Campaign Promotion: The Thinkboxes Shortlist for November/December 2009

A view from ... Jonathan Burley.

I love telly ads. In my ever so humble, there is no other channel so perfectly placed to provoke a genuine emotional response. The very greatest TV spots can excite, infuriate, surprise a laugh, even gently place a tear in the eye (I still get goose bumps at the memory of the "... he was a lovely looking man, your Dad ..." ad for Yellow Pages, but I'm a soppy old sod).

And there's one ad from this round of Thinkboxes nominees that gets a genuine emotional reaction from me. John Lewis. It must have been tricky for its new agency to maintain the brand style of execution without hoarse accusations of familiarity. This Christmas ad feels absolutely spot-on for one of my favourite brands, yet does it with freshness, insight, originality and verve, and features a truly charming cover of one of my most-loved drunken singalong tracks. Smashing.

- Jonathan Burley, group executive creative director, Leo Burnett.

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 marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, in all its forms.

Its shareholders are Channel 4, Five, GMTV, ITV, Sky Media, Turner Media Innovations and Viacom. Thinkbox works with the marketing community with a single ambition: to help advertisers get the best out of today's TV.

The Thinkboxes are bi-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


Just over a year ago, an acclaimed "break the cycle" campaign raised awareness of Barnardo's and the work it does with abuse victims. This ad takes that initiative a step further and seeks to deepen levels of understanding about the way the charity works. The film makes powerful use of the Bat For Lashes song Moon And Moon as it demonstrates how Barnardo's transforms the lives of sexually exploited children and young people. A sequence of shots tells the story of a young girl's journey into despair - then, utilising a striking "palindromic" structure, the scenes play back in reverse order but this time we see they're part of a far more positive storyline. In the first sequence, for instance, when the girl gets into the car, it's at the behest of her abuser; the second time around, it's her mum picking her up after counselling. This neatly illustrates the point that vicious cycles can be reversed.

Creative agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Creative team: Toby Allen, Jim Hilson
Client: Collette Collins
Production company: Gorgeous
Director: Chris Palmer


The brief was to remind the audience of the decades of engineering innovation that make Honda what it is today - and to convey the notion that the company can apply its knowhow to evolve on a continual basis. Wieden & Kennedy plumped for a film featuring innovative camera and editing techniques to produce a cascading montage of images evoking Honda's product heritage. There are 972 edits used to layer fractured video images of cars, motorbikes, all-terrain vehicles, marine vehicles and Honda's humanoid robot, Asimo; and it ends on a shot of the British-built Honda Civic, emphasising the point that every product with a Honda badge carries that engineering DNA. It also features a backing track called Atlas, courtesy of Battles; and the pay-off line, "everything we do goes into everything we do," is delivered by Garrison Keillor, the now-familiar voice of Honda advertising.

Creative agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Creative team: Chris Groom, Sam Heath
Client: Ian Armstrong
Production company: Outsider
Director: Scott Lyon


John Lewis wanted to create a campaign that showcased the store's array of gifts in a way that was seasonal and emotional but which stood apart from the usual Christmas cliches. This evocative execution, accompanied by a stripped down and understated version of the Guns N' Roses classic Sweet Child O' Mine, performed by the Swedish band Taken By Trees, was born out of the belief that the perfect gift makes everyone, however old, feel childlike delight and joy. It shows a series of poignant scenes of children opening presents that turn out to be adult gifts - a necklace, a pair of slippers, a coffee-maker, a laptop, a text reader, coffee mugs, an umbrella. Then, with the last gift, the child morphs into her adult self, still showing the same childlike delight as she unwraps a camera. The TV campaign dovetailed with cinema, press and poster activity in the run-up to Christmas.

Creative agency: Adam & Eve
Creative team: Ben Tollett, Emer Stamp
Client: Craig Inglis
Production company: Blink
Director: Benito Montorio


Kimberly-Clark broke with tradition in this campaign - featuring the actor Tom Hardy, Sir Bob Geldof, Emma Bunton and the former England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, it's the first celebrity-led campaign in Kleenex's history. It features tattoo-covered Hardy overcome with tears as he watches a film on TV; Geldof crying with laughter in a meeting; Bunton playing up as a rock chick; and Eriksson celebrating madly as he "scores" by playing keepy uppy with a scrunched up ball of tissue before slotting it home in the wastepaper bin. The ad aims to build on Kleenex's 2007 "let it out" ads, which featured members of the public sitting on a blue sofa, releasing their emotions. The idea was to chose celebrities who are known for displaying certain emotions; then show audiences a completely different side to these people - a side they release in private.

Creative agency: JWT London
Creative team: Dominick Lynch-Robinson
Client: Christof Baer, Yolande Battell
Production company: HSI
Directors: Rankin and Chris


This comedy epic shows horse and jockey taking a tumble at a steeplechase fence during a big race. As they try to pick themselves, we discover that the horse can talk - and, in selfless fashion, he tells the jockey to go on without him and "run like the wind". The jockey does just that, his legs a blur as he makes ground on the field, then muscles his way through the pack and comes home ahead. The brief was to give this iconic, British brand the iconic advertising it deserves and make people fall in love with it once again. This execution is expected to become the inspiration for a new long-term campaign strategy, building on Weetabix's rich advertising heritage and its promise of providing an energy-giving breakfast that more than sets you up for the day. If you can win a horserace without a horse, you've clearly had a decent breakfast. As the pay-off line says: "Someone's had their Weetabix."

Creative agency: WCRS
Creative team: Larry Seftel, Dave Day
Client: Sally Abbott
Production company: Rattling Stick
Director: Ringan Ledwidge