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Super Bowl Commercials: Budweiser Clocks Most YouTube Views, 84 Lumber Ad a Surprise Hit

Variety logo Variety 2/6/2017 Janko Roettgers
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YouTube users collectively spent more than 350,000 hours watching Game Day ads on Super Bowl Sunday, the Google-owned video site revealed Monday. The most eyeballs attracted Budweiser’s “Born the Hard Way” commercial, which retells the story of the company’s German immigrant founders.

The ad had attracted more than 21 million views on YouTube at the time of writing, which is more than twice as much as the second-most popular ad. That one, dubbed “Ghost Spuds,” is promoting Bud Light with the help of the iconic dog character Spuds MacKenzie that first premiered at Super Bowl XXI 30 years ago. “Ghost Spuds” had attracted some 9.5 million views Monday morning.

Other notable Super Bowl LI ads that amassed millions of view on YouTube included T-Mobile’s “#Unlimitesmoves” featuring Justin Bieber with 9.2 million views and counting, Mr.Clean’s Super Bowl ad with 8.2 million views and Netflix’s “Stranger Things” Season 2 trailer with 3.4 million views.

But the biggest surprise was the 84 Lumber Super Bowl commercial, which featured the story of a migrant other and her daughter trying to make their way to the U.S., only to face President Trump’s proposed border wall.

The original clip was reportedly rejected by Fox for being too political, which is why the company aired a shorter version, asking viewers to watch the entire journey on its website. That site immediately went down during the Super Bowl, but YouTube is hosting three versions of the ad — the clip shown during the game, the conclusion of the journey and a complete version.

Together, these three clips have amassed some 6.3 million views and counting, and the full version remained the #1 trending video on YouTube Monday morning. That’s especially remarkable considering the fact that the 84 Lumber YouTube channel had been anything but popular up to this point, with just 2642 subscribers, and many videos averaging less than a thousand views.

YouTube said Monday that viewing of Super Bowl ads on Game Day was up 15 percent year-over-year, with 70 percent of all watch time coming from mobile devices.

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