The Thinkboxes Awards for TV ad creativity: September/October 2015 Shortlist

1. British Heart Foundation "heart disease is heartless"

In an emotionally powerful spot, a boy sitting in a hushed classroom looks up to find his father standing in front of his desk. It soon becomes apparent that this is a ghostly manifestation.

"I can’t come home tonight," it tells him. "I’m sorry… Look after your mum." Then, in a masterfully timed edit, this spectral father disappears, the classroom door opens and the headmaster enters. "Ben, can you come with me," he says, and we know all too well what the boy’s about to be told.

Creative agency DLKW Lowe Creative team Mike Boles, Jerry Hollens Client Carolan Davidge Production company Park Pictures Director Tom Tagholm

2. Glorious! Soups "every spoonful a new adventure"

This sumptuously filmed commercial is a montage of colourful, exotic ingredients shot in colourful, exotic locations, from Tuscany to Thailand. It’s a recipe given extra zest through startling juxtapositions and the use of a brisk editing style, establishing a bold tone of voice that underscores the brand’s "adventure through food" proposition.

The aim was to make us reappraise soup by evoking the powerful feelings and memories we all build up from our travel experiences.

Creative agency The Red Brick Road Creative team David Fitzsimons, Peter Crothers Client Gavin White Production company 2AM Director Jason Lowe

3. Honda "Honda stepping"

A Honda HR-V screeches to a halt in an arena, its doors open and dozens of people magically spill out into piles on either side. They soon get up and assume a series of intricate drill formations – line-dancing meets the precision routines of marching bands and Korean-style synchronised crowd calisthenics.

All the while, the HR-V pirouettes in and out of the display: engineering excellence in step with inch-perfect choreography. The spot launched the new HR-V into a fast-expanding but fiercely competitive European mini-SUV market.

Creative agency Mcgarrybowen London Creative team Paul Jordan, Angus Macadam, Robin Temple, Tom Woodington Client Jemma Jones Production company Somesuch Director Kim Gehrig 

4. Lotto "please not them: Noel Edmonds"

Lotto’s "please not them" campaign features celebrities sending themselves up by talking about what they’d do (in an absurd parallel universe) if they won the lottery.

Here, we have Noel Edmonds defending his supposed copyright of the "house party" (the name, of course, of his TV show back in the 90s) by building a hit squad to break up all manner of innocent social gatherings.

Despite wearing fey-looking pink riot gear, his team is utterly ruthless in closing down everything from birthday parties to wedding receptions.

Creative agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO Creative team Clark Edwards, Tim Riley Client Anna Rosato Production company Biscuit Filmworks Director Jeff Low

5. O2 "make them giants"

The brief was to get the nation behind the England rugby union side in the recent World Cup, while also celebrating O2’s sponsorship of the game, stretching back more than 20 years.

The agency responded by choosing a feel-good animation style to depict fairytale giant versions of England rugby stars: we see them growing in stature in the run-up to the tournament as they begin to appreciate the level of support they’re getting.

The ad ends with our cartoon heroes marching through London, preparing to take on all-comers at Twickenham.

Creative agency VCCP Creative team Jonny Parker, Chris Birch, Tom Houser, Christopher Keating Client Ian Cafferky Production company Blinkink Director Elliot Dear

A view from Academy Member...

Brian Cooper, executive creative director, Dare, and Thinkbox Academy member

Brian Cooper, executive creative director, Dare

The author David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas, Number 9 Dream) has this sterling advice to writers: "When something is two dimensional and hackneyed, this is how to fix it: identify an improbable opposite, and mix it implausibly into the brew."

Two of the films here do this admirably, but with very different tones.

The British Heart Foundation sees a soon-to-be-deceased dad played opposite his very alive son.

It all takes place implausibly in the classroom. But the film works so well and, because it does, it convinces by making us see the world anew.

Similarly, The National Lottery identifies an out-of-character Noel Edmonds and convinces us that he has legal copyright over all "house parties". It is all completely unreal. But that is its fun and, because of it, I’m happy to go along with the conceit.

It helps, of course, that the craft of these two ads is to a high standard. Proving that mixing the brew is always going to be 50 per cent of the script.

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

The Thinkboxes are free to enter, and judged by the 250-plus Academy members. The winner is celebrated in Marketing magazine.

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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