Campaign Brief Q&A: Thinkerbell on the agency’s 5 years of global domination on Bestads

Campaign Brief Q&A: Thinkerbell on the agency’s 5 years of global domination on Bestads

(Pictured above: Thinkerbell founders Jim Ingram, Adam Ferrier, Margie Reid and Ben Couzens)

Campaign Brief recently caught up with Thinkerbell chief creative and co-founder Jim Ingram to chat about how the agency has dominated global creative site Bestads’ Global Agency Rankings for five years running…


You’ve topped the world on Bestads for the last 5 years, as an agency that’s only 7 years old. How did you do it?

Jim Ingram: One of the things we love about Thinkerbell is that we are prolific, we love to create ideas and see them in the world. That’s what creative people love, to see their work out there.  Our business model means we make more stuff, and that’s why we’ve been recognised so many times. A lot of it comes down to our Thinker Tinker model that gets rid of layers of account management, and brings creatives to be front and centre with the client. Also the fact that we have media in house means we understand the context our ideas best fit in, helping more ideas happen more often.  Finally, our Earned media team helps us build our fast twitch muscles, meaning we can, when needed make stuff happen quickly.

Bestads is the only global ad awards judged each week by a top agency creative from around the world. What do you think this says about the work Thinkerbell is doing?

Jim: It says that it’s creative, and interesting. The work we create is broad, a lot of it is stunty and attention getting, some of it is epic and filmic, we take a very broad view on what good work is. Good work solves the problem, great work (like art) creates value when there wasn’t really a problem to be solved.  That’s when it gets really exciting for us. Judging creativity for creativity sake has its place, however the most important benchmark for us is effectiveness, and creativity is really a means to effective work.

You’ve got PR in house, does that change your approach to Bestads?

Jim: I hate (no love) to say it, but the traditional agency model is still very siloed and very slow, and only works at one rhythm. That’s why they struggle to get earned ideas right. For example, some agencies are now starting to incorporate PR but they call it ‘Agency Name PR’ they still don’t get that it should be all one thing – just interesting ideas that spread into whatever form they need to, and generate more attention than the paid media alone ever could.  The PR team is the whole agency, not a silo. Like the Thinker Tinker thing, it’s another very important reason why we’ve done well creatively.

What’s your favourite piece of work that’s been featured on the site?

Jim: I won’t do favourite, that will cause issues, however let’s go with our first and last campaigns that were featured on Bestads. The last one was for Menulog with Xtina getting her custom designer Menulog delivery bag snapped by paps. Her bag is simply a Menulog bag, and simply designing the experience for when she arrived in Australia created value out of nothing. The media were going to be there, so we gave them a branded moment to papp, which created a wonderful connection to the massive ‘Did Somebody Say….’ platform staring Xtina.

And our first ad featured was for Our Watch, where we created a series of Youtube ads that would ‘detarget’ someone when they clicked n the ads to take action against sexism (because they intervened to stop domestic violence, they wouldn’t see the ad anymore – ending the ads, and the violence).

Both of these pieces are great examples of our creative ability, spread 7-years apart.

What next for Thinkerbell?

Jim: We’re in negotiations to buy WPP, but if that doesn’t come off we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing.

View Thinkerbell’s work on Bestads here.

View the Bestads All-Time Rankings here.


Bestads Ranking works like this: Every TV ad that makes it into the Week’s Best scores two points for all those involved in the ad: agency; production company; client; creatives and country. Every Print, Outdoor, Radio and Interactive scores one point.

You have to be in to win it – submit your latest work now. The Bestads rankings are based on work selected for Week’s Best during the year.

Campaign Brief Q&A: Thinkerbell on the agency’s 5 years of global domination on Bestads