David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Leo Vegas
"Double Vegas"
90s
21 February 2017
UK Betting

It turns out that Leo Vegas is such a vast online casino it needs not one but two brand ambassadors. We're already familiar with the suave yet faintly menacing lion... and now another familiar visage joins him. It's the perfectly-named Johnny Vegas - and boy, what a bonus he proves to be. Having "bigged it up" in the audition, he finds himself slightly out of his depth - and we can't look away.

The 90-second ad uses a variety of behind-the-scenes tropes to convey the comic's anxiety about the things he's expected to do. We see him roar feebly in the recording booth, protest at featuring in a Japanese ad, and jump out of a plane... onto a greenscreen mat.

His timing and physicality are superb, and what's so clever about bringing him on board is the extra dimension he introduces.

While the besuited big cat suggests the brand has a sophisticated player demographic, Jonny opens things up and invites a broader audience.

The hapless manner in which he bumbles through renders the idea of gambling harmless - it's just a bit of a laugh. Existing customers can align themselves with the superiority of Leo the lion; new ones will associate the brand with fun and frippery.

But to say his clout stops there would be wrong. Johnny Vegas is also known for being controversial and anarchic; his size and his ability to look and sound dim-witted belying a sharp intelligence. So both target audiences will appreciate his presence and take what they choose from it.

Whatever we feel about the ubiquity of online gambling and the barrage of ads promoting it, we have to judge each campaign by the quality of its ideas, execution, and presumed effectiveness. This particular ad hits the jackpot on all three counts and we look forward to seeing what's next for the newly-formed double act.

McDonald's McCafé
"Madness"

Hanna said:

lovely work! nice one everyone x


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Leo Vegas
"Double Vegas"
90s
21 Feb 2017
It turns out that Leo Vegas is such a vast online casino it needs not one but two brand ambassadors. We're already familiar with the suave yet faintly menacing lion... and now another familiar visage joins him. It's the perfectly-named Johnny Vegas - and boy, what a bonus he proves to be. Having "bigged it up" in the audition, he finds himself slightly out of his depth - and we can't look away.

Levi's
"Sea of Blue"
60s
17 Feb 2017
At a party where everyone is absorbed in a smartphone rather than talking to people IRL, one couple mock the non-action around them by miming a call to each other. Naturally they're wearing Levi's to show they're old-school and not afraid of ruining their mobile tech by jumping in a pool. It might not be up there with the brand's strongest ads, but it's a shrewd way of suggesting individuality for the youth market.

Gorillaz
"Hallelujah Money (ft. Benjamin Clementine)"
4 mins 31s
20 Jan 2017
Gorillaz explored environmentalism in 2010’s ‘Plastic Beach’. Now they’ve got President Trump in their sights. Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s animated posse are joined by London artist Benjamin Clementine as they pay ‘tribute’ to cold, hard cash. The lyrics are laden with references to wealth and protecting one’s interests - whatever the cost.

Bonobo
"No Reason (ft Nick Murphy)"
4 mins 03s
19 Jan 2017
This surreal film by Oscar Hudson is 'about staying indoors'. It explores the Japanese phenomenon of hikikomori - young people so overwhelmed by life that they retreat to their bedrooms for years at a time. All the effects were done practically in camera, with the production team building eighteen almost identical rooms and props in multiple sizes.

NatWest
"Nuts and Bolts"
20s
15 Jan 2017
NatWest reveal: “We’ve been thinking about nuts and bolts.” Don’t worry, they’re going somewhere with this. The bank compares itself to all those nails and screws that keep things secure, and we’re told their business support team can help others build for the future. Part of the institution's ongoing campaign about its raison d'être.

Royal Caribbean Cruises
"Where Extraordinary Happens"
40s
5 Jan 2017
Royal Caribbean Cruises ensure they stand out from the crowd with this beautifully shot, nearly silent ad. The lack of music is a shrewd choice, sure to grab the attention of even the most disengaged January-blues viewer; while gorgeous scenery shown with its accompanying co-ordinates manages to feel both sumptuous and elegantly understated.

Sainsbury's
"The Greatest Gift: Food"
60s
24 Nov 2016
Having set the scene in its opening commercial and brought in the Goggleboxers over a full ad break, Sainsbury's now lays out its festive stall in all its glory. We're offered a sumptuous blend of live action food photography and stop-motion animation... it's a real treat.

Sainsbury's
"Googlebox Christmas"
3 mins 20s
18 Nov 2016
The cast of Gogglebox become stop-motion characters in this special adbreak from the show's creators Channel 4, and Sainsbury's. Following the groundbreaking ad to promote The Lego Movie - in which Orange Supermarket's current agency PHD recreated an entire commercial break in Lego - this ad sees the Gogglebox crew react to the Sainsbury's animated Christmas ad which launched last week.

Michael Kiwanuka
"One More Night"
3 mins 54s
21 Nov 2016
Director Nez collaborates with the Brooklyn Jumbies - dancers and performers in the African tradition - for this latest release from Michael Kiwanuka. The promo is heavily letterboxed at the start, giving us only a glimpse of the street in which the action is located, before widening to reveal a community literally rising up and standing tall. Upbeat and optimistic.

Not On The High Street
"Elves"
60s
7 Nov 2016
Ads featuring elves are not unusual at this time of year. However, as always, it's not what you show – it's how you show it. And Not On The High Street's festive offering this year is a excellent reminder. Hand crafted, customised, or bespoke, presents from NOTHS say you're thoughtful and value the person on the receiving end. So when jewellers and joiners pause in their work to seemingly echo this sentiment we don't notice at first that there's something... well, different about them.

