David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Marks & Spencer
"Spend It Well"
60s
4 May 2017
UK High Street Retailers

Like Nancy Reagan and the kids from Grange Hill, Marks & Spencer urge us to 'just say "no" in this splendid commercial marking the start of Valenstein & Fatt's relationship with one of Britain's best-known retailers. But it's mediocrity rather than intravenous drugs that we're being invited to shake our heads at.

It's a really shrewd conceit as it allows M&S to humblebrag about the quality of their offering with the message benefiting enormously from being implicit rather than explicit.

All the more so because it's being communicated via a sensationally beautiful film by Riff Raff's François Rousselet. David Bowie's Rebel Rebel provides the music as a montage of different situations is punctuated by Helen McCrory's perfect exhortation to reject the ordinary.

While M&S's food division has become a byword for quality and desirability, its performance in other areas has been dismal over the past few years.

Indeed, many might consider this account something of a poisoned chalice, but when DAVID interviewed Vicki Maguire - alongside her newly-appointed joint-CCO Caroline Pay - a few weeks ago, her bullish excitement about the potential of Marks & Spencer was pretty infectious. Watching this commercial provides some of the explanation for her optimism and it certainly has us rethinking our view that you can't advertise your way out of the kind of crisis they've been languishing in.

Marks & Spencer has a long way to go to reclaim its dominant position among clothes retailers but - if it's going to get there - its first step probably looks a lot like this commercial.

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"Series Two"

Kevin said:

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RNLI
"Float to Live"
60s
28 May 2017
In stressful situations we are often guided by our instincts - but how reliable are they? This film for the RNLI demonstrates that they can be insanely unhelpful. When we find ourselves suddenly immersed in freezing water, our instincts push us towards a series of actions perfectly designed to kill us.

Palace Skateboards
"Snake"
60s
25 May 2017
Palace Skateboards celebrate opening their first store outside the UK - in New York, no less - with this impressive ad. Jonah Hill returns (although sadly not via green screen) to complain about how little he was paid for his last, disastrous outing for the brand... only to be stopped in his tracks by a giant metal snake. Has there ever been a more enjoyable tagline than "You're in my house now, motherfuckers"?

Budweiser
"Sholing F.C."
1 min 40s
25 May 2017
Budweiser reaffirm their support of grassroots football in this engaging film. As more illustrious clubs spend hundreds of millions on new stadia, it’s a sore point for clubs like Sholing F.C. Having seen progress stifled in the past by league criteria, the Hampshire team must work hard on and off the pitch.

Three
"Pink Giraffe"
30s
23 May 2017
Following in the footsteps of Samsung, Cushelle, and Lotus, Three introduce us to a pair of animated giraffes whose confidence levels couldn't be more different. This time the main mammal is a hybrid - a 'giraffeamingo' combining the most distinctive features of both creatures. Bolstered by the ability to enjoy roaming data wherever it travels to, the beast struts, poses, and finally takes off in sheer delight.

BBC 4
"Music Idents"
80s
22 May 2017
BBC Four pay tribute to high fidelity with these well-crafted idents. Tangible and atmospheric, this suite harkens back to analogue’s heydey. Audiophiles will relish each close-up of tape recorders, audio reels, and phonographs, but it’s the backing track that shines. Mark Hellaby’s precise treatment demands a good pair of headphones or speakers.

Canon
"Boundaries"
60s
19 May 2017
Perhaps wary of smartphones stealing their thunder, Canon wish to reassert their photography credentials. Life moves at light speed in this ad depicting youth evolving into young manhood. Like any good story, there are thrills and spills - and the brand wants every moment to look its best. There are no product shots or specifications, so it’s up to the viewer to follow Canon’s story thread further.

Sky Sports
"Be Inside the Game"
2 mins
18 May 2017
The grind of pre-season is laid bare in this engrossing Sky Sports promo. The film captures Gaelic footballers and hurlers knee deep in training. It’s a world of whiteboards, repetitive drills, and training bibs… the roar of the crowd comes later. Believe Media’s Michel + Nico are adept at capturing what goes on before kick-off, and this attractively shot piece underlines the preparation required at the highest level.

Apple iPhone
"Barbers"
60s
18 May 2017
Apple are certainly proud of the new Portrait feature on their iPhone 7's camera - so much that they tasked the talented Dougal Wilson to show it single-handedly turning a sleepy barber shop into a thriving business. The professional look of the portraits snapped by an employee soon entices more customers, who are summarily transformed.

Movistar
"Love Story"
3 mins 12s
16 May 2017
Young love takes a sinister turn in this compelling Movistar commercial. Two youngsters exchange text messages and pictures before deciding to meet. As their online relationship blossoms, however, you can’t help but feel something is amiss… and it is. Well, the course of true love never did run smooth.

Nike
"Cape Town Course"
1 min 40s
15 May 2017
From Gary Player to modern players like Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa’s golfing lineage is impressive. Here, Nike give a platform to the next generation… and there’s not a green in sight. Nothing stops these golfers getting into the swing of things. Every surface becomes a tee, an imaginary flag added to every vista. Improvisation and exploration are encouraged and the sport’s officious tendencies are hit long.

