David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Vollebak
"Between Life and Death"
40s
21 March 2016
UK Sportswear

This opaque, beguiling commercial for cutting edge sportswear brand Vollebak immediately submerges the viewer in a dark realm without any means of escape. We see flashes - mere suggestions - of something oscillating in the darkness. Is it man-made, organic, or a hybrid of the two?

When the outline of a jacket begins to materialize, it owes more to a piece of sci-fi armour than anything found in your usual outdoor gear outlets. That's because Vollebak believe the best defence against the elements is attack.

Director Chris Palmer uses the jacket's designation 'Condition Black' and crafts a suitably seductive and nightmarish film from it. We also recommend using headphones to appreciate the sound design's modulating quality. Turning the brand's experimental ethos to its advantage, the ad is a compelling call to those taking the fight to the great outdoors.

The New Day
"A or B"

Peter said:

That is so much better. I'm actually going to get a copy.


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On This Day

American Airlines
"Business Class"
40s
24 Mar 2009
Kevin Spacey has replaced James Gandolfini on this campaign and has immediately made it more appropriate to British sensibilities. The late-night dog-walker explains that we each have our own notions of the perfect seat... and American Airlines has the lot.

Anti Smoking (NHS)
"The Right Road"
60s
24 Mar 2009
A strange mix of live footage and animation illustrates the number of options available to those aiming to quit smoking. The whispered voiceover at the start is unfortunately reminiscent of the long running anti-STI film featuring belt buckles spelling 'gonorrhea' etc.

Marks & Spencer
"M & S Spring"
90s
24 Mar 2010
The usual suspects have been joined by some extra personnel to launch the spring collection at the nation's favourite provider of middle of the road fashions. We can't help wondering whether Rainey Kelly got the Minogue sister they were after.

Comic Relief
"David's Exes"
6 mins 41s
24 Mar 2013
This comedy sketch by Ben Turner - one half of the team known as Silsoe Mouse (represented by Upstart Films) - was shown during BBC's Comic Relief. David Walliams is told by Dr Christian from 'Embarrassing Bodies' that he must contact everyone with whom he's been intimate in the last year... leading to some surprising revelations.

Tesco
"Egg Hunt"
30s
24 Mar 2013
Blue supermarket's Easter pitch is this charming film showing a young girl trying to find the chocolate hidden by her parents. Only when she's sat at the dining table and the delicious lamb is about to be served does she realise that a bunny is peering down at her from on high. Lovely work.

Crabbie's Grand National
"O'Callaghan and Blake"
90s
24 Mar 2014
If this doesn't tickle your fetlocks, we suggest you hook up to the nearest defibrillator post-haste. This big, loud, ballsy ad (appropriately soundtracked by speedpunk band Cerebral Ballzy) presents us with the first steeplechase event ever recorded back in 1752, which apparently came about as a result of a wager between two fiery chaps named Cornelius O'Callaghan and Edmund Blake.

Tim Tam
"Bert's Story"
3 mins 08s
24 Mar 2014
This unrelentingly sentimental film takes us to a small outback town where we meet Bert... a contented pensioner with no illusions about how little of life is in front of him. Bert is the kind of man who sees life's blessings much more clearly than its many curses... and chief among his cherished blessings is his love for his daughter who - in tune with this campaign's theme - lives a long way from him and hasn't been able to see him for some time.

Sky Broadband
"Shield"
50s
24 Mar 2014
Good old Samuel L Jackson. He does know how to put on a good show of righteous, justified dudeness. In this spot for Sky Broadband, which is a tie-in with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he gets into character as Nick Fury and urges the crew to sign up for Sky Broadband Shield when it's discovered that online details of the soldier in question have been hacked and in their place is a website of dubious moral quality.

Lancia
"The Arrival"
60s
24 Mar 2015
This celebratory ad for the Lancia Ypsilon represents an 'Italian job' well done for director Ago Panini. A young boy notices the latest iteration of the venerable motor in the distance and excitedly runs off to let the townspeople know. Daily business grinds to a halt as people rush to a surprise welcome party to wish it a happy birthday.

Tokio Marine
"Yesterday / Today"
60s
24 Mar 2015
Well, hands up who expected that to be about insurance? It's an unexpected destination, but Havas (Singapore) have crafted such an impressive and engaging journey, we're all for it. Starting knee deep in the dreariness of everyday life, the story takes a more optimistic turn and leaves you feeling like you can take that all-important first step into the unknown.

