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In the last eight years, social sharing of video advertising has increased 50 times over. Almost gone are the days of a captive audience forced to sit through commercial breaks. Now, the best way of getting the word out about a product is to make a compelling, Super Bowl worthy video — one that watchers willingly share across their networks. And netizens have gotten picky.

Just like the Internet has upended industries as wide ranging as journalism, publishing, and music, so has the world of Mad Men gone topsy turvey. The advertisers are still trying to understand what this all means and how to harness the power of social to market to the masses.

As we’ve covered, some brands have nailed the power of social more than others, from the highs of the infamous Oreo dunk after dark tweet to the lows of the Golf Channel‘s “Tweet your golf dream” on Martin Luther King Junior Day. The same goes for video ads, with commercials like Dove’s Real beauty campaign skyrocketing to Internet fame, while others like Microsoft’s Windows 7 Launch Party falling flat.

Unruly, a video technology startup based out of London, keeps loads of data about social video sharing so that it can better help brands create and spread their ad campaigns. Every once in awhile, Unruly comes out with a kickass info graphic showing the latest trends, and that is the case with their latest, The Viral Spiral (see below).

This infographic is interactive, letting users click through to see the most viral video ads by year, sector, or shares. Users can click through to watch the ads within the info graphic itself, discovering any of the funny or weird ones they might have missed.

Each year is broken into the social video ad trends from that time period, showing the progression in netizen tastes, from loving action to loving pranks. Volkswagen’s Star Wars themed commercial is the most socially shared video ad of all time, with 4.7 million shares, and TNT’s Your Daily Dose of Drama ad in Belgium was a close second with 4.34 million shares.

Creating viral video ads is an art form, one mastered by only a handful of Mad Men. This infographic shows that just like with clickable media headlines, the ads that go viral tap into genuine human emotion, be it delight, insecurity, silliness, or love.

The infographic can be seen below or at Unruly’s blog.