Thinkboxes November 2008 Winner: Barnardo’s ‘Break the cycle’ BBH

Barnardo’s clinched the final Thinkboxes award of 2008 with an emotive campaign highlighting its mission to help vulnerable children.

The £2m ‘Break the cycle’ campaign is led by a 60-second commercial – the charity’s first venture into primetime TV. It consists of five scenes featuring the same teenage girl who has experienced a lifetime of abuse. In one scene, she mugs someone; in the second, she is crying in a cell; the third sees her get a slap to the head from her father.

In the fourth scene she is shown struggling at school; in the fifth, the viewer sees her taking drugs.

These five scenes are then repeated with faster cuts each time. The violent slap becomes more jarring as its frequency increases. The aim of the editing is to emphasise the vicious cycle.

The charity has high awareness, but is still associated with old-fashioned stereotypes about orphanages and children’s homes.

We wanted to be able to tell the story of children in trouble. Not all children who cause trouble are beyond help. Each has a story.

Diana Tickell UK Director of Communications at Barnardo’s

The strong content of the ad generated more than 500 complaints, but these were not upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Barnardo’s won the November award, beating Cycling Safety’s ‘Whodunnit?’ and Stella Artois’ ‘Triple filtered’ ads into second and third place respectively.

Agency BBH; Director Jeff Labbe; Prod Co Sonny London; Creative Nick Gill

Cycling Safety- Whodunnit? 

  • Agency WCRS
  • Director Chris Palmer
  • Creative Luke Williamson & Yan Elliot
  • Prod Co Gorgeous

Stella Artois- Triple filtered

  • Agency Mother 
  • Director Frederik Bond

Also shortlisted 

  • Baileys- Music to your lips
  • Boots- Secret Santa
  • Durex- Play O
  • HSBC- Policeman
  • Marks & Spencer- Christmas
  • Toshiba- Timesculpture
  • Waitrose- Christmas

Click here to see who won the previous award

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