Strikes me that telly ads can still be the most powerful connector, provided all involved have worked hard for the money. So while Foster's and Bulmers put in a decent middle-order performance, Wall's a spirited eccentricity of man-food values and WaterAid gets us in a diarrhoea mood, the outright, romp-home winner is LG's Young And Connected series.
Any one of them is brilliant compression. Beautifully observed, written, cast (especially) and directed, take a huge bow Trigger Happy auteur Sam Cadman. They actually grow stronger with repeat viewing. Relishing a Blake Carrington Camp Factor 10, these are sponsorship idents that work harder than the ads. Horribly, horribly good and, boy, does every second count.
Will Awdry, creative partner, Ogilvy & Mather
- This is one Thinkbox Academy member's view. What do you think? You can view the ads and Academy members can vote by going to www.thinkbox.tv/thethinkboxes
BULMERS - SUMMER HQ
This latest Bulmers work sought to reinforce a heritage positioning by evoking British eccentricity and the never-say-die spirit of World War Two - its soundtrack is the theme-tune from the war film 633 Squadron, and shows workers being called to action in the manner of aircrew and bringing to bear all kinds of Heath Robinson-ish inventions to create the ideal setting for a man ordering a round of Bulmers. When the alarm is sounded, they scramble to provide the perfect summer's day, with the sun shining on the pub garden and a meadow beyond, complete with marquees and beautiful people playing frisbee. The TV work dovetailed with an outdoor campaign, and the launch of online video-on-demand films featuring behind-the-scenes interviews with the Bulmers "workers". The aim was to strengthen the brand's affiliation with summer and help to secure its position as the original pioneer of British cider.
Creative agency: St Luke's
Creative: Al Young
Client: Fiona Kennie
Production company: Coy!
Director: Mark Denton
FOSTER'S - GIRLFRIEND'S MUM
Designed to appeal to fans of the legendary Australian laid-back approach to life, this film - the first in what is expected to be a long-running campaign - introduces Brad and Dan, two Aussie blokes hanging out in their beach-side den while giving "agony uncle"-style advice to callers from the UK. The TV work is supported by video-on-demand, ambient activity and social media, and the campaign introduces a new strapline: "Good call." The joke will clearly be on uptight and slightly dim Brits - in this execution, "Ben from Southend" calls Brad and Dan to ask whether it is likely that his girlfriend will end up looking like her mum. We can clearly see that she will - but Dan and Brad's "no worries" optimistic view of the world means that no matter what question is put to them, they can always help out. They tell Ben to "stop thinking about the future and start enjoying the now".
Creative agency: Adam and Eve
Creative team: Ben Priest, Sidney Rogers, Harry Bugden
Client: Gayle Harrison
Production company: Hungry Man
Director: Tim Bullock
LG - THE YOUNG AND THE CONNECTED
These sponsorship idents, running around comedy shows on Channel 4 and E4 such as Scrubs, promote LG's range of smartphones to 16- to 24-year-olds. Made in the style of a spoof US daytime soap opera, entitled The Young And The Connected, they bring us vignettes from the lives of a group of Californians playing out their social lives via their mobiles. Fans of the idents are encouraged to visit The Young And The Connected YouTube channel, where exclusive content from the soap opera can be viewed plus a ten-minute behind-the-scenes documentary featuring the show's stars. The initiative is designed to underscore increasing focus on social networking and ties in with the launch of LG's Optimus GT540 handset. And it continues a shift in strategy for LG, concentrating less on product-led marketing initiatives while focusing more on making technology more accessible to consumers.
Creative agency: RKCR/Y&R
Creative team: Nicola Hawes, Andy Forrest
Client: Paul Trueman
Production companies: Rogue Films, Station Film
Director: Sam Cadman
WALL'S - BRING IT ON, BATTLE RE-ENACTMENT
The objective here was to restore the health of an iconic British brand. Wall's was in danger of becoming a nostalgia brand - well-loved but lacking relevance for modern British families. This execution builds on an insight that families want to tackle the challenges of modern life head-on - and need food that helps them to do this. It features a man whose family supports him in his hobby as a Viking in a battle re-enactment society. When he's "killed" early doors, he faces the prospect on being on the ground for 20 minutes while the battle continues to rage around him. But all is not lost - he's able to consume the cheeky sausage roll he's brought with him for the occasion. "OK, I've died," he explains, "but I've got a good death." The film reinforces the proposition that Wall's makes proper food that fires up British families and prepares them for life's challenges.
Creative agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Creative: Kate Stanners
Client: Phil Chapman
Production company: Smuggler
Director: Joshua Neale
WATERAID - DIARRHOEA
This hard-hitting spot highlights the plight of people living in areas of poor sanitation, through a dark version of the playground song Diarrhoea. Diarrhoea. The first half of the ad shows British children smiling and giggling as they sing the words: "When it comes out your bum like a bullet from a gun. Diarrhoea. Diarrhoea." The second half of the ad cuts to a child in Zambia, whose take on the song is understandably far darker. He intones: "When it's just killed your sister and you're really going to miss her. Diarrhoea. Diarrhoea." The ad then asks viewers to text, call a free phoneline, or visit the initiative's microsite. The campaign aims to show how providing proper sanitation in the form of simple pit toilets can stop the spread of diarrhoea, which kills 4,000 children every day in developing countries - and also urges people to sign a petition calling on the Government to back this cause.
Creative agency: Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw
Creative team: Simon Robinson, Kate Flather, Guy Patrick
Client: Amy Faulkner
Production company: Kream
Director: Susannah Hayes
Thinkbox is the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, in all its forms.
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The Thinkboxes are bi-monthly, free-to-enter awards covering all forms of TV advertising creativity. Shortlisted entries are featured in Campaign, judged by members of the Thinkbox Creative Academy and the winner is showcased in Marketing. Find out more at www.thinkbox.tv/thethinkboxes.