David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Latest Work
    • Of human bondageAn intriguing and futuristic ad for BBC Earth questions what really makes us human. Is it our capacity for abstract thought, or language?
    • Podcast - The Social Media BacklashOur latest podcast examines the social media backlash faced by Pepsi and McDonald's in the last few weeks.
    • Five Favourite... Car AdsAppreciating five of our favourite car ads from 2017 so far.
    • Up the Boatmen.Budweiser reaffirm their support of grassroots football in this engaging film.
    • Nocturnal AnimalsThis high-octane ad for Superdry shows a group of friends getting up to no good after dark.
    • Black Label score a hat-trick.Black Label have signed three directorial talents to their roster: Kathryn Ferguson, Lisa Gunning, and Tell No One.
    • What a TearjerkerKFC announce the arrival of their Nashville Hot chicken on our shores with this classy ad.
    • Repeat after me.Kelly’s struck a chord last year with their Cornish-language commercial. Now the brand wants us to become fluent… well, that may be a stretch.
    • When opposites attract.With festival season looming, Vero and Nexus director Kibwe Tavares offer a fantastical spin on muddy fields and watered-down lager.
    • Rooms with a view.This Irish Virgin Media ad offers something for almost everyone.
    • Sway and SlayThree introduce us to a pair of animated giraffes whose confidence levels couldn't be more different.
    • The sound choice.BBC Four pay tribute to high fidelity with these well-crafted idents.
    • Beast of friends.Toilet paper and cuddly mascots seem to go arm in arm. Andrex have their puppy; Cushelle has a CG koala; now Lotus unleash an animatronic yeti.


Wednesday, 14th June.
Betwen 4.30pm and 6.30pm.

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

Tickets: £20 plus VAT.

● Sharon Horgan.

● GiffGaff.

● W.I.Z.

● Graham Rose tribute.

● The reunion.


BBC Earth
"Being Human"
25 May 2017

An intriguing and futuristic ad for BBC Earth questions what really makes us human. Is it our capacity for abstract thought, coupled with a seemingly unparalleled ability to share information via language? How much of it is inextricably linked to our sensory systems, from proprioception - our awareness of our own bodies in their immediate surroundings – to the pleasure or pain that different experiences evoke?

For instance, we've all walked into an unfamiliar house and been struck by the smells that combine to create its own unique signature. We can divine from the fusion of cooking odours, cleaning sprays, pets, perfumes and more whether it's a happy home, or a busy one; whether the people who inhabit it have the same kinds of priorities as ourselves or whether we just want to get the hell out. Every single person has a way of connecting to the world that is completely their own thanks to the the way our brain's neural networks grow and adapt from infancy... so what would a self-aware machine – a cyborg - make of this?

The ad features such a creature explaining 'she' can do many of the things humans can. As she speaks, facing away from us, the back of her head is uncannily exposed to reveal its inner circuits and wires; emphasising her otherness. But for all her synthetic composition, when she turns to address the camera directly we can't help but note the remarkably expressive face she has; full of wistfulness; subtle and delicate despite the somewhat rigid mouth. She can merely dream of what it is to be human... although only metaphorically at that: dreaming is beyond her.

The spot feels like a lament from an intellect that, although potentially superior, yearns to enjoy a more holistic experience of consciousness. All of which which makes us question whether we're merely responding to a voice designed to sound sad, or if 'she' is indeed feeling something after all.

While the 'human' AI trope has been covered many times, this is done in a rather lovely way here. Better set 'Being Human' to record and hope we discover some answers.

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Podcast - The Social Media Backlash

Pepsi and McDonald's have both faced the ire of the crowd in recent weeks. The fizzy drink brand received a universal shellacking when they implied that a can of their sugary offering could bring a riot under control if handed over by a young female member of the Kardashian clan.

The response to McDonald's recent commercial dealing with bereavement was more nuanced but no-one can deny that lessons need to be learned.


Five Favourite... Car Ads

Car ads are a unique art form - striking the balance between product, narrative, and emotional punch can be a fine line to walk and takes no small talent to pull off.

Here - in no particular order - are just a few of our favourites which have come through the door since January.


