Mr Swan swims ahead in the Mar/Apr 2019 Thinkboxes

Sipsmith's first TV ad, starring the animated Mr Swan, has won the Thinkboxes Award for the March / April period for TV ad creativity.

Mr. Swan - the brand’s icon, inspired by the shape of the necks on its gin stills - guides us through the company's approach to small-batch gin distilling and discusses what makes Sipsmith different.

The charmingly urbane, if somewhat clueless, character outlines the brand’s uncompromising pursuit of quality - something the craft of the ad itself sought to reflect to the extreme.

"Not only is stop-motion animation a distinct and engaging way to tell our story, it is a labour-intensive and very skilled process that doesn’t allow for corners to be cut – and that’s our approach to making gin," said Kate Moorcroft, global marketing director at the London microdistillery.

Most of the effects were achieved directly in-camera and the ad features around 10,000 unique assembled and hand-made elements. "It’s the animators’ craft that takes the film to the next level," said Ogilvy’s executive creative director Jules Chalkley. The film was directed by Jeff Low through Biscuit Filmworks.

  • Creative agency: Ogilvy UK
  • Creative team: Jules Chalkley, Giles Montgomery, Lotte Jeffs, Ilka Mourao, Jonny Durgan
  • Clients: Sam Galsworthy, Fairfax Hall, Jared Brown
  • Production company: Biscuit Filmworks
  • Director: Jeff Low

Other ads on the podium

British Heart Foundation "Boy"

In a direct-to-camera ambling monologue inspired by Paul Whitehouse’s "Brilliant" segments from The Fast Show, 10-year-old Mickey Pickles gives us some no-nonsense facts about the heart as he marches home from school, skips up the stairs to his room and changes into his football shirt. He gives us the low-down on the circulatory system and holds forth on conditions researched by the BHF, like strokes and vascular dementia - and he’s something of an expert. He was born with a heart defect, now cured.

  • Creative agency: MullenLowe London
  • Creative team: Jose Miguel Sokoloff, Mark Elwood, Misha Newby
  • Client: Carolan Davidge
  • Production company: Knucklehead
  • Director: Siri Bunford

Citroën "First Dates"

In each of these Citroën sponsorship idents for the Channel 4 dating show, First Dates, the set-ups are like scenes from classy French romantic films, with couples sat in cars professing undying love. The comedy pay-offs pull back to reveal these scenes in banal (and very British) contexts – the car is in a car-wash or outside a convenience store or in the drive-through lane of a fast food outlet. Happily though, the interior of the Citroën C3 is pleasingly comfortable.

  • Creative agency: Havas London
  • Creative team: Stephen Cross, Simon Connor
  • Client: Souad Wrixen
  • Production company: BOLD
  • Director: Camila Zapiola

Argos "So stylish you can wear it"

A simple proposition – that the Argos new Spring Summer homeware and furniture collection has a touch of haute couture class – is brought to life with madcap energy in this mildly satirical spot. A couple’s house and garden become the set for an impromptu high-fashion catwalk show, with pouting models springing up from nowhere to showcase outfits cunningly contrived from cushions, rugs, duvets, lampshades, plates, deckchairs and even a garden hose. With Argos, the endline explains, "You’re good to go”.

  • Creative agency: The&Partnership London
  • Creative team: Yan Elliot, Micky Tudor, Danny Hunt, Alice Burton, Carl Storey
  • Client: Nicki Brown
  • Production company: Stink
  • Director: Traktor

Irn Bru “Hairdo” 

A serving of surreal comedy from Irn-Bru here as it brings us a bedroom showdown between a man and his hair-do, which detaches itself from his head and announces it’s leaving. It’s bored, unfulfilled and, drawing on its new-found strength (the sort of can-do energy that Irn-Bru, traditionally Scotland’s "strong man" drink, tends to give you) it flounces out. And the poor guy’s eyebrows decide to leave him too. "Get some Irn in you," the endline recommends.

  • Creative agency: The Leith Agency
  • Creative team: Jim Swann, Sam Muir, Troy Farnworth, Phil Evans
  • Client: Adrian Troy, Allan Little
  • Production company: Smith & Jones
  • Director: Ulf Johansson

Click here to see who won the previous award

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