Before we let 2013 carry us into the future, let’s look back at a third type of video that, like with trailers and ads, had a robust 2012. Mashable has released a slideshow of the top five most viewed nonprofit videos of the year, highlighting the issues we cared about during the year that was.
As expected, Invisible Children‘s Kony 2012 video, which took the Internet by storm back in March, paced the field with an incredible 95 million views. The second place video, Melbourne Metro’s clever Dumb Ways To Die song, has amassed a comparatively paltry 35 million. Given the latter video’s recent release date (November 14), it could still gain some ground on Kony, but I don’t see it spawning an abundance of relevant memes anytime soon.
Another recent video, the Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ channel‘s Demand A Plan To End Gun Violence, occupies the third spot, with another near 30 million view drop between #2 and #3. The video, which was released just a few weeks ago in response to the Sandy Hook shooting, features a large number of pro-gun control celebrities. A video from a sick child at the LA Children’s Hospital who meets Selena Gomez accrued the fourth most views, while PETA‘s Boyfriend Went Vegan spot came in fifth.
What’s interesting is how three of the top five nonprofit videos received some degree of negative response. Kony 2012 was notably criticized for its manipulation of facts and its oversimplification of a complex issue. Demand a Plan has a high number of dislikes thanks to the divisive nature of the gun control argument. And if the ratio of likes/dislikes is any indication, the response to Boyfriend Went Vegan was overwhelmingly negative. Given the amount of traffic these efforts received, it’s clear that stirring up controversy is a good way for a nonprofit to get noticed on YouTube (and sell a lot of t-shirts).