NEW YORK: Nike, PepsiCo and Volkswagen are the brand owners which created the most popular ads voluntarily viewed by US users of YouTube during 2012.

The video platform, a unit of Google, has published a list of the Top 20 ads that consumers played back on its site over the year to date, based on factors like the number of views and how much of each video these visitors watched.

Nike, the sportswear giant, boasted the most popular commercial overall, with "My Time is Now". This tie-in to the Euro 2012 international football tournament was uploaded in May, and has since secured 20.9m views.

Pepsi Max, the beverage brand, took second, and accrued 17.8m hits for a video - also made live in May - starring Kyrie Irving, from the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team, as an ageing character named "Uncle Drew".

Volkswagen, the carmaker, occupied third position with a "teaser" for its Super Bowl television spot, added to YouTube in January. Called "The Bark Side", it featured a chorus of dogs delivering the music to the "Imperial March" from the Stars Wars series of films.

This effort secured 17.7m views, while a follow-up, "The Dog Strikes Back", registered 16.1m hits on this measure, taking sixth place as a result.

Honda, from the same category, occupied fifth with a tribute to the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Matthew Broderick reprised his role from the movie to promote Honda's CR-V, and ultimately generated 16.3m views.

Indeed, eight of the top twenty slots were taken by companies in the automotive category, with Super Bowl spots from Audi, Chevy and Chrysler also clocking up high levels of interest.

Elsewhere, Old Spice, the personal care line for men manufactured by Procter & Gamble, had four entries in the top 20, collectively garnering 19.5m views.

"We never lose sight of the guys that use Old Spice," Jason Partin, brand manager for Old Spice, told AdWeek. "They've come to love the brand and expect a certain level of entertainment from us, so we work hard to deliver on that."

Wieden + Kennedy created all the videos for Old Spice, and those for Nike and Chrysler. "We try to make ourselves laugh first and foremost, and hope that at least 12 other people think it's funny," said Jason Bagley and Craig Allen, the creative directors at Wieden + Kennedy.

Details sourced from New York Times; additional content by Warc staff