5 summer TV belters

The Thinkbox Academy will vote for the Thinkboxes Award winner from these five TV spots

A view from Academy Member

Guy Hobbs, executive creative director, Wonderhood

At a basic level, the human brain doesn’t actually register that many emotions. Sure, you can combine them into spicy emotional sauces like apprehension and nostalgia. But at the core there are six: sadness, happiness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust.

And since emotions are the palette of any commercial storyteller, it is interesting to look at how the artistic-industrial complex is using them in the latest Thinkboxes shortlist.

Bet365 takes the happiness angle with an exuberantly fun spot in what is a traditionally very blokey sector. High energy, higher budgets. It’s your classic big-thing-happens-and-the-world-goes-crazy but my amygdala liked it a lot.

Child Poverty Action Group starts happy with some compelling visuals and music, but my brain was already registering a flickering of “this is too good to be true”. A powerful ending lands the message perfectly and will make your brain sad.

If you’re looking for an ambiguous emotional feeling, paid off with a bittersweet type of happiness, then CrossCountry Trains is your guy. Particularly liked the performances in this one.

Elephant Atta is more of a complex emotional journey. But it’s also got chapati and roti in it, which speaks to a potentially even deeper part of me that is a bit hungry.

And finally Ritz comes through all happiness all the time. My brain dodged the surprise because it was a pretty realistic representation of what happens when people come to my house.

And that’s it, gang. Hope your neurocognitive architecture enjoys the TV spots as much as mine did.

Who will the Thinkbox Academy vote for? And who gets your vote? Tweet us @ThinkboxTV using #Thinkboxes and view all the previous winners at

The Thinkboxes shortlist - July/August 2023

1. bet365: “Never ordinary”

Curling fever takes over the world in this spot for bet365 in which a seemingly average curling throw triggers a series of increasingly incredible events, ultimately leading to a global cultural phenomenon. The concept recognises that sport isn’t all overhead kicks and 70-yard throws into the end zone. For every glorious moment, there are plenty of “ordinary” ones that go uncelebrated – for which bet365 always maximises enjoyment.

Drummond Central Creative team: Stephen Drummond, executive creative director; Kevin Lynn, creative director; Alex Evans, senior account director; Rachael Henderson, account director Client: Chloe Shrub, global head of brand marketing, bet365 Production company: Academy Films Director: Jack Driscoll

2. Child Poverty Action Group: “Imagine”

To the tune of Food, Glorious Food, kids in a school canteen watch as their lunchboxes explode with a cornucopia of treats when a child enters alone and settles down to eat, only to open his lunch box to reveal it is empty. In this new spot, Child Poverty Action Group brings to life the bleak reality of poverty – and the awful statistic that 4.2million children currently live in poverty in the UK.

Agency: Creature London Creative team: Megan Egan, senior creative; Ben Middleton, chief creative officer; Stu Outhwaite-Noel, chief creative officer Client: Beatrix Pitel, communications and campaigns lead, Child Poverty Action Group Production company: Smuggler Director: Adam Berg

3. CrossCountry Trains: “The longer journey”

CrossCountry pulls at the heartstrings in this spot which follows a mother and daughter taking a train to watch their beloved football team. At the match, they meet with friends and celebrate the final score before travelling home. On their return journey, the train manager recognises them and stops to chat, revealing an emotional twist – the pair have travelled to remember their late husband and dad.

Agency: McCann Birmingham Creative team: Vince McSweeney, chief creative officer; Adam Bodfish, executive creative director; Barrie Robinson, creative director; Tim Jarvis, senior copywriter Client: David Mullins, head of brand, communications & digital strategy, CrossCountry Trains Production company: Sweetshop Director: Marit Weerheijm

4. Elephant Atta: “Home is where the Elephant Atta is”

Flour brand Elephant Atta celebrates the central role it places in South Asian family homes in this new spot showing a family coming together for dinner, carrying a large bag of Elephant Atta from the car boot and cooking chapatis on an open flame. Using authentic families from a diverse range of backgrounds, it captures the real, intimate moments that make the food so special and brings people together.

Agency: Krow Creative team: Mark Lees, creative director; Kieran Ainsworth, copywriter; Matt Watts, planning; Harman Randhawa, client services director; Ilaria Rega, account management Client: Anne Adshead, senior brand manager, Elephant Atta Production company: Knucklehead Director: Hugh Rochfort

5. Ritz: “Ready when you aren’t”

Mondelez cracker brand Ritz plays into the all-too-familiar feeling of being caught off guard when guests appear at the door earlier than planned. In this spot, a family rushes frantically to get the house tidy in the nick of time before letting the arrivals in. A truthful, humorous reflection of the last-minute panic that often accompanies the ding of the doorbell when guests arrive.

Agency: VCCP Creative team: Chris Birch, executive creative director; Jonny Parker, executive creative director; Jim Capp, creative director; Daniel Glover-James, associate creative director; Elias Torres, associate creative director Client: Declan Duggan, marketing manager, healthy biscuits, Mondelez Production company: Arts & Sciences Director: The Bobbsey Twins

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. They are judged by the Thinkbox Academy – advertising and marketing luminaries who have been involved in award-winning creative work for TV.


Thinkbox is the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, in all its forms. Its shareholders are Channel 4, ITV, Sky Media 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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