David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

John Lewis
"Buster the Boxer"
2 mins
10 November 2016
UK Department Stores

As the world reels in revulsion at the decision to put Donald Trump in The White House, one wise Twitter user summed up the mood of the nation. Philip Westerman used the social media platform to say: "The John Lewis Christmas advert better be fucking spectacular". Well, we've got news for you, Mr Westerman... for the next two minutes, everything's going to be all right because it is "fucking spectacular".

A week after John Lewis picked up the Grand Prix at the IPA Effectiveness Awards for the second year running, the engraver will be thinking he might as well have popped their name on next year's trophy. adam&eveDDB and Dougal Wilson have taken on the highest expectations in the world of advertising and absolutely smashed them by delivering a truly brilliant film.

There has been a creeping danger that this landmark ad was eventually going to collapse under the weight of its own sentimentality. Amidst the praise received by the last couple of instalments has been a murmuring of dissent which could easily have grown into a backlash. But this execution shuffles the tone from out-and-out pathos toward a lighter, funnier vibe and the move has been judged to perfection.

MPC's CGI work is sensational. So good that many viewers will be wondering how they trained the animals to jump on a trampoline. And the craft that's gone into their condensating breath takes the VFX to another level.

It is loaded with wonderful moments that reward repeated viewing: Buster's joyous face with his tongue flapping when he finally gets his turn on the trampoline; the look of wonder on the young girl's face, swiftly supplanted by a moment of perplexment as Buster races past; the soundtrack dropping out as we gain a perspective from a passing neighbour.

But it is more than the sum of these gorgeous parts and even though many people resist the idea that a piece of advertising heralds the start of the festive season, this film completely justifies the notion. So let's put the last forty-eight hours behind us and eat, drink and be merry... for next year Trump has the nuclear codes.

Boots
"The Gift of Beauty"

Sam said:

Supporting public services comes from paying your taxes not avoiding them


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John Lewis
"Buster the Boxer"
2 mins
10 Nov 2016
As the world reels in revulsion at the decision to put Donald Trump in The White House, one wise Twitter user summed up the mood of the nation. Philip Westerman used the social media platform to say: "The John Lewis Christmas advert better be fucking spectacular". Well, we've got news for you, Mr Westerman... for the next two minutes, everything's going to be all right because it is "fucking spectacular".

Channel 4 Paralympics Coverage
"We're the Superhumans"
2 mins 53s
14 Jul 2016
While Rio's main event is bogged down by fears about the Zika virus and by the banning (or otherwise) of athletes from Russia and Kenya because of systematic cheating, the Paralympics is left to hold aloft the torch of Olympic ideals all by itself. The scale and importance of these Games has lifted it from a cultural after-thought to a series of events so much more in keeping with the Olympian ideal that there may come a time when it completely eclipses its able-bodied equivalent.

Stealing Sheep
"Apparition"
3 mins 45s
20 Oct 2015
When the album 'Into The Diamond Sun' came out, it was apparent that a new and distinct sound had emerged on the music scene. Stealing Sheep - a female trio from Liverpool - bring a strange whiff of pagan folksiness into the clean and precise world of electronic music... and the only thing that could improve on their latest track 'Apparition' would be a video by the excellent Dougal Wilson. Which is what we have right here.

John Lewis
"Tiny Dancer"
90s
21 Aug 2015
In a performance worthy of Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine, a young girl dances her heart out around the house. In her mind important folk from the Royal Ballet are secretly watching and whispering: "Who is this gifted creature? We must have her for our very own." In reality, she's merely fortunate to have parents with home insurance that indemnifies the resultsof her more enthusiastic moves.

Arla Skyr
"The Messenger"
90s
20 Apr 2015
This charming commercial for an Icelandic yoghurt launching in the UK, tells the unlikely tale of a young messenger who was so efficient that his home town only required one telephone. Like his young protagonist, director Dougal Wilson delivers again and again and the period detail and lightness of touch on display here proves he truly is the master of his domain.

IKEA
"The Joy of Storage"
60s
9 Jan 2015
Another iconic wonder from Ikea is presented for our delectation... and what a wonder it is. Storage is today's theme; primarily the storage of clothes - so inspiration is taken from our feathered friends and applied to a bundle of garment which becomes a flock on the wing. Dougal Wilson does - as ever - a stunning job with this.

John Lewis
"Monty the Penguin"
2 mins
6 Nov 2014
A remarkable aspect of the John Lewis Christmas phenomenon is the way adam&eveDDB take the annual anticipation in their stride and make it work totally to the advantage of the brand. Fulfilling expectations after success is so difficult we even have a name for it - that "difficult second album syndrome" - but this Christmas institution is already onto its sixth album and there's no sense of any difficulty in maintaining the quality. Indeed, this year's may be the best yet.

John Lewis
"150 Years"
90s
4 May 2014
It's a sign of their well-earned confidence that with every ad, John Lewis seems to move further and further away from showing any hint of product. In this 90 second spot celebrating 150 years of "never standing still", we see a selection of vignettes showing memorable moments that typical customers have experienced throughout that time.

