Dog’s Home: about Thinkbox’s 2010 TV Ad

Thinkbox's second TV ad introduced the world to the multi-talented and extremely smart Harvey the dog. It shows the power of TV advertising to brilliantly demonstrate things, to affect people's decisions, and in Harvey’s case, to drive instant success in a competitive market. 

Thinkbox’s ‘Dog’s Home’ ad features a couple visiting a dogs’ home to choose a dog to adopt. They see two conventionally lovable dogs using their doggy charms to sell themselves before they encounter a less obviously cute dog called Harvey, who has a different, smarter approach: he’s made a TV ad. Harvey then turns on a TV behind him which plays out an ad showcasing his amazing skills. The couple watch with increasing amazement as Harvey demonstrates why he’s the best choice; he plays chess, does the school run, cooks, irons, cleans windows, and tucks children in for the night. Harvey’s ad ends with the line ‘Every home needs a Harvey’. The soundtrack is Bachman-Turner Overdrive's 1974 classic 'You ain't seen nothing yet'. Perfect for a bit of air guitar.

The ad ends with the lines 'Discover the power of TV advertising at www.thinkbox.tv' and 'Television: where brands get their breaks'.

The ad was created by The Red Brick Road – Gemma Phillips (copywriter), Mark Slack (art director), and Justin Tindall (creative director) – and directed by award-winning director Andy McLeod of Rattling Stick, who has been responsible for ads including Department for Transport’s ‘Live With it’ and Robinsons’ ‘Bird House’. (Full credits below)

Harvey’s ad scampered across a variety of broadcast channels represented by Thinkbox’s shareholders (Channel 4, ITV, Sky Media, Turner Broadcasting and UKTV). Media planning and buying was by MediaCom.

Everyone loves Harvey

Harvey stole the nation’s hearts and was an instant hit on and off line, with huge numbers of people wanting to talk about, write about, and share the ad. They also wanted to find out more about this extraordinary canine superstar and Thinkbox too. When the ad was on air, Thinkbox.tv traffic increase by over 400%,  Harvey’s Facebook page quickly attracted its first 15,000 fans (he now has over 46,000), and ‘Dog’s Home’ generated over a million online views (following some 260 million broadcast TV views during the first burst of activity).

The ad won ITV1’s ‘Ad of the Year’ programme as voted for by ITV viewers. Other awards included, D&AD awards, British Arrows, APA Collection, Animal Spot Awards, Creative Circle, David Reviews Ads of the Year and Harvey also picked up the Dogs Trust Celebrity Canine of the Year. 

The challenge was to find an idea that could complement the first ad and show the instant success that TV advertising brings. Showing an ad within an ad is a great way to showcase TV advertising at work.

Justin Tindall, Creative Director, The Red Brick Road, 2010

Ad credits

  • Client: Thinkbox
  • Title: Dogs Home
  • Production Company: Rattling Stick
  • Director: Andy McLeod
  • Advertising agency: The Red Brick Road
  • Art Director: Mark Slack
  • Copy writer: Gemma Phillips
  • Head of TV: Charles Crisp
  • Agency producer: Charles Crisp
  • Production company producer: Kirsty Dye
  • D.O.P: Stuart Graham
  • Editor: Andy McGraw
  • Post Production facility: Bigbuoy
  • Music: You ain't seen nothing yet - Bachman Turner Overdrive
  • Dog training company: Stunt Dogs & Animals
  • Dog trainers: Gill Raddings & Sonia Hooper

Cast

  • Robert Whitelock
  • Lindsay Allen

Thanks to...

Our shareholders (Channel 4, ITV, Sky Media and Turner Broadcasting and UKTV), Andy McLeod and the team at Rattling Stick, all at The Red Brick Road, Mediacom, STV and UTV.

The Dogs Trust: every Harvey needs a home

There are lots of “Harveys” out there looking for a really good home, and the Dogs Trust is there to help. You can find out more about them here.

Harvey would like to bring your attention to Support Dogs

Support dogs is a charity which trains clever dogs to help around the house, improving the quality of life for people with epilepsy, physical disabilities and children with autism. Find our more here.

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