A harvest of top TV ads

The Thinkbox Academy will vote for the Thinkboxes Award winner from these five TV spots

A view from Academy Member

Noel Hamilton, executive creative director, Neverland

“Don’t let the brand become polished and predictable. Excellence is not a formula, excellence is the grand experiment. It ain’t mathematics. It’s jazz.”

I never worked for Dan Wieden, but I wish I had. In the month since his passing, I’ve found myself questioning everything I’ve ever done and vowing to forget everything I’ve ever learned. I think it’s time we revelled in the experiment, in trying something new.

The ad I never saw coming was Virgin Media’s “Why Walk When You Can Ride.” Simple idea, brilliantly distilled and beautifully executed. Talking about speed would have been predictable, but we all want to ride. There’s romance in the ride. Add a song from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack and I’m all yours.

Another ad that served up my eyeballs with freshness is “The Animal Thingdom” for DFS. I immediately searched for a behind-the-scenes film and proceeded to geek out on the attention to detail and inventiveness. What a wonderful little world they created.

One could argue there is nothing new in “For All Life’s Moments,” since perhaps we’ve all come to expect the high production value and brilliant music of a John Lewis ad, but then why did it make me feel feelings?

Uber Eats is certainly serving up some swagger with its one-of-a-kind main character. I enjoyed the breathing room in this ad, thankful for the time to enjoy the flights of fancy within it. Lastly, Quorn gave us a puppet rug-pull and some tongue-in-cheek humour.

If it’s all jazz, I enjoyed this month’s performance, especially in the face of so many industry challenges. As Dan also said, this shit isn’t easy.

Who will the Thinkbox Academy vote for? And who gets your vote? Tweet us @ThinkboxTV using #Thinkboxes and view all the previous winners at

The Thinkboxes shortlist - September/October 2022

1. DFS “The Animal Thingdom”

Lovable characters meet “how-did-they-pull-off-that?” effects in this colourful and vibrant mix of live animals, animatronic puppets and CGI creatures, demonstrating the range of styles, tastes, wants and needs DFS can cater for. The commercial is part of the brand’s new “What’s Your Thing?” platform devised by Pablo to encourage people to unlock their individuality.

Pablo Creative team: Dan Watts, Charlie Gee & Tian Murphy, Chris Bovill & John Allison Client: James Brewer Production company: Drool Productions Director: Freddie Powell

2. John Lewis “For All Life’s Moments”

Aiming to show that John Lewis is there for all life’s moments, this spot tracks a child’s early years through the lens of a dad – from patting the pregnant belly of his wife, through collecting his newborn from hospital, late nights, first words, first steps and mundane chores, to dropping her off on her first day at school. And all given a nostalgic and emotive twist thanks to the soundtrack La La Lu by Peggy Lee.

Agency: Adam & Eve/DDB Creative team: Richard Gayton, Darren Beresford, Matt Gay, Feargal Balance Client: Emma Wood, Rosie Hanley, Michelle Barry, Claire Pointon
Production company: MJZ Director: Juan Cabral

3. Quorn “So Tasty! Why Choose The Alternative”

The Quorn deli range is so tasty “I wouldn’t wonder what the alternative might be”, says the pig in this comedic commercial that offers a fresh twist on the “food porn” advertising genre. Accompanied by a cow and a chicken, the animal puppets act their socks off as they attempt to sweet-talk the sandwich-eater – and audience – into the world of meat-free grub.

Agency: Adam & Eve/DDB Creative team: Richard Brim, Matt Fitch, Mark Lewis, Dan Bailey, Brad Woolf Client: Lucy Grogut Production company: MindsEye
Director: Jim Archer

4. Uber Eats “Do Less - Parrot

Uber Eats encourages food delivery customers to put their feet up in this commercial – one of a series of vignettes dedicated to promoting the art of doing less. In this spot, “Do Less – Parrot”, the Uber Eats customer who is doing less spends the time he’s earned back dancing on his own in his flat as his parrot looks on.

Agency: Mother London Creative team: Mother Client: Maya Gallego-Spiers
Production company: Biscuit Filmworks Director: Andreas Nilsson

5. Virgin Media “Why Walk When You Can Ride”

A Highland cow breaks from the herd to hit the road and bike away in this spot for Virgin Media – the latest execution in its “Why Walk When You Can Ride?’”campaign, which is all about Virgin Media’s wifi guarantee and its promise to lead the way among all major broadbands by delivering super connectivity, reliability, and speed. From the opening close-up of the cow’s face, the ad charts our hero heading towards the breath-taking views in the Scottish highlands.

Agency: VCCP Creative team: David Masterman, Jason Keet, James Hodson Client: Abigail Ridgwell Production company: Biscuit Filmworks Director: Jeff Low

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 are judged by the Thinkbox Academy – 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 and UKTV. Thinkbox works with the marketing community with a single ambition: to help advertisers get the best out of today’s TV.


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