David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Latest Work
    • Podcast - Brown BrothersFergus and Ewen Brown describe their journey from rural Scotland to seedy Soho.
    • The importance of kindness.This film was created by The Samaritans and Network Rail to persuade us to look out for one another and offer reassurance about the value of intervening if we think someone looks troubled.
    • Wire straits.Following 2015’s chaotic cord fail, this latest JBL commercial is a 30” comedy of errors.
    • Dasher, Dancer, PrancerMcDonald's draw on festive traditions in their charming Christmas offering for 2017.
    • A Place of One's OwnGirlguiding turn a demeaning admonishment into an empowering message in this excellent ad.
    • Take control.This Xbox commercial offers a luminous alternative to in-game tutorials.
    • Step by StepFamily reconciliation is at the heart of this unusual Christmas ad from German supermarket Penny.
    • Setting the stage.Given Paddington Bear’s starring role in the M&S Christmas ad, we’re surprised their food commercial doesn’t feature a lick of marmalade.
    • Nice Shirt Films sign Lucy Bridger.Up-and-coming director Lucy Bridger has joined Nice Shirt’s tailored roster.
    • Richard Peter Hunter joins Blink.Comedy director Richard Peter Hunter has joined Blink for commercial representation.
    • Back to humanity.The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness urge viewers to look beyond their own four walls and help a neighbour in need.
    • Frequently asked questions.Ask and you shall receive, says this entertaining Google Pixel ad from Droga5 and director Ian Pons Jewell.
    • Feel The ForceA kid is dismayed when his new neighbour appears to have succumbed to the dark side of the Force in this ad for Star Wars Battlefront II.


Wednesday, 15th November.
Between 4.30pm and 6.30pm.

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

Tickets: £20-£50 plus VAT.

● How We Made... Oxfam.

● Homespun Yarns.

● Christmas Crackers.

● Tango Reunion.


Podcast - Brown Brothers

This week's podcast brings together Fergus Brown of Smuggler and freelance producer Ewen Brown who most frequently plies his trade at Blink.

Separated by five years, the brothers made their way to the wilds of Soho from rural Scotland after being persuaded that film production was a lucrative business when the crew working on a Channel 4 production began buying the paintings from their parents' country hotel.


The Samaritans
"Small Talk Saves Lives"
1 min 34s
18 November 2017

This film was created by The Samaritans and Network Rail to persuade us to look out for one another and offer reassurance about the value of intervening if we think someone looks troubled. It's a superbly-judged piece of work. Director Matt Hopkins has shown great restraint giving the subject matter the gravity it deserves and - in doing so - has made a film which stands a chance of making a real difference.

This idea addresses the central dilemma we face when we recognise someone is distressed: whether we should say something to them. While it can never be unequivocally stated that the answer to this question is 'yes', this film offers a convincing argument that we should. And the source for this couldn't be more authoritative: Sarah Wilson uses the station's PA system to describe how an approach from a stranger when she was feeling suicidal proved to be exactly the intervention she needed.

Among the many misconceptions about suicide is the idea that it always comes from a deep-seated feeling which has an unstoppable momentum. In fact, it's been demonstrated repeatedly that the sense of despair felt by those going through these crises can often be interrupted by a kindly intervention. This is why it's so important to look out for one another and - as this film so poignantly demonstrates - step in and ask someone if they're all right whenever it looks as though they might not be.

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"Convenience Store"
17 November 2017

Following 2015 chaotic cord fail, this latest JBL commercial is a 30" comedy of errors. Betrayed by his own headphone wires, this bloke endures a painful trip to the shops. The bumbling music lover is mistaken for an armed robber… and these have-a-go heroes take no prisoners.

Director Guy Shelmerdine makes the most of his confined settings. A tight script combines punchy slapstick and a darkly humorous pay-off. Meanwhile, the brand encourage audiophiles to embrace the wireless revolution. After all, your freedom could depend on it.

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"Reindeer Ready"
17 November 2017

McDonald's draw on festive traditions in their charming Christmas offering for 2017. We see a little girl save a carrot stick from her happy meal to leave out for Santa's reindeer, keeping hold of it to ensure it reaches its intended recipient. When she gets home, however, her older brother throws a spanner in the works.

