David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Swedish Railways
"Paul's Journey"
80s
14 March 2017
Sweden Train Services

Some journeys are more difficult than others. The central character in this enlightened commercial for Swedish Railways has embarked on a personal journey to seek acceptance for his transvestitism - and he's no generic cipher representing the LGBT community, either. He's Pelle Pia Hedberg, who became a cause célèbre in his native Sweden when his decision to begin dressing as a woman in the workplace provoked a row with his boss.

It's a beautifully-made piece of work. Hedberg's transformation is simultaneously allegorical and literal as he inserts a pair of earrings before applying nail polish. This piques the curiosity of other passengers but their faces reflect a society at ease with 'difference' and none of them display a hint of prejudice even when he returns from the toilet having swapped his blokeish apparel for a dress.

All the while, the train hurtles effortlessly through the Swedish countryside to remind us of the other - more straightforward - journeys made possible by the railway concerned.

This feels as though it's advertising a way of life as much as it's advertising anything else, and with Sweden being cited by both its friends and its enemies as a bastion of liberalism, it's an exceedingly well-timed piece of communication.

Channel 4
"Formula One"

Kevin said:

Sounds like the same v/o artiste as the Sky Sports F1 promo.... Definitely not "horses for courses"???


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Swedish Railways
"Paul's Journey"
80s
14 Mar 2017
Some journeys are more difficult than others. The central character in this enlightened commercial for Swedish Railways has embarked on a personal journey to seek acceptance for his transvestitism - and he's no generic cipher representing the LGBT community, either. He's Pelle Pia Hedberg, who became a cause célèbre in his native Sweden when his decision to begin dressing as a woman in the workplace provoked a row with his boss.

Telia
"Cats"
30s
8 Mar 2017
Real cats aren't as funny as cats on the internet, a sombre voiceover informs us, so we shouldn't bother getting one. Instead, we should spend the money earmarked for litter and cat food on really good broadband from Swedish provider Telia, so we can watch funny animal videos to our heart's content. The faux-serious tone feels spot on here, as man and cat stare at each other with mutual disappointment.

Telia
"Married Men"
30s
8 Mar 2017
Swedish telecom outfit Telia cast a wry eye on our internet habits in this 30" commercial. While hubby drones on about Nietzsche and American politics (“Look at what’s happening in America”, eh?), his wife takes advantage of Telia’s superior broadband speeds to ogle some hunky spouses. Somehow we don’t fancy this couple’s long-term prospects.

Volvo
"The Get Away Car"
2 mins 51s
30 Jan 2017
The words of the late Alan Watts echo through this Volvo film. As Watts encourages us to live in the moment, we see modern types decide the time has come to reconnect with their true passions. The familiar imagery is given extra heft by the philosopher's 1959 speech. Mind you, we can’t help but wonder if the car brand took inspiration from this YouTube video.

TCO
"Bot Rights"
5 mins 24s
18 Jan 2017
It’s rare we feature an ad about Swedish trade unions, but here we are. The country’s trade union alliance has released this lengthy film championing workers’ rights for, erm, artificial intelligence. That includes automated answering services, chatbots, and even spambots, bless ‘em. A novel way of promoting union membership in the digital era.

IKEA
"A Good Listener"
60s
25 Nov 2016
Following their attention-grabbing portrayal of divorce, Ikea present another understated family snapshot. The retailer plays a small but vital role in ensuring this father is always there for his daughter. Once again, director Martin Werner puts story before product and the result is one of the more emotive portrayals of a wooden stool we can remember.

Betsson
"Estate Agent"
30s
24 Nov 2016
Who knew estate agents had a fun-loving side? Online betting site Betsson aim to show everyone's a player in some shape or form. This couple is impressed by their dream home's storage space - though they didn't anticipate just how roomy the upstairs cupboard is. It's a fun pay-off, and the brand's play anywhere mentality comes across with a jolt.

Betsson
"Rubdown"
30s
24 Nov 2016
One of two Betsson ads encouraging us to indulge our childish impulses. Here, a locker room attendant makes things very awkward for the physio by swapping aggressive rap for sensual R&B. It's a familiar gag - sweaty men, touching, a subsequent misunderstanding - but the online betting site stays just on the right side of cheeky.

E.on
"Christmas Lights"
90s
22 Nov 2016
This visually stunning ad for E.on shows that nice old couples can still get funky with their Christmas lights. With a light and laser display set to Avicii's 'I Called Your Name', the energy company inform us that with them we can use a solar battery to store energy all year round so a colourful Christmas blowout doesn't put a strain on the bills or the environment.

Daloc
"The Robot"
87s
4 Oct 2016
Playtime takes a surprising turn in this excellent ad for home security brand Daloc. A young boy regales his pal with talk of an extraordinary newcomer to his home - a newcomer made of steel, with gripping hooks, a "spy eye" and an ability to swallow all sound. His friendunderstandably pictures a robot of epic proportions - but just wait for the twist...

IKEA
"Every Other Week"
60s
14 Sep 2016
This commercial has been widely praised for tackling the taboo of separated families but - in DAVID's opinion - that isn't really its strength. Divorce is far too commonplace for anyone to consider it taboo and while it's always welcome to see modern situations being normalised in advertising, it's hard to believe viewers will feel it's revolutionary to see this kind of depiction in a commercial.