"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.

The club’s objectives are a world away from Champions League qualification. For Sholing - currently playing in England’s ninth tier - safeguarding its future for three more years is the target. As one emotional fan demonstrates, the club’s place in the community is priceless.

Despite the Universal Stadium’s modest surroundings, director James Wallis and DP Ben Marshall pick out some apt details: a foam finger from Sholing’s FA Vase triumph hangs with pride; ads for local businesses surround the pitch; while you can pick out individual voices in the crowd.

'Adopting’ a lower-league team has become a popular means of strengthening a brand’s supposed sporting credentials. Through their generous investment, the lager hopes to raise awareness for other non-league clubs. An engaging palate cleanser after this season’s top-flight escapades.

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"The Night is Young"
25 May 2017

This high-octane ad for Superdry shows a group of friends getting up to no good after dark. Made by acclaimed promo director Courtney Phillips, it has the fashionable youngsters hopping fences, blowing things up, and running foul of the law. They even get frisky in public places and flash drivers from a bridge, the scamps.

The clip has a cool, grungy quality which will make anybody think twice about a cup of tea and an early night... especially as it's scored by the rambunctious energy of heavy rock/blues duo The Graveltones.

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On This Day

29 May 2009
This highly amusing piece created by Thinkbox to remind companies that TV is still the best loved medium for advertising has a man on a psychiatrist's couch recalling famous lines of copy and channelling them despite being in a semi-catatonic state.

29 May 2009
This lovely French ad shows a young black man trying a variety of different styles in a constant bid to re-invent himself. McDonald's is somewhere he can go without needing to resort to such pretensions... it's a clever tone of voice for the fast food restaurant.

James Corden's World Cup Live
"Begging You"
29 May 2010
A clever spoof of the recent Adidas commercial is used to advertise a forthcoming television programme featuring James Corden. It's really nicely filmed and is pretty persuasive unless, that is, you've ever watched anything featuring James Corden.

"Taxi Driver"
29 May 2012
Another in the new series of films celebrating VW's sponsorship of independent film has a guy in a diner explaining how he challenged Robert De Niro. He doesn't realise that he's given the actor the line for which he'll become most closely associated. It's a joyous idea and it's been beautifully executed.

29 May 2012
Why is this sweet old woman who is so prone to disaster apparently indestructible? You have to watch to the end to find out. This commercial co-directed by Academy's latest signing only won a Silver Lion at last month's Cannes Festival - you really have to wonder what the jury was thinking... this is advertising gold.

"Don't Be Scared"
3 mins
29 May 2013
Teasers have been running all week for what promised to be a spectacular commercial and the zombie-ridden film that took over the whole of a C4 ad break didn't disappoint. A series of excellent gags slowly reveal that the walking dead aren't necessarily as frightening as they seem... much like the advertised service.

Yorkshire Bank
"Everyday Heroes"
29 May 2013
Bankers aren't heroes. Well, that's an understatement and a half but this ad claiming that they are the mere servants of those who actually do things that keep the country going is very well done. It's attractively filmed and has a deliberateness that's clearly designed to say something about the advertised institution's reliability.

The Sun
"Do Us Proud"
1 min 40s
29 May 2014
One of the curious things about magic tricks is that they're often much more impressive when you know how they've been done - and this ad allows us to literally see behind the curtain at around 01:07 when the fella with the pole almost blows his cover. It looks like a mea culpa cleverly designed to avoid accusations of dishonesty, because this stunt is as real as the advertised newspaper's notorious 'Fake Sheikh'.

Irish Lotto
29 May 2014
Humour and lottery advertising don't normally go hand in hand, so it's a delight to see this spot which is not only genuinely amusing but bears repeat viewing. Spoofing the epic vibe of popular TV and film series which are all myth and majesty, it features a gnomic guru atop a rocky peak staring into the abyss of the future... and a dogged hiker who wants his help.

"The A-Z of YouTube"
2 mins 25s
29 May 2015
As technology expands, the list of things of which we ask the question “What would we do without...?” grows. With YouTube celebrating its tenth birthday this year, this arresting film pays tribute to the online video platform that has become a pillar of modern society. Flying Object and Partizan have found an innovative way of showing us how we can never limit ourselves to one clip.