The casting here is spot on, and the performances - particularly the patiently indulgent dad and eager kid - are excellent. There's a lovely authenticity to the action (anyone who's pleaded with their toddler to put down the piece of food they've been carrying around all day will relate), and the understated approach works perfectly. Great work.

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"I Know My Place"
16 November 2017

Girlguiding turn a demeaning admonishment into an empowering message in this excellent ad. We see girls and young women taking part in activities across the country - from outdoor fun to science experiments - as they find their place among the guiding community.

The action here is never overstated, giving the film an authentic vibe and leaving us with an understanding of how much the girls get out of their involvement - and how much women can take from being a volunteer. The chugging, electronic soundtrack gives things a nice pace without rushing. Polished work with a great message - girl power.

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On This Day

Plane Stupid
"Polar Bears"
20 Nov 2009
This impactful film for the environmental lobbying group Plane Stupid renders a commonly expressed metaphor about effects of global warming into something literal. There are shades of another man-made disaster as figures fall from the sky to their demise.

H & M
"Oh My God"
20 Nov 2010
A rewardingly surreal offering from H & M advertising their Lanvin range. Mike Figgis directed this piece. It won't appeal to all but it's visually arresting and underlines H & M's self-proclaimed devotion to weirdness.

20 Nov 2014
Another in the excellent series from Guinness, this particular spot revolves around Bill McClaren - the legendary rugby commentator whose own playing career was cut short by a diagnosis of tuberculosis the day before he was due to play for his country. While that might break lesser men, McClaren merely found the closest thing to sport that he could in those circumstances.

Crédit Mutuel
20 Nov 2014
A beautifully crafted ad for Crédit Mutuel which features a young man slumped in front of the telly at home who suddenly notices something has started happening to him. As he stares at the screen, hair askew and beard creeping across his face, he discovers that his T-shirt is being replaced by a crisp white shirt that covers his tattooed forearms while the facial hair he sports is being magically erased.

Adnams Longshore
"Unhappy Rivals"
1 min 42s
20 Nov 2014
This delightfully silly ad shows vodka makers around the world tasting the offering from a new kid on the global block... and expressing apoplectic rage at its superior quality. All sort of cultural stereotypes are summoned as Russian, Finnish and - yes - French premium distillers vent their wrath at the bringers of such bad tidings.

20 Nov 2014
This wonderfully cast ad has a shrieking French revolutionary running away from the scene of an ambush towards an officer on horseback, who asks in alarm what has happened. "An assassin with a spear - akakak!" wails the revolutionary, jabbing with his hand to demonstrate the lethal quality of said spear, which, it is revealed, gamers get free when they pre-order Assassin's Creed: Unity from GameStop.

"The Journey to Christmas"
20 Nov 2015
Every aspect of this lovely piece of seasonal advertising has a wonderfully authentic feel to it. A family sets off in their car to visit relatives, and Wizzard's well-trodden classic 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day' comes on the radio as the long drive ahead begins. Working within the cramped conditions of a family car, director James Rouse uses trademark understatement to conjure a thoroughly charming scene as the rest of the family takes the opportunity to wind up Dad.

Helsinki Region Transport
"Arto Smeds"
20 Nov 2015
Oh, Arto Smeds - you may look nondescript, but wait till the world discovers you can stop huge vehicles simply with a gesture. This terrific campaign for the Helsinki Regional Transport app taps into the golden age of 80s cheesiness when people were fascinated by the idea of telekinesis and supernatural powers were depicted with truly terrible special effects.

Age UK
"Man on the Moon"
20 Nov 2015
This film underlining the importance of John Lewis's partnership with Age UK for this year's Christmas commercial offers a further insight into the plight of old people who feel abandoned by their family and friends at this time of year... and it's been achieved by making the agency look like the bad guys!

Paddy Power
20 Nov 2016
Paddy Power pay tribute to football’s hi-vis heroes in this terrific ad. Rooted to the spot with a limited pitchside view, it’s a hard-knock life being a steward. This one decides to change the game. Tired of looking at the crowd’s jeering mugs for ninety minutes each week, the steward plays his own “part” in the action. How? By placing a bet on the opposition.

