John Lewis’ “#BusterTheBoxer” Tops Unruly’s Most Shared Ads Of 2016

John Lewis’ “#BusterTheBoxer” Tops Unruly’s Most Shared Ads Of 2016

UK retailer John Lewis is bouncing with joy today after its 2016 Christmas campaign “#BusterTheBoxer” was named the most shared ad of 2016 by video ad tech company Unruly.

The two-minute video ad appears at the top of Unruly’s annual Top 20 Global Video Ads Chart after attracting 1,949,387 shares across social media. The ad’s performance since its launch on November 9 also makes it the 5th most shared Christmas ad of all time and the most shared John Lewis ad ever.

The list also shows how video advertising is growing all around the world, with creatives from 10 different countries appearing on the list. The UK, US, Denmark, Egypt, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Norway, the Philippines and Indonesia are all represented.

Despite ads as short as 30 seconds, the average runtime for the top 20 videos was 2:49. This is partially driven by 7 Eleven’s Thai ad “Teachers”, which is close to 9 minutes long. Coming in at #10 with 792,328 shares, this short film elicits some of the emotions that can only be felt through a longer ad duration including nostalgia, warmth and sadness. Other brands to make it in the top 20 include McDonald’s, Volkswagen and Mentos.

Unruly’s top 20 most shared ads of 2016

1. John Lewis – #BusterTheBoxer – 1,949,387 shares

2. Channel 4 – We Are The Superhumans – 1,851,533 shares

3. Shell – Best Day Of My Life | #makethefuture – 1,683,072 shares

4. Vodafone – Ramadan 2016 – 1,435,350 shares

5. OK Go & S7 Airlines – Upside Down and Inside Out – 1,240,842 shares

6. Nike – The Switch – 969,650 shares

7. Doritos – Ultrasound – 893,465 shares

8. Ariel – #sharetheload – 877,558 shares

9. Cadbury’s Dairy Milk – Aliens – 852,895 shares

10. 7 Eleven Thailand – Teachers – 792,328 shares

11. McDonald’s Philippines – Tuloy Pa Rin – 699,396 shares

12. Nike Basketball – The Conductor – 641,359 shares

13. Volkswagen – Trailer Assist – 640,995 shares

14. Samsung – Introducing Samsung Galaxy S7 – 616,128 shares

15. OK Go & Morton Salt – The One Moment – 608,419 shares

16. Knorr – Spirit of Ramadan – 590,386 shares

17. Momondo – The DNA Journey – 585,903 shares

18. Facebook – Aquila Test Flight – 564,123 shares

19. Mentos Indonesia – Mentos Mentors – 548,334 shares

20. Nintendo – First Look at Nintendo Switch – 544,585 shares

Ian Forrester, global VP of insight at Unruly, said: “It’s been an extraordinary year for world politics and times have never been more uncertain. Video advertising has once again reflected the wants and needs of society and offered a powerful route to escapism for consumers. From celebrating the extraordinary in Channel 4’s Superhumans, offering escapism in Nike’s The Switch, exemplifying the best of humanity in videos from 7 Eleven Thailand, Knorr, Facebook and Momondo, offering a ‘wtf’ moment with Cadbury’s Aliens, and challenging traditional gender roles in Ariel’s Share the Load, the world’s best creatives have drawn strength from uncertain times.

“Social video has dramatically evolved, brands are adding emotional intelligence to digital advertising and truly understanding storytelling, with John Lewis’ ad eliciting intense feelings of warmth, happiness, hilarity and amazement in viewers. We’ve also seen the most successful creatives bubbling up from a vast range of countries and cultures, showing how digital video can break down national boundaries and become a truly global conversation.”

Forrester added: “This year’s John Lewis ad was a distinct departure from the retailer’s usual tried-and-trusted festive template, but it still packed an emotional punch. With 43 per cent of viewers reporting intense feelings of warmth, happiness, hilarity and amazement while watching the ad, underlying just how important emotions are in advertising. This year’s chart underlines that to make a successful ad, marketers have to think less about creative appeal and more about emotional appeal.”


Unruly’s rankings are based on the number of shares – as opposed to views – that ads on Facebook and YouTube attracted across Facebook and the blogosphere. As such, they are a measure of the ad’s online buzz or virality, ranking ads by the volume of active pass-on rather than the passive, paid metric of video viewership.

Data was collected from January 1, 2016 to November 29, 2016. Unruly’s annual Top 20 Global Video Ads Chart only includes official ads that were launched in 2016 and does not include trailers for movies or TV shows. To help advertisers create an emotional connection with consumers, Unruly has developed Unruly EQ™ – an innovative new content testing tool that gives advertisers the data they need to maximise the emotional, social and business impact of their video content.

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