Campaign Promotion: The Thinkboxes shortlist for December 2008/January 2009

A view from ... Justin Tindall

My pick of the five is PG Tips.

I've always admired the audacity of Mother to revive Al and Monkey for an entirely different brand. To pair them up with PG Tips was inspired.

As for the ad itself, its nostalgic theme and seasonal timing is spot-on. The TV equivalent of nursery food at a time when the nation wants to hide under the covers and ask mummy to "make that nasty credit crunch go away". A populist ad that is actually popular.

And, yes, I know John Webster did a vaguely similar thing with the chimps many years ago, but it didn't really work with Papa's Got A Brand New Bag as the soundtrack - or, indeed, with living, barely controllable, primates.

You see, sometimes, even he got it wrong. Maybe there is hope for us all, after all.

- Justin Tindall, Creative Partner, The Red Brick Road

This is one Thinkbox Academy member's view. What do you think? You can view the ads and Academy members can vote by going to www.thinkbox.tv/thethinkboxes

Thinkbox is the television marketing body for main UK commercial broadcasters: Channel 4, Five, GMTV, ITV, Sky Media, Turner Media Innovations and Viacom Brand Solutions. It works with the UK marketing community with a single ambition: to help customers get the best out of television.

The Thinkboxes are monthly, free-to-enter awards covering all forms of TV advertising creativity. Shortlisted entries are featured in Campaign, judged by members of the Thinkbox Creative Academy and the winner is showcased in Marketing. Find out more at www.thinkbox.tv/thethinkboxes


Audi gives us a memorably epic exercise in animated origami here as it presents an Audi Q5 being formed out of a humble cardboard box. SUVs are commonly perceived to be crude and inefficient - in a word, "boxy". By substituting straight lines with curves, Audi has created an SUV with one of the lowest drag coefficients in its category. So by focusing on this strong product truth (the car's streamlined design), this ad is able to deliver one of the most important parts of the brief - to challenge category norms. Thus the campaign idea is articulated by the line: "We've unboxed the box - the new streamlined Audi Q5." The background music is Woody Guthrie's Car Song and there are lots of clever touches as we watch the animated stick-man working his magic on the box - for instance, the way he catches his reflection in a cardboard wing-mirror.

Creative agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Creative team: Joakim Saul, Maja Fernqvist
Client: Peter Duffy
Production companies: Passion Pictures, 1st Ave Machine
Directors: Aaron Duffy, Russel Brooke


Each of these sponsorship idents features a luminary from the technical side of film-making - and the style of each ident makes a witty play on the craft skill on show. The one featuring Sam Sneade, the film editor on Sexy Beast, features startling cutting; we see Alan MacDonald, a set designer on The Queen, rearranging his sitting room furniture before cracking a can of Guinness and sitting down to watch a film on TV; while James Grogan, a stuntman on Batman, drops on to his sofa from a great height, nonchalantly catching the can of Guinness that follows him down; and the claymation can fashioned by the animation director David Riddett turns out to be somewhat frisky. The brief was not just to associate Guinness Draught in a Can with the sponsorship of Channel 4 Film but also to promote the idea of drinking Guinness Draught at home.

Creative agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Creative team: Steve Coll, Colin Jones
Client: Paul Cornell
Production company: Feel Films
Director: Benito


This latest "Monkey and Al" execution for PG Tips pays homage to one of the best-loved comedy routines ever broadcast on British television - the Morecambe and Wise "breakfast" sketch. It turns the making of a cup of tea into a beautifully choreographed slapstick dance routine - using, as the original sketch did, a tune called The Stripper as raunchy background music. It shows Al (played by Johnny Vegas) filling the kettle by catching jets of water that spout into the air in time to the music from the kitchen tap; and Monkey (played by Monkey) milking a cow in the garden by pulling rhythmically on its udders. As they conclude their routine, they sit down, drink their cuppas and acknowledge "it's the taste" that makes them do it. This ad continues the brand's recent tradition of paying tribute to national icons - for instance, Monkey's online address to the nation last Christmas.

Creative agency: Mother
Creative team: Ben Middleton, Stuart Outhwaite, Ed Warren
Clients: Emma Reynolds, Charlotte Shaw
Production company: Hammer and Tongs
Director: Garth Jennings


T-Mobile used hidden cameras to capture reactions to this flashmob stunt, featuring 350 dancers, at London's Liverpool Street station; and the ad, showing people capturing the event on their mobile phones, was on TV within 48 hours. The brief was to bring out T-Mobile's strong history of innovation when it comes to product development and customer service; while also reminding everyone what the brand stands for by driving home even bolder statements about the power of sharing. Dance was chosen as the centrepiece of the event because it brings to life the fact that there are often unexpected and exciting things that happen in people's lives - events that they'll want to be able to share with friends and family. The full-length film was shown during a special break on Channel 4, followed by 60-second versions running for a further two weeks.

Creative agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Creative team: Stephen Howell, Rick Dodds
Client: Lysa Hardy
Production company: Partizan
Director: Michael Gracey


In celebrating its 25th anniversary, Virgin Atlantic has taken us back to 1984 - a time when yuppies bestrode the earth carrying brick-sized mobile phones and when we still had things called miners who were always on strike. To a soundtrack of Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, the spot features a phalanx of glamorous, red-suited air stewardesses (as flight attendants were called back then), turning heads as they stride through an airport terminal - prompting one awestruck passenger to exclaim that he'll have to change his airline. Ending on a "still red hot" pay-off line, the ad seeks to underline the brand's continuing aspiration to lead the market in terms of innovation and quality. It celebrates the transformation brought about in the industry since its launch and prompt consumers to look to the future with as much optimism as Virgin Atlantic did back in 1984.

Creative agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Creative team: Pip Bishop, Chris Hodgkiss
Client: Breda Bubear
Production company: Partizan
Director: Traktor