Pure TV brilliance from Volkswagen: The Thinkboxes Awards for TV ad creativity

Adam & Eve/DDB’s "The Button" for Volkswagen Golf GTE has triumphed in the latest bimonthly Thinkboxes Awards for TV ad creativity. The Thinkbox Academy voted in September on the best ad from a five-strong shortlist.

This spot plunders the film genre vaults to bring us a montage of deranged miscreants – from arch Bond villains, the gang boss of a blaxploitation movie, and Dr Frankenstein about to galvanise his monster – that in each case succumb to the cackle of manic "mua-haha" laughter when they push the red button to unleash their machinery of doom. The new Golf GTE has a power button too. When you use it, a knowing chuckle will do.

  • Agency: Adam & Eve/DDBO
  • Creatives: Ben Priest, Richard Brim, Ben Tollet, Richard Gayton, Darren Beresford 
  • Client: Glyn Butterworth 
  • Production Company: Independent Films 
  • Director: Gary Freedman


'The Button’ is our light-hearted way of addressing a serious point: namely that today’s updated Golf GTE is the antithesis of the ‘worthy-but-dull’ hybrid car image

Glyn Butterworth, national communications manager,  Volkswagen

Other ads on the podium

BT Sport "Being Dele"

Here, BT Sport makes the most of its latest star signing, Dele Alli, to illustrate the range of top quality sport it offers – we see Alli not only in his customary role as Spurs’ goal-scorer, we also follow him into battle in the boxing ring and see him getting flattened on the rugby pitch. He has an unconventional take on cricket too as he faces up to Australian bowling in an Ashes Test match, dropping his bat and kicking the ball to the boundary.

  • Creative agency: AMVBBD 
  • Creative team: Paul Brazier, Caio Giannella, Diego de Oliveira 
  • Client: David Stratton 
  • Production company: Colonel Blimp Director: Pedro Martin-Calero

McCain "We Are Family"

McCain positions itself at the heart of the family in this campaign, which celebrates modern British life in all its glorious imperfections. Until relatively recently, families in ads tended to be depicted in a highly idealised fashion. In contrast, McCain gives us everyday scenes from families with tireless single mums, families with two dads, families with long-distance dads, families with grandparents who double as parents. The message is simple – domestic units come in all shapes and sizes, but it’s mealtimes that makes a family.

  • Creative agency: adam&eveDDB 
  • Creative team: Richard Brim, Ben Tollet, Chloe Pope, Jessica Morris 
  • Client: Mark Hodge 
  • Production company: Knucklehead 
  • Director: Finn McGough

Nike "Smile"

We all know the race-day Mo Farah – the relentlessly elegant running style, the Mobot celebrations and the compelling smile on his face when he wins. But we don’t tend to know so much about the gruelling training and the years of sacrifice and pain that go into the making of a world class athlete. So, using Farah’s most recent appearance at the London Stadium as a jumping-off point, Smile takes us on a retrospective journey of blood, sweat and tears.

  • Creative agency: Wieden+Kennedy London 
  • Creative team: Anders Stake, Adam Fish, Tom Hall, Kate Baker, Tony Davidson, Kim Papworth 
  • Client: Philip Jacobson 
  • Production company: Rogue Films
  • Director: Mark Zibert

Kwiff "Caught Glass"

A playfully surreal ad underlines Kwiff’s left-field credentials by pursuing an absurd analogy. Kwiff is a sports betting app that boosts your odds, unannounced, on a totally random basis. Which, Kwiff reckons, is like another pleasingly random event – knocking a glass off a shelf and catching it, almost miraculously, before it smashes to the floor – such an amazing feat you’ll just want to hold that glass in your hand and stare at it forever. Perhaps you’ll even take it to your grave.

  • Creative agency: Droga5 
  • Creative team: Ed Redgrave, Dave Wigglesworth, David Kolbusz, Rick Dodds, Steve Howell, Matt Butler, Ethan Bennett 
  • Production company: Biscuit Filmworks 
  • Director: Jeff Low

A view from an academy members...


Topicality no doubt unintended, this is a classically great spot. Beautifully executed, it’s got a brilliantly simple plot twist and a nice moral message to boot

Susan Hosking and Peter Robertson, creative directors, Mother, & members of the Thinkbox Academy

Click here to see who won the previous award

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