The Thinkbox TV Planning Awards shortlist for 2023 is now LIVE and with over 135 entries, and an incredibly high standard across the board, selecting the cream of the crop in each category was no easy feat.
From top-notch TV newcomers, innovative integrated strategies and small budget success stories to smart sponsorships, clever content partnerships, and outstanding ongoing uses of TV - this year’s shortlist has it all.
The winners will be announced at an exclusive award ceremony on Wednesday 12th July, in partnership with Campaign, but for now, check out the agency summaries for each shortlisted campaign below.
Best ongoing use of TV
EssenceMediacom for Boots
The use of TV has helped Boots overcome a tidal wave of change brought about by online retailers stealing share, grocers diversifying their in-store offerings and the death of the high street. All while navigating the choppy waters of a pandemic. With increased TV investment of 36% vs 2019, Boots has moved from tactics of short, regular, generic, value-led bursts, to the long term leveraging of the power of TV alongside tech advancements and its 15m customer data-set to drive growth and consideration. With 218 AV campaigns in the last three years, Boots has showcased that it is, indeed: “With you. For life.”
EssenceMediacom for TUI
Against the backdrop of travel firm closures (up by a fifth in 2021) and the term “Staycation” soaring in popularity (up by 500% in 2020), it was an AV-led, three-year vision that successfully navigated TUI through choppy waters. EssenceMediacom produced both big brand and business wins for TUI with a 6% increase in consideration, and a 23% increase in sales. Plus, media-driven cost-per-acquisition (CPA) increased efficiency by as much as 54%.
OMD UK for LIDL
This campaign shows the story of Lidl GB’s synergistic relationship with TV advertising and how, by adopting Lidl’s core philosophy of efficiencies everywhere, OMD’s TV planning has contributed to outstanding short-and-long-term results for Lidl’s brand and business.
Best small budget use of TV
Republic of Media for Tennent’s Lager
It had been a long time since Tennent’s ran a big TV campaign but November 2022 saw the first winter FIFA World Cup, bringing together two of the biggest events of the year – an international football tournament and Christmas. A massive opportunity for the UK beer market. This campaign shows how, with a small media budget, Tennent's successfully managed to punch above its weight, out-performing the total beer market in Scotland in the 12 weeks leading up to Christmas 2022.
Republic of Media for Scottish Government
In 2022, a challenging mix of an ongoing pandemic, conflict in Ukraine, uncertainty over Brexit, and a resulting rising fuel and food prices meant that people in Scotland were feeling deflated and lost, and grappling with a cost-of-living crisis they had no control over. But there were significant barriers that stopped many asking for help. Using a strong AV mix aimed at reaching those who needed the help most, Scottish Government’s campaign galvanised people to address stigmas among those finding themselves newly financially-vulnerable, and those who had been struggling for longer. The campaign offered one single destination to access all the available support, and - ultimately - offered hope to all.
Pintarget for Airband
Airband offers broadband to customers in “hard to reach” rural areas of the UK. In order to drive more orders, they needed to increase brand awareness in a market dominated by gargantuan competitors. With a budget of £250k, they could only advertise in 230 postcode sectors where the service was available. Pintarget’s recommendation was to build awareness using addressable TV, supported by digital display and digital audio, all of which could target their key audiences at postcode sector level. Brand awareness almost doubled from 19.8% to 38.6%, web orders increased by 48% and revenue generated during the campaign period was 30% above target.
Carat UK for National Trust for Scotland
A small budget, but a lot of love. National Trust for Scotland’s campaign expresses to the masses just how much the charity does to conserve the nation of Scotland, with TV being a vital part of the media mix. In 2022, using a budget of over £300,000, Carat repositioned the National Trust charity to the population of Scotland. With TV reaching a large proportion of the country, the results exceeded expectations, showing there’s a lot of love for the charity and what it stands for.
Best TV ad planning
Wavemaker UK for Nationwide
Nationwide and Wavemaker put empathy at the heart of their response to the cost-of-living crisis, harnessing the emotion that only TV can deliver. While other brands scrambled to communicate deals, they realised the biggest impact on the audience was emotional and so they doubled-down on TV to make use of its public, broadcast nature. Nationwide launched a freephone hotline offering support to those who were struggling and a TV campaign delivered significant uplifts in positive perceptions of Nationwide among younger audiences. Econometrics showed TV drove the highest amount of current-account sales over the period, proving that planning for empathy delivered a solid business return.
OMD UK for McDonald’s
OMD UK launched MyMcDonald’s Rewards to the nation with a feel-good AV strategy that achieved phenomenal results.
UM for Tourism Australia
After bushfires, floods and then a global pandemic, UM needed to make Australia the choice for UK travellers. But in a World Cup year, with new entrants to market spending more than the rest of the category combined, it had to cut through the Q4 clutter. Its animated 60” TV launch moment for Tourism Australia featured Ruby the kangaroo at Sydney harbour, juxtaposed against the cold cobbles of Corrie. By adopting attention principles, the agency surpassed its attentive reach target, despite modest budgets, with AV delivering 62% of plan reach. Awareness of Ruby beat targets and consideration goals jumped by 5.1%. In fact, in a record spending quarter for the sector, Australia was the only brand in the category to grow consideration.
