TV’s summer scorchers

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

A view from Academy Member

Dan Watts, executive creative director, Pablo

Picturesque train journeys, chocolate, fast food and lounging in the living room. These are a few of my favourite things. Genuinely. In fact, you really don’t have to do much to sell me on any of them. I’m already in.

But advertising isn’t that simple. Not everyone is on the same page as me, and, as ever, there’s some creative persuading to do.

How do you persuade Whopper lovers that there is another option out there? You do it with a bold attitude and self-effacing flair. Love it. Weirdly selling the Whopper while actually selling the Chicken Royale. You’ve persuaded me on both there, Burger King. Thanks.

I’ve had my Whopper and Chicken Burger, so why would I now want some McDonald’s nuggets? Because nuggets are cool. They’re what the kids eat and can make or break friendships, they’re so good. You may be too old to do that excellently choreographed hand shake thing, but you’re never too old to know just how epic nuggets are. OK, OK…I’m getting a side of nuggets.

I’m feeling full now. Time for the sofa. But is this MY sofa? How can you really be curled up in that living room knowing it’s a carbon copy of every catalogue out there. You can’t. Wayfair knows this and wants you to do something about it with its “Escape the Catalogue” work. You can’t argue with that. Point me to your non-catalogue, erm, catalogue please.

All this food and sofa lounging has made me tired and emotional. Luckily there’s no emotion that can’t be satisfied with a big bar of the good stuff. After all, it’s the little things that are the big things as Cadbury Dairy Milk insightfully points out. Lovely. I’m in. I will buy one for my Dad right now (but probably eat it before it gets to his glove box).

Now the tricky bit. Getting me on a train. It’s a lot of faff isn’t it? Aren’t they all delayed and smelly? Oh hang on…Famous Five did you say? This seems fun. This feels different. I’m enjoying this ride, Great Western Railway. I feel 12 again. Where do you get the tickets?

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 - May/June 2023

1. Burger King: “We give up”

Burger King’s efforts over the years to sell The Whopper in the face of the fact that the Chicken Royale is consistently one of the restaurant chain’s best-selling burgers is at the heart of this tongue-in-cheek spot. We follow a young man as he travels through different eras from the 60s to present day. Each time he’s bombarded by Whopper ads but when it comes to placing an order, he chooses – you’ve guessed it -Chicken Royale.

BBH Creative team: Felipe Serradourada Guimaraes, deputy executive creative director; Jennifer Ashton, creative; Oliver Short, creative Client: Katie Evans, chief marketing officer, Burger King UK Production company: Riff Raff Director: The Sacred Egg

2. Cadbury Dairy Milk: “Speakerphone”

A small but emotionally powerful story of generosity, this spot – the latest in Cadbury’s Dairy Milk’s “There’s a glass and a half in everyone” strategy – opens with a man sitting pensively in his car after the first day in his new job. The phone rings. His son is seeing how the day has gone. And the dad admits to feeling worried about how much younger his new colleagues are. His son is reassuring and kind - and the Cadbury Dairy Milk bar he has left in the glove box is a touching gesture.

Agency: VCCP Creative team: Chris Birch, executive creative director; Jonathan Parker, executive creative director; Simon Connor, creative; Steve Cross, creative Client: Gemma Flanigan, marketing director, Cadbury brand equity UK&Ireland Production company: Somesuch & Co Director: Steve Rogers

3. Great Western Railway: “Five get there first”

The Famous Five star in this latest outing for Great Western Railway. The animated action begins with Uncle Quentin and Aunt Fanny waving goodbye to the children as they all set off for a day at the beach – Quentin and Fanny in their car; the Famous Five on the train. Uncle Quentin and Aunt Fanny have a terrible journey, however, and resolve to start travelling by train themselves after the children arrive first.

Agency: adam&eveDDB Creative team: Matt Woolner & Steve Wiolan, creative directors; James Gilham & Graham Cappi, creative directors; Frances Leach, creative director; Ben Tollett, group executive creative director Client: Chloë Ravat, senior brand & campaigns manager, Great Western Railway Production company: Merman/Not to Scale Director: Guy Manning

4. McDonald's: “#McNuggetWorthy?”

The strength of friendship and the reluctance to share McNuggets combine in this new spot for McDonald’s. The ad begins with a girl enjoying a box of McNuggets before her best friend approaches her. In tribute to their long-lasting friendship, the two girls get embroiled in an epic handshake with manga-inspired production. They end their lengthy routine with a classic fist bump. Their bond is playful and deep. But not deep enough to share a McNugget.

Agency: Leo Burnett UK Creative team: Gareth Butters, creative director Client: Ana Saffer, marketing manager, McDonald’s Production company: Rogue Films Director: Sam Brown

5. Wayfair: “Escape the catalogue”

A couple is stuck in a dystopian catalogue-world where everything is minimalist, bland furniture – even the product names and price signs are "Yawn" and "Sigh". But once they see their reality for what it is – the apple the man holds is fake; the baby the woman cradles, a creepy doll – they are able to break free into a vibrant, eclectic world where they can fully express themselves in their home to create a new reality of their own.

Agency: BBH London Creative team: Helen Rhodes, executive creative director; Lucy Johnstone, art director; Grace Chambers, copywriter Client: David Twehues (chief marketing officer EU); Mike Pearson (head of creative EU); Carey Pearson (head of brand & events EU), Wayfair Production company: Smuggler Director: Bjorn Ruhmann

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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