Thinkbox is the marketing body for the UK commercial TV broadcasters – Channel 4 , ITV , Sky Media , and Turner Media Innovations. UKTV joined Thinkbox in January 2011. [1]

Thinkbox was launched in February 2005 with a consortium of eight companies, and was initially run by a virtual organization . In 2006 the group changed direction, hiring Tess Alps as the CEO and undergoing significant internal changes, including the loss of one of the original eight companies involved in creating the organization. Five left the organization at the end of 2010.

Thinkbox ‘s activities in the field of television marketing (including their regular Thinkboxes ), providing a series of events and training programs, and.


Thinkbox was founded in February 2005, by a consortium of eight media companies: Channel 4 , Five , GMTV , Sky Media , IDS, ITV , Turner Media Innovations, and Viacom Brand Solutions . Thinkbox’s budget is set by charging a fee for each of the eight member organizations and an additional variable rate of their share of the TV advertising market, the new body was developed to improve sales of television advertising. Nevertheless, the member organizations have been expected to continue to compete for advertising, and they are accepting their existing sales departments. [2]

Structurally, Thinkbox started as a virtual organization , lacking both a dedicated executive body and a physical headquarters. [3] Instead of a dedicated executive, the staff working on the project were overseen by a committee of representatives of the eight member organizations, and Thinkbox was initially chaired by ITV’s Justin Sampson. [4] [5] HOWEVER, this structure – PARTICULARLY the Lack of an executive body – was met with a degree of criticism From Both inside and outside the organization. [6]

Things changed in 2006. Following Samson’s departure from ITV, the role of chair was passed to Channel 4’s Andy Barnes and Tess Alps was appointed as Chief Executive Officer in April of that year. [3] [5 [5] In particular, the appointment of Alps is a positive move by industry commentators: her experience with PHD suggests that she would be aware of the various personalities and agendas in play, which was highly relevant to the varying agendas “of the member organizations and the potential for dissent. [7]

Some of this potential was later, when, in August 2006, IDS left the consortium. [8] In a statement after its departure, the IDS is a Thinkbox of giving in to ITV demands, moving away from a one-member, one-vote model to one that provides greater weight to ITV. (Under the new structure, ITV had gained additional voting power and a veto). [9] Shortly after the departure of IDS, the remaining seven organizations have been given more weight than the average. has been operating with prior to the increase. [10]

In Spite of rumors in the first half of 2007 That Were ITV Considering Removing Their backing from Thinkbox, [11] the remaining seven companies-have continued to be apart of the organization. Since the beginning of 2007 Thinkbox established permanent staff and hired Red Brick Road and MediaCom to handle advertising, media buying and strategic consulting, [8] [12] and they released their first television advertisements. [13] They also inaugurated the annual TV Planning Awards and the monthly Thinkboxes , ran the second of their Thinkbox Experience conferences, [14] [15] [16]more Televisionaries conference in 2008.

In February 2011, Lindsey Clay became Thinkbox’s first managing director having previously been the organization’s Marketing Director. In May 2012 Thinkbox announced that Tess Alps would become its Executive Chair and that the Chair of the Thinkbox would be a director every year. Julia Jordan, Executive Director, Business & Operations, at UKTV, becomes Chair of the Thinkbox board.



Thinkbox develops research focused on issues surrounding television advertising. Research studies include: a joint study with the Internet Advertising Bureau (UK) [17] an in-depth analysis of how TV sponsorship works; [18] an engagement study examining how consumers engage with TV ads; [19] two “payback” studies with PricewaterhouseCoopers examining the impact of TV advertising on long-and-short sales and brand equity; [20] a study into “Generation Whatever”, looking at the lives of young people and their media consumption ; [21]an analysis of attitudes toward online TV and how it works with established broadcast TV; [22] a study with Mediacom examining the impact of television and the effects of television; A study of the IPA, which analyzed the correlation between the world’s highest performance awards, and their performance in hard business terms. IPA Effectiveness Awards Databank between 2000 and 2008 ; ‘TV Together’ study that explored the shared viewing experience and the phenomenon of social networking in relation to TV; and a ‘Tellyporting’ Study with Decipher, Which Involved Families with the Latest TV Technologies to Study Their Impact on TV Viewing Behavior.


