About Thinkbox's "Dogs home" TV ad

Thinkbox’s TV ad campaign featuring Harvey the dog returned to TV on 22 December 2010 for a six week scamper across a variety of broadcast channels represented by Thinkbox’s shareholders who are Channel 4, ITV, Sky Media, Turner Media Innovations and UKTV.

Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox’s CEO: “It’s wonderful to be bringing Harvey back to TV. Harvey has proved to be both very popular with the British public and very effective at promoting the benefits of TV advertising. Christmas is the perfect time to bring him back and capitalise on TV’s central role at Christmas, with families gathering around the TV.”

Thinkbox’s TV ad saw Thinkbox.tv traffic increase by over 400%, Harvey’s Facebook page attracted nearly 15,000 fans, and the ad won ITV1’s ‘Ad of the Year’ programme on 30 December. It also attracted over a million online views following 260 million broadcast TV views. Other awards included, D&AD awards, British Arrows, APA Collection, Animal Spot Awards, Creative Circle, David Reviews Ads of the Year and the Dogs Trust Canine of the Year.

The ad was created by The Red Brick RoadGemma Phillips (copywriter), Mark Slack (art director), and Justin Tindall (creative director) – and directed by award-winning director Andy McLeod of Rattling Stick, who has been responsible for ads including Department for Transport’s ‘Live With it’ and Robinsons’ ‘Bird House’.

Media planning and buying has been by MediaCom.

Thinkbox’s ‘Dog’s Home’ ad features a couple visiting a dogs’ home to choose a dog to adopt. They see two conventionally lovable dogs using their doggy charms to sell themselves before they encounter a less obviously cute dog called Harvey, who has a different, smarter approach: he’s made a TV ad. Harvey then turns on a TV behind him which plays out an ad showcasing his amazing skills. The couple watch with increasing amazement as Harvey demonstrates why he’s the best choice; he plays chess, does the school run, cooks, irons, cleans windows, and tucks children in for the night. Harvey’s ad ends with the line ‘Every home needs a Harvey’. The soundtrack to the ad is Bachman-Turner Overdrive's 1974 classic 'You ain't seen nothing yet'. Perfect for a bit of air guitar.

The Thinkbox ad ends with the lines 'Discover the power of TV advertising at www.thinkbox.tv' (which is hopefully why you're here) and 'Television: where brands get their breaks' (and you can discover more about this via some of the handy links on the right)

The Harvey Thinkbox ad follows the award-winning success of our first ever TV advertising campaign, which was launched in May 2009. Hopefully, you will recall that this ad featured a hypnotherapy patient unleashing his stream of consciousness and impersonating famous lines from much loved TV ads that are part of popular culture, demonstrating TV advertising's ability to deliver value to brands over the long-term.

"We have so much evidence proving how effective TV advertising is, but there's nothing quite like seeing it work for yourself - as we did last year - to convince you to have more. We hope this new ad will be as well received and successful as our first."

Lindsey Clay, Managing Director, Thinkbox

"It's great to be bringing Thinkbox back to TV again and using the medium to promote the medium. The challenge was to find an idea that could complement the first ad and show the instant success that TV advertising brings. Showing an ad within an ad is a great way to showcase TV advertising at work."

Justin Tindall, Creative Director, The Red Brick Road

Ad credits

  • Client: Thinkbox
  • Title: Dogs Home
  • Production Company: Rattling Stick
  • Director: Andy McLeod
  • Advertising agency: The Red Brick Road
  • Art Director: Mark Slack
  • Copy writer: Gemma Phillips
  • Head of TV: Charles Crisp
  • Agency producer: Charles Crisp
  • Production company producer: Kirsty Dye
  • D.O.P: Stuart Graham
  • Editor: Andy McGraw
  • Post Production facility: Bigbuoy
  • Music: You ain't seen nothing yet - Bachman Turner Overdrive
  • Dog training company: Stunt Dogs & Animals
  • Dog trainers: Gill Raddings & Sonia Hooper

Cast

  • Male: Robert Whitelock
  • Female: Lindsay Allen

Thanks to...

Our shareholders (Channel 4, ITV, Sky Media and Turner Media Innovations and UKTV), Andy McLeod and the team at Rattling Stick, all at The Red Brick Road, Ruby, Mediacom, STV and UTV.

Harvey’s recommended links

Support DogsHarvey would like to bring your attention to Support Dogs.
Support dogs is a small but unique charity which trains clever dogs to help around the house. They’re dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with epilepsy, physical disabilities and children with autism. These amazing disability dogs enable their owners to live fuller and more independent lives and can be trained to do such things as open and close doors, raise the alarm or even load and unload the washing machine! If you’d like to find out how you can help support their work, just click here.

Dogs Trust The Dogs Trust: every Harvey needs a home
There are lots of “Harveys” out there looking for a really good home, and of course most of them don’t have the opportunity to make their own TV ad about it. Fortunately, the Dogs Trust is there to help. There are 17 Dogs Trust Rehoming Centres around the UK. In every one of them you will find dogs that are looking for some nice people to live with. If you’re looking for a new canine friend, or would like to find out more about the Dogs Trust, you can do that right here.

Harvey's first TV ad "Dog's home"

Thinkbox's second TV ad has been created by The Red Brick Road and directed by award winning director Andy McLeod of Rattling Stick. Starring the multi-talented and extremely smart Harvey, it's designed to show, in an engaging way, the power of TV advertising to affect people's decisions. Whereas Thinkbox's first ad focused on television's ability to create long-term memories, and hence value, for brands; the new one is essentially about TV driving instant success in a competitive market. Here you can also have another look at our ad; peak behind the scenes of the shoot day in our making-of-the-ad film, and also navigate to lots of interesting stuff about TV's effectiveness.

Harvey is on Facebook

Associated Content

  • As a nation of animal lovers, the combination of a great TV ad with a cute, intrepid or comedic creature is a powerful one. Some of these characters only make a brief 30 second appearance in the life of the advertiser, whilst others go on to become much-loved brand mascots in an association that lasts for years and years. To celebrate the return of Thinkbox’s TV commercial, staring the multi-talented Harvey and his best friend Rabbit, we thought you might like to see some other great TV ads – classic and new - where creatures of all shapes and sizes have entertained and engaged us on behalf of their advertisers. From acrobatic squirrels on impossible missions to forthright meerkats and nimble-footed bears, we hope you enjoy this selection of brilliant commercials.
  • Our latest ad dramatises the powerful effect that TV can have. We thought you might like some "at a glance" examples of brands that have recently used TV and experienced business-transforming effects, against all sorts of objectives from launching or building a brand to increasing web-traffic, footfall and sales: we hope there is something here to inspire.
  • There are all sorts of reasons why television advertising is so brilliant at creating success for brands and businesses both in the short-term and the long-term.