David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

GambleAware
"Machine"
45s
2 March 2017
UK Charities

The spirit of gambling targets another vulnerable individual in this latest GambleAware ad. Standing at the back of this darkened pub, he needles a lone drinker like a jilted lover channelling his inner Ben Kingsley. He toys with his prey, threatening to pass his winnings on to “her or him, him or her” before his true form is revealed.

Anyone who has ever experienced addiction in any way will recognise that insinuating voice in their ear relentlessly justifying itself, switching tactics on a whim; alternately menacing and cajoling.

The decision to personify it as the truly terrifying Don Logan is inspired. His is the sort of personality that won't be beaten, that thrives on wearing you to an exhausted pulp with his verbal battering before even laying a finger on you. How is it possible to find the strength to resist this, day in, day out, forever?

The degree of insight that this film - and its companion piece, 'Online' - shows is outstanding. It conveys the message that compassionate understanding and help from gambleaware.org is out there if you can just make contact. Let's hope those desperate to escape the clutches of such a destructive illness see this in time.

Director Tom Tagholm maintains his impeccable standards and let's give a nod to editor Leo King as well... his contribution here is absolutely vital.

Deliveroo
"Moments"

Gary said:

It's ok as a mood film. Not a great ad tho.


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GambleAware
"Machine"
45s
2 Mar 2017
The spirit of gambling targets another vulnerable individual in this latest GambleAware ad. Standing at the back of this darkened pub, he needles a lone drinker like a jilted lover channelling his inner Ben Kingsley. He toys with his prey, threatening to pass his winnings on to “her or him, him or her” before his true form is revealed. Unsettling and superbly acted.

GambleAware
"Online"
60s
9 Feb 2017
Online gambling can have hidden dangers beyond losing a few quid on the outcome of a football match, and this unsettling ad for GambleAware brings that home hard. The key to this film is a masterful vocal performance, as a man sitting on a young woman's desk speaks her inner thoughts aloud while she tries not to give in to the urge to gamble.

Talk Talk
"Boys"
30s
1 Nov 2016
More languid domesticity from Talk Talk as a teenager lounges on her bed. Whatever's on the telly, she doesn't seem enthralled by it. A beep from her phone grabs her attention though - and a subtle smile appears. Thanks to the mobile provider's data plan, she can tune in to the important stuff... like, erm, talking to boys.

Talk Talk
"Work From Home"
30s
25 Oct 2016
Another ad from Talk Talk's fly on the wall campaign, this time showing the importance of having good data access when you work from home. Especially for this young man, who needs to take care of business while simultaneously taking care of other, er, pressing matters. This ad is a step up from their last outing, bringing back touches of humour from the longer film.

Talk Talk
"Aunt Julie"
30s
18 Oct 2016
Talk Talk continue with their drive for authenticity in this short clip following the style of their 'This Stuff Matters' film. The ad features a young girl teaching her Aunt Julie how to save emails to her tablet, because - as we know - everybody over the age of twenty tends to accuse new technology of being witchcraft. At least they've got enough data to have another go if Aunt Julie gets confused.

Talk Talk
"This Stuff Matters"
60s
4 Oct 2016
Talk Talk demonstrate the value of authenticity in this fly-on-the-wall style ad. The product's role is subtle enough to blend unnoticed into the scenes until it's revealed what's being advertised, which leaves the viewer with a feeling of honesty about the company. 9 Merwick Street is an ordinary household that deserves extraordinary data access, and Talk Talk does a stellar job of showing us that without saying a word.

Under Armour
"One Push"
60s
25 Apr 2016
Under Armour enlist the vocal talents of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson in this engaging ad for their new HealthBox kit. The former WWE wrestler and general advocate of grabbing life by the unmentionables describes how pushing a button can set off a myriad of events in modern life, but a tap of the screen isn't always enough - you need to get the rest of those muscles working as well. With competitors like Fitbit in its sights, the ad makes a visually striking play for fitness junkies' attention.

Co-op Supermarkets
"Cheeseboard"
10s
2 Dec 2015
A cheeseboard is at the centre of this short ad supporting the Co-op's main Christmas campaign. As a pair of young men slide away on the treacherous pavement ice that's left an elderly couple housebound, the recipients of their kindness conclude that the treat in front of them is like something they'd see on the telly.

Co-op Supermarkets
"Chocolates"
10s
2 Dec 2015
A postscript to the main Co-op Christmas ad has a couple of seniors trying to work out which chocolate is which in a box which may have been gifted to them by the hero of the longer film. There's a nicely-judged irreverence as the pair seem slightly perplexed by the flavours of the soft-centred chocolates.

Co-op Supermarkets
"No Ice"
60s
2 Dec 2015
Loneliness is one of the key themes of this year's Christmas advertising and Co-op's contribution to this canon of work is an absolute cracker. A young man sets off to his local Co-op to buy some ice ahead of a party he's hosting because as his flatmate rightly asks: "How can we have a party without ice?"

