David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Marks & Spencer
"Mrs Claus"
3 mins
11 November 2016
UK High Street Retailers

Janet McTeer plays Santa's wife in Marks & Spencer's epic Christmas ad. As her husband sets off on his annual gift-giving pilgrimage, she notices that one of the last batch of letters is addressed to her. It's a plea for help from a six year old boy in England who wants her to help him show his big sister that he loves her... despite all the mischief he's caused.

This 180" version won't get too much airplay which is probably just as well... charming though it is, you don't really need to see the story unfold this slowly more than once.

McTeer's Mirrenesque performance (do you think they asked Dame Helen first?) is a perfect blend of warmth and coolness. Her grand-maternal glow is tempered by a clinical efficiency as she completes her mission with the glee of a Yuletide secret service agent.

If social media is any guide, then this campaign has caught the imagination of the British public with a lot of people using Twitter and Facebook to volunteer the view that they prefer this to John Lewis's ad (though even using John Lewis as the benchmark seems to concede they are still the 'daddy' in this particular arena).

It's a triumph for outgoing agency Rainey Kelly but its success must be bittersweet. The problems for Marks & Spencer's non-food offer are deep-rooted and it's naive to imagine they could be solved by advertising alone. The recent announcement revealing a plan to close clothing stores in favour of the hugely successful food operation suggests the retailer is well aware of what the future holds. It's a realism which makes it hard to understand the decision to ditch the agency which created the winning formula on that side of the business.

Aldi
"Hunger of The Gods"

Alexander said:

^ sure is. Actors name is Colin Michael Carmichael!


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Marks & Spencer
"Mrs Claus"
3 mins
11 Nov 2016
Janet McTeer plays Santa's wife in Marks & Spencer's epic Christmas ad. As her husband sets off on his annual gift-giving pilgrimage, she notices that one of the last batch of letters is addressed to her. It's a plea for help from a six year old boy in England who wants her to help him show his big sister that he loves her... despite all the mischief he's caused.

IKEA
"Welcome Home"
60s
8 Oct 2016
IKEA tug the heartstrings with this understated, affecting ad for its lighting range. The ad opens with quiet shots of a woman heading home after work at night, walking through poorly lit streets while her son waits up and worries. A look around the room gives him an idea, and the next day he canvasses the neighbourhood and borrow lamps from as many friends and neighbours as possible to light her way home safely.

Cesar
"Road Trip"
90s
2 Jun 2016
This attractively-shot ad for Cesar depicts a woman making her getaway from an ugly situation. All she has is her car, a few possessions, and most important of all, her faithful Westie. In an affectionate sequence, we see the woman and her dog hit the open road without a destination in mind. They frequent parking lots, diners, and any motel amenable enough to pets.

Alpen
"Cricket Fail"
30s
11 May 2016
There have been a spate of commercials recently trying to solve the problem of engaging with an audience whose expectations of entertainment are formed online and this ad for Alpen may be the best we've seen so far. It's built around a famous YouTube clip of a man failing at cricket. Well, failing doesn't seem a strong enough... such is his hilarious ineptitude.

Sainsbury's
"Easter Lamb"
30s
14 Mar 2016
Second only to the Christmas turkey in the realm of high-stakes roasting, a bold spin on an Easter roast is not for the faint of heart. Subtly adventurous sorts they are, Sainsbury's suggest it needn't require a journey to exotic lands in search of nostril-overloading spices - all it takes is a bottle of ginger beer to give lamb that special kick before the family sit down to eat.

Brooks Running
"The Rundead"
3 mins 15s
15 Feb 2016
Brooks Running draft in some of the flesh-eating throngs of 'The Walking Dead' in this well-realised zombie apocalypse with a difference. A man seeks refuge from his pursuers by hiding in a sports shop. Just when it looks like he's doomed to become the undead's latest banquet, one ghoul notices a running shoe on the ground. It inspires the entire horde to rethink their dining plans and instead get their exercise regimes back on track.

Netflix
"500 Hours"
80s
10 Feb 2016
When a man learns that his crush has a soft spot for 'Orange Is The New Black', he's straight on to Netflix to catch up on all the drama at Litchfield Penitentiary. Consuming all thirty nine episodes is an eye-squaring feat, but one should never underestimate the things we'll do for love. His binge works so well, in fact, she has to stop him spilling the beans about the season three finale.

Nissan Navara
"Demolition"
70s
26 Jan 2016
A quartet of Nissan Navaras make light work of a factory in order to give these kids a proper football pitch. Filmed with the glee of boys being allowed to destroy things, it's an entertaining watch. DIY demolition probably isn't a wise road for potential owners to go down, but the ad does a good job of presenting the advertised vehicle as a nimble, robust option.

Scottish Power
"Your World"
30s
14 Jan 2016
There's an agreeably warm atmosphere to this Scottish Power ad depicting a family simply getting on with life over the course of a year. Big events like Christmas and birthdays come and go, while the little events that make a house a home are just as important. Meanwhile, Scottish Power present themselves exactly how we want our energy supplier to be.

Thomas Cook
"Be Lazy"
30s
11 Jan 2016
After a languid awakening, a woman gets herself together enough to shower, dress, and apply makeup with a sense of purpose. The peaceful silence seems strange given that she is evidently heading off somewhere as if to keep an appointment... and then all is revealed. This spot for Thomas Cook is stylishly filmed; capturing that combined sense of relaxation and anticipation you get on a good holiday.

