Mutant horrors, singers and kissing strangers had a big year on YouTube.
All of the above joined soccer stars, a bending iPhone, a beer commercial and a dose of street activism on the video site’s list of the most popular posts of 2014.
S.A. Wardega, a Polish actor, director and Web prankster, scored the top spot with “Mutant Giant Spider Dog,” which had scared up more than 113 million views since he posted it in September.
In it, Wardega films people in everyday situations into which he unleashes his otherwise cute dog, Chica, wearing a costume that gives the pooch eight giant, creepy spider legs.
It wasn’t without a dose of controversy.
“Someone reported a SpiderDog video to the prosecution claiming that threatening (sic) endangered the life of the people who were there,” Wardega, whose first name is Sylwester, wrote in September on his Facebook page. “I wonder who will go to jail? Me or Chica? Or maybe a spider costume?”
Taking the No. 3 spot, behind a Nike ad featuring soccer stars like Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, was “First Kiss,” a social experiment of sorts in which complete strangers are brought together and asked to kiss each other.
Except, this one wasn’t exactly as it first appeared. It was commissioned by Wren Studio, a small clothing company, to showcase a new clothing line. Almost all of those awkward strangers were, in fact, models.
“In all fairness, the people in the video could still be classified as ‘strangers’ by definition, but that’s like calling a kid who plays Call of Duty for 12 hours a day ‘an amateur’,” read a Complex article titled “That Adorable ‘First Kiss’ Video That Everyone Is Talking About Is a Fake.”
“Never trust the Internet.”
Director Tatia Pilieva said there was never an intent to deceive anyone, noting that the video begins with the words “Wren presents …” and the clothing company is mentioned in the credits.
“It felt so real and sincere and it was,” she told the New York Times, saying each couple really did meet for the first time the day they shot. “They shed all these layers in front of our eyes and in front of the cameras and that sweetness and kindness resonated with people.”
The Internet appears not to mind. The video has more than 94 million views.
In fifth place is the video that launched a million tech-blog posts — the “iPhone 6 Plus Bend Test.”
Unbox Therapy, a Web video series focusing on consumer electronics, posted a video after online reports began popping up of Apple’s massive, new phone bending in people’s pockets.
The September video, which has racked up more than 59 million views, shows a host, Lewis Hilsenteger, bending one of the aluminum phones with his hands.
Not that the problem, if it is one, has scared many folks away. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sold 10 million units in their first weekend on the market and have continued to break sales records in the months since.
Another creepy prank, “Devil Baby Attack,” took the No. 8 spot with nearly 49 million views and the team behind the goofy “Epic Rap Battles” scored with the No. 9 video, “Goku vs. Superman,” which got nearly 41 million views.
A more serious effort rounded out the Top 10 list. Tenth place went to “10 Hours Walking in NYC as a Woman,” by anti-harassment group Hollaback. In it, a woman in jeans and a T-shirt is recorded walking as, one after another, men comment on her appearance, sometimes aggressively.
The video, which has more than 37.5 million views, sparked conversations everywhere about the prevalence of street harassment, as well as issues ranging from the role race, culture and geography play in public conversation to Web abuse (the subject of the video received rape and death threats online).
Also on YouTube’s top 10 for the year were a nun’s performance on the Italian version of “The Voice” (No. 4), a performance by a kid hip-hop duo on “Britain’s Got Talent,” (No. 6) and Budweiser’s Super Bowl commercial, “Puppy Love” (No. 9).
Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” was the most popular music video of the year.