Campaign Promotion: The thinkboxes shortlist for May 2009 - A view from ... Al Young

In Private View, there's always a puny, nervous idea somewhere in the playground to mock and bully. Not here.

All these fellahs can look after themselves. They have broken voices and ink-and-compass tattoos. Taunt one and you'll end up with your front teeth on the tarmac.

I want to stay on the right side of them all. Especially Ladbrokes - with its 18-foot seek-and-destroy Lemur.

Yes, we saw hide-and-seek for Vauxhall with cute, lovable little cars like Herbie. This is different. This is like Christine - dark and sinister.

We've seen thrill-seeking metaphors for gambling in Skyvegas.com. But that played slapstick. This plays to disturb and haunt.

It handles gambling in a fresh, exciting way. Gambling isn't funny. It's largely a process of nail-gnawing anxiety. It's dangerous and that's the thrill of it.

- Al Young, creative partner, St Luke's.

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 the 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


Coca-Cola is seeking to capture the essence of summer with this new campaign, which is part of a wider marketing initiative called "open happiness". This execution features an eccentrically dressed musician-as-magician playing a mighty Wurlitzer in which the notes are produced by furry creatures that sing when given the right stimulus - shots of Coca-Cola. It features a new electro-pop track - Yeah Yeah Yeah La La La - written exclusively for Coke by Calvin Harris, who was given the brief of producing "the sound of the summer". The track will also appear on Harris' next album. As the musician begins to play on a sunny hilltop, he draws a large crowd of kids who appear as if from nowhere and begin dancing in a surreal summery scene. The goal of the campaign, which will be supported by outdoor and digital media, is to create a positive feeling around the brand over the summer months.

Creative agency: Mother
Creative team: Mother
Client: The Coca-Cola Company
Production company: Big Pictures
Director: Dougal Wilson


Irn-Bru's strategy this year has been to leverage its unique tone and give people an uplifting kick that would help make them smile through these tough times. And as always with Irn-Bru, the aim is to accomplish this in a way that is maverick, uplifting and inherently Scottish. In this instance, the brand and its agency created a funny Scottish subversion of that most cheesy of genres, the American teen musical, and does so in a way that proudly celebrates the realities of being Scottish over being saccharine and schmaltzy. Set in the fictional Auchendookit Senior High, it shows students performing their own Scottish musical number. Supporting activity includes outdoor and a major online presence on social networking sites. The TV ad follows the launch of an outdoor campaign in February for Diet Irn-Bru, which highlighted the sugar-free benefit of the brand.

Creative agency: The Leith Agency
Creative team: Mark Davies, Michael Kinlan
Clients: Hamish Thomson, Martin Steele
Production company: Mallinson TV Productions
Director: Martin Wedderburn


The brief on this campaign is to let the world know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that Ladbrokescasino.com is the place to visit for thrills - and the agency has conveyed this with a film showing a surreal, almost nightmarish game of hide-and-seek. It opens with a man running in panic through what seems to be a deserted city - but it soon becomes apparent that it's deserted because everyone is hiding. In hampers, behind security grilles, covered in abandoned shopping trolleys, disguised as mannequins in shop window displays - they're hiding from a giant lemur, possessed of manic energy and able to leap tall buildings. The sort of lemur that always gets his man, especially one who's chosen to jump into a dumpster. As the game begins again with a new "it", the ad concludes with the strapline: "Don't hide from thrills, seek them out at Ladbrokescasino.com."

Creative agency: M&C Saatchi
Creative team: Dan McCormack, Luke Boggins
Client: Andy Harris
Production company: Outsider
Director: Scott Lyon


This is a clever new twist on an everyday story. It features a mum coming home after a busy day out and getting ready to welcome the kids home from school. On her way in, she has to deal with the usual everyday chores - tidying up, getting MTV on and setting the table. She just manages to grab a few minutes to herself and read her magazine before they get in. However, "being natural", Robinsons chooses to tell the story in a slightly different way - the commercial tells the story of a bird coming home to her surprisingly human-like house in order to tidy up and prepare Be Natural for her kids. Much has been made of the fact that special effects were kept to a minimum in the making of this film. The set is a real tiny model house that was custom-built and the star of the film, a real bird, was trained specially for this script.

Creative agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Creative team: Dave Monk, Matt Waller
Client: Cameron Davidson
Production company: Rattling Stick
Director: Andy McLeod


Virgin Trains now offers a greatly improved service following the completion of £9 billion of track upgrades - so this campaign represents an opportunity to promote the new service as well as to relaunch the Virgin Trains brand to current and potential passengers. It is built on the insight that people don't just use trains to get from A to B, they are going on personal journeys to do a whole host of things from sealing a business deal to escaping the city or falling in love. Set to a backing track of ABC's The Look Of Love, this execution features Becky travelling to Manchester to see her boyfriend. It offers a witty and light-hearted take on the sexual innuendo implicit in train travel - notably as we see the train entering a neon-lit tunnel of love. The campaign is summed up in the new endline: "Virgin Trains. Where do you want to be?"

Creative agency: Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy
Creative Danny Brooke-Taylor
Client: Sarah Copley
Production company: Partizan
Director: Traktor