The Thinkboxes Winner - September 2008

Hovis - Go On Lad

The Thinkboxes - 1stBritish Heart Foundation - Heart Attack  This epic spot for Hovis illustrates the brand’s heritage by taking a condensed trip through modern British history.

The commercial, created by MCBD, aims to evoke the spirit and style of Hovis’ 70s ‘Boy on the Bike’ ad, which recalled the days when young lads were sent to collect the family loaf.

The current 122-second ad depicts the highs and lows experienced by Britain during Hovis’ existence. The boy picks up his loaf in 1886, when the brand was founded, and runs home through the ages, including the two World Wars, the ‘swinging 60s’ and the miners’ strike of the 80s, before delivering the loaf to his mum in 2008.

The ad ends with the tagline ‘As good today as it’s always been’, which aims to reinforce Hovis’ heritage and mark a new era for the Premier Foods brand.

‘We have had nearly 1000 letters and emails in from our consumers. It is an ad that could be running for a long time.’ Chris Hancox, director of marketing at Paramount Comedy and a Thinkbox Academy member, said: ‘I picked Hovis because it is beautifully done with lots of emotion, pride and nostalgia. It is a brand that really does live on and on.’

Hovis fought off strong competition from HSBC’s ‘Lumberjack’ and Audi’s ‘Grip’ ads, which were placed second and third respectively.

Jon Goldstone‘We have that lovely mix of heritage and progress, so we started playing around with this idea that Hovis is as good today as it has always been’

Jon Goldstone
Marketing director,

Ad info

  • Client: Jon Goldstone, Premier Foods
  • Brief Re-establish: Hovis as a legendary bread brand
  • Ad agency: MCBD
  • Creative team: Danny Hunt, Gavin Torrance
  • Production company: Rattling Stick
  • Director: Ringan Ledwidge
  • Media agency: Starcom

Other ads on the podium

HSBC - Lumberjack

The Thinkboxes - 2ndDirected by Vince Squibb, this branding initiative from HSBC dramatises a police action to break an environmental demonstration; then follows the fate of one of those arrested, who happens to be the other half of a chainsaw-wielding lumberjack. The brief from Heather McCracken at HSBC to the JWT creative team, headed by Axel Chaldecott, was to explore the way that loves and loyalties can sometimes run contrary to people’s values. The insight is that couples, friends or family can be opposed on certain important values, but compatible on others.

Audi - Audi Quattro Grip

The Thinkboxes - 3rdDirected by Dom and Nic at Outsider for the creative team of Adi Birkinshaw and Paul Yull at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, this elegantly simple film is basically a montage of shots illustrating the astonishing versatility of the human hand as it grips a range of objects from the softest (a frog) to the hardest (a stone). The hand’s potential for power, as well as sensitivity and deftness, becomes a metaphor for Quattro technology – an intelligent road grip system in which each of an Audi’s four wheels is “intuitively” adjusted according to the conditions. The clients at Audi are Peter Duffy and Chris Hawken.

Also shortlisted for September

Burger King - Polygameat

This commercial highlights the notion that the BK Meat Beast Whopper is the mark of a true meat lover – containing as it does 100 per cent pure beef, bacon and pepperoni. The ad develops the idea that purists might frown upon the consumption of multiple meats, so we find outraged locals protesting outside the home of a man they think is committing “Polygameat”. In true middle-England style, they wave banners and chant “One Man – One Meat”. Created by Dave Swartz and Andy Ure at Crispin Porter & Bogusky for Sarah Power at Burger King, it was directed by Colin Gregg.

Ford Fiesta - This Is Now

The launch of the new Fiesta – a completely different car from the Fiesta of the 70s, 80s and 90s – demanded an advertising campaign that matched the new car in innovation and slick design. So this commercial features TV screens migrating through a 21st-century cityscape, eventually giving birth to a Fiesta. The aim is to reinvent the Fiesta as a style icon and make a new fashion-aware generation of buyers fall in love with the car all over again. The creative team at Ogilvy included John Crozier and Dom Sweeney working to Mark Simpson at Ford. The director was Noah Harris.

Hovis - Go On Lad

This epic for Hovis, directed by Ringan Ledwidge for Danny Hunt and Gavin Torrance at Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy, working to Jon Goldstone at Premier Foods, illustrates the brand’s heritage by taking a trip through modern British history. Evoking the spirit and style of Hovis’ classic “boy on the bike” ad, it evokes World War I, the Suffragettes, World War II, the Queen’s Coronation, the Swinging Sixties, the 1966 World Cup, the 80s miners’ strike and the Millennium celebrations, ending with the message: “As good today as it’s always been.”

Levi Strauss - Secrets And Lies

In this spot for the relaunch of Levi’s 501, boy meets girl, girl takes boy home; and as they begin unbuttoning their jeans, the truth begins to pop out. He’s not in a band – but so what, she doesn’t work on a label; he lives in Detroit – she’s never even been to Manhattan; he’s been sleeping in his car – well, never mind, this isn’t even her flat, she’s just broken in. And so to bed. Directed by Jeff Labbe at Sonny London, created by Jon Fox and Rik Brown at Bartle Bogle Hegarty; the client at Levi Strauss is Jennifer Sey.

Metropolitan Police - Follow

This campaign, designed for a music TV environment, was created by Lee Smith and Nick Bird at Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy for the client Kirsten Ross at the Metropolitan Police. Directed by James Griffiths, it shows a young man taking a knife from his mum’s kitchen drawer and slipping it into the waistband of his jeans as he leaves the flat. Then, in a powerful “flash forward”, we witness the horrific aftermath of a knife crime – and become aware of the sheer number of people who, one way or another, will be affected by this sort of violent act.

Orange - RockCorps

Orange’s involvement in RockCorps reinforces its belief that people can achieve more together than alone – and volunteers were rewarded with a ticket to a gig at The Royal Albert Hall on 26 September with the likes of Busta Rhymes and Guillemots. Filmed on the Heygate Estate at London’s Elephant & Castle, the ad features a “dust ball” that dramatises the work of young volunteers transforming the landscape. Created by Tony McTear at Fallon for Spencer McHugh and Justin Billingsley at Orange, it was directed by Daniel Kleinman.

The Thinkboxes September 2008

The Hovis 'Go On Lad' was a thoroughly deserving winner of the September 2008 competition, picking up a coveted Thinkboxes award. Here you can watch the winning and other short-listed ads, as well as find out more about who created them.