The Thinkboxes Awards for TV ad creativity: November/December 2015 Shortlist

1. Currys PC World "spare the act"

Jeff Goldblum brings a touch of classy comedy to the Currys PC World Christmas campaign, offering impromptu acting masterclasses to help people cope with Yuletide disappointments.

How should you react when you’ve just been given a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle? Easy, Goldblum says: you pretend you’ve been given the tablet computer you’ve been dropping hints about for months now.

And if you cut to the chase and buy your presents at Currys PC World, you’ll spare your nearest and dearest the ordeal of having to pretend at all.

Creative agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO Creative team Mike Sutherland, Antony Nelson Client Gary Booker Production company O Positive Director David Shane

2. John Lewis "man on the moon"

Set to a plaintive rendering of Oasis’ Half The World Away, this festive John Lewis ad features a young girl called Lily. Looking at the moon through a telescope, she’s amazed to see an old man living all alone up there – and becomes determined to make contact.

She folds a letter into a paper plane and launches it from an attic skylight, but it falls short, as does a note wrapped around an arrow. Then, on Christmas Day, she succeeds in delivering him a present – a telescope, of course – borne aloft on a cluster of balloons.

Creative agency Adam & Eve/DDB Creative team Ben Priest, Ben Tollett, Richard Brim, Miles Carter, Sophie Knox Client Craig Inglis Production company Somesuch Director Kim Gehrig

3. KFC "the friendship bucket test"

The TV work here was part of a broader integrated campaign that sought to create a participatory phenomenon, The Friendship Bucket Test, online and in restaurants.

The game challenges friends to answer questions about one another, with chicken as the reward – so, the closer the friendship, the more full their KFC bucket becomes.

To cast the TV films, KFC scoured the UK for real best friends, while an online test enabled friends to link up over social media. The Bucket Test has also been running as an experiential offering in KFC outlets.

Creative agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty Creative team Dan Dehlavi, Drew Haselhurst, Hamish Pinnell Client Meghan Farren Production company Moxie Pictures Director MJ Delaney

4. Sainsbury's "Mog's Christmas calamity"

This ad gives Mog, the feline hero of a series of children’s books by Judith Kerr, an epic role in a Christmas disaster movie.

Thanks to a succession of cartoon slapstick accidents, Mog manages to set fire to the family kitchen on Christmas morning, destroying turkey, trimmings and much else besides.

However, the neighbours rally round and make good all that has been laid waste. A book of this latest Mog escapade has also been published, with profits going to Save the Children.

Creative agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO Creative team Adrian Rossi, Alex Grieve, Tony Strong, Michael Durban Client Ruth Cranston Production company Outsider Director James Rouse

5. Warburtons "the giant crumpet show"

When Warburtons decided to launch Giant Crumpets in the run-up to Christmas, it realised it had an opportunity to offer an alternative to the "tug at the heartstrings" advertising philosophy adopted by many brands in the festive season.

And what could be more exuberant than a mini-edition of The Muppet Show? All the classic characters turn out to make a song and dance about the aforesaid crumpets. Jonathan Warburton, who starred alongside Sylvester Stallone in a previous commercial, even gets to hobnob with Miss Piggy.

Creative agency WCRS Creative team Billy Faithfull, Andy Lee, Jonny Porthouse Client Sally Stanton Production companies Another Film Company, Soapbox Films Directors Declan Lowney, Crash Davenport

A view from Academy member...

Dave Henderson, chief creative officer, Mullen Lowe London

I don’t know which part of our anatomy screens will be sticking out from in 100 years’ time, but I can confidently predict that we’ll still be watching commercials on them.

This will always be the most powerful way to connect with large audiences because we’re hardwired to enjoy this heady mix of vision and sound.

You’ve all seen at least four of these ads. In fact, three of them were so loved by the public that I did a little sick in my waste bin.

Incredibly, John Lewis still hasn’t dropped the ball and, despite the obvious challenges, I loved the way this year’s film was shot. Sainsbury’s has pulled off a mini-movie that I think may have topped John Lewis.

But, for me, Currys PC World is a perfectly sublime piece of entertainment that deserves all the awards it will undoubtedly snaffle this year.

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

The Thinkboxes 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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