Animal magic wins the Jan/Feb 2019 Thinkboxes

News UK’s literal interpretation of the "Westminster Zoo" has received a roar of approval as the winner of our latest Thinkboxes Award for TV ad creativity.

With the countdown to Brexit gathering pace, The Times and Sunday Times wanted to burnish their credentials as the go-to media in a frantic political environment, said Catherine Newman, chief marketing officer for the papers. "We set out to cement The Times' and Sunday Times’ position as being number one for political news, reinforcing the trust people have in them and providing some clarity and wit around a serious situation."

Briefed in November for a campaign that was to run in the first quarter of 2019, Pulse Creative worked fast to come up with a theme that focused on bringing order from chaos. The result was ‘Politics. Tamed.’ which used real animals, superimposed into the House of Commons chamber, to represent feuding political factions.

Pulse Creative executive creative director Robin Garton said a single image of a hyena outside of 10 Downing Street sparked the creative theme. "It was powerful and striking, clear and simple. The whole campaign – which became integrated, with TV at its heart – came out of that single image."

Actor Jason Isaacs narrated the Dr Doolittle song ‘Talk to the Animals’ over the ad, which culminates in a majestic lion and unicorn bringing calm to the menagerie as they enter the Commons.

"The lion and unicorn are on our crest, which means it is also a visualisation of how, as a brand, we bring order," said Newman. "It’s not every day you get such a striking opportunity to do that."

  • Creative agency: Pulse Creative
  • Creative team: Robin Garton, Paul Alderman, Andy Peel
  • Client: Lynne Fraser
  • Production company: Framestore
  • Director: William Bartlett

Other ads on the podium

Guinness "The Purse"

In a spot marking the launch of its sponsorship of Six Nations Rugby, Guinness brings us the true story of the Rees brothers. Their mother’s dying wish was that they should spend their inheritance following the Welsh national team – which they’re happy to do – and we follow them around the rugby capitals of Europe in an affectionate tribute to everything that makes international rugby such a special phenomenon, from the bone-shuddering on-pitch clashes to the warm human camaraderie of post-match libations.

  • Creative agency: AMV BBDO
  • Creative team: Nick Hulley, Nadja Lossgott, Tim Riley
  • Client: Niall McKee
  • Production company: Stink
  • Director: Tom Green

Ikea "Tonight is to Sleep"

To make us fall in love again with the magic of sleep, Ikea has taken "the great night out" and turned this notion on its head. The evening’s here, everyone’s heading out to a club – but a club with a difference. Where the dance floor should be there are hundreds of beds and everyone’s here to share the communal ritual of getting ready for a perfect night’s sleep, before climbing in between their sheets in a completely new take on the concept of the all-nighter.

  • Creative agency: Mother
  • Creative team: Mother
  • Client: Kemi Anthony
  • Production company: MJZ
  • Director: Juan Cabral

ITV & Veg Power "Eat Them To Defeat Them"

Only 16% of kids eat enough vegetables and changing that has always been an uphill struggle. So the new Veg Power strategy is to turn it into a game. This ad borrows from a host of horror and sci-fi tropes to show vegetables as an evil life-form plotting to take control of the world. Our only hope is that the children of the world can come together and, by eating all their peas and carrots and broccoli, save us all.

  • Creative agency: Adam & Eve/DDB
  • Creative team: Richard Brim, Mark Lewis, Matt Fitch
  • Client: Claire Phillips, Jo Ralling
  • Production company: Pulse Films
  • Director: Ninian Doff

Truth Project "Speech Bubbles"

The Truth Project, part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, recognises that it’s difficult to discuss this subject openly – a silence that’s captured by showing people navigating everyday situations with empty speech bubbles floating in the air above their heads. In pointing out that, unless we talk about child abuse, we will never be able to stop it, the campaign aims to encourage victims and survivors to speak out, effectively filling these bubbles with words.

  • Creative agency: MullenLowe London
  • Creative team: Mark Elwood, Lovisa Silburn, Hugh Todd
  • Client: Mehboob Umarji
  • Production company: Gorgeou
  • Director: Chris Palmer

Click here to see who won the previous award

You might also like

Breaking ads

We update this gallery weekly with a collection of the latest and best ads breaking on TV.

Ad gallery honda grrr

The most inspiring ads ever?

Browse our library of creative wonders picked by our contributors over the years

Rob-Fletcher-3-great-ads

3 great ads with Rob Fletcher from Isobel

Cuddly yellow puppets, mad jelly bears and unsavoury lunches – Rob picks his 3 bizarre ads