Lurpak
"Adventure Awaits"
60s
6 Apr 2014
How good is Dougal Wilson? It isn't really a fair question, is it? It should be noted that every single execution in this campaign for Lurpak has been superb and everyone at W+K responsible for creating these commercials is operating at the summit of their powers. But this ad is a bit special and it's hard to avoid the conclusion that this is down to Wilson's phenomenal skill.

Three
"Christmas Pony"
60s
29 Nov 2013
Our little pony gets festive via a bit of VFX magic as Christmas approaches; moonwalking through icing-sugar snow flurries as his fellow animals watch him. A horse wearing fake antlers gazes gravely over a dry stone wall - before the farmer comes along on his tractor bedecked with fairy lights. As the ad suggests: goodnatured, fun, and full of seasonal silliness.

Business in the Community
"Second Chance"
60s
24 Oct 2013
There's always a danger when a piece of work is especially clever that its message will be lost along the way, but this piece of film advocating a second chance for people who've been to prison uses its trick quite brilliantly and really stands a chance of making employers rethink their approach.

St John Ambulance
"Save the Boy"
60s
16 Sep 2013
An astonishingly powerful ad from the charity, reminding us that it's crucial to know first aid. The deceptively gentle start, cocooned in the outdoor sounds of a late summer afternoon, is suddenly and traumatically disrupted. Beautiful sequencing follows - giving you hope before a powerful paradigm shift occurs.

John Lewis
"Things Matter"
90s
18 Aug 2013
Dougal Wilson has worked his usual magic in the latest commercial for John Lewis. When an ad campaign is brimming with confidence, every execution swaggers into our commercial breaks with an aura which ensures we all look up and pay attention, and no current advertiser has more confidence than John Lewis.

Three
"The Pony"
70s
1 Mar 2013
This is the commercial that Three have been teasing us with over the last few days and we can immediately see why they were so excited about it. A full panoply of wizardly tricks have been unleashed to make a Shetland pony look as though it possesses the reincarnated spirit of Michael Jackson.

Three
"Pony"
4s
27 Feb 2013
One of several spots from a strange new teaser campaign for Three Mobile. As with others, we just catch a brief glimpse of something equine - in all likeliness a pony. But we don't see it long enough to have any idea what on earth it's doing on our screens. The Drum has revealed its purpose, but that only serves to intensify the anticipation... especially now we learn that the longer film was directed by Dougal Wilson.

Safestore
"Promise"
40s
18 May 2012
In Safestore's TV impressive début, a little boy delivers a promise to a interlocutor who is initially not seen. To whom could this inspiring commitment be intended? When you find out, you may find yourself wondering why it's necessary for the two of them to be parted but it makes for a striking commercial nonetheless.

Lurpak
"Lightest"
60s
15 Jan 2012
Like the other ads in this series, this is a fantastic look at what happens in the kitchen. Much of it is delivered from the point of view of the food and there are some marvellous shots. It's quite brave in its own way as it strays from the colours and hues normally used to advertise butters and spreads and there are moments when the food doesn't look that appetising. Nonetheless, the overall effect is mesmeric and it's a big thumbs-up from us.

John Lewis
"The Long Wait"
90s
11 Nov 2011
A young boy's wait for Christmas Day seems unending but, despite the soundtrack, his motives are neither selfish or materialistic. It's a lovely twist and there are some beautiful moments here but it's not as clear as it could be and we wonder if viewers will see beyond the initial impression that we're watching a lad waiting impatiently for his Christmas presents.

Hovis
"Farmer's Race"
90s
9 Apr 2011
It's just as well this is an ad for bread rather than for a supermarket... otherwise, it might provide a rather unfortunate representation for the hoops farmers are required to negotiate by the retail giants. Instead it acts as an amusing metaphor for the standards required by Hovis.

10:10
"No Pressure"
3 mins 57s
4 Oct 2010
An absolutely shocking series of films designed to shock the audience into taking climate change seriously. Unfortunately, the combination of comedy and gore is a complete own goal and it's staggering that no one put a halt to it before it was too late.

Weetabix
"Marathon"
30s
26 Jul 2010
The elite runners in a marathon are rather surprised when a man in a rabbit costume draws up alongside them. And they're no less surprised when he's joined by two other runners in novelty costumes... what could be the explanation for their extraordinary athleticism?

John Lewis
"Always A Woman"
90s
23 Apr 2010
This utterly beautiful minute-and-a-half somehow manages to encapsulate a woman's entire life from babyhood to elegant seniority. The film is dripping in sentimentality but Blink's Dougal Wilson gives it so much warmth and humanity that it's utterly irresistible.

Temper Trap
"Love Lost"
4 mins 05s
20 Apr 2010
The grimness of enforced participation in a school cross-country race is recalled by this clever pop promo for Temper Trap directed by Dougal Wilson. Hang in there for the last bit which we take to be an indictment of the decay of modern society.

Fire Safety
"Breathe"
40s
7 Oct 2009
Dying in a house fire is likened to drowning in this highly effective fire safety film. If you imagine that you would wake and respond to a fire before it could harm you and your family then, it appears, you are very much mistaken.

Fire Safety
"Don't Drown"
30s
5 Oct 2009
Dying in a house fire is likened to drowning in this highly effective fire safety film. If you imagine that you would wake and respond to a fire before it could harm you and your family then, it appears, you are very much mistaken.

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