The Thinkboxes Awards for TV ad creativity: Shortlist September/October 2016

Which TV adverts made the shortlist this month, and which one stood out most for the judges?

1. Costa "Never a dull cup"

This pastiche of a corporate event, features comedy actor Javone Prince as a "Mr Motivator", attempting to whip a group of Costa workers into a frenzy at an away day. It’s underpinned by a serious point, though – Costa’s commitment to selling "magnificent" coffee. The campaign promises barista-made coffee to Costa’s one million-plus customers every day.

Creative agency 101 Creative team Augusto Sola, Joe Bruce, Jack Willoughby, Serhan Asim Client Caroline Harris Production company Somesuch Director Nick Gordon

2. Freeview "The other way"

To counter the perception that Freeview is simply what you have if you don’t have pay-TV, this campaign positions it as a continuity announcer. Colourful crowd choreographies create abstract backgrounds, while a voiceover introduces the show "after the break". Scripts are updated to give them a contextual edge, by including elements such as comments on a show’s recent plotlines.

Creative agency Anomaly Creative team Oli Beale, Alex Holder, Tim Boxall Client Neema Shah Kahn Production company DBLG Director Grant Gilbert

3. Maltesers "New boyfriend"

Devised in consultation with disability charity Scope and launching during C4’s coverage of the Paralympics, this ad shows a disabled woman explaining (to able-bodied friends) how having a spasm during foreplay may not be a bad thing. Funny, with a hint of awkwardness, it fits into the brand’s "Look on the light side" ad series while challenging perceptions of disability. 

Creative agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO Creative team Dave Buchanan, Tim Riley Client Mitch Oliver Production company Biscuit Filmworks Director Clay Weiner

4. Nationwide "Voices"

A deceptively simple campaign, it features unsung poets from across the UK performing to camera, starting with Hollie McNish exploring the pain and joy of motherhood. The aim is to celebrate ordinary people, speaking up for what matters in society, making the concept of an institution like Nationwide even more relevant to a new generation of members. 

Creative agency VCCP Creative team Jim Thornton, Dermot McPartland, Jon Wicks, Anstice Murray, Olly Calverly, Charlie Falconer, Gethin James Client Paul Hibbs Production company VCCP Kin Director Jon E Price

5. TalkTalk "This stuff matters"

The campaign aims to set the brand apart by shunning celebrity endorsements and focusing on consumers. Cameras were installed in a household over a two-week period, creating a series of slice-of-life films showing technology’s place in family life. The initiative is backed by a promise to restore trust in TalkTalk by offering existing customers the best possible deals.

Creative agency CHI & Partners Creative team Danny Hunt, Dan Watts, Rob Webster, Jim Bolton, Micky Tudor, Jonathan Burley Client Clara Biu Production company Park Pictures Director Tom Tagholm

Want to see more great work? Head to the Thinkboxes hub

A view from Academy Member...

Tom Ewart, partner and executive creative director, The Corner

Real life wins the day today. Maltesers. Brilliant (but you already know this). A disabled girl telling her friends about "spasming" her boyfriend off. Maltesers everywhere. Proper life, not ad life. What else can I say? People call it brave, but really it’s just normal. This is what people talk about, so why don’t more brands reflect this? Where’s the risk in real, really? 

And then TalkTalk. Damn this is hard to do well, but it does it well. Silly, insignificant, giggly, transitory, sofa-ry nothingness. "And this is the stuff that matters." Suddenly all those other broadband ads about the "really big things" seem so ridiculous and alien, showing an unrelatable life from another planet. Why go there when there’s so much fun to be had here? Maybe people don’t always want to see their lives played back but, when it’s done well, truth cuts through just as hard as fantasy.

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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