Maltesers hit the sweet spot by winning the September/ October Thinkboxes

Maltesers’ “New boyfriend”, created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, was chosen by The Thinkbox Academy as winner of the September/October 2016 Thinkboxes award for TV ad creativity.

Launched during Channel 4’s coverage of the Paralympics, “New Boyfriend” challenges perceptions of disability. In the ad, a woman with cerebral palsy explains to her able-bodied friends how having a spasm while getting intimate with her boyfriend may not have been a bad thing. The comedic spot, part of the brand’s “Look on the light side” series of ads, was devised in consultation with disability charity Scope.

"As one of the UK’s biggest advertisers, we have a responsibility and a role to play in reflecting diversity in everyday media,” says Michele Oliver, vice-president of marketing at Mars Chocolate UK. “We are incredibly proud of this ad and the campaign which surrounds it. And we hope this is just the start of a journey toward richer and more inclusive advertising – from our business and across the entire industry.”

New boyfriend” was directed by Clay Weiner; the production company was Biscuit Filmworks.

"Voices”, part of a campaign for Nationwide created by VCCP, in which unsung poets from across the UK perform to camera, won second place in the September/October Thinkboxes winners’ line up. In third place was “Never a dull cup”, created by 101 for coffee chain Costa. It features actor and comedian Javone Prince as a Mr Motivator-style character who attempts to whip a group of Costa workers into a frenzy.

Michele Oliver

As one of the UK’s biggest advertisers, we have a responsibility and a role to play in reflecting diversity in everyday media

Michele Oliver Vice-President, Marketing, Mars Chocolate UK

Creative agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO; Creative team Dave Buchanan, Tim Riley; Production company Biscuit Filmworks; Director Clay Weiner

Other ads on the podium

Nationwide: Voices (2nd)

  • Creative agency VCCP
  • Creative team Jim Thornton, Dermot McPartland, Jon Wicks, Anstice Murray, Olly Calverly, Charlie Falconer, Gethin James
  • Client Paul Hibbs
  • Production company VCCP
  • Director Jon E Price 

Costa: Never A Dull Cup (3rd)

  • Creative agency 101
  • Creative team Augusto Sola, Joe Bruce, Jack Willoughby, Serhan Asim
  • Client Caroline Harris
  • Production company Somesuch
  • Director Nick Gordon

Also shortlisted 

Freeview: The other way

  • Creative agency Anomaly
  • Creative team Oli Beale, Alex Holder, Tim Boxall
  • Client Neema Shah Kahn
  • Production company DBLG
  • Director Grant Gilbert

Talk Talk: This Stuff Matters

  • Creative agency CHI & Partners
  • Creative team Danny Hunt, Dan Watts, Rob Webster, Jim Bolton, Micky Tudor, Jonathan Burley
  • Production company Park Pictures
  • Director Tom Tagholm 

A view from an academy member...


Real life wins the day today. Maltesers. Brilliant (but you already know this). A disabled girl telling her friends about “spasming” her boyfriend off. Maltesers everywhere. Proper life, not ad life. What else can I say? People call it brave, but really it’s just normal. This is what people talk about, so why don’t more brands reflect this? Where’s the risk in real, really?

Tom Ewart Partner and Executive Creative Director, The Corner

Click here to see who won the previous award

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