"Christmas Wishes"
20 Nov 2005
Waitrose puts out a Christmas message with a number of their suppliers bidding us a happy Christmas. DAVID is guessing these people really are suppliers as they lack the sincerity that might be projected by professional communicators. Watch out for one guy in particular who delivers his message with all the warmth of a suicide note.

"Lady Grey"
20 Nov 2006
Stephen Fry and his unlikely sidekick Tyrone return in an ad that has the two of them hosting three 'Desperate Housewife' types who are fully informed about Twinings's new tea because Tyrone has been "filling them in". It's not just coffee that can be used a metaphor for sex then.

"Science Model"
20 Nov 2006
A plastic model designed to show anatomy to science pupils is cleverly animated in this ad to tell us all about Benylin. He even shows his own hypothalamus to demonstrate how the stuff works. The overall effect is fairly scary and would not be an ill fit in a horror movie.

Cadbury Snaps
20 Nov 2006
We see the secret thoughts of the three women in this ad as they sit down to coffee on a rooftop terrace. While remaining ostensibly polite, the subtitled indications of what is going on in their heads tells us that all they care about is getting as many chocolate biscuits as they can.

Helen Bamber Foundation
"Lost In F**king Translation"
2 mins 30s
20 Nov 2007
A truly shocking film designed to bring to our attention the plight of young women trafficked for sex. Apparently the victims of this crime are only taught the English phrases they will need to solicit for sex and this illustrated in emphatic fashion in this deliberately hyperbolic film.

Audi A5
20 Nov 2009
The driver of a transporter prefers to move the Audis one by one because they're so much fun to drive according to this Norwegian ad for the German car. As you'd expect, he's looking a little pleased with himself as he carries out his illicit drives.

Wrigley's Orbit
"Clean It Up"
20 Nov 2009
This American ad uses stop-frame animation to suggest it would be civilised to clean up after ourselves. A small ball collects all the crap in the street before becoming a figure which unleashes a bunch of mouths to help with the task.

"Shiny Suds"
20 Nov 2009
This American ad uses an amusing parody of a detergent ad to make a serious point about the need to know what's in our household products. The protagonist is made uncomfortable when forced to shower in front of the 'dirty' residue of her cleaning products.

Hellmann's Mayonnaise
"Christmas Jingle"
20 Nov 2009
The resurrection of this vintage ad may be another indication of the strange financial crisis in which we reside these days. It's a sped up version of the Twelve Days Of Christmas with words designed to reflect the versatility of the advertised mayonnaise.

20 Nov 2009
This heavy handed piece for the animal rights charity centres on a young girl invited to say grace at the Thanksgiving table. She takes the opportunity to berate her hosts for serving up turkey which has been inhumanly treated to support a vegetarian message.

20 Nov 2011
The free channels available on Freeview are almost more than this young man can handle as he travels around town trying to pick up balloons representing the different offerings. It must frustrate Sky and Virgin when the subscription-free alternative is advertised as effectively as this.

"Across The Land"
20 Nov 2011
Julie Walters explains everything blue supermarket is doing to make our Christmases special this year. This is an excellent piece of solid advertising... reminding us of Tesco's reach without hitting bombastic notes that might cause irritation.

Living With My Stalker
"A Real Life Thriller"
20 Nov 2012
Channel 4 remains very good at compiling sensational stories and dressing them up as documentaries. This stylistic trail advertises a classic of this genre... a programme called 'Living With My Stalker' that promises to give us an insight into the minds of those who commit this crime and their victims.

"Lisa's New Odyssey"
20 Nov 2012
The assets of the advertised vehicle suit Lisa, according to her friend who narrates this commercial. This is because she lives in a state of permanent chaos after giving birth to five boys. The Odyssey has apparently helped her cope with he busy life but plainly what she really needs is a vasectomy for her husband.

"David and Goliath"
20 Nov 2014
This joyous spot is a modern-day tale of David and Goliath. Back in 1978, the Irish team from Munster learned they were going to be playing New Zealand's All Blacks - a giant of a team in the sport whose sheer stature in terms of success could crush their opponents before they'd even stepped on the field. But Munster refused to listen - and as the footage shows, demonstrated that they were made as much of determination as they were of skill.

On This Day

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