And so it's come to an end -- this week-long look at automakers and their YouTube channels. We've been amused, intrigued, and sometimes bitterly disappointed by what we've seen. Now it's time to announce the best (and worst) in show.
But first, a couple of notes.
First, we were surprised by the varied quality of YouTube channels we reviewed. Some were stellar: they looked great, had loads of great content, and were very easy to navigate. Others were D-minus material at best. Given that the auto industry is one of the biggest movers and shaker in advertising, it was shocking to see how little attention some companies paid to their official presences on the world's most popular video sharing site and one of the most highly trafficked websites on the planet. Weird.
Then again, we admit that YouTube has become less relevant than it once was. That's not because of increased competition -- though sites like Vimeo offer some very impressive features -- but because YouTube has always been more about passive consumption than active participation.
Think about it: YouTube depends on users for its content, and not just any users, but users who can shoot, edit, and upload video. While software and hardware have both evolved to make that far easier than it was when YouTube launched in 2005, it still cuts out a sizable chunk of the population who lack the skills, materials, or interest to deal with video.
By comparison, think of Facebook, which requires nothing more than signing up, finding friends, and making comments. And of course, Facebook hosts videos, too, so you could make the argument that no one really needs to post content on both sites. At a time when social networks are popping up like Bumpits in Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi's weave, many folks are trying to streamline their online lives -- meaning that YouTube may be losing its luster.
But those are just asides. For now, YouTube is still a Very Big Deal, and advertisers ought to be there. And so -- drumroll please -- here's our list of winners and losers in the great YouTube Review.
* * * * *
Most uploads: Ferrari with 491
Fewest uploads: Suzuki with 8
Most subscribers: Ferrari with 17,776
Fewest subscribers: Buick with 268
Most views: BMW with 11,998,563
Fewest views: Chrysler with 26,977
Oldest channel: Ram, born on September 21, 2005 (pretty good for such a new brand)
Newest channel: BMW, born on August 01, 2009
Best recent clip: Tie between Subaru's "Lost Sunglasses" and BMW's " BMW Art Car. From 1975 to 2010."
We'll skip posting the worst recent clip -- that just seems mean. (But on the DL, Post Spice still freaks us out.)
Best in Show: Porsche: http://www.youtube.com/user/Porsche
It's pretty to look at, easy to navigate, and it's regularly updated. YouTube fanboys may not be Porsche's most viable customer base, but when it comes to maintaining brand awareness and cachet, Porsche knows what it's doing.
We'll skip Worst in Show, too -- though we'd like to point out that most of the brands in our Exotic/Premium category were all without websites. Doesn't get much worse than that.