Best TV newcomer
EssenceMediacom for Clarityn
Within a competitive hay fever remedy market, Clarityn needed a bold new approach to achieve its desired growth. Following a decade of digital-only campaigns, EssenceMediacom leveraged the power of the media multiplier effect in 2022. The agency leaned into research from its joint venture with Thinkbox - The Demand Generator study - to plan a fully integrated, multi-channel campaign. Linear TV was the springboard for the campaign, to drive reach at scale. The TV plan was optimised at a micro-level to make every element, from plan to execution, work harder - together. From tools to boost reach at TV-spot level, to D&I opportunities, and further budget allocation between video channels.
Guerillascope for Chip
Chip, the investments and savings app, had previously focused on online acquisitions but when this began to plateau, a new stimulus for brand awareness and app installs was required. Guerillascope believed the next logical step for Chip was to run a TV campaign. Why? Simple: TV is the most effective way to deliver ROI and acquisition for a brand, to improve the effectiveness of ongoing social activity, and to generate a significant increase in brand awareness.
OmniGOV at MG OMD for Home Office
Many types of violence against women are so normalised that they go unchallenged. MG OMD had to re-write the cultural narrative; the story-telling properties and contextual relevance of AV made it the best way to do this. But due to the inflationary market, the department's small budget, and World Cup noise, the agency had to be clever. In a special episode of Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, it brought to life the severity of the issue, the role that bystanders can play, and the fact that it is NEVER the woman’s fault. Smart AV planning, targeting co-viewing moments and periods when violence is more likely to happen, allowed it to generate conversations around an intolerance for this type of behaviour. The campaign struck a chord, driving people to find out more, plus men with problematic views showed greater content recall. Most importantly, the nation’s attention was captured, catapulting this serious issue into the spotlight.
Best use of content
Wonderhood Studios for Macmillan Cancer Support
Macmillan Cancer Support is one of the largest cancer care and support charities in the UK, best known for its fundraising and cosy coffee mornings. Most people don’t know about the vital services they provide. Super Surgeons: A Chance at Life was a brand-funded three-part documentary series supported by short and mid-form marketing. Aired in a primetime slot on Channel 4, the documentary was the centrepiece of a campaign that allowed Macmillan to demonstrate that it does whatever it takes to help people with cancer live life to the fullest.
EssenceMediacom for eBay
The UK’s fast-fashion addiction – particularly amongst Gen Z and Millennials - is seriously damaging the environment. EBay, the original sustainable marketplace, wanted to stop fast fashion in its tracks. But second-hand clothes didn’t hold the same appeal. ITV's Love Island, the TV show that makes and breaks fashion trends, was the perfect vehicle to provide eBay with a mass cultural moment for that target audience that could dramatically shift perceptions. The content partnership changed the narrative around second-hand fashion and got the nation talking, with 1,700 positive press pieces and a 935% increase in online mentions of “pre-loved fashion”. The campaign also changed behaviour, with a 7,000% increase in searches for pre-loved clothes on eBay.
MG OMD for Ring
Product placement allowed Ring to infiltrate a popular cultural moment and drive talkability and disproportionate attention, all within a £200K budget. In 2022, the brand was tasked with achieving 1.2m additional UK households on 45% less budget. Ring needed to go beyond conventional media tactics to shortcut to fame and drive product relevancy. In partnership with ITV, Ring harnessed the power of product placement to create a brand-new in-show segment, “Ring My Bell”, in ITV’s Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. It got the nation dashing to their doorbells and delivering an ROI of 10:1.
Best use of sponsorship
Wavemaker for P&O Cruises
With a bold ambition to break out of the cruise category and become the UK’s number one holiday brand, P&O Cruises knew it had to attract a new audience. Salience was not enough; success lay in breaking down the perceptual barriers.
Sponsoring Adventures on 4 helped reach a newcomer audience and build associations with exploration and adventure - aspects of cruise holidays that are often overlooked. The brand’s consistent presence, the variety of idents, and synergy with the programming drove a significant uplift in both perceptions of cruise holidays and consideration for P&O Cruises. Most importantly, it helped deliver the most successful year of “newcomer” attraction the brand had ever seen.
MG OMD for McVitie’s
McVitie’s has high awareness levels and there was huge latent love for the brand, but no one was talking about it or recognised it. The task was to awaken this love and get people talking. McVitie’s has British icon status and is known for its ingredients and royal associations, so MG OMD decided to dial up its Britishness with sponsorship of another British icon, Britain’s Got Talent. The power of a sponsorship of this scale across multiple touchpoints unlocked stand-out space in-store to drive sales.
Havas Media for Domino’s
TV has formed the backbone of Domino’s media strategy for more than 25 years. But with increasing competition from aggressive aggregators and the drop in impacts of its core audience of 16-34 year olds, Havas knew a standard linear TV or sponsorship approach was not going to cut it. Shifting the marketing approach to align with moments when people are considering ordering takeaways allowed the agency to identify key opportunities the brand wanted to tap into. This led to the first ever sponsorship of ITVHub plus a bespoke “Order for half-time” football package with Sky, layered with All4 sponsorship when this became available in 2019. Tailoring the creative assets to each moment proved to be the golden bullet, delivering increased ROI year on year.
Young TV Planner of the Year
Wake The Bear