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The price comparison site’s ad means it is the only brand to have appeared in Nielsen’s Annual Top 10 in each of the last three years with retailer John Lewis the only one to appear twice.

The CompareTheMarket and British Heart Foundation’s ads finished first and second respectively in the list with Kerrygold Butter’s ad featuring a man telling the story about the brand’s Irish heritage and the John Lewis spot showing a meeting between a man and woman from different eras finishing directly behind them.

Nielsen ranked the TV ads on ‘likeability’ and ‘memorability’ each day with the list based on over 1.25 million survey results from viewers watching evening TV in the UK.

Darren Moor, Nielsen’s VP of advertising effectiveness, says: “Animals have replaced celebrities as the new stars of many of the nation’s favourite TV ads in 2012, and we expect their effectiveness as brand icons and storytellers to continue as a theme next year.”

Top ten most liked TV ads rankings

Rank Brand Ad summary Likeability
1 CompareTheMarket Meerkats give window cleaner Meerkat toy. 205
2 British Heart Foundation Vinnie Jones hands-only CPR to ‘Staying Alive’. 190
3 Kerrygold Butter Man tells story about butter guy in Ireland. 186
4 John Lewis Man and woman from different eras interact. 176
5 Birds Eye Foods Stuffed bear calls woman in freezer about rice. 173
6 Lindt Chocolates Chocolates shown being made. 166
7 Andrex Toilet Paper Puppies playing to promote guide dogs. 163
8 Thinkbox TV reveals dog and rabbit are good friends. 161
9 Carte Noire Coffee Husband changes appearance after getting coffee. 161
10 Cathedral City Children running home. 158