Dr Giorgini
"One Bad Day"
1 min 46s
12 May 2017
Italian supplement brand Dr Giorgini demonstrate exactly when their brain boosting pills might be needed in this hugely entertaining ad. We follow a father and son through their morning routine. Toast burns, costumes are ruined, and the kid is sent off to school with an endearingly-rubbish, cobbled together version of his spacesuit. Things only get worse from there.

T K Maxx
"Why Shop at T K Maxx?"
60s
11 May 2017
Why would anyone want to shop at T K Maxx? Who would brave the jumble sale of tat to see what gems are buried under a mountain of last season's designer socks and mysterious kitchen implements? This stylish ad answers those questions with aplomb, acknowledging the haphazard nature of the stores with enough panache to suggest it's a virtue rather than a flaw.

Heineken
"The Trailblazers"
1 min 32s
10 May 2017
From social media acclaim to biting parodies, Heineken’s ‘Worlds Apart’ film remains a talking point. However, this commercial returns to one of the lager’s trademark memes: an epic bar crawl. Those who’ve indulged mates as they exaggerate last night’s trip to the pub will appreciate this genre-hopping spectacle.

Marks & Spencer
"Spend It Well (Food)"
40s
11 May 2017
What does Valenstein & Fatt's first work for M&S's food reveal? For starters, the synergy between it and last week's offering indicates that Vicki Maguire and her merry creatives are aiming to remind punters that the same clever M&S suppliers who provide them with the food they love, also offer the clothes they keep overlooking.

Arla
"Eat Monday For Breakfast"
30s
9 May 2017
Arla drums home the importance of showing Monday morning who's boss - snooze button be damned. A suitably perky sequence from Firecracker's Joe Roberts encompasses yawning farm animals, revving engines, and slices of toast evading eager hands. The use of an escalating drum beat in the background evokes Budweiser's 'Time' ad as well.

Barclays
"Crash"
60s
8 May 2017
We like to think we can see through any potential scam that arrives in our email inbox. Dodgy punctuation, garbled text, links to unknown addresses… familiar signals to keep our cyber-guard up. As this impressive Barclays ad demonstrates, however, the scenarios used by scammers are becoming ever more convincing.

Xbox
"Match Day"
85s
9 May 2017
Chelsea midfielder Willian and Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford star in this entertaining Xbox Live commercial. As we hear commentators and pundits sing their praises, the pair are immersed in their respective ‘zones’. Still, something’s a little off about their warm-ups. We’ve seen the light stretches and noise-cancelling headphones before, but… a hand spa?

Kraft
"Swear Like a Mother"
1 min 35s
5 May 2017
Kraft Mac and Cheese poke fun at not only the image of the unflappable mother, but also their product's reputation as a last resort in this amusing ad. The film stars Melissa Mohr, author of the book 'Holy Sh*T: A Brief History of Swearing', who explains that 74% of mothers have admitted to swearing in front of their kids - which seems like a low estimate to us.

Lidl
"The Smyths"
60s
4 May 2017
Lidl Ireland kicks off a new documentary-style campaign with a pair of entertaining ads. Taking inspiration from the likes of Gogglebox and First Dates, the campaign by Chemistry uses a 'TrolleyCam' to get up close and personal with the public as they go about their weekly shop. This film - focusing on the Smyth family - perfectly captures the hectic experience of shopping with children.

Marks & Spencer
"Spend It Well"
60s
4 May 2017
Like Nancy Reagan and the kids from Grange Hill, Marks & Spencer urge us to 'just say "no"' in this splendid commercial marking the start of Valenstein & Fatt's relationship with one of Britain's best-known retailers. But it's mediocrity rather than intravenous drugs that we're being invited to shake our heads at.

Heinz Baked Beanz
"Office"
30s
3 May 2017
This lovely Heinz Baked Beanz ad does a lot in 30” - something we always appreciate. An office worker greets his Lyrca-clad colleague in the staff kitchen, though he soon wishes he hadn’t. Seems this fitness junkie’s too busy for pleasantries - not with those “ravenous” muscles. A smart piece of work that reminds us healthy eating needn’t be a staid affair.

New Balance
"Dear 677"
76s
3 May 2017
Some say cricket is the supreme numbers game. Runs, bowling averages, the Duckworth-Lewis method… everything counts. This gripping New Balance ad reveals that only 676 players have represented England at Test level… and the team’s new kit maker have a message for whoever’s next in line.

UBS
"Life in Numbers"
90s
3 May 2017
From first birthdays and first dates and first jobs and beyond, this skillfully crafted ad for UBS follows one man's life; touching on all the moments which shape him. The scenes are all connected by numbers, building to a final reveal that smart online investment with the advertised bank has allowed him to save up for his daughter's wedding.

Pampers
"Little Fighters"
60s
2 May 2017
This affecting Pampers commercial draws our attention to newborn babies already facing their toughest battle. Set in Southampton Hospital’s neonatal unit, the ad depicts a handful of plucky infants and their equally determined carers. Whether you have children or not, it’s hard not to be moved by this sequence.

Monster
"Telepathy"
40s
2 May 2017
A giant purple monster gets himself into a syntactic tangle in this entertaining ad for - surprise - recruitment company Monster. The big guy knows how special you are and proceeds to tell you in a vaguely threatening manner... at least until he gets tangled up in his own sentences and needs to pause for thought.

Five Star Work

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