McDonald's
"Chicken McNuggets"
40s
10 Nov 2016
McDonald's aim to set the record straight on Chicken McNuggets... again. The fast food restaurant has tackled what does and what doesn't go into their McNuggets once before, but they want to make sure everyone's got the message with this new execution. Forget beaks, bits, feet, innards, and feathers, says the VO - it's chicken breast through and through.

BMW
"Free to Run"
60s
13 Oct 2016
BMW encourages us to embrace our inner child with this energetic commercial. Being an adult has its perks, but nothing beats sledging down a snowy hillside, watching sparks dance from a fire, or conquering the world's tallest mountain. Well, you feel like it's the tallest at the time. The car maker wants us to roam free again thanks to their all-wheel xDrive system.

NatWest
"We Are..."
60s
29 Sep 2016
The stark monochrome imagery combine with an insistent voiceover to command the attention and this certainly creates a sense of gravitas for the bank. With many of the conditions which caused the 2008 crash still unresolved, the possibility of another crisis is never far away. So it's probably not a bad time to make reassuring noises about your ability to offer financial shelter, if the worst should happen. Even if it isn't quite true.

Pearl & Dean
"Tumbleweed Trainer"
1 min 45s
26 Sep 2016
Pearl & Dean's campaign championing behind-the-scenes stars of cinema takes us back to the golden age of Westerns. While the likes of Clint Eastwood and John Wayne unloaded their six-shooters, someone had to train the tumbleweeds. In the style of a newsreel unearthed from the archives, the film pays tribute to Tinseltown's best tumbleweed wrangler - an "enigma" with the driest job on set.

Volvo
"Erik"
3 mins 30s
13 Sep 2016
Impossible is nothing for a young photographer called Erik who describes his artistic process in this documentary made jointly by Volvo and Sky Atlantic. There is less worthiness in the subject of this documentary than in the other two films and - as if to compensate for this - directing collective DARYL have injected more visual interest. It doesn't quite distract us from Erik's self-indulgence but it's a good effort.

Volvo
"Maria and Josefin"
4 mins
13 Sep 2016
In this short but wonderfully languid documentary made by Volvo and Sky Atlantic we're introduced to Maria and Josefin who built a business out of a desire to save their local environment from the danger posed by scuttled boats sitting at the bottom of the nearby lakes. Recycling parts from the salvaged vessels is a fantastically green solution to a problem that was a long time in the making.

Volvo
"Oliver"
3 mins 50s
13 Sep 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.

Mark Pritchard
"Beautiful People"
6 mins 01s
5 Sep 2016
The new album from electronica musician Mark Pritchard is a meandering but beguiling journey into inner space, and Thom Yorke's vocals on 'Beautiful People' pretty much sums up the overall mood. Director Michal Marczak captures it visually as well, creating a bleak landscape of rocks and stagnant pools which Yorke wanders through alone.

DJ Shadow
"Nobody Speak (ft Run The Jewels)"
3 mins 33s
29 Aug 2016
Things are getting tense and personal at a summit meeting of the world's superpowers. "We the best," bristles a silver-haired elder statesman to his counterpart across the floor; "we will cut a frowny face in your chest." The nerve! "Fuck outta here," comes the response, before everything escalates and turns into a potty-mouthed bunfight.

Miike Snow
"Pull My Trigger"
3 mins 22s
23 Aug 2016
Miike Snow's follow-up to 'Ghengis Khan' is as poppy and infectious as its predecessor - so it made perfect sense for director Ninian Doff to create a follow-up promo too. 'Pull My Trigger' features the same cast as before, but in an alternative conflict... this time there are nukes rather than giant lasers.

Fiat 124 Spider
"Eagle"
70s
15 Aug 2016
The short British TV version of this ad by British duo DARYL doesn't do justice to the madness of this enterprise but, arguably, neither does this 60" edit from the US. To really understand the commitment to this idea, you have to watch the behind the scenes film or this film explaining why the agency chose DARYL for this project. Bonkers.

Co-op Supermarkets
"Park Barbie"
10s
17 Aug 2016
Percy the Park Keeper might take umbrage with folk setting up disposable barbecues on his turf, but the peckish duo in this 10" Co-op ad look to have everything under control. It's the latest nudge towards picking up something unexpected from the store's shelves this summer, so we've only got a couple of weeks to do so until we're presumably advised to lock our spontaneity away until next year.

Nike's Jordan Brand
"Breakfast Club"
60s
16 Aug 2016
This classy ad for Nike's Air Jordan line is inspired by Michael Jordan's 'Breakfast Club'. No, don't worry, it's not an ill-advised remake of the John Hughes classic - rather, it's the name of an early morning training regime which helped the basketball legend push on to greatness in the Nineties. Starring NFL wide-receiver Dez Bryant, the ad does a good job of projecting a refined mystique around the brand.

Temptations
"Don't You (Forget About Me)"
2 mins 43s
9 Aug 2016
There will come a day when cat videos fade away, but today is not that day - not if Temptations have anything to do with it. The brand has become synonymous with work inspired by internet virals in recent times, and after their Elton John-scored Christmas ad, they now turn to Simple Minds for this beautifully realised tale of a cat yearning for attention from his material girl owner.

Co-op Supermarkets
"Frisbee"
10s
2 Aug 2016
Rocking up at the local park with a novelty flying disc does wonders for your social life, according to this latest 10" ad from the Co-op's summer of spontaneity. Vas Blackwood's VO relates how Lizzie and Bex decided to keep the festivities in full swing by grabbing party nibbles at their local supermarket - and this commercial reinforces the idea that the Co-op are your best bet for convenient quality.

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