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3 great ads I had nothing to do with #25: Matt Davis on Reebok, Heineken and Barnados

Matt Davis, creative director at The Red Brick Road, reveals three great ads he admires but had nothing to do with.

Matt is one of the CDs responsible for all creative output of the agency.

Prior to The Red Brick Road, he worked at CHI&Partners producing award-winning work for The Daily Telegraph, Friends of The Earth and The One Account.

Recent campaigns from their department have won Campaign BIG, Creative Circle and DMA awards.

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Matt's choices

Reebok "theatre of dreams"

Twenty British celebrities feature in this 1998 Reebok ad. It was advertising’s biggest-ever collection of stars for a 90-second commercial, and included Chris Eubank, Anna Friel, Sting, Robbie Williams and Wallace and Gromit.

Each celebrity reveals their love of the game, showing that even famous succesful stars dream of being in Ryan Giggs’ boots when he scores. A specially commissioned classical score by Anne Dudley at Air Edel backs it all.

The ad taking one and a half years to make, was a logistical nightmare and cost £3m. The celebrities volunteered their time for a nominal fee and a donation was made on their behalf to the charity, Barnados.

It was written by Derek Apps, directed by Tony Kaye and art directed by Vince Squibb at Lowes.

Heineken "rubbish"

As part of Heineken’s ‘How Refreshing, How Heineken’ campaign in 1999, this ad follows a group of diligent dustmen doing their early morning rounds.

The "refreshing difference" is that they go throughout the 40-second ad in painstaking silence, trying to be as quiet as possible so as not to disturb the neighbourhood.

The ad, created by Lowe Howard and directed by Chris Palmer, won a D&AD Wood Pencil for TV & Cinema Advertising in 2000.

Barnados "life story"

This ad shows a glimpse into the life of Michael, a vulnerable child who managed to turn his life around with the support and positive encouragement of Barnardo's.

Through some emotional performances, we see into the abuse he suffered as a child and glimpse some support from a Barnardo’s worker.

The ad ends with the line: "It doesn’t have to end like it began. Join us to fight for a child’s future."

The director, Ringan Ledwidge decided to use simple old-fashioned edit transitions, as Michael grows younger to make it feel like a single shot.

The campaign was created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty through Rattling Stick. BBH, visited several Barnardo’s projects before developing the ad, and spoke to a number of Barnardo’s independent visitors and the children they work with, which helped craft the script and make it as realistic as possible.

About this series

In this series of short films, leading Thinkbox Creative Academy members have the tricky task of selecting just three TV ads that have inspired them: brilliant commercials, old and new, that they admire but had nothing to do with.

The idea is not only to explore some of our greatest ads in the company of people who know a thing or two about making them, but also because of the proven link between creativity and effectiveness encourage the advertising industry to even greater heights.

About The Thinkboxes

The Thinkboxes are the first awards to celebrate the UK's world-beating TV ad creativity, in all its forms, at regular way-points throughout the year.

Created in association with Haymarket Brand Media (Campaign, Marketing and Brand Republic), these bi-monthly awards are judged by the Thinkbox Creative Academy; made up of over 200 advertising luminaries.

We hope you enjoy the films.

Want to watch more great work? Head to the 3 Great Ads hub

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