The Thinkboxes: July/August 2014 Shortlist

Avis 'Unlock the world'

Before this campaign, Avis had not advertised on TV for more than 50 years – and the car rental category has lost much of its former glamour. The company decided it was time to change that by showing that Avis isn’t just in the business of car hire, it gives customers the freedom to unlock unforgettable experiences too. This film conveys a world of limitless possibilities, filmed stylishly to a backing track of Let’s Go Fly A Kite from Disney’s Mary Poppins. It also revives one of advertising’s most memorable taglines: "We try harder."

Creative agency VCCP Creative team Jim Thornton, Kieran Knight, Veryan Prigg Clients Simon Jackson, Rebecca White Production company Academy Films Director Marcus Söderlund

IKEA 'Beds'

A dreamy product demands an ethereal film, and this IKEA spot features an archetypal falling-through-the-air dream sequence as a young woman tumbles from the clouds. Her downward progress is broken by a succession of beds before she lands in her own bed, snug beside her partner and her dog, both of whom are sound asleep. The voiceover is Prospero’s speech from The Tempest: "We are such stuff as dreams are made on." The aim was to dramatise the idea that, no matter where you travel, there is nothing like your own bed.

Creative agency Mother Creative team Mother Client Peter Wright Production company MJZ Director Juan Cabral

Irn-Bru 'Irn in our blood'

Scots like to feel that, when it comes to being sports supporters, they are world-beaters – thanks to their ability to see the funny side. This campaign, timed to coincide with this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, taps into that self-deprecating sense of pride while establishing a strong emotional connection between Irn-Bru and the Games. Thus the gentle humour of this spot, in which a mock-heroic poem underscores absurd scenes of agony and ecstasy that accompany being an underdog with the heart of a lion.

Creative agency Leith Creative team Chris Watson, Rufus Wedderburn Client Martin Steele Production companies MTP, Mustard Director Martin Wedderburn

Three 'Feel at home'

When people are on holiday, they love using their phones to brag to people back home, sending them pictures of all the usual travel scenes. In launching its Feel at Home service, which allows customers to use their phones abroad at no extra cost, Three realised it might be stimulating an even more virulent strain of this epidemic. So it created this tongue-in-cheek apology, with an anxious corporate spokesman grovelling to the nation about rising levels of holiday spam, with his statement intercut with examples of the genre.

Creative agency Wieden & Kennedy London Creative team Scott Dungate, Graeme Douglas Client Three Production company Hungryman Director Ric Cantor

Transport for London 'Share the road'

As London roads get ever busier, it becomes harder to share what limited space there is and, as journeys become fraught, there is the potential for people to get more angry. If we’re going to have happier journeys, we need to make more effort to share the space. The creative solution? This sort of ad, which shows everyday scenarios of "road rage", and which invites us – thanks to the calm rationality of a poetic voiceover and a soothing backing track – to appreciate just how silly we are when we are being confrontational.

Creative agency M&C Saatchi Creative team Dan McCormack, Luke Boggins Client Miranda Leedham Production company Stink Director Yann Demange

A view from Academy Member...

Will Awdry, Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather

"Writing," Dr Johnson wrote, "should help the reader better enjoy life or endure it" – not a bad dictum for telly ads.

Lasting 330 seconds, this splendid quintet attempts both with varying success. Perhaps it’s the onset of autumn, but a new-season, big-brand earnestness hangs above three of them.

Sumptuous black-and-white imagery sings out for both Avis and Transport for London. A 38,000-feet-high, epic voice is applied thrice: in TfL’s beseeching plea for road respect, for the satirically Saltire-wrapped Irn-Bru and – literally – over IKEA’s masterfully-shot bedfall.

For me, the best idea – albeit with the shakiest production values – is Three’s apology for holiday spam. It’s dodgy PowerPoint. It’s enjoyable. Its creators get me.

Thanks to Three, I’ll endure the telephony tumult with a tad more enthusiasm.

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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