David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Latest Work
    • The arms race.Volvo's fruitful relationship with Sky Atlantic continues to generate excellent work with this short documentary examining the efforts of a young engineer to improve the lives of those who have lost limbs.
    • Slugging it out.This incredibly impressive Audi ad popped up on social media today ahead of Monday's Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
    • What we take away from this.A sad half-cracked egg voiced by Bill Nighy leads a succession of people through their takeaway dreams in this new ad for Just-Eat.
    • Brilliantly drawn but is this reaching out to the wrong target?A new film for the NSPCC is a brilliant depiction of a real scenario but is it reaching out to the wrong target?
    • Signs of a bright future for diversity on Channel 4.As the Paralympics drew to a close, Channel 4 provided us with further evidence of their commitment to diversity when one of their ad breaks was signed for the deaf in its entirety.
    • Wanda signs Eva Michon.Renowned promo and fashion film director Eva Michon has joined Wanda London's roster.
    • D.I.V.O.R.C.E.Is this ad for IKEA as taboo-busting as everyone would have you believe?
    • Motherhood.Hollie McNish is not so much a poet as a choreographer of words and her delivery is a perfect solo dance of pirouetting grace.... this ad for the Nationwide offers a terrific platform for her talent.
    • None for the road.Heineken continues to promote responsible drinking with this cleverly crafted ad starring Formula One legend Sir Jackie Stewart.
    • Comeback story of a lifetime.Maisie Williams showcases her comedy skills in this enjoyable spoof of beauty ads for Three.
    • A graphic demonstration.The Apple Health app receives a colourful makeover courtesy of Nexus's Johnny Kelly.

THE BLACK BOX

JASON:

Did you see that new thing we were sent this morning?

ALICE:

Yeah... great piece of work. Looks a bit shit though.

JASON:

I know. They sent a 640x360 video.

ALICE:

Blimey. Who sent it? The 1990s?

JASON:

It's not as if we don't ask for HD. All the time.

ALICE:

Just post it. If they don't care whether it looks shit, why should we?

JASON:

We might have to start doing that.


Volvo
"Oliver"
3 mins 50s
13 September 2016

Volvo's fruitful relationship with Sky Atlantic continues to generate excellent work with this short documentary examining the efforts of a young engineer to improve the lives of those who have lost limbs.

What's striking about this film is the optimism of both the engineer and the young amputee he's seeking to help. Neither is thinking that their project should limit them to creating the best possible facsimile of a human arm, instead imagining they may be able to come up with something that's a bona fide improvement. They even evoke 'evolution' to observe that humans are capable of improvement via the unnatural selection provided by technology.

Like the people it documents, the film is unsentimental and its seriousness is a good fit for a car positioning itself as the best option for those who embrace life's responsibilities.

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Audi
"Duel"
90s
25 September 2016

This is by no means the first time we've seen action played in reverse in a TV commercial... but it may well be the best. This incredibly impressive Audi ad popped up on social media today ahead of Monday's Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and - at the time of writing - we don't know who made it. The director must be mighty pleased with the outcome and the VFX work is none too shabby either so we're keen to discover whodunnit.

It stands up in its own right and viewers don't need to make the connection with the debate to appreciate the work... but it certainly adds another layer.

Perhaps we're being tacitly encouraged to think of the warring duo in the ad as the candidates themselves... with every prospect of a feisty debate to match the endlessly controversial battle for the White House, an actual brawl doesn't seem as impossible as it should.

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Just-Eat
"Egg"
40s
16 September 2016

A sad half-cracked egg voiced by Bill Nighy leads a succession of people through their takeaway dreams in this new ad for Just-Eat. It's the latest in a series of changed approaches and the lack of a discernible strategy inevitably gives rise to the possibility of client chaos.

But - however they got here - this works.

The situation is relatable... haven't we all peered at the uninspired cast in our fridge and wished for a Plan B? And the remedy is appealing with Nighy's approval of the various suggestions giving it an agreeable levity. (including the inevitable 'not sure what that is' gag).

Importantly, it specifically sells the advertised service rather than merely promoting the idea of takeaway food - something that hasn't necessarily been true of the previous work - because here we're being urged to look beyond our normal takeaway options and investigate the brave new world on offer via Just-Eat.

There's more to come from this campaign with other celebrities providing voices for neglected food but we'll be very surprised if any of them better this.

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NSPCC
"Party"
5 mins
20 September 2016

Much of this film rings true. In a bid to remind teenage girls to trust their instincts, it depicts a very believable scenario as an innocent party is spoiled by the arrival of a young man with sexual designs on a young teenage acquaintance.

The devil is in the detail. It's in the face of her young male friend when the newcomers arrive and it's in their pushy attempt to make him 'one of them' by pressing beer on him. It's in the girl's effort to juggle the contrasting demands of two sets of friends. It's in her willingness to lie to her mum about who she is with. But most of all it's in the pervading sense of doom Dan and his friend bring with them.

