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BBH's "Clowns" for Audi drives off with Thinkboxes Award

The ad, directed by Rattling Stick's Ringan Ledwidge and featuring the haunting "Send in the Clowns" soundtrack and - memorably - a carrot car, has been voted the best TV creative of September/October by the Thinkbox Academy.

Laurence Green, a founding partner at 101 and Thinkbox Academy member, described the spot as "a brilliant insight, simply but beautifully realised: it's a commercial we can all learn from." Richard Denney, executive creative director at St Luke's agreed it was "a masterclass in insight and execution."

In the ad, BBH London brings to life the notion that there are lots of "clowns' on the roads by showing classic circus clowns in full slapstick make-up doing chronically stupid things in gaily-painted clown cars - with potentially calamitous outcomes for other drivers. In an Audi, though, drivers are always just that little bit safer; its sensors and braking systems will help protect them from the dangerous antics of thoughtless road-users.

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’re judged by the Thinkbox Academy – 200 advertising and marketing luminaries who have been involved in award-winning creative work for TV.

Also shortlisted this time were "Gene Project" for Marmite by Adam&Eve/DDB, "Epic Lift" for MoneySuperMarket by Mother, "What’s For Dinner?" for Sainsbury’s by Wieden+Kennedy London and  "Pride And Breadjudice" for Warburtons by WCRS.

According to director Paul Rothwell, the shortlist was the "best selection in a long time" and the contest for the top spot was a "tough competition".

Audi marketing director Benjamin Braun and BBH executive creative director Ian Heartfield lift the bonnet on the making of "Clowns" in the Campaign Annual, published this week.

Want to see more great work? Head to the Thinkboxes hub

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.