ITV and Thinkbox Present: Creative Carousel 2016

The power of television and the value of bravery shone through as industry stars came together for the Creative Carousel at Advertising Week Europe 2016.

Hosting the event on the ITV Stage at Piccadilly’s Picturehouse Central, Lindsey Clay, Chief Executive Officer of Thinkbox, blasted off with some forceful words about the potential of TV advertising.

“We know TV is the most gangbusting effective advertising medium there is,” she said.

“But if you can get creative right it can be 12 times more effective at driving market share.”

A powerhouse of creative directors, Rosie Arnold, Deputy Executive Creative Director at BBH, Alex Grieve, Executive Creative Director at AMV BBDO, Nils Leonard, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer at Grey London, and Chaka Sobhani, Creative Director at Mother, picked out a selection of outstanding TV ads that they and others had created.

Grieve chose Currys PC World’s Jeff Goldblum ad from Christmas 2015, which saw the Hollywood superstar give lessons in how to act your way out of awkward moments.

“This was something we were very proud of because it was quite unexpected,” said Grieve. “The client came with an agenda of change.

“This is the lovely thing, we have a client who’s brave and goes with us and trusts us with it. We’ve just had the results back and it’s had incredible brand recognition, the effectiveness is through the roof.

“The results also show that if they had bought more TV it would have been even more effective so next year we’re going to try to up-weight the TV spend.”

The importance of bravery was also highlighted by Arnold, who showed her Yeo Valley farming boy-band advert from 2015.

“In 2012, when we launched the Yeo rap, we took a very brave decision to buy an entire break, just before X-Factor,” said Arnold. It was massively successful.” And arguably this paved the way for long-form TV ads at Christmas.  

Sobhani also described the courage shown by clients Boots in a Christmas ad from 2014, which shows a family celebrating Christmas in the early hours on Boxing Day so that a nurse coming off an all-nighter does not miss out.

“Christmas has become our SuperBowl,” said Sobhani. “To even play there you have to have something outstanding. I loved the fact that this was a really simple story. Sometimes the quietest thing can have the biggest strength. Our clients were really brave not to make it all happy-clappy and just to make the end part speak.”

Leonard showed the audience the gripping Mumsnet ad featuring a real life call from a young girl who saved her mum's life by calling 999.

“It was a passion project,” he said. “I heard the audio from the call and it was something we were really passionate about. The thing that was really interesting was doing something that didn’t look like a TV commercial.”

So what lessons did the experts have to share with the audience? Arnold’s message was simple: “Learn to say no to clients.”

Leonard advised: “Define a shared cultural ambition up front – agree that you both want to make something famous and powerful.”

Sobhani told us: “Remember the importance of craft and seek out the best people.”

And Grieve said: “All the best work is really hard – you have to hang in there. Stick to your guns. Good stuff happens but it’s really hard work.”

If you missed the session, watch it here.