Christmas adverts: John Lewis, Sainsburys, Burberry & Marks and Spencer beaten by Universal for most shared festive ad of all time

Catherine Neilan
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Christmas is all about sharing... festive ads

It's that time of year already.

John Lewis is poised to unveil its Christmas advert on Friday (8am if you're really keen) and once again will be launching in on social media first, followed by a grand pushing out to TV audiences at the weekend.

It has become an iconic start to the festive period, with the department store business not shying away from spending big bucks on the animation, music and advertising slots in the run up to Christmas.

It has become such an event that last year John Lewis even sold out of merchandising from its Monty the Penguin shot. But how popular was the 2014 offering - and how does it compare to rival festive ads? Here are the figures according to ad tech company Unruly.

These are the UK's most shared Christmas ads of all time

1) Minions (2014)

Despite all the fanfare, John Lewis does not in fact hold the crown for the most shared Christmas advert of all time - that honour goes to Universal, for its Minions Go Caroling advert from 2014. In case you were not one of the 3.97m people to have shared it last year, here's the ad:

2) John Lewis: The Bear and the Hare (2013)

Middle England's favourite store does, however, take four of the top 10 festive ads, and its most popular was this pure animation from 2013, with Lily Allen's downbeat cover of Keane's Somwhere Only We Know. An impressive 1.23m people shared this friendship-themed ad.

3) John Lewis: Monty the Penguin (2014)

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Monty should be feeling pretty pleased with himself, because within minutes of being launched he had spawned spoofs far and wide. That and the fact that 1.01m people shared the advert of course. Here it is again in all its glory.

4) Sainsbury's: Christmas is for sharing (2014)

The supermarket interrupts John Lewis' domination of the top 10 with this tear-jerker from last year, commemorating the infamous football game played between warring English and German soldiers in Christmas 1914. Viewers clearly agreed Christmas was for sharing, as this ad got more than 770,000.

5) John Lewis: The Long Wait (2011)

This was the game-changer that spawned a thousand me-too campaigns (not forgetting Gordon Ramsey's spoof). It set the tone for all the John Lewis ads to follow - including the all-important heart-warming twist at the end. It received nearly 520,000 shares.

6) John Lewis: The Journey (2012)

Arguably the least popular of John Lewis' offerings among critics, it is also the least shared of the big-budget Christmas ads so far - but The Journey was still shared by an impressive 447,000 people.

7) Burberry: From London With Love (2014)

Romeo Beckham proving himself as popular as his mum and dad (and perhaps a better dancer than both) in this advert from last year. It was shared by just over 190,000 people.

8) M&S: Introducing a Little Christmas Magic and Sparkle (2014)

Nearly 160,000 people shared this video from Marks & Spencer, in which festive fairies travel around the UK helping everyone get what they want for Christmas (including doing the wrapping up). The retailer could perhaps itself do with some of this fairy dust.

9) Cartier: Winter Tale

This classy animation included a leopard cub. No wonder it got 120,746 shares.

10) Three: #DancePonyDance at Christmas

A bit of snow doesn't put the dancing pony off his stride, receiving more than 113,000 shares for his efforts. Even the seals were impressed.

11) Harvey Nichols: Walk of Shame

Not strictly in the top 10, but special mention goes to Harvey Nichols for encapsulating a feeling shared by plenty of people in the run up to Christmas. It wasn't just the feeling that was shared - the advert was shared by nearly 98,000 people.

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