In 2007 Thinkbox, in combination with Campaign and MediaWeek , announced the formation of the TV Planning Awards . [14] The awards were first awarded in 2008. [23] In addition, monthly awards, called the Thinkboxes , were inaugurated in May 2008. Working in conjunction with Haymarket Brand Media , the awards are judged by a “Thinkbox Creative Academy” consisting of of approximately 100 representatives of the marketing and advertising industries, and are focused on awarding creativity in view of television advertising. [15]

Thinkbox is involved sponsoring a number of different industry awards, including the IPA Effectiveness Awards, [24] ISBA , The British Arrows. [25]

Advertising and publishing

Initially campaign development was handled in-house, but in 2007 Thinkbox decided to engage an outside agency. The result was the hiring of the Red Brick Road , who are committed to Thinkbox’s advertising, online and direct marketing requirements. [8] In 2008 Thinkbox went further, hiring MediaCom to handle their media buying and planning, to provide strategic advice. [12] With this new approach, Thinkbox’s first television advertising campaign – which was published in May 2009, with a roadblock advertisement presented across multiple channels. [13]

Thinkbox’s 2010 advertising campaign “Every home needs in Harvey”.

In September 2010 Thinkbox launched its second TV advertising campaign, featuring a couple visiting a dog ‘home to choose a dog to adopt. [26] They encounter a dog called Harvey, played by Sykes , who has made a TV ad. Harvey turns on a TV show, playing the show, doing cooking, cooking, ironing, and cleaning windows. Harvey’s ad ends with the line ‘Every home needs a Harvey’. The soundtrack to the ad is Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s 1974 classic You’re not Seen Nothin ‘Yet. The ad ends with the lines ‘Discover the power of TV advertising at’ and ‘Television: where brands get their breaks’. The ad featuring Harvey the dog was voted Ad of the Year by ITV viewers in December 2010.

In May 2012 Thinkbox launched a second TV campaign featuring Harvey the dog. In this new ad, Harvey used emotional story-telling to change his behavior dramatically and persuaded him to be a constant companion, a stuffed toy called Rabbit. It opens at the moment that Harvey is well-worn, slobber-covered Rabbit in the bin while Harvey is apparently not around. Harvey suddenly appears and plays a TV ad telling the story of how he and Rabbit became friends and scrapes they’ve gotten together over the years.

The organization’s first website was launched in May 2005, and was intended to be used in the industry, research findings, and case studies. [27] The site was relaunched a year later, and, after an investment of £ 250,000, it had been modified to include new features such as television advertisements and industry directories. [28] In 2008 They engaged in Reviews another revamp, redesigning the website so que la Focus Could Be extended, happy Incorporating Regarding Reviews some of the newer technologies Such As IPTV , and providing good access to Greater Their research and materials. [29]Since the most recent revamp Thinkbox have continued to develop their website, adding features such as an online calculator that advertisers could use to predict the cost of interactive TV ads. [30]

Thinkbox’s content team produces movies on TV and TV advertising, many of which can be viewed on its website.


Thinkbox hosts events on TV advertising featuring well-known industry figures. Thinkbox’s planning team runs a series of training courses. The courses are aimed primarily at people who have recently joined a media agency, advertising agency or advertiser but are also available at new starters at broadcasters or sales houses.


The first major event funded by Thinkbox was the 2005 “Thinkbox Experience” – a short conference that was attended by the industry. [31] [32] [33] A second Thinkbox Experience was not held in 2006, as the organization decided to direct their efforts towards research that year. [16] As a result, the next conference was held in 2007. [11]

Thinkbox hosts a rolling program of events designed to help people understand how to get the best of TV. The events are often held to launch Thinkbox research. Recent events include ‘Screen Life: TV in Demand’, ‘TV Nation’, ‘POETIC: connecting paid, owned and earned media’, ‘TV Creativity: the art of the heart’, and ‘Advertising Effectiveness: the long and short of it ‘


