Last week saw the unveiling of the now traditional John Lewis Christmas ad, which this year comes with an added helping of cheese and schmaltz.

Despite the fact it stars a cartoon bear and a hare, it would appear the ad is set to break previous John Lewis ad records, at least in social media terms.

In the 24 hours after it was launched the ad was mentioned in 49,152 tweets, of which only 16% were negative. This is more than double the 21,027 mentions that last year’s ad picked up in the same time frame.

According to the data from Hotwire PR/33Digital, John Lewis’ 2012 snowman advert was mentioned 220,768 times in the whole of November while 2011’s effort accumulated 91,551 for the calendar month. Therefore it appears that the bear and hare creative is set to become more successful than its predecessors in terms of online buzz.

Separate stats from YouGov show that as of Friday a massive 58% of UK Twitter users had seen a mention of John Lewis since the ad launched, while among Facebook users the number stood at 9%.

In comparison just 15% of Twitter users and 1% of Facebook’s saw mentions of the new M&S ad.

As part of the social activity surrounding the ad, John Lewis has setup three dedicated Twitter accounts, one each for the bear and hare and another that represents both characters.

Assuming that these feeds are official and aren’t parody accounts, it shows that John Lewis is making a concerted effort to commoditise the ads in the same way that Compare The Market has with its meerkat characters.

The individual bear and hare accounts both have around 4,500 followers, which is actually fewer than the 5,500 accumulated by a Twitter user who happens to share the same name as the retailer.

For those who have managed to avoid seeing the John Lewis ad, here it is in all its glory. For comparison I’ve also included the latest Christmas efforts from M&S and Morrisons.

John Lewis’ advert

Morrisons’ advert

M&S’ advert