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YouTube’s New Stars Include Ad Leaders

YouTube put on a show—and talked business—at its Brandcast presention Thursday night.

In addition to several of the stars of ots online channels, the chief marketing officer of Toyota, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Big Bird and several top media agency executives all testified to YouTube’s effectiveness as an advertising medium.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki talked about YouTube’s reach growing larger than any TV network’s and reaching more people 18 to 49 than the top 10 primetime TV shows. She said Google Preferred YouTube campaigns produced on average a 14% increase in intent to purchase.

And she pointed to the recent announcement that media agency Magna Global was shifting $200 million of its clients’ ad dollars from TV to YouTube.

She also introduced Google Preferred Breakout Videos, which lets brands connect with the hottest new videos. She said the Breakout Videos could be bought programmatically via Doubleclick.

Speaking of hot, excessive use of fog machines set off fire alarms, which sent a handful of people to the exits.

Jack Hollis, CMO at Toyota, said that advertising on YouTube started as an experiment. But a campaign to make its Sienna minivan cool to parents—featuring a rap about the Swagger Wagon—led to a 50% increase in sales.

YouTube stopped being an experiment and after a few more campaigns. It’s now a core media and spending on Google Preferred is up 400% this year.

Toyota is a global Olympic sponsor and the automaker will be putting videos telling athletes stories on YouTube as part of its sponsorship.

Nigel Morris, CEO of the Dentsu Aegis media buying network, said that while TV has been successful as an ad media using sight, sound and motion with massive reach, “online video is an even more powerful medium. In addition to sight sound and motion, it’s also personalized.”

Morris said that YouTube is “more valuable to people and brands because it’s actionable,” and said that the shift of marketing dollars from TV to online video “is not happening fast enough.”

Other media buyers, including  Lori Hiltz of Havas, David Cohen of Magna Global, Chris Geraci of OMD, Rob Norman of GroupM and Bill Koenigsberg of Horizon also talked about YouTube’s qualities.

NBA Commissioner Silver said that the league was making all of its videos available as part of Google Preferred. “The businesses that will be most popular tomorrow are the ones that are most popular on social media today,” he said. “This is a great way for us to partner with all your brands.”

YouTube star Lilly Singh acted as MC for the presentation. She took a selfie with Big Bird because Sesame Studios is part of theYouTube Kids offering. She also  introduced two musical acts whose careers showed how YouTube is changing the music business. One was singer Andra Day, who performed, and the other was Silento, who had the world and the audience whipping and nae nae-ing.

Dinner was cooked by YouTube stars and the evening concluded by a performance by Sia.