithm, a few interesting insights emerged. Contrary to popular belief, these rankings prove that Super Bowl ads are far from dead. In fact, the ads have an even longer shelf life with pre- and post-game coverage. Even ads we didn’t particularly care for (lookin’ at you, Mr. Clean), made the most watched list. Seems like an opportunity to mention that any PR is good PR for your brand. It also doesn’t hurt to leverage an influencer like The Rock, Natalie Portman or Melissa McCarthy to up your brand recognition. Duly noted. And probably most importantly, Samsung showed us that a power message will always trump a product or service promotion. Every. Single. Time.

Want more on what happened this year on YouTube? Check out the 7-minute rewind. Spoiler, in an attempt to keep it positive, you won’t see anything on Donald Trump and #MeToo.


In case you haven’t gotten enough Year in Review recaps, check out the best ads of 2017. Hint, hint - we’ve covered a lot of them.