There are problems with this approach though. In recent years we've started to recognise a very important falsehood about sexual harassment. Responsibility for it does not - as we have been led to believe - lie in the actions of its victims. They are not to blame for the predatory behaviour of others. Here, only one participant is being urged to revise their behaviour and it's the young woman who is in danger of becoming the victim of a sexual assault.

Had this same scenario been used to communicate something to the young men represented by 'Dan' then we would be able to offer this a proper and full endorsement. The message we seldom hear should be stated loudly and clearly: don't be that guy.

This film has real power - especially in the discomforting sequence just after Dan and his friend arrive - but by suggesting it is a young woman's responsibility to ensure her vulnerability isn't exploited, it falls into the 'victim blaming' trap and that's a real shame.

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Maltesers
"Dog (Signed Version)"
30s
16 September 2016

As the Paralympics drew to a close, Channel 4 provided us with further evidence of their commitment to diversity when one of their ad breaks was signed for the deaf in its entirety. But this was no po-faced rendition of words into sign language... that wouldn't be the Channel 4 way. Instead, the signing became part of the creative and added to the overall impact by fusing with the commercial behind.

The gag here is completely meta, as the kids say, because the commercial itself is entirely in sign language. What's a signer to do when his skills are completely surplus to requirements? Relax with a cup of tea and a bag of the advertised confectionery, obviously. This is excellent on so many levels and further evidence that Channel 4's focus on disability is unlikely to diminish just because the Rio carnival has come to an end.

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QUICK SEARCH

On This Day

Nike
"Chain Reaction"
70s
27 Sep 2006
Impressive animated film which shows how important it is for the rest of your body that you run smoothly, suggesting even that it can have a detrimental effect on your teeth if your running shoes aren't right. How long before we have dentists recommending Nike?

Philips
"The Foundling"
4 mins 55s
27 Sep 2010
A continuation of the Parallel Lines series of short films which mark the collaboration between the advertiser, DDB and RSA. The brief here was to create a short film that shows off the power of 3D while staying within the storylines created by this projects earlier executions. It's an intriguing film and, presumably, will look even better in Philips showrooms.

Orange
"Phone Breaks"
65s
27 Sep 2011
At last, a Gold Spot ad for Orange that lives up to the name. This spoof pretends to introduce a new idea for the cinema called the "phone break". A number of punters in Hollywood talk enthusiastically about the initiative leaving us with the suspicion that some may think it's for real.

Heineken
"Crack The Case"
60s
27 Sep 2012
It's a case of mistaken identity as an innocent bystander is inadvertently swept into James Bond's world of espionage. Luckily, our hero has a few tricks up his sleeve and he's more than able to hold his own as he looks to escape the villains aboard a train making its way across a snow-covered landscape. Startling stuff.

KFC
"It Doesn't Count If..."
75s
27 Sep 2012
This lovely compilation of silly excuses invites online viewers to add their own contributions via a web site. The woman in this ad has come up with every reason she can think of to justify her naughty lack of discipline when it comes to cakes and other treats. There's a tacit admission that the advertised fast food outlet isn't a provider of healthy nosh but this cleverly neuters the difficulty.

Heinz Tomato Soup
"I Love Winter"
60s
27 Sep 2012
According to this lovely ad for Heinz, winter is a wonderful time because of the opportunity it provides for us to comfort ourselves when we return home shivering and soaked. It's a beautifully composed piece and will strike a familiar note with many and may even persuade them to yield to the advertised soup's warmth.

Carlsberg
"The Ride"
60s
27 Sep 2013
MJZ's Juan Cabral takes us on the rollercoaster ride of our lives in this minute-long spot for Carlsberg, official sponsors of the Barclays Premier League. A metaphor for the stomach-churning highs and lows ardent fans feel as they watch their team progress (or not) throughout the season, it's done with panache and complete commitment to the idea.

Schneider Electric
"The World-Saving Song"
2 mins
27 Sep 2015
This companion ad to Schneider Electric's 'Llama Superstar' spot is also excellent. Once again, a humble chap - this time an electrical engineer - is downplaying his importance; only to be shown how his simple restoration of the power supply recently help saved the world from annihilation by meteorite. Wonderfully silly, over the top and entertaining.

IKEA
"Summer Camp"
40s
27 Sep 2015
While the tradition of sending children to summer camp isn't one we're culturally comfortable with in Britain, the principle behind IKEA France's terrific campaign resonates nonetheless. Apparently, 79% of major decisions are made at the meal table, so woe betide you if you're not there the day a holiday destination is chosen. Brilliantly cast, wonderfully doleful, and with an inspired music choice to underline the situation.

IKEA
"Gunther"
42s
27 Sep 2015
This campaign for IKEA France stresses the idea that togetherness is all-important. Well, at least togetherness at mealtimes. That's because a lot of a household's key decisions are made around the table - and if one of the members therein is absent, they only have themselves to blame if an issue isn't agreed to their liking.

