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With the calendar year nearing its end, Unruly Media has released a list of the top 20 most shared ads of 2013. The report contains few surprises at the top while making clear the online video advertising trends that have fueled the year’s most viral spots.

Unsurprisingly, the most shared ad of the year was Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ ad, which has racked up 4.24 million shares to go along with its 58 million YouTube views. It was one of many ads in the top 20 to employ a ‘prank marketing’ style; Pepsi’s ‘Test Drive’ and Carrie‘s telekinesis prank also cracked the top ten. Unfortunately, this parody didn’t quite make the cut.

The second-most shared ad of the year was Geico’s ‘Hump Day’, which has seen well-documented share spikes each Wednesday. Other ads in the top ten included Dodge Ram’s ‘Farmer’ (the only Super Bowl ad to crack the list) and Volvo Trucks’ ‘Epic Split’, which came in at #10 despite being just one week old. Something tells me that Jean-Claude Van Damme may fight his way to the top of the chart before the year is up.

“Marketers are challenging the value of a view and instead are focusing on creating content and distribution strategies which drive deeper levels of engagement, such as sharing, data capture, brand uplift or online purchases,” said Unruly US President Richard Kosinski. “Dove Real Beauty Sketches is a great example, as the ad that not only elicits strong emotions from consumers, but also gives its viewers a strong reason to share it within their social networks.”

Indeed, a large number of the top 20 ads of the year challenged the assertion that a good video needs to be funny or whimsical to get shares. If this year’s crop is any indication, viewers want to be amazed as much as they want to laugh.

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