  1. Jump up^ Lee, Jeremy (24 August 2010). “UKTV reinstates Thinkbox membership”. Retrieved 7 January 2017 .
  2. Jump up^ Milmo, Dan (15 February 2005). “TV companies think outside the box in effort to lure advertisers from rivals” . The Guardian . London, England . Retrieved 13 November 2009 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:b “Has this advertising guru taken on an impossible mission?” . The Independent . London, England. June 19, 2006 . Retrieved 14 November2009 .
  4. Jump up^ Quinn, Ian (15 February 2005). “TV companies finally unveil new marketing body … it’s Thinkbox” . Media Week . United Kingdom: Brand Republic . Retrieved 13 November 2009 .
  5. ^ Jump up to:b Sweney, Mark (30 March 2006). “TV industry body appoints Tess Alps” . The Guardian . London, England . Retrieved 14 November 2009 .
  6. Jump up^ Darby, Ian (10 February 2006). “Media Perspective: What Thinkbox now needs is a period of stableconsistency” . Campaign . London, England:Haymarket Group . Retrieved 14 November 2009 .
  7. Jump up^ Newland, Francesca (7 April 2006). “Opinion: Perspective – Thinkbox makes a smart move in extraing Alps” . Campaign . London, England:Haymarket Group . Retrieved 14 November 2009 .
  8. ^ Jump up to:c Turner, Catherine (7 November 2007). “The Red Brick Road Thinkbox ad business scoops” . Marketing Week . London, England . Retrieved 14 November 2009 .
  9. Jump up^ Davidson, Darren (August 18, 2006). “Media Forum: Are politics ruining Thinkbox?” . Campaign . London, England: Haymarket Group . Retrieved 14 November 2009 .
  10. Jump up^ Davidson, Darren (11 August 2006). “Thinkbox groups after IDS pulls out” . Campaign . London, England: Haymarket Group . Retrieved 14 November 2009 .
  11. ^ Jump up to:b Turner, Catherine (10 May 2007). “Thinkbox wobble”. Marketing Week . London, England: Centaur Media . p. 16.
  12. ^ Jump up to:b “MediaCom scoops Thinkbox account”. Campaign . London, England: Haymarket Group . April 11, 2008. p. 2.
  13. ^ Jump up to:b Darby, Ian (29 May 2009). “Thinkbox pushes power of TV in new campaign”. Campaign . London, England: Haymarket Group . p. 1.
  14. ^ Jump up to:b “launches Thinkbox TV Planning Awards” . Campaign . London, England: Haymarket Group . November 16, 2007 . Retrieved 14 November2009 .
  15. ^ Jump up to:b Darby, Ian (21 March 2008). “Thinkbox TV ad awards to reward creativity”. Campaign . London, England: Haymarket Group . p. 2.
  16. ^ Jump up to:b “C4 boss fills top role at Thinkbox.” Marketing . London, England: Haymarket Group . February 8, 2005. p. 2.
  17. Jump up^ “Internet and TV ad combination reaps success” . Campaign . London, England: Haymarket Group . May 7, 2008 . Retrieved 16 November 2009 .
  18. Jump up^ “Thinkbox to launch sponsorship study”. Media Week . United Kingdom:Brand Republic . February 26, 2008. p. 5.
  19. Jump up^ “Thinkbox TV studies engagement” . Marketing . London, England:Haymarket Group . November 2, 2005. p. 3 . Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  20. Jump up^ “Advertising payback – is advertising still effective?” . Thinkbox . Retrieved 16 November 2009 .
  21. Jump up^ Chen, Andy (24 October 2007). “Targeting Youth Behavior” . ClickZ . Retrieved 16 November 2009 .
  22. Jump up^ Ramsay, Fiona (August 5, 2008). “Thinkbox commissions study into online TV potential” . Media Week . United Kingdom: Brand Republic . Retrieved 16 November 2009 .
  23. Jump up^ “TV Planning Awards” . Thinkbox . Retrieved 15 November 2009 .
  24. Jump up^ “Sponsors – Overall Sponsor” . IPA Effectiveness Awards . Retrieved 16 November 2009 .
  25. Jump up^ “Media: Thinkbox signs as headline sponsor for BTA Awards” . Campaign . London, England: Haymarket Group . 3 March 2006 . Retrieved 16 November 2009 .
  26. Jump up^ Mark Sweney, The Guardian, 9 September 2010
  27. Jump up^ “Media: Thinkbox launches website” . Campaign . London, England:Haymarket Group . 20 May 2005 . Retrieved 14 November 2009 .
  28. Jump up^ “Media: Thinkbox relaunches its website” . Campaign . London, England: Haymarket Group . May 5, 2006 . Retrieved 14 November 2009 .
  29. Jump up^ “Thinkbox web revamps offer to match changes in TV industry”. New Age Media . London, England: Centaur Media . 17 April 2008. p. 4.
  30. Jump up^ “Thinkbox online tool to promote interactive TV ads”. New Age Media . London, England: Centaur Media . August 7, 2008. p. 4.
  31. Jump up^ Turner, Catherine (16 February 2006). “Thinkbox: A year of unfulfilled promises”. Marketing Week . London, England: Centaur Media . p. 15.
  32. Jump up^ Gemma, Charles (21 September 2005). “Marketing the TV medium”. Marketing . London, England: Haymarket Group . p. 44.
  33. Jump up^ Reid, Alasdair (8 July 2005). “Media Forum: Can Thinkbox re-energize TV?” . Campaign . London, England: Haymarket Group . Retrieved 14 November 2009 .