David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Latest Work
    • Skills for all to see.This slick 90” film launches Arsenal's Camo range, but eschews first-team regulars in favour of unsigned talent.
    • A New HopeNationwide's poetic campaign sees Tyreece Akwasi Asamoah ruminating on the media's portrayal of 'Generation Z'.
    • Juan's powered up.Plenty's long-serving mascot receives an upgrade as Juan Sheet becomes Super Juan.
    • The TalkThis two minute film travels through time to explore 'the talk' which black parents in America still feel they have to have with their children.
    • Better than everything.This quirky ad for US popcorn brand Pop Secret asks the question we really care about.
    • Broken news.In this age of self-serving allegations about fake news, Blinkink’s Greg Barth imagines a vote on world peace. Would could possibly go wrong?
    • Testing conditions.One fears this bloke has spent too long down at the test track. Still, his fervent performance anchors this US Audi commercial.
    • Rockin' All Over The WorldThe Rock is at his non-stop best in this amusing short film for Apple.
    • The show must go on.While many would relish the chance to shoot Gio Compario out of the sky, Go Compare must think he’s doing something right.
    • Miles Bingham joins BlinkBlink have signed Leicester-born director Miles Bingham to their roster.
    • Aardman and Independent assemble.Aardman Animation and Independent Films look to bridge the gap between live action and animation with their new joint venture.
    • Ultra 4K, ultra Eighties.Marvel’s love affair with the 1980s reaches peak nostalgia with this ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ ad.

CRAFTWORKS

Make a note in your diaries. The dates for the next three CraftWorks shows are:

Wednesday, 6th September.
Wednesday, 11th October.
Wednesday, 15th November.

Between 4.30 pm and 6.30 pm.

The LSE, Sheffield Street, Holborn, London, WC2.

Prices:
£20 for Marketing Subscribers.
£25 for Standard Subscribers.
£50 for non-subscribers.

Tickets will go on sale soon.


Puma
"Camouflage"
90s
26 July 2017

Arsenal’s kit deal with Puma has produced some memorable work. This slick 90” film eschews first-team regulars in favour of unsigned talent. Hair cut and nails done, this diverse group has business to attend to.

The six converge on a multi-storey car park. It’s a far cry from the Emirates, but some handy oil drums make it a pitch. As the sun goes down, this three-a-side game sparks into life.

Naturally, each player works the ball beautifully. Director Peter Lee Scott captures deft flicks and close-quarter flair. Each player receives their moment in the spotlight, too… as does Arsenal’s new camouflage-inspired line.

The brand position themselves as one for both on-and-off field action. The film incorporates much of Puma’s football apparel, but the Gunners’s Camo range is the headline act. Lovely closing beat as a spectator kickstarts her own bid for first team glory. Next season, perhaps.

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Nationwide
"Generation Z"
60s
26 July 2017

The latest film in Nationwide's wide-reaching poetic campaign sees Tyreece Akwasi Asamoah ruminating on the media's portrayal of information-age babies 'Generation Z'.

While young people are depicted as 'lazy and meek, glued to smartphone screens', he explains, they are actually the ones fighting to build a future from the ashes of Trump, Brexit, global warming... you get the picture. Far from burying their heads in the sand, they're busy helping each other towards a brighter tomorrow.

This film marks a change in format for the campaign: an acknowledgement of direct performance to camera rather than the somewhat shaky attempts to make poems seem spontaneously in media res in past instalments. The vlog format works well with performance poetry - especially given the subject matter of this ad.

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Plenty
"Super Juan"
30s
25 July 2017

As we’ve seen with the likes of Gio Compario and Aleksandr Orlov, a slight tweak here and there can keep long-running campaigns fresh. Say what you will about Juan Sheet - Plenty’s resident Spaniard has staying power. The matador first appeared in 2010 and has been spooking housewives ever since. It’s about time he received an upgrade - meet Super Juan.

The brand’s new two-rolls-in-one effort coincides with a new costume. Now packing a utility belt and even tighter spandex, Juan shows off his new powers with gusto. MindsEye’s Luke Bellis handles the campaign’s VFX injection well. Should also give the kitchen roll a boost as shoppers battle shrinkflation .

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My Black is Beautiful
"The Talk"
2 mins
25 July 2017

P&G's anti-racism 'My Black is Beautiful' initiative has been running for over a decade, and it's still going strong as BBDO New York and Malik Vitthal deliver its most powerful ad yet.

This two minute film travels through time to explore 'the talk' which black parents in America still feel they have to have with their children. From early conversations in the fifties and sixties to the present day, we see parents explain that their kids will have to be smarter, work harder, and be more careful than their peers, because anything they do will have their race as a caveat.

Poignantly, the film opens and closes with a mother explaining to her daughter that being called 'pretty... for a black girl' isn't a compliment. Modern day examples are especially harrowing, from worries about a teenage son getting stopped by the police to coaching a kid on how to come out of a traffic stop alive - situations that are presented not as 'if', but 'when'.

