In six days, a video has raced up YouTube’s trending charts thanks to, at the time of writing, some 113 million views. It is not the latest Bieber or BTS video but Rewind 2018, the video platform’s annual round-up of “the videos, people, music and moments that defined 2018”.
Rewind first appeared in 2010 and was a very different beast to today – it was just a showcase of the top ten most viewed videos of the year which, for the sake of those with short memories, included Double Rainbow Guy and the Bed Intruder Song.
In 2012, YouTube changed everything up and made Rewind an original mash-up that incorporated the year’s top YouTubers as well as the top video memes. Keeping everybody watching their screens that year were Psy and Gangnam Style and Walk Off the Earth – five people playing a cover of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know.
Since then, the number of YouTubers, clever cultural references and the scope of the Rewind video has increased and the 2018 edition is a big budget affair.
Despite that, Rewind 2018 was not to everyone’s taste. In fact, in that short time, it became the second most disliked video on YouTube (8.9 million thumbs down) behind Justin Bieber’s video of Baby (with 9.8 million).
The feeling in the YouTube community was that several key YouTubers had been ignored (notably PewDiePie, while some non-YT celebrities, including Will Smith, were a major focus. Others have been annoyed to have been served the whole of the Rewind video as an unskippable ad while watching other clips on the platform.
As well as Rewind appearing just like any other ad, you can argue that the content is one giant ad. The hugely popular and billion dollar earning multiplayer game Fortnite features throughout the clip, for example.
You could also argue that it is one of the world’s most expensive tourism marketing clips. With its global cast of characters, the clip has been shot in multiple locations around the world, including Urca beach in Rio de Janeiro, London’s trendy Spitalfields and Seoul. Last year’s Rewind – the Shape of 2017 – featured 20 locations around the world.
All of these filming locations look amazing and the copycats who drive tourism through following their idols to the most Instagrammable spots in the world are sure to follow in large numbers. Destination marketing organisations could barely dream of the budgets that YouTube can command for shooting and promoting such a lavish advert. Perhaps the best approach for them is to support local YouTubers with the hope of getting them into next year’s annual review.