November/December 2013 Shortlist for the Thinkboxes Awards

Shortlist November/December

Google Nexus 7 "Far from home"

Here, Google showcases its mobile internet technology by telling the story of a father working on a container ship, who is able to make video contact with his family thanks to his Nexus 7. With Slade’s Everyday as its backing track, it shows him hard at work far away from home on Christmas Day before going back to his cabin and sharing a few emotional moments with his wife and kids. The brief was to highlight how the new version of the Nexus – a thinner, lighter, faster model – offers a perfect mix of power and portability.

Creative agency Joint
Creative Damon Collins
Client Arvind Desikan
Production company Thomas Thomas
Director Kevin Thomas

John Lewis "The bear and the hare"

This much-anticipated ad from John Lewis is a sophisticated animation epic showing a hare who wants to celebrate Christmas with his best friend, a bear. As bears hibernate in the winter, the hare gives him an alarm clock so he can wake up and share, for the first time, the joys of the festive season. The TV spot features a hauntingly simple version of Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know, sung by Lily Allen. The goal is to reinforce John Lewis’ seasonal positioning as the place to go to find the perfect gift for someone you love.

Creative agency Adam & Eve/DDB
Creative team Aidan McClure, Laurent Simon
Client Craig Inglis
Production companies Blinkink, Hornet
Directors Elliot Dear, Yves Geleyn

JKFC "Come together"

In its first-ever Christmas spot, KFC wanted to do something different while remaining true to the brand – and the outcome is this tongue-in-cheek take on anthemic TV ads. The cast come together around a Christmas dinner table to belt out a big number about setting aside differences in order to unite over KFC, and the sentiment is gloriously overplayed in lines such as: "Typically I hate your guts and I’d try to kill you… but one of everybody’s vices is 11 herbs and spices." The spot’s launch dovetailed with a Twitter campaign..

Creative agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty London
Creative David Kolbusz
Clients Jennelle Tilling, Meghan Farren
Production company Biscuit Filmworks
Director Tim Godsall

Marks & Spencer "Magic and sparkle"

Marks & Spencer aimed to create a little Yuletide sparkle by recruiting a stellar cast. We follow Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as she tumbles down a manhole into a series of fantasy domains, with plenty of opportunities to show off a range of M&S dresses and lingerie along the way. There are nods to Little Red Riding Hood, Alice In Wonderland and Arabian Nights – and, finally, having been given a vote of confidence by Helena Bonham Carter as the Wizard of Oz, our leading lady takes off along the yellow brick road wearing a pair of red shoes.

Creative agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Creative team Pip Bishop, Chris Hodgkiss
Client Duncan Morris
Production company Black Label
Director Johan Renck

Sainsbury’s "Christmas in a day"

Sainsbury’s wanted to demonstrate that it understands Christmas better than anyone else – and the goal was to achieve this while pursuing a new take on the seasonal epic. So, instead of big-budget production values, its agency went for a big idea – a crowdsourced distillation of a day in the life of a nation, in the style of 2011’s Life In A Day, produced by Sir Ridley Scott and directed (as was this ad) by Kevin Macdonald. This time around, the day is 25 December and a longer version can be seen on YouTube.

Creative agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Creative team Phil Martin, Colin Jones, Mike Hannett, Tony Strong, Michael Durban
Clients Mark Given, Julia Foye
Production companies RSA Films, Scott Free
Director Kevin Macdonald

A view from Academy Member...

Justin Tindall, executive creative director, Leo Burnett

It’s official – Christmas is now UK advertising’s Super Bowl.

OK, it’s not as long and arse-achingly boring as the Super Bowl, but Christmas is as creatively competitive as British advertising gets in the public domain.
While shoppers tear lumps out of each other spending gazillions in the aisles, big brands tear at our heartstrings spending gazillions on air.

The best, for me, is Sainsbury’s. The lump in the throat delivered by real people in real life. Not by formula or advertising confection.

How brave to shoot a Christmas ad a year before it aired. How enlightened to give Kevin Macdonald the freedom to document the nation, unencumbered by a product wish list.

The result is genuinely moving, relatable and, in my opinion, historically valuable.
They stuck their necks out and it paid off. Let’s raise a glass to both clients and agencies doing more of the same in 2014.

This is one Thinkbox Academy member’s view.  What do you think? You can view these brilliant ads at

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.

The Thinkboxes are judged by the 250-plus Academy members.

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.


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