Thomas Cook
"Performance"
30s
4 Jan 2016
Thomas Cook is offering children's places from £1 so if you're happy to take them on a holiday where they can recreate the end scene of Little Miss Sunshine, here's your chance to take a break without it costing a fortune or taking them during term time. At least, we presume that's the case - hard to be sure without reading all those Ts and Cs onscreen.

The FA Cup
"Anything Could Happen"
60s
4 Jan 2016
One of the most difficult tasks in advertising is the reselling of an annual event like the FA Cup. The message is quite simple... the business end of the competition is about to get under way and its time to enjoy all the drama and excitement of the third round. But how do you say that without saying the exact same thing you said last year? The rather brave answer to such a question is provided by this wistful film from Tony Barry.

Thomas Cook
"Dunes Kiss"
30s
26 Dec 2015
A couple stand opposite each other awkwardly after crossing the finishing line on a beach bicycle race. Eventually they pluck up the courage to kiss. Smoochy noises aside, this low-key approach is rather sweet. 'Be impulsive', the super tells us; implying that impulsiveness isn't synonymous with recklessness - simply that it can benefit us to seize the moment.

Thomas Cook
"Pool Boy"
60s
17 Dec 2015
This sensational piece of work brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'pool boy'. At a resort whose exclusiveness is accentuated by the strange absence of other holidaymakers, a young lad is joyously lost in his own world as he gyrates next to the swimming pool. A full minute in length, the client has bravely committed to this idea and the effect is beguiling

Sainsbury's
"Mac and Cheese"
60s
2 Sep 2015
Sainsburys' new series of ads aims to channel the adventurous whims of shoppers without sending them to the edge of civilization. This particular execution is a lovely piece of slow-burning storytelling helped by some well-judged beats. Martin indulges in a flight of fantasy as he lies in bed. All he wants to do up sticks and run a cocktail bar on a sandy beach. At the first, the VO is onside... but he brings in other factors to complicate things.

Sainsbury's
"A Little Twist"
30s
2 Sep 2015
A woman on her way home from work ponders her lifestyle options as she passes a camper van for sale. She could take off; head for the jungle and commune with gorillas, eating only what came her way. On the other hand, does she really want to give up those comforting dietary staples like spag bol? Sainsbury's shows there's a compromise.

Ancestry
"Matthew Miller"
30s
23 Aug 2015
Ancestry continues to suggest it's simplicity itself to map your family history. Their "little leaf" is "a hint" guiding you through the past, generation by generation. In this instance it reveals the turbulent life and times of Nancy Miller's ancestors. Next, let's hope they can make people banging on about their discoveries sound as fascinating to the poor bastards around them as they do to themselves.

Lucozade
"Flow"
60s
1 Aug 2015
Grey London demonstrates again that they're an agency bristling with confidence by broadcasting a sensational piece of work for Lucozade. The film is built on the conceit that the advertised drink gives people what it takes to keep going no matter what the circumstances. But, cleverly, they've moved this notion away from the sporting arena and into everyday life.

Scope
"International Kissing Day"
60s
16 Jul 2015
This unusual awareness film for Scope focuses on International Kissing Day. Couples demonstrate the loveliness of kissing in a variety of different scenarios as Antony & The Johsons warbles agreeably in the background. There's nothing here to explain how kissing and Scope join up but it's a joyous film so perhaps that doesn't really matter.

Ryan Teague
"Last Known Position"
5 mins 05s
3 Jun 2015
Ryan Teague's instrumental track Last Known Position is given a stunning and unsettling video by Blink's Björn Rühmann. The music is delicate, with a shimmering complexity that reminds us of Donato Dozzy Plays Bee Mask as it builds by infinitesimal degrees to its end. In the video a young woman, her mind surely addled by addiction, wanders out of her flat and begins a journey into darkness.

Weetabix Breakfast Drink
"No Time"
30s
21 Apr 2015
The sharp-suited protagonist of this ad for Weetabix has no time to spare. Sleeping in his businesswear - and keeping it remarkably crease-free as well - saves some valuable minutes, but it still isn't enough. Beforehand, no breakfast option could've possibly fitted in with this young go-getter's schedule. That is until Weetabix managed to fit the most important meal of the day into a bottle.

Volvic Juiced
"I Love It"
30s
3 Mar 2015
Icona Pop's massive hit I Love It drives the action in this ad for Volvic Juiced. As two pretty trucks collide at a crossroads, the apple crates on one are knocked across the road and start bursting like bombs of juice. There's a brief but unfortunate moment when a young woman looks like she's having a very explosive pee, but we think the song and the summery setting will incline people to feel positively disposed towards the drink.

McDonald's
"All Wrapped Up"
30s
23 Feb 2015
This cheery spot from McDonald's demonstrates the bliss that is having it all. In other words, the bliss that is being a child who's allowed bubbles and dressing up and trampolines and their friends round all at the same time... and all the food they like in one tasty Happy Meal from their favourite fast food outlet.

Pet Plan
"Jobs"
30s
11 Jan 2015
Pet owners up and down the land are going to find this spot hard to resist. A wonderfully simple premise - your pet has their job, yours is to insure them properly - is illustrated with the help of our beloved furry companions. As anyone who lives with one will agree, each has its own personality and we, their humans, anthropomorphise them for our own amusement

Gordon's Gin
"Boar"
60s
24 Dec 2014
There's reinforcing a brand name, and then there's reinforcing a brand name... and this ad does the latter with lashings of style. It uses the boar's head image which has been part of the Gordon family crest since 1769; attaching a 3D version to the lithe body of a James Bond type who has taken dancing lessons from Christopher Walken.

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