The winning ad – a light-hearted attempt to imagine the perfect vehicle – features a man travelling on a pimped-up bench that provides him with food, entertainment, company, a drinks service, a toilet and free Wi-Fi as it travels on its own road. Eventually, the man is transported into a relaxing Virgin train, where a salad awaits.
With Virign Trains' interim marketing director James Rawlinson making it clear early on that he wanted as much as possible shot in-camera rather than rely on post-production CGI, the very first - and considerable - challenge was to create a Heath Robinson-style contraption to be filmed.
And the script? "The truth is that a train is a 125mph chair with crisps and the internet and waiters and toilets attached to it. After that divine inspiration, the script wrote itself," said Mike Whiteside, who created the ad with Ben Robinson.
TV was the obvious choice for the ambition of the idea. "TV is very important for Virgin Trains," said Rawlinson. "It is a proven channel for brand awareness, brand consideration and other brand health metrics. It is the channel that delivers our strongest ROI and we find tens of thousands of new customers register their interest with us whenever we are on air, so it is also a great acquisition tool."
The spot was directed by Keith Schofield through Caviar.
Second in the May/June Thinkboxes Awards was 'Three Lionesses' for Lucozade by Grey London and 'Heads' by AMV BBDO by for Stroke Association was third.
Also shortlisted were 'Robert De Niro’ by Engine London for Warburtons and 'Superfan' by AMV BBDO for Walkers.
The Thinkboxes, in association with Campaign, are the only bi-monthly awards that celebrate the UK’s world-beating TV ad creativity, in all its forms. They are judged by the Thinkbox Academy – 200 advertising and marketing luminaries who have been involved in award-winning creative work for TV.
Strap yourself in and read more about the making of the ad in the August issue of Campaign.
Want to see more great work? Head to the Thinkboxes hub
Thinkbox is the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, in all its forms. Its shareholders are Channel 4, ITV, Sky Media, Turner Media Innovations and UKTV. Thinkbox works with the marketing community with a single ambition: to help advertisers get the best out of today’s TV.