H & M
"Fall In Love 2015"
90s
27 Sep 2015
In this minute-and-a-half-long paean to Autumn style, we have a beautiful couple strolling around somewhere classily European with a somnolence borne of their own and each other's gorgeousness. French singer Petite Meller regales us with a breathy version of The Velvet Underground's 'Sunday Morning' as the pair wander about looking suitably retro, and the whole piece is shot as if on home movie film. Very 60s, and very gorgeous.

Moccona Classic
"Clinic"
30s
27 Sep 2006
The set-up where a couple come home with the expectation of a sexual liaison from one or both of them is to ad people what a desert island with a single palm tree on it is to a cartoonist. In this Australian ad the comedy is provided by a woman who uses a novel way to ensure she doesn't have to share her coffee.

BBC HD Channel
"Cat Amongst The Pigeons"
30s
27 Sep 2009
A cat creeping up on a pair of pigeons is seen as a lion which suggests that you get more with high definition. Well, actually, it suggests that HD distorts the image so that it becomes something it's not... which is surely not the idea.

Waitrose
"Brand Price Match"
30s
27 Sep 2010
Waitrose's latest effort to shed its reputation as the posh people's supermarket involves the audacious boast that they are matching Tesco's prices in a whole series of branded goods. It remains to be seen whether it's wise to court Tesco's shoppers as they may clutter the aisles with their shell-suited children.

Comet
"Televisions"
30s
27 Sep 2010
This is a fun campaign but each new execution reminds us of its flaw... namely, the staff appear to have a lot of time on their hands because of an absence of customers. If only there was a round of applause and a cheer from a growing crowd watching the stunt.

Beko
"Dance"
30s
27 Sep 2010
A couple are able to dance in elaborate fashion around their kitchen with the extra time provided to them by the advertised oven. Not only does it look sleek and modern but it cleans itself so you don't even have that chore to worry about. The action is well choreographed and it makes for a diverting ad.

Asda
"Chosen By You - Cakes"
40s
27 Sep 2010
An Asda bakery manager explains that all of the baked goods they produce are chosen by us. By 'us' he means people who regularly shop at green supermarket and, we don't know if you've seen these people, but you might not necessarily want to follow their diet. Nonetheless, it's a convincing pitch that's been persuasively put together.

Citroën
"Neighbour"
1 min 40s
27 Sep 2011
This series of bumpers advertising Citroen's sponsorship of An Idiot Abroad are an extremely good fit for the programme they surround. They were directed by Richard Ayoade who was responsible for Submarine - one of the best British films of the last decade.

VW
"Parking"
50s
27 Sep 2011
This ad for the Chinese market has an interesting way to demonstrate the versatility of the advertised vehicle. It appears as a blue blob on a street where there's a busy market and onlookers watch as it struggles to make its way into a narrow parking space.

Canon
"See Things Differently"
40s
27 Sep 2012
Using the advertised camera, a man is able to "see things differently". This is illustrated via some clever trick photography which showcases the potential range of images that he can capture if he uses his imagination... and the expensive bit of kit this ad is exhorting us to purchase.

Terrence Higgins Trust
"Be A Good Sport"
70s
27 Sep 2012
This amusing film promoting the use of condoms has a series of athletes using innuendo to describe their activity in the bedroom. It's always a relief to watch piece of film concerned with this arena of human life that possesses a sense of humour.

Lamb
"Kid"
30s
27 Sep 2012
A little girl reveals how easy it is to roast lamb as she talks her father through a recipe in this charming commercial promoting British meat. As is often the way in commercials, dad is cast as a bit of an incompetent fool but it's forgiveable here and allows for a nice payoff when the little girl says "I think we'll keep you on" at the end.

The Tunnel
"A Meeting"
70s
27 Sep 2013
This British remake of Danish thriller series The Bridge looks very promising if this classy trail is anything to go by. English detective meets French detective at the halfway point in the Chunnel... and watch as a drop of blood falls onto the boundary line between them.

Smyths
"Hey, Let's Play"
60s
27 Sep 2013
Good old Val Doonican - his signature mellow croon fits this Toy Story-esque spot perfectly. To I'm Gonna Get There Somehow, an exodus of toys ranging from Spongebob Squarepants to Darth Vadar make their way from Smyths to a young boy's house and ask if he can come out to play.

Mikado
"Parachutist"
35s
27 Sep 2013
A smartly dressed young man exuding an arresting air of geek-chic-ery lands by parachute at a casino and, still trailing his silk behind him, sits down at a table. He brings out a case... which turns out to contain a game of Hungry Hippos. Satisfied with the reaction he gets, he rewards himself with the advertised biscuit. It could have been just baffling, but great casting gives it a lovely silliness.

On This Day

David Reviews - Lovely Lenzie Ltd, Woodbourne House, Seven Sisters, Lenzie, G66 3AW. Telephone: +44 141 776 7766. Editor: Jason Stone.