BoConcept
"The Guest"
5 mins 19s
24 Mar 2015
Hannibal's Mads Mikkelsen takes a break from playing the psychopathic doctor with a very particular brand of fine dining in this smartly scripted and amusing commercial for the Danish furniture designers. As his guest is transfixed by the beautiful ladies frolicking in the pool, all the indifferent Mads wants to do is show off the stylish practicality of his living space.

Cuprinol
"Sprayable"
30s
24 Mar 2005
The Laughing Policeman provides the musical backing here as a man laughs hysterically at the ease with which he is able to apply Cuprinol to his fence using the new spray system, especially compared with his disgruntled neighbour who is painting his the old-fashioned way.

Channel 4
"Music"
40s
24 Mar 2006
Neat conceit here as people literally plug into each other's heads to uncover their musical tastes to promote a preponderance of unsigned bands available at Channel 4's Web Site.

Sony PS3
"This Is Living"
60s
24 Mar 2007
Sony have come out of tease mode now that the PS3 has been launched and, in this re-edited version of the original teaser, we get to see the same events from a slightly different perspective. It's big and it's clever and must have cost a fortune.

Learning & Skills Council
"Fingers"
40s
24 Mar 2008
Further proof that it is almost impossible to create a film urging young people to take control of their lives without striking a highly patronising note. A young black voice tells us that he intends to set his own path and the thirty quid a week he gets from the EMA will enable this.

Sugar Puffs
"Rap"
30s
24 Mar 2008
An ill-advised attempt to show that the Honey Monster can get down with the kids... although not deserving the heaps of derision that have come its way, this is nonetheless a little bit embarrassing for those concerned.

Metro
"Ten Years"
2 mins
24 Mar 2009
A clever piece for the free newspaper has a busker and a woman using props apparently made from sheets of newspaper describing major events from the last ten years. The selected events' bent perfectly reflects the asinine news coverage in the advertised journal.

Boots No 7
"Not So Everyday"
30s
24 Mar 2010
Perhaps female viewers will watch this commercial with a glimmer of recognition as they remember a time when they put on some make-up and then dressed up like a bag lady but still felt glamorous.

Tesco
"Cricket Catwalk"
30s
24 Mar 2010
The new spring and summer collections available from Tesco are shown off on an unusual catwalk. The models striding down by cricket pitch with very Little regard for the damage their stilettos may do to the hallowed turf. Harumph.

Gumtree
"Car"
10s
24 Mar 2011
This short and simple ad for the online trading service shows a man attaching a rope to his car and watching as its launched into the sky. This is the kind of ad likely to prove so successful that Gumtree's servers will collapse under the weight of traffic it generates.

B & Q
"D.I.Y Videos"
60s
24 Mar 2011
Ha, ha, ha, ha... some people fell over. Hilarious. If you're the kind of person who can watch You've Been Framed without a growing tide of hope that a meteor will reduce our planet to dust and cockroaches then this is probably the perfect ad for you.

Trocaire
"When I Grow Up"
30s
24 Mar 2011
This film for Irish charity Trocaire focuses on the dismal prospects of children growing up in the under-developed world. Switching to adult voices does nothing to dim the poignancy while ensuring that words haven't irresponsibly been put in the mouths of babes.

VW
"Greyhounds"
45s
1 Oct 2011
This energetic spot from October 2011 has greyhounds doing what they have been bred to do... chase a rabbit without ever quite managing to catch it. They abandon their owners all over the city to join a chasing pack that's hot on the heels of the advertised vehicle - known just about everywhere other than the UK as the VW Rabbit.

T K Maxx
"Tribute"
60s
24 Mar 2012
This attractively filmed tribute to the people who take advantage of the advertised retailer is augmented by rhyming copy. Regular readers will be aware that DAVID feels that it rarely goes well when copywriters reaching for the rhyming dictionary and the best that can be said here is that the poorly constructed verse doesn't entirely ruin the commercial.

ITV
"We Are Alive"
2 mins
24 Mar 2012
If you're going to use stock footage then you'd better make sure you use it well. Though it's message is scarcely credible - documentaries on ITV? Really? - this manages to hit all the right notes and adds up to an impressive whole even if occasionally the clips seem slightly misaligned with the script.

On This Day

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