A view from Academy member
Paul Jordan, chief creative officer, Engine Creative
It’s that special time of year again. Watch any one of these amazing ads and you’ll be left in no doubt.
It’s that magical time when, for a while, we can set aside our differences. Where clients, agencies and directors lay down their arms in a spirit of hope, trust and harmony. United by the same holy ambition, to make truly magnificent Christmas commercials.
It’s a wondrous time when all the usual inconveniences that can kill a project are simply swept aside. Budget, time length, celebrity avails, track clearances are mere inconsequential details. No ingredient is too rich when you’re cooking up Christmas spirit.
So feast your eyes on the finest Christmas commercials that money can buy. Because, before long it will be January. We’ll all be tightening our belts and back to our bad old combative ways. Arguing the toss over the length of an end frame on a 10 second January sale ad.
Who will the Thinkbox Academy vote for? And who gets your vote? Tweet us @ThinkboxTV using #Thinkboxes and view all the previous winners at www.thinkbox.tv/thethinkboxes
The Thinkboxes shortlist - November/December 2019
1. Argos 'The Book of Dreams'
Flicking through the Argos catalogue, a dad chances upon an entry for a kid’s drum kit. Before we know it, the kit has appeared in his kitchen, the kitchen has morphed into the stage of an arena rock venue and he begins playing along to 'Don’t You (Forget About Me)' by Simple Minds. Then his daughter appears, as does another drum kit. She sits in and they play in tandem, driving the crowd (yes, an audience has appeared too) into raptures.
Creative agency: The&Partnership Creative team: Yan Elliott, Micky Tudor, Danny Hunt, Ludo Thomas, Arthur Harry Client: Becky Desert Production company: Stink Director: Traktor
2. IKEA 'Silence the critics'
With guests on the way and the family starting to doubt whether their home is presentable, the house’s ornaments – charmless porcelain figurines and animals – come to life. Taking their cue from the backing track (from grime star D Double E), they start bemoaning the grimy state of the interior décor. Cut to a montage of the family replacing all their fixtures and fittings with new IKEA gear. And the porcelain menagerie becomes history too, proving IKEA’s ability to silence critics.
Creative agency: Mother Creative team: Mother Client: Kemi Anthony Production company: MJZ Director: Tom Kuntz
3. John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners 'Excitable Edgar'
John Lewis opted for a cute Christmas character this year: Edgar the Excitable Dragon, whose burning enthusiasm for seasonal pursuits tends to have unfortunate consequences, not least when he sets fire to the village’s Christmas decorations. But wait – maybe there’s a way he can contribute to seasonal celebrations. When he turns up to a Christmas lunch, all the guests take cover but he produces a Christmas pudding and, to general acclaim, sets fire to its brandy with a flame from his nostrils.
Creative agency: Adam & Eve/DDB Creative: Simon Lloyd Clients: Craig Inglis, customer director, John Lewis & Partners; Martin George, customer director, Waitrose & Partners Production company: Blink Director: Dougal Wilson
4. Marks & Spencer 'Go Jumpers'
M&S decided to reinvent the Christmas jumper for a new generation this year – turns out it’s the party accessory you can’t do without. Not exactly cool but not quite naff either. The backing track is "Jump Around" by World of Pain and its driving hip hop energy sets the Yuletide world dancing in winter woollies. The spot aims to embody the glorious madness of Christmas, lifting the nation’s spirits and giving customers a compelling reason to come in-store during the festive period.
Creative agency: ODD London Creative team: Nick Stickland, Turhan Osman Client: Nathan Ansell Production company: Cherry Studio Director: Jake Nava
5. Walkers 'All Mariah Carey wants this Christmas'
Taking a break from shooting a new video for her evergreen festive hit, 'All I Want for Christmas Is You', Mariah Carey seemingly embodies the holiday spirit as she dispenses gifts. However, her smile slips at the catering trolley as she gets into a tug of war with one of the extras over the last bag of Walkers. She wins by hitting one of her legendary high notes, so powerful that everyone has to cover their ears – and it even shatters someone’s glasses.
Creative agency: AMV BBDO Creative team: Alex Grieve Client: Wayne Newton Production company: Caviar / Supply & Demand Director: Joseph Kahn
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.
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.