John Lewis steals the Christmas viral advertising crown (again)!

The team behind the Viral Video Chart examine the latest trending videos and look at what it takes to become a web smash.

Video data compiled by the VAN team.

Brand Viral Trends:

The count down to Christmas is already under way and the flood of festive advertising has begun. This week’s viral chart is filled full of seasonal campaigns, but unsurprisingly, John Lewis has once again stolen the limelight with another heart warming Christmas gem.

Following the success of The Journey, the retail giant teamed up with Adam & Eve DDB to create a beautifully animated ad that harks back to the nostalgia of Disney classics, ticking all the boxes guaranteed to get the emotions flowing.

The video tells the story of the friendship between a bear and a hare… Every winter, Bear hibernates until spring, sleeping through the magic of Christmas. As always, when the first flakes of snow begin to fall, he’s unable to stay awake any longer, leaving the forest animals behind to snuggle down into his dark cave. But Hare watches the festive preparations with sadness, knowing that once again his friend was about to miss out on Christmas day. That is, until he comes up with an idea for a very special present, one that’s guaranteed to wake Bear from his slumber in time to join the woodland fun.

Set the whole thing to a suitably moving sound track, in this case a folky cover of Lilly Allen singing Keane's Somewhere Only We Know and hey presto – viral gold!

John Lewis has certainly found its Christmas advertising niche, with a focus on storytelling that grows stronger year on year. In fact, this latest campaign is more of a short film than an ad.What makes this ad so sharable is its emphasis is on escapism and creating an emotional connection that makes people want to know more about the characters. Viewers can follow the link at the bottom of the video for further details on the story, landing on a dedicated page of the John Lewis website. They can then download the single; buy soft toy versions of Bear and Hare; make their own Christmas cards; read an interactive story and more.There are no celebrity appearances and not a product placement in sight, just a simple message – John Lewis is the place to shop if you want the perfect thoughtful present for someone you love.Of course, with every viral hit comes a barrage of parodies and John Lewis ads are always prime targets! There’s an amusing round up of some of the best spoof tributes on Huffington post, but my favourite is this sinister film remix.

Also trending this week... is a string of branded Christmas videos from the likes of M&S, Tesco and Morrisons (to name but a few). Plus, Ken Block tears up a driving obstacle course in the latest Need For Speed ad and Leo Messi becomes the captain of the football team chosen to save the world from an alien race in the latest bizarre ad from Samsung’s ‘Save the World’ series.A video from PlayStation of the official unboxing of the new PS4 has also gone viral this week. You might be wondering if you missed something here, but no, this is literally just a video of a man slowly opening the box and showing all the leads and instructional leaflets that come inside while some dramatic music plays in the background – BAM, nearly 3 million views in 3 days. It never ceases to amaze me how much hard core tech fans crave information on the latest new products about to hit the market - never underestimate the viral appeal of new gadgets!

UGC Viral Trends:

The somewhat unlikely stars of the UGC video scene this week are the Russian police, with surreal rendition of Get Lucky. The video features the poker faced Russian Interior Ministry Ensemble, dressed in full uniforms and medals, swinging their hips and singing along suggestively to Daft Punk’s pop classic. #WTF!It’s bizarre because its so out of character. Public perception of the Russian police force has often been less than favourable of late, it could be that they're trying to soften their image in the wake of the recent spate of bad PR and brutality allegations. To be fair, they’re a pretty decent bunch of singers and the video has turned into an overnight viral smash. Whether or not the choir actually understands the meaning of the lyrics they are grooving along to is another question!

Elsewhere in the listings, shock tactic ad campaigns have become fodder for a hillarious new spoof video. Anyone who follows our weekly viral updates will know that ‘Prankvertising’ has become the viral industry buzzword of 2013. But with more and more brands using elaborate hidden camera stunts in their ad campaigns, marketers are having to up the anti if they really want to capture the attention of the internet. We want even more terror, hilarity and down right cringeable scenarios. If a stunt can bring an unsuspecting member of the public to their knees and leave them weeping on the floor in terror, then great, it’s ticked the box!Well, Toronto based agency, St John, (the same folks behind the awesome Catvertising), have taken things to the extreme in a hilarious spoof video parodying the new trend of shock tactic advertising. Imagine how you would react if criminals broke into your home and dragged you and your family kicking and screaming down the stairs. Or of your baby was snatched from its pram right in front of you in a busy shopping mall – don’t worry though, it’s all just a ‘fun’ marketing stunt! #LOL!

Also trending this week... Comedy Central asks a group of kids to decide which super hero is better, Loki or Thor; Oscar the Grouch Vs Grumpy Cat in a fun little viral from Mashable; and Screen Junkies unveil their interpretation of Superman in the latest ‘honest trailers’ instalment.

Squeak of the Week:

This one is quite a literal one. Make sure your volume is up because this little porcupine’s snuffles will blow your mind!

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