At a time when brands frequently prove to be tone-deaf when it comes to social issues, it's refreshing to see a hard-hitting, sincere film like this from P&G. There is no feel-good ending, no cans of Pepsi saving the day, just the thought-provoking start of a conversation about racism which America desperately needs to have.

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Pop Secret
"Flowers"
30s
25 July 2017

This quirky ad for US popcorn brand Pop Secret asks an important question: which is better, popcorn or flowers? Hipster characters come to the conclusion that flowers are at an obvious disadvantage - of course - given that they attract 'terrifying' beekeepers. Self-conscious comic timing gives the polished ad a knowing, ironic vibe which works well with the pseudo-vintage aesthetic.

Some viewers will find this approach a bit much but we think Matthew Swanson and his editor have judged the tone perfectly and it's smart to back the audience to work out how it's to be understood.

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Five Star Work

Puma
"Camouflage"
90s
26 Jul 2017
Arsenal’s kit deal with Puma has produced some memorable work. This slick 90” film eschews first-team regulars in favour of unsigned talent. Hair cut and nails done, this diverse group has business to attend to. The six converge on a multi-storey car park. As the sun goes down, this three-a-side game sparks into life.

My Black is Beautiful
"The Talk"
2 mins
25 Jul 2017
P&G's anti-racism 'My Black is Beautiful' initiative has been running for over a decade, and it's still going strong as BBDO New York and Malik Vitthal have delivered its most powerful ad yet. This two minute film travels through time to explore 'the talk' which black parents in America still feel they have to have with their children.

Audi
"Test Drive"
2 mins
25 Jul 2017
One fears this bloke has spent too long down at the test track. Still, his fervent performance anchors this US Audi commercial. You wouldn’t hear this spiel down your local car dealership. As horseshoes rain down and bees turn to bullets, the caretaker suggests that casual motorists need not apply.

Apple
"The Rock"
3 mins 30s
25 Jul 2017
The Rock is at his non-stop best in this amusing short film for Apple. Siri facilitates the movie star's schedule as he decides to check off some things from his 'life goals' list. Just a few simple tasks... like flying his own plane to Rome to paint a fresco. This is a smart piece of work, capitalising on future President Dwayne Johnson's reputation as the nicest guy in show business.

Ford Fiesta
"Progress"
60s
21 Jul 2017
Ford have released this nostalgic film to celebrate the debut of its 'all-new' Fiesta. With thoroughly British actress Keeley Hawes behind the wheel, we see the new model take to the streets... and a trip through time. The ad sets out to position Ford as a constant through the nation's history, taking us from the first Fiesta leaving the factory in 1965 to today's new innovations.

Under Armour
"Misty Copeland"
90s
20 Jul 2017
This compelling Under Armour commercial stars Misty Copeland - the first African-American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. It’s a far cry from the Metropolitan Opera House, but this empty arena proves the ideal stage. Agile's Georgia Hudson and DP Zoë White orbit Copeland’s graceful performance.

Opel
"Leadership"
2 mins 20s
19 Jul 2017
One wouldn’t immediately associate Opel with the new world order, but the marque clearly have a Mr Robot fan on staff. This cinematic commercial wears its tech-noir influences on its sleeve. The main protagonist is a computer hacker determined to crash The System - while her targets squirm, she prepares to strike.

The Horrors
"Machine"
4 mins 09s
19 Jul 2017
The Horrors frontman Faris Badwan introduces ‘Machine’ with: “Your smile is nothing to live for”. As opening lines go, that is cold. The warmth of previous album ‘Luminous’ is replaced by talk of “mannequin moves” and “cold simulation”. As for the promo, digital filmmaker Jon Emmony presents a hypnotic sequence of biomechanical mutations.

Nike
"Skates"
60s
18 Jul 2017
Nike’s irreverent streak continues with this disco-infused commercial. It’s a West Coast showdown between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. When Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson receives the ball, his opponents suffer a bad case of the skates. This gridiron tussle suddenly turns into a roller disco - complete with lighting pinched from Studio 54.

Honda
"Dream Makers"
90s
18 Jul 2017
This artistic ad for Honda explores the process of filmmaking, concentrating on the transition of ideas from page to screen. We see scripts coming to life - black and white words flowing into monochrome sketches which quickly gain colour, depth, and motion. The mix of live action, CG, and animation is kept in delicate balance by directors James Allen and Michael Skrgatic.

Renault
"Rosemary Smith"
3 mins 40s
11 Jul 2017
Renault have released this compelling film about Rosemary Smith: rally driver, racing champion, and oldest person to drive a 800bhp race car. Directing team Michel + Nico give us an intimate insight into her nerves before the record-breaking drive, intercut with glimpses of Rosemary's life behind the wheel.

