The 20 Most Viral Ads of 2016

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Christmas, the Olympics/Paralympics and OK Go.

Those are three reliable buckets for great advertising, and they all show up in Unruly’s new list of the most shared ads of 2016. The top spot on this year’s list goes to a Christmas spot; No. 2 was made for the Paralympics; and OK Go put two videos on the list, including one at No. 5.

Ads from 10 different countries appearing on this list, Unruly says—the U.K., U.S., Denmark, Egypt, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Norway, the Philippines and Indonesia. The average runtime for the top 20 videos is 2:49.

“Video advertising has once again reflected the wants and needs of society and offered a powerful route to escapism for consumers,” said Ian Forrester, global vp of insight at Unruly. “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.”

Note: 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.

See all 20 ads below.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.