I guess I'm proud to say that I contributed one of the reported 45-million-plus views to the Evian Roller Babies video ad, which is touted by the Guinness Book of World Records as "the most viewed online advertisement in history."
I can't find any verification from Guinness itself on the web. OK, I didn't look that hard, and I didn't contact Guinness. I didn't think it was worth much effort because this record – like so many other Guinness records - is one of those "so what" numbers – mildly amusing, sort of astounding, and utterly useless.
Mashable's Ben Parr, saying that "millions" remembered and "actively discussed" this "critically acclaimed" ad, thinks that "any brand will take those numbers."
If I were Evian, the only numbers I would take are those in dollars, euros, yen, pounds and pesos and the like. I agree with David Berkowitz in Social Media Insider: "I have yet to see any coverage of the record
that mentions Evian's market share or any other success metric from the
brand's perspective. Maybe a needle moved, maybe nothing happened, but
it's hardly a clear-cut case that a viral ad means it's successful."
It's a highly watchable, entertaining video, but it hardly embeds "Evian" in my brain or makes me want to buy it. What do roller-skating babies have to do with mineral water? The babies don't even drink Evian in the video – they just skate around the bottles. I guess the Evian's tag at the end, "Live Young," ties it all together.
And of course there are quibbles how video ads are counted, and how the 45-million figure came about. Apparently it was a combination of YouTube, Nielsen, Ad Age and Visual Measures. Because the video was embedded in many places, you can't just look at the number of views on YouTube, which right now is showing about 11 million views.
Whatever. It really doesn't matter.