TV’s top summer ad goodies

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

A view from Academy Member

Felix Richter, creative partner and chief creative officer, Mother London

This crop of ads had two main themes running through them.

Firstly tie-ins were used to great effect, with most incorporating a cultural artefact to up the interest levels – Loaf and EE play with sport, the iconic Rocky is jogging through Ladbrokes, and the track makes it for McDonalds.

They’re also united in showcasing top quality craft, the result is a seriously stylish collection of impressive- looking/sounding/feeling ads for you to enjoy.

We’ve all been there: the perfect lazy afternoon on the sofa. Loaf has cottoned on to many people frowning on it as a pastime. By making lounging a competitive sport, they’ve managed to up the interest - added detail of the commentators and ever so subtle moves on the couch work well in this set-up. It made me smile.

For securing the rights to this Rocky clip alone, Ladbrokes not only needs to be in the running for a Thinkboxes award - it should be on the Nobel Prize shortlist. Congratulations to the (all too often) behind-the-scenes team who went about securing that. Alongside Rocky, the CGI is the co-star in this piece.

With women’s football at stratospheric interest levels in England after the Euro’s, EE flips all the problems footballers overcome.  It’s upbeat, has energy and was a timely message in the run up to our summer of football.

A lovely, sing-along feelgood film wrapping up a sweet story, whilst showing McDonald’s role in feeding those who keep everything moving for ‘coming home’.

The main conceit of juxtaposing office life with the more adventurous Royal Navy life works on me. Another example for really good craft, with convincing action. The crew would have had a blast shooting with the Navy.

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 - July/Aug 2022

1. EE “Not Her Problem”

Last year, EE launched Hope United to tackle all forms of online hate through support for change and education on how people can protect themselves online and behave as good digital citizens. This year, the initiative continued with Hope United 2022 – a team of elite footballers united to tackle online sexist hate ahead of the UEFA Women’s Europe Championships.

In this eye-watering TV spot, a host of Lionesses are shown battling the problems (and pain) they endure for their sport, making the point that sexism shouldn’t be seen as one of them. “Sexist hate?” The spot ends: “It’s not her problem. It’s ours.”

 Saatchi & Saatchi Creative team: Will John, Nathan Crawford, Will Brookwell, Sarah Heavens Client: Alice Tendler Production company: Academy Director: Sasha Rainbow

2. Ladbrokes “Rocky”

One of cinema’s most iconic moments – Rocky Balboa’s running montage in the 1979 movie Rocky II, culminating in the boxer running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art – has become a first-of-its-kind UK TV advertising event in this spot for Ladbrokes’ “We Play Together” creative campaign platform, which is all about bringing in a bigger audience through entertainment.

Shot in Budapest, Rocky now has a huge, diverse 250-strong crowd of supporters running along with him, cheering him on. The idea is epic – as is its execution, which involved, among many things, state-of-the-art VFX motion capture … and Sylvester Stallone’s sign-off.

Agency: Neverland Creative team: Lloyd Daniel Client: Ben Reeves
Production company: MJZ Director: Nicolai Fuglsig

3. Loaf “Loaf Like You Mean It”

A ‘Loaf-off’ between two people lounging on sofas features in this wry spot for Loaf. While one has a doze, abandoning his knitting, the other kicks back with a comic. Meanwhile, a sports-style commentator reports on the lack of action, commenting: “It’s been a tremendous lack of effort from both sides”...

The campaign idea is about “retail with bags of personality”, intended to underline Loaf’s understanding of the importance of downtime and the human need to kick back. Or, loaf.

Agency: Isobel Creative team: Rob Fletcher, Ben Stump, Simon Findlater, Chan Spencer, Gemma Blake Client: Lauren Friend Production company: Isobel Productions
Director: Rob Fletcher & Ben Stump

4. McDonald's “More Rewarding Moments

A trucker out on the road who longs to get home to his wife is the star of this heart-warming spot for McDonald’s, celebrating the launch of its MyMcDonald’s loyalty points programme. Opening with a close-up of the trucker’s keys, with a key chain fob spelling the name Lorraine, the action follows the trucker’s journey home, punctuated by stops at various McDonald’s – at which he collects point after point with each purchase.

When he finally arrives home, he presents Lorraine with a McChicken Sandwich bought with the points he was saving for her.

Agency: Leo Burnett Creative team: Joe Miller Client: Emma Helden
Production company: Somesuch Director: Max Weiland

5. Royal Navy “Melanie's Story"

As Royal Navy engineering technician Melanie, a real Royal Navy Engineer, is shown around an office by a potential new boss, everyday work life in a “normal” job is dramatically juxtaposed with action shots of helicopters, teamwork, diving, sports with colleagues and the general excitement of having a challenging and unpredictable job in this spot for the Royal Navy’s new TV recruitment campaign focusing on the ways in which being a Royal Navy Engineers is about more than “just fixing things”.

Melanie then swaps photocopiers, calculators and awkward office chat for the adventure, fulfilment and satisfaction of a life at sea.

Agency: House 337 Creative team: Peter Iolianou, Ollie Agius, David Dearlove Client: Paul Colley Production company: Knucklehead Director: Max Fisher

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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