It's time to announce the most shared video ads of 2015. 

As you’d expect there are a couple of usual-suspect Christmas numbers in there, along with no fewer than three appearances from Adidas. 

The data comes from ad-tech firm Unruly's annual list of the top-20 most shared video ads.

Between them this lot clocked up more than 40m shares across Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere, a 38.5% increase on last year’s total figure of 29m.  

Let’s take a look at the 20 most-shared video ads of 2015, starting from the bottom of the list. 

20. Adidas: ‘Yesterday Is Gone’ – 625,545 shares

The first of three top 20 entries from Adidas, this clip typifies the sports brand’s motivational messaging. It also reminds me of this classic from Shia LeBeouf (thank me later). 

19. Sainsbury’s: ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’ – 629,720 shares

Sainsbury’s supposedly won the war of the Christmas ads in 2014, but this year it seems it couldn’t clock up as many shares as its festive content rival John Lewis.

I still think it’s a better ad, though. 

18. Adidas: ‘Unfollow ft. Leo Messi’ – 681,645 shares

Hero-worshipping and pedestal-putting aplenty in this clip celebrating Lionel ‘Leo’ Messi’s brilliance. But wait... a twist! 

17. John Lewis: ‘#ManontheMoon’ – 693,343 shares

I think more than enough has been said about this ad already, and I don’t think anyone will be surprised that it made this list. 

16. Adidas: ‘Create your own game’ – 779,019 shares

More clips of famous footballers being impressive. Tense music: check. Dramatic voiceover: check. It was destined to do well. 

15. Red Nose Day: ‘Coldplay’s Game of Thrones: The Musical’ – 998,762 shares

This is, quite simply, brilliant. Coldplay write a musical and the cast of Game of Thrones performs it. A great little behind-the-scenes clip for fans of the show. 

Favourite lyric (vague spoiler alert): “Red Wedding, Red Wedding, lots of stabbing and a bit of beheading.”

14. Supercell: ‘Clash of Clans: Revenge’ – 1m shares

Liam Neeson doing what he does best: intimidating people via a growling monologue. Except this time his fury is directed at his rivals on the mobile game Clash of Clans. “ANGRY NEESON.” 

13. DC Shoes: ‘Robbie Maddison’s Pipe Dream’ – 1.1m shares

Everything about this video – the camera work, the sound design, the fact he’s riding a bloody motorbike across the sea – is fantastic.

A well-deserved spot on the top 20. 

12. Pandora: ‘The unique connection’ – 1.16m shares

Blindfolded children are tasked with locating their mothers. Sounds much crueller than it is, and this video no doubt appealed to parents everywhere.

11. Metlife: ‘My dad's story: Dream for My Child’ – 1.5m shares

You’d have to have a heart carved out of the floor of hell itself not to be moved by this clip about a little girl’s appreciation for her hard-working father.

Not that I’m getting emotional or anything. I'll have you know it's an acute onslaught of winter hayfever. 

10. Kleenex: ‘Unlikely Best Friends’ – 2m shares

This is a brilliant example of storytelling in content marketing, the story in this case being about a disabled dog and a disabled man becoming the most adorable companions ever.

The ultimate feel-good film. 

9. Microsoft: ‘Robert Downey Jr. delivers a real bionic arm’ – 2.1m shares

Another uplifting clip in which Robert Downey Jr. surprises a one-armed child with a new bionic 3D-printed arm, free of charge. 

“Do you know who that is?” someone asks the kid. 

“Ironman,” he replies with a grin. 

8. Fanpage.it: ‘Slap her’: children’s reactions – 2.4m shares

To highlight the absurdity of violence against women, Fanpage.it paired up male and female children and then asked the boy to slap the girl.

I can confirm no girls faces were slapped in the making of this video.

7. Zorba: ‘Maya’ – 2.6m shares

More brilliant storytelling here, along with a heavy dose of emotion.

The clip aims to show what kind of utopian world we could live in if everyone took the time to stop and help each other out. Can’t see it catching on in London.

6. Ad Council: ‘Diversity & Inclusion – Love Has No Labels’ – 2.7m shares

This clip uses an x-ray machine to highlight the snap judgements all of us make about people despite many of us probably believing we’re unprejudiced.

Look how disgusted you were when you thought they were skeletons, you bigot!

5. Budweiser: Super Bowl commercial: ‘Lost Dog’ – 2.8m shares

Cute puppy, haunting acoustic version of a classic song, rising crescendo toward a happy ending.

This clip was destined for a high spot on this list. 

4. Roc by Ronaldo/Monster: ‘Cristiano Ronaldo in disguise’ – 3m shares

This one is quite entertaining and a good example of experiential marketing.

Cristiano Ronaldo dons a fat suit and a beard and confuses a crowd of people with his inexplicably awesome footy skills. 

3. Purina/Buzzfeed: ‘This man found his soulmate in a puppy and it’s adorable’ – 3.02m shares

So what have we learned from this list so far? I think the key takeaway is that puppies equal shares.

It doesn’t matter what your message is, just stick a damn puppy in it and watch your content fly. You heard it here first. 

2. Disney: ‘Disney characters surprise shoppers’ – 3.9m shares

More experiential marketing, this time from everyone’s favourite storytellers. I imagine part of the reason behind this clip’s success is the fact it appeals to parents and children alike. 

1. Android: 'Friends Furever' – 6.4m shares

With almost double the number of shares than the number two slot, this video smashed the competition by quite some margin. 

I mean, we can all claim to be marketing experts, but let’s face it: this is literally a one-minute clip of different pairs of animals (not a single product in sight, Lord Sugar! Sorry, Festival of Marketing in-joke there). 

But this video is ridiculously uplifting, and clearly that is something to bear in mind when thinking about what kind of emotional reaction you want your viewers to have.

Going by this list, feel-good seems to be the winner.

If you want to learn more about creating effective video content, check out these posts...

Jack Simpson

Published 19 November, 2015 by Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (2)

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Mike Hill, CEO at holler

Thanks so much for not using the word viral

about 2 years ago

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Phil Allen, Director, Digital, Wealth & Investments at Lloyds Banking GroupEnterprise

No Warburtons?

about 2 years ago

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