HP
"DIY R2-D2"
60s
24 Nov 2015
A high school whizz-kid uses an HP computer to create his own remote controlled R2-D2. Once finished, he sends it on its merry way down the road on a mission, scaring mutts and headbutting the door at its destination a little enthusiastically. What is its purpose? Who has it been sent to see? The very sweet outcome cashes in on the current Star Wars movie hype and will no doubt produce a swathe of discarded bin lids up and down the country.

Marie Curie
"Light"
60s
30 Sep 2015
A warm orb of light provides a comforting presence for those coping with terminal illness. Come daybreak, the light is revealed to be a Marie Curie nurse; there to care and support during what could have been a lonely and anxious night. It's a moving, tender portrayal of the charity's work and one that compels us to help keep the light shining for those in need.

British Heart Foundation
"Heart Disease is Heartless"
60s
25 Aug 2015
This astonishingly moving film for the British Heart Foundation establishes a narrative in just a few seconds and leads the audience view into a crushing glimpse of an everyday tragedy. The exchange between father and son has a surreal quality from the get-go and astute viewers will immediately realise what's happening.

Three
"The Lonliest Whale"
2 mins 17s
24 May 2015
In this delightful film made for Three in Ireland from a script by Boys and Girls in Dublin and directed by Park Pictures's Tom Tagholm, we learn about a whale whose song can't be heard by others of his species. The intrepid scientist studying this sad animal appears something of a loner himself and when you see him sat by himself in a café as others laugh, it feels as though he too is incapable of communicating with those around him.

Robinsons Cordials
"Lemon & Mango"
10s
27 Apr 2015
This short postscript to the recent epic commercial enables us to learn about a new lemon and mango cordial from the nation's favourite supplier. Father and son are playing footy in the garden but this time everyone remains roughly the same size at the end of the commercial as they were at the beginning even if the use of the same music as before suggests otherwise.

Robinsons Cordials
"They Grow Up Fast"
60s
11 Apr 2015
The idea of speeding through life is something of an advertising meme so if you're going to do it you'd better (a) do it well and (b) find a distinctive angle. Tom Tagholm's modus operandi is excellence which more than covers (a) and the decision to have the parents vaguely singing along with Give Me Just A Little More Time provides the quirkiness to cover (b).

Waitrose
"Christmas Gingerbread"
90s
9 Nov 2014
Waitrose often bucks the trend with their advertising themes - for instance, the pared-down style they chose two years ago in order to give more money to charity. This year, the focus is on a young, slightly troubled girl who discovers that by making something her own, she can really care about it. In the same way, it goes on to say, staff at Waitrose own the upmarket store - so they invest real care in it too... which naturally benefits all who shop there.

Thomson Holidays
"Discover Your Smile"
60s
21 Sep 2014
A much-loved but put-upon teddy steals the show in this latest spot from the travel agency. Patiently enduring the indignities his life entails, his wistful one-eyed gaze gradually becomes a smile of profound contentment when his little human takes him on holiday and he discovers there's more to life than being hung out to dry on a clothes line.

Waitrose
"Very Small Holding"
90s
4 Apr 2014
This delightful commercial for Waitrose by BBH underlines the difference that a sense of ownership can make as we see a boy painstakingly transforming a small space in the garden into an allotment. The whole family then celebrates his modest success by taking a bite each of the tiny carrot he manages to grow.

Mercedes-Benz
"Mash Up"
30s
2 Nov 2013
If you're not familiar with the campaign, this ad will seem baffling. Essentially, it started with a demonstration of the way sound effects us emotionally - and this spot is a mash-up of those different sounds along with a plug for their 'sound with power' interactive element. This is how mixing TV with online should not be done.

Anchor Butter
"Toast"
20s
8 Oct 2013
Lovely, homely ad that maintains the 'life of a kitchen' theme but focuses solely on toast. It's a clever move - toast is one of our staple comfort foods: ubiquitous, easy to make; best with butter slathered on and dripping down our fingers. So naturally, we're going to want butter that's up to the job.

Mercedes-Benz
"Sound and Vision"
60s
5 Oct 2013
Mercedes puts a chap in a suit that shows his emotional response to different sounds by lighting up according to the electrical activity in his brain. When he hears the low growl of the car's engine, the suit lights up everywhere; and a subsequent montage of footage suggests the sound tops the list for prompting sensations of pleasure and adrenalin.

Anchor Cream
"Kitchen Squirts"
20s
18 Jun 2013
Anchor has achieved the virtually impossible - made squirty cream seem not only acceptable but rather appealing. Showing a variety of uses the canned spray can be put to - from the experimental to the rude to the plainly unauthorised - this is shot with charm, wit and insight; and anyone who doesn't like it must be an irredeemable curmudgeon.

Axe
"Stairs"
30s
17 Apr 2013
Lynx has made it clear that nothing beats an astronaut - ever. So where do you take this campaign from there? You become the astronaut. This lovely ad with its exquisite attention to detail manages - through its dramatic POV, cinematic music and atmosphere of imminent revelation is a pleasure from start to finish.

Marie Curie
"Last Moments"
60s
1 Mar 2013
Yet another astonishing charity spot that departs from the well-trodden path of 'compassion fatigue' advertising. It's based on a deceptively simple insight... that our last experiences of life should matter as much as those of the young undergoing the rites and rituals of their formative years.

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