IKEA
"The Story of Poäng"
3 mins 12s
14 Sep 2016
This neatly told origin tale for IKEA's Poäng chair provides interesting relief for those who dismiss the furniture retailer's offerings as flatpack crap. The Swedish company has been responsible for some design classics and this is a perfect way to celebrate one of them. It manages to imply that the corridors of IKEA were a fore-runner of Silicon Valley, with designers given a free hand to come up with something good.

IKEA
"The Food Picture"
90s
1 Aug 2016
You've just finished preparing a beautiful meal for your family, and everyone is sat around the table eagerly anticipating the culinary delights in front of them when someone pulls out their mobile phone and insists on photographing a plate for posterity. That's the annoying modern phenomenon at the heart of this super new film made by ACNE for IKEA.

Elmsta 3000 Horror Fest
"Musical Massacre"
2 mins 20s
16 May 2016
If you ever wondered what Bobby "Boris" Pickett's 'Monster Mash' would sound like after being locked in a darkened room for a few years, then this gleefully gory ad for Sweden's Elmsta 3000 Horror Fest will no doubt tickle your depraved fancy. A motley crew of horror icons including Michael Myers, Patrick Bateman, and headphone-sporting zombie Bub from 'Day of the Dead' join together to prove that the power of music transcends minor inconveniences like rotting flesh and creaking limbs.

Canal Digital
"Scouts"
45s
4 May 2016
For those underwhelmed by True Detective's meandering second season, this enjoyable commercial for Canal Digital should provide fond memories of the show's original Louisiana nightmare. It all starts innocently enough with a Scout troop marching through the woods. When events take a disturbing turn, the Scout leader applies the movement's values in jolly fashion. Misguided, perhaps, but certainly a different MO from Rust and Marty.

Com Hem
"Astronaut"
60s
25 Apr 2016
Lou Reed's 'Satellite of Love' proves the perfect musical accompaniment to this lovely homage to childish imagination. A young girl pictures herself as an astronaut and her fantasy is fully indulged by director Tobias Granström's impressive rendition. A brilliant combination of in-camera trickery and VFX are used to bring this idea to life with a lovely central performance from the young lead.

Vitamin Well
"Zlatan Ibrahimovic"
65s
31 Mar 2016
Never one to be a shrinking violet, Paris Saint-Germain and Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic uses this ad for Vitamin Well to warn defences across Europe that his advancing years won't hold him back. Flitting between young and present-day Zlatan pounding the streets of Malmö, the film is a brooding portrait of a footballer with a stare as lethal as his right foot.

Klarna
"Fish"
30s
3 Mar 2016
In this Swedish spot for internet payment company Klarna, a large fish poises itself at the top of a children's slide before gliding down it and across a polished floor. It appears in no out-of-water discomfort at all: on the contrary, the whole scenario appears as frictionless as if the fish were happily submerged. Add to this a distinctive electronic music bed and you have a film that's the epitome of smooth.

TUI
"Finally You & Me"
90s
16 Feb 2016
This Swedish commercial for a travel agency takes a languid look at a couple finding time for one another on a luxury holiday... and it's so filled with intimacy that it even manages to find time for a little row between the two! The casting is interesting. These are beautiful people, for sure, but they are refreshingly free of the sculpted perfection favoured by advertising when showing people in their swim suits and this really adds to both the authenticity and the intimacy.

Canal Digital
"Stakeout"
45s
14 Jan 2016
Fans of Nordic TV dramas will feel right at home with this mini-police thriller on behalf of Canal Digital. A veteran cop talks his companion through the techniques vital to an effective stakeout when shots suddenly ring out into the night. Say, is that a body these two men are carrying out? Of course not, says the Swedish Columbo - it's a rug. A Persian one, if he's not mistaken.

If
"GPS"
1 min 55s
25 Aug 2015
This film describes a project that takes advantage of our biological programming to make the streets safer for young pedestrians. By switching the voice of a SatNav to that of a child whenever you're in an area where more caution needs to be exercised, it reminds drivers to be alert to the danger they pose. Unless, of course, they so dislike the conceit that they speed through the area to restore their SatNav's default timbre.

Loka
"Blueberry Wranglers"
50s
25 May 2015
In this amusing Swedish commercial, we're introduced to the men who wrangle blueberry bushes for a living. It's an exceedingly silly spoof which draws its humour from an absurd comparison between the protagonists and those responsible for shepherding young animals. It's a great testimony to the skill of director Tom Malmros that it's so dryly delivered.

Svenska Lotteriet
"Dreams"
2 mins
25 May 2015
Mikael Marcimain's lovely commercial for the Swedish lottery mines the same seam as the recent P & G work that represents mothers as the ultimate motivators - but because these young achievers appear to be providing their own incentives, it doesn't have that yukky 'pushy parent' dimension. The way in which the progress of the youngsters is depicted is quite lovely with a rising tide of emotion as we see them move from aspiration to achievement.

Co-op
"Pesticides"
90s
7 May 2015
This engaging and persuasive film for the Co-op in Sweden waves the flag for organic food. We hear less and less about the benefits of going organic these days, so it's refreshing to see the case being made so convincingly as a family who felt they couldn't afford to make the switch to the healthier option suddenly decide they can't afford not to.

LG Televisions
"Looping Aquarium"
30s
29 Apr 2015
LG presents a welcome twist on the advertising staples of flashy visuals, pseudo-tech speak, and overblown VO with a series of humorous ads. Once the VO finishes waxing lyrical about the technological advances of their new range of Smart TVs, he's left more than a little bemused by their eventual uses. In this case, urbane types using it as a flatscreen aquarium during a party.

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