Thinkboxes January/February 2011 Winner: Cravendale’s 'Cat with thumbs' by Wieden & Kennedy

Arla Foods wanted to position its Cravendale milk brand as a preferable alternative to supermarkets’ own-label products.

The brand had already developed an approach to its marketing based on the term ‘crazy, sensible’, which was evident in its previous ‘Cow, pirate, cyclist’ campaign.

Cravendale took this theme one step further for its ‘Cats with thumbs’ ad; a surreal, compelling and endearing creative, featuring felines doing things with which they are not normally associated.

Cats like milk, and both Arla Foods and its ad agency, Wieden & Kennedy, were aware of the mass appeal of the furry animals. At the same time, they were conscious that if the creative was not up to scratch, it would be swallowed up by the cat-related content already out there.

Laurence Green, Founding Partner, 101 and a fellow Academy judge said: “When Cravendale launched, the cows wanted it back. Now it’s the year of the cat. [It’s] ridiculous but relevant, original but appropriate.”


We are absolutely delighted with the campaign. The reaction to Bertrum Thumbcat has been bigger than we could have anticipated.

Danny Micklethwaite Vice-President of Marketing, Arla Foods UK

Client Danny Micklethwaite, Vice-President of Marketing, Arla Foods UK; Ad agency Wieden & Kennedy; Creative team Freddie Powell, Hollie Sayers, Sam Heath and Chris Groom; Production Smith and Jones Films; Director Ulf Johansson

Other ads on the podium

Lurpak A Kitchen Odyssey (2nd)

  • Creative agency Wieden & Kennedy;
  • Creative team Dan Norris, Ray Shaughnessy;
  • Client Thryth Jarvis
  • Production company Stink;
  • Director Martin Krejci

Aviva Holiday Packing (3rd)

  • Creative agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
  • Creative team Mike Hannett, Dave Buchanan
  • Client Sue Helmont
  • Production company HSI London
  • Director Declan Lowney

Also shortlisted

Innocent Superhero

  • Creative agency RKCR/Y&R;
  • Creative team Joe Fitzgerald, Kimberley Hutcheson;
  • Client Thomas Delabriere;
  • Production company Blink;
  • Director Ben Wheatley

Virgin Media A More Exciting Place To Live

  • Creative agency DDB UK;
  • Creative team Dave Henderson, Richard Denney, Jeremy Craigen, Guy Bradbury;
  • Client Richard Larcombe;
  • Production company Academy;
  • Director Seb Edwards

A view from a Thinkbox Academy member on this month's picks


I am a total nightmare for old media. Only, it appears that I am not, because I have actually seen these five TV ads in the wild. Funny, isn’t it? With all this choice around, the humble 30-second ad still cuts through. Which has a lot to say about the quality of this lot.

Flo Heiss Executive Creative Director, Dare

Click here to see who won the previous award

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