Virgin Media
"Football Tunnel"
60s
17 Jul 2017
As players loosen those muscles and pine for transfers, Virgin Media welcome the 2017/18 Premier League season with some vocal support. This lad enjoys a quiet kickabout in a familiar-looking tunnel. He’s not alone for long, though - not when the Saints are marching on. Mark Jenkinson takes the fibre optic reins from Rogue colleague Sam Brown.

Samsung
"Polar Story"
60s
17 Jul 2017
This whimsical ad for the Samsung Max Space fridge depicts a kid creatively passing the time. While the film was created with local concerns in mind - many Ukrainian kitchens need to be smart with space - the emotional message is universal as it shows the boy counting down the days until his dad comes back from working at a polar station.

KFC
"The Whole Chicken"
60s
16 Jul 2017
When you see that someone has been credited as 'chicken choreographer' you know that you're about to watch something out of left field. And so it proved when DAVID hit the play button and discovered what Mother is doing for the first KFC television campaign since they won the account.

Nokia
"Bikerni"
3 mins
14 Jul 2017
This film for Nokia celebrating the all-female Bikerni Biker Club in India offers a fascinating insight into how determined women have to be if they want to go against the grain of misogyny. The film itself is beautiful but it never prettifies the subject matter and it retains a sharp focus on the way these women's sense of independence has been enhanced by their involvement with the club.

Village Green
"Salvation"
2 mins 13s
14 Jul 2017
So this is what happens when Noah Harris and Andy Biddle visit a car boot sale. The Blinkink duo turn bargain hunters for record label Village Green, and this beguiling short turns bric-a-brac into objets d’art. Harris and Biddle’s stop-motion expertise produces a conveyer belt of unexpected transitions.

WWF
"Protectors"
76s
14 Jul 2017
Director Martin Stirling swaps wrangling CGI tigers for the frontline in this compelling WWF commercial. Shot from a first-person perspective, the ad follows three protagonists as they pursue the charity’s goals - albeit in different ways. Pavel, Singye, and Ollie may never meet, but their respective efforts combine to meaningful effect.

IKEA
"Lion"
60s
14 Jul 2017
IKEA have an original take on nature documentaries in this amusing ad by Us and Mother. We observe a lion in a domestic setting... only it's a stylish living room rather than a savanna. Attenborough fans may want to look away now. The voiceover informs us that lions relax for up to eighteen hours a day, just so they can be ready when the perfect moment to strike suddenly arises.

Stihl
"Garden Magic"
60s
11 Jul 2017
Stihl’s debut UK ad pays homage to ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’. Instead of a grotty workshop, though, the protagonist must tackle the back garden. Dad’s pat on the shoulder doesn’t instil confidence... so how will he tame this suburban jungle? With a little help with from his friends, of course.

Grant's Whisky
"The Journey"
60s
11 Jul 2017
Blended whiskies often struggle to make an impression alongside their single malt contemporaries e.g. Laphroaig revelling in its divisive taste. However, the likes of Grant’s have raised their game. This classy effort suggests blended means business. As this smart-casual trio go forth, director Loren Denis makes astute use of limited surroundings.

HSBC
"Life Cycle"
60s
8 Jul 2017
A child provides the voiceover as a man recalls his life through a series of bike rides in this film promoting an HSBC initiative. We first see him with a playing card positioned to generate the cool noise loved by Generation X in their youth before we leap forward a few decades and see who he has become.

VW
"Finding Yourself"
60s
8 Jul 2017
This lovely commercial for VW - designed to underscore the car company's support for independent cinema in the UK - features an ageing hippy who claims to be "a condor, eddying on an invisible breeze" as he negotiates his vehicle through unfamiliar terrain. We might be inclined to believe him if it weren't for the telltale voice of his satnav coldly issuing the instructions which help him make his way to a remote spa.

HSBC
"Pride"
2 mins 53s
7 Jul 2017
This emotive film for HSBC explores the origins of the Pride march, tracing from its beginnings to where it is today. We're introduced to two men who have strong connections to the movement: Andrew, who was part of the first Pride march, and Jamie, a transgender man who carried the British flag during Pride London.

Three
"Sloth-Dolphin"
60s
6 Jul 2017
Three expand their menagerie of hybrid beasts with the chill-yet-energetic Dolphasloth. Much like the flamboyant Giraffeamingo - which amusingly combined the most distinctive features of both creatures of origin - this guy features the head and arms of a stoned-looking sloth, and the tail of a peppy dolphin.

Spec Films
"Keeping Cupid Busy"
1 min 51s
6 Jul 2017
Cupid has become weary with the modern world in this fascinating spec film for dating site OkCupid. Taking the form of an ageing union guy - married to his job and not ready to quit despite his constant bellyaching - he decries the modern world and the complexity of love in it. This is an American Gods-esque portrait of Cupid: grizzled, grouchy, and jaded - just the way we like him.

Five Star Work

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