The Singing Estate
"Carmina Burana"
29 May 2006
Channel 5's forthcoming reality show will have professionals trying to teach the residents of a housing estate how to sing and by the look of the evidence here they will have to work pretty hard (or move in some ringers). Trail makes it look like compelling viewing.

29 May 2006
A policeman owns up to an unhealthy interest in big-chested, publicity machine Katie Price (aka Jordan) in this amusing piece for the gossip-based magazine. Quiet Storm once more working wonders on a shoestring.

ITV Sport
"World Cup Memories"
29 May 2006
ITV's World Cup salvo shows football fans through the generations reflecting a variety of different fashions as they agonise over England's various triumphs and disasters. Sadly, the commercial channel will, as ever, take a pasting in the ratings in comparison to the BBC, despite the latter being hampered by John Motson.

Lloyds Pharmacy
"Factor 15"
29 May 2006
In the first few moments of this commercial, Phillipa Forester walks among a group of happy children playing in the summer sunshine and uses the word "cancer" to remind us how important it is that the little darlings are slathered in sun cream. Scare tactics or sensible advice?

Zoo Weekly
29 May 2006
The two young scamps in this ad tell us they were given £10,000 to make an ad for Zoo Weekly but that they decided to spend the money on lingerie for a well-endowed model who appears in the pages of the magazine. Here's an irony... how much to do you suppose the ad actually cost to make?

Hay On Sky
29 May 2007
A neat conceit here as we are shown scenes purporting to be the Hay On Wye literary festival but looking rather more like Glastonbury. Froggy-voiced Mariella Frostrup explains that Bill Clinton once called the annual bookfest a "Woodstock of the mind".

29 May 2007
The new MPV from Mercedes is so well-equipped to deal with families that the stork who delivers new-borns decides that a family owning one should receive all available babies. Holding an armful of little ones the father of the family protests to the stork that the car is not his but the neighbour's.

Audi TT
"0.2 Seconds"
29 May 2007
"What can you do in 0.2 seconds?" Don't ask Mrs DAVID that question as it will provoke an unflattering reply. In this ad for the Audi TT, the car's ability to change gears swiftly is contrasted with a wide range of human activities that barely get underway in the allotted time span.

Audi A4
29 May 2007
A gap between cars on a quiet suburban street is filled in dramatic fashion by the driver of the A4 to illustrate that, in contrast to other luxury cars, the owners of the new Audi prefer to drive themselves and can to it with some style. Clever inverse snobbery which suits the brand.

Pretty Polly
29 May 2008
A woman emerges from a giant make-up compact accompanied by classical music. The camera examines her legs like a fetishistic voyeur and she eventually pops on her panties and departs allowing the range of cosmetics products to come into focus.

"Honda Live"
3 mins 10s
29 May 2008
This ambitious commercial ran live on Channel 4. The risky decision was vindicated by the completion of the stunt as well as by a tremendous amount of attendant publicity. This ad marks a new high watermark in the advertising industry's ever growing fondness for event-oriented commercials.

Big Brother
"Full Metal Jacket Spoof"
29 May 2008
A spoof of Full Metal Jacket (and just about any army training sequence in an American film) has the presenters of Big Brother's Little Brother gearing up for their contribution to this year's voyeurfest which is, we are sad to report, now extremely imminent.

Peugeot 207
29 May 2009
A man's heart rate increases as he drives home in his Peugeot... it appears to be because of the thought of his beautiful wife at home as she pampers herself ready for his return but, in fact, it's the car which is giving him the cardio-vascular workout. Still, that's marriage for you.

"Little Girl"
29 May 2009
A little girl tries a huge variety of different styles in a bid to establish her own luck in this charming French commercial for McDonald's. She's able to stop her experimenting when she pops into the fast food restaurant because there 'you can come as you are'.

"The New Song Contest"
29 May 2010
The 'hard chorus' campaign continues with this slightly stuttering effort advertising an online contest. While it's a neat idea to include real football fans, they need to be careful that the end result isn't so real that its menacing.

On This Day

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