The Thinkboxes Awards for TV ad creativity: January/February 2016 Shortlist

1. Center Parcs "Bears"

To a rendition of True Colours by Ben Madeley, we’re invited to see a family – as bears – in need of a holiday.

Mummy and Daddy Bear are trapped working late at the office and submerged by domestic drudgery as they look after their unappreciative Baby Bears. Only when they get out of the city and into the countryside do they come to life.

The insight here was that seeing the world through the eyes of cowed wild creatures would make us appreciate how liberating it can be to spend time with the family in a natural setting.

Creative agency Brothers and Sisters Creative team Ollie Wolf, Indy Selvarajah, Malcolm Duffy Client Colin Whaley Production company Mustard Director Ben Liam Jones

2. HomeAway "Why share it?"

This provocative ad takes a modern platitude – "sharing is caring" – and pulls it apart in a holiday setting, with families having their enjoyment spoiled by ghastly fellow holiday-makers.

Do you really want to share your pool with an old man with unkempt hair? Or have your poolside meal spoiled by kids with water guns? Or suffer a hairy-backed man invading your space in the hotel bar?

These holiday nightmares are compared to what you’ll get if you treat yourself to your own private hideaway. The conclusion? "It’s your holiday. Why share it?"

Creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi Creative team Ben Robinson, Mike Whiteside Client Mariano Dima Production company Prettybird UK Directors Tim & Eric

3. Mattessons "Snackarchist"

 When you bring anarchy to the snack world, you create the snackarchist: a red-haired, bespectacled youth wearing a nylon anorak, a cheap suit and even cheaper trainers.

In a surreal, comic montage, he defies a "keep off the grass" sign, slings a children’s scooter into a motorcycles-only car-park bay and erects a tent so he can loiter in a "no loitering" zone.

As for an injunction to snack only on crisps… well, that almost guarantees he’ll choose Mattessons’ Fridge Raiders instead. "Who is that guy?" swoons a young girl.

Creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi Creative team Gemma Phillips, Mark Slack Client Kerry Foods Production company Riff Raff Director Megaforce

4. Thomas Cook "Pool boy"

The agency was tasked with differentiating Thomas Cook from the marketplace while helping to set a radical new agenda for the company.

Its response was this ad, showing a young boy wearing a shark fin busting eccentric moves by the pool, watched over by an amused lifeguard.

KBS Albion was inspired by an insight that when we’re on holiday, we like to break loose and do things we normally wouldn’t do – and the spot underlines the notion that Thomas Cook’s philosophy is to encourage and enable those indulgent moments.

Creative agency KBS Albion Creative team Adam Lawrenson, Debs Gerrard, Hugo Isaacs, Petrina Kilby, Laura Melville Client Remo Masala Production company The Sweet Shop Director Mark Albiston

5. Virgin Active "We've got a workout for that"

Fitness is often sold as a response to a New Year’s Resolution. Virgin Active decided instead to target party animals while combating perceptions that working out is dull.

There’s nothing dull about this woman, who stays fit to survive in the hazardous world of dating. She uses skills learnt in the gym to dodge kisses and tests her agility when she makes hasty escapes from awkward situations – and is ultimately rewarded by calling on her stamina to chase after a desirable young man in the park.

Creative agency Iris Worldwide Creative team Chris Baylis, Rich Johnson, Matt Gray, Tommy Allen Client Clare Gambardella Production Company Rebel @ Outsider Director Jones

A view from Academy Member...

Guy Bradbury, Executive creative director, Atomic London

In the past few months, we have seen some great ads by holiday companies enticing us to book a holiday with them. From the brilliantly shot ad for Center Parcs featuring an urban bear who realises it’s time to get back to nature to "pool boy" for Thomas Cook, which sees a young kid letting himself go on holiday. 

But the spot that really stands out for me –
and the one that made an emotional connection
– didn’t just rely on a famous music track to
cut through. 

The spot for HomeAway, narrated by the American actor Nick Offerman, takes on Airbnb and shows the differences between renting an entire house as opposed to staying in someone else’s. It connects and resonates on so many levels, with visual wit and comedy timing, held together with brilliant writing – all while delivering on a core truth about the brand. 

Sun hats off for that.

This is one Thinkbox Academy member’s view.  What do you think? You can view these brilliant ads at

The Thinkboxes, in association with Campaign, are the only bi-monthly awards that celebrate the UK’s world-beating TV ad creativity, in all its forms.

The Thinkboxes are judged by the 250-plus Academy members. 

Thinkbox is the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, in all its forms. Its shareholders are Channel 4, ITV, Sky Media, Turner Media Innovations and UKTV. Thinkbox works with the marketing community with a single ambition: to help advertisers get the best out of today’s TV.


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