YouTube has released its monthly Ads Leaderboard, which looks at the top ten most viewed paid ads on the site over the past month (and counts both organic and paid views). As is common on YouTube, sports-related ads reigned supreme, but the most interesting inclusions were the two ads in positions nine and ten–both of which came from popular, non-branded YouTube channels.

The first of the two channels in question is Rhett and Link. The inimitable YouTube duo achieved the ninth-most viewed ad of April through a stylish rap battle that doubles as a PSA against texting and driving. The video, titled “I’m A Textpert”, was sponsored by the US government’s initiative against distracted driving and represents the efficient of YouTubers as brand spokesmen. While “I’m A Textpert” has just a quarter of the views of the most-viewed ad of the month, it has more than twice as many likes thanks to Rhett and Link’s highly engaged audience.

The other popular YouTube channel to crack the April Ads Leaderboard was Dude Perfect. The trick shot masters worked with Gatorade to dunk a member of their team into a pool of electric blue liquid. As with Rhett and Link’s video, the “World’s Longest Dunk Tank Throw” has a good ratio of likes to views: 21,716 likes to 1.51 million views.

While these YouTube channels provided great branded content for their sponsors, the easiest way to reach April’s Ads Leaderboard can be summed up in one word: Neymar. With the 2014 World Cup just a month away, the phenomenal Brazilian soccer star has become a marketer’s best friend. He appears in three of April’s top ten ads, including Castrol’s clever collaboration with Ken Block and Nike’s “Winner Stays” spot, which is the latest in the shoe company’s tradition of brilliant World Cup promos.

Here is the full Ads Leaderboard for April:

Rank Title Username Url View Count
1 Nike Football: Winner Stays. ft. Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Rooney, Ibrahimović, Iniesta & more NikeFootball 49,042,870
2 Dove: Patches doveunitedstates 20,528,714
3 evian Spider-Man – The Amazing Baby & me 2 EvianBabies 16,577,425
4 Castrol Footkhana: Neymar Jr. v Ken Block castrolfootball 14,213,013
5 “Unsung Hero” (Official HD) : TVC Thai Life Insurance 2014 : โฆษณาไทยประกันชีวิต 2557 thailifechannel 12,523,222
6 Nike Football: Risk Everything. Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr. & Wayne Rooney NikeFootball 10,844,632
7 Foot Locker x adidas “No Rings” featuring Damian Lillard footlocker 4,628,338
8 Honey Maid: Love Honeymaid 3,828,593
9 I’m a Textpert (Rap Battle) RhettandLink 2,700,341
10 World’s Longest Dunk Tank Throw | Dude Perfect corycotton 1,363,303

Expect plenty more soccer stars in May’s leaderboard as advertisers do everything they can to take advantage of World Cup hysteria. For those brands that can’t rely on footballers, YouTube stars might be the next best thing.

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