David Reviews

 "You're not an artist, Peggy. You solve problems." Don Draper.

    • Getting out of an in-joke.Following his appearance in an earlier ad which showed Kad Merad searching in vain for his Canal+ password, the French-Algerian actor has been constantly asked by members of the public for his password.
    • Time to come down his chimney, as it were.Thanks to the Norwegian Post Office, we've already established that Santa is gay, so it's no surprise to see him camping it up in this trio of lovely commercials for Virgin Holidays.
    • Breeze through it.There's an invisible star to this well-crafted ad for Mercedes-Benz: the wind.
    • Mask on, mask off.Drag culture has become mainstream in recent years, and this aesthetically-pleasing commercial for hit series The Masked Singer makes the most of it.
    • Future proof.This excellent German commercial for Mercedes-Benz invites us to imagine a future in which electric vehicles are practical, sexy, and appealing to all.
    • Contented castaway.Australian actor and comedian Rebel Wilson fronts this intriguing commercial for Fiji's tourism board.
    • Alone in the dark.This slow-burning piece of work for Women’s Aid is a deft study in loneliness and suffering.
    • Take a dive.This Ford Ranger commercial subverts expectations about what a pick-up truck ad should be.
    • Historical bouts.Ever wondered what a history documentary made by a bookmaker would look like? No? Well, erm, Betway have got you covered anyway with this cinematic effort.
    • Drop the act.Two actors bid to out-method each other in this excellent satire on the craft.

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Mercedes-Benz
"The Future"
2 mins 08s
6 December 2021

This excellent German commercial for Mercedes-Benz invites us to imagine a future in which electric vehicles are practical, sexy, and appealing to all. Of course, it turns out that future is now. Director Nina Holmgren has the vintage vibes down to a tee here, as a bloke from the Seventies finds himself transported into a futuristic version of the modern day.

With the piece featuring silver-skinned aliens, chess-playing robots, and a giant squid posing for pictures, it's a wild ride from the get-go. The location and production design alike evoke classic sci-fi and Star Trek in particular - we almost expect Captain Kirk to show up and take on a Gorn with a double-handed punch.

This is a fun and compelling way to remind viewers that current vehicle tech - not relying on fossil fuels in particular - was unthinkable only a few decades ago. Car enthusiasts and science fiction nerds alike may be back for a second watch to appreciate all the incidental details.


Tourism Fiji
"Open for Happiness"
90s
7 December 2021

Australian actor and comedian Rebel Wilson fronts this intriguing commercial for Fiji's tourism board. The film opens with her stranded on a makeshift raft in a glitzy dress, questioning if it's worth dedicating one's life to the pursuit of happiness. Idyllic surroundings when she makes landfall help create a compelling case for doing so.

Pristine beaches, swanky restaurants, and friendly locals all contribute to the impression of Fiji as an ideal holiday destination - a tranquil, clear-watered location to get away from it all. It seems the archipelago's post-Covid reopening is kicking off with a bang.

It's a particularly compelling watch from a dreary UK, where increasing Omicron variant cases threaten to put a stop to many plans for getaways over the festive season. White sands and blue water feel especially dreamlike at present, and Fiji will be hoping people act on the urge to visit as soon as it's safe to do so (apart from Wilson's Hollywood advisors).


Women's Aid
"Sinking"
8 mins 21s
7 December 2021

This slow-burning piece of work for Women’s Aid is a deft study in loneliness and suffering. Rose (Emma Nihill) lives with her husband in the countryside, with her idyllic surroundings contrasted with an ugly, paralysing homelife.

Viewers only sees glimpses of the husband (Ben Star), but Rose's reactions and gestures tell so much more. When a guest asks how the move has gone, she turns to him first before answering. The savage aftermath shows even acts like this do little to satisfy her abuser.

Even moments of 'respite' are tough to watch, like a jog that will ultimately take her home and a soak in the bath with bruises on show. The consummate photography and grade may please the eye, but director Shaun James Grant ensures that the plight of Rose and women like her dominates.


Ford Ranger
"Night-Swimming"
1 min 39s
8 December 2021

This Ford Ranger commercial subverts expectations about what a pickup truck ad should be. Agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and director Adam Berg eschew gruff voiceovers, guitar riffs, and dirt trails for a spot of wild swimming, and the decision quickly pays off.

This is in large part down to Berg and DP Joost van Gelder's immersive underwater photography, with the intrepid cast lit by truck headlights. As it turns out, the trucks are even closer to the action than expected.

A superb overhead shot reveals the trucks in the water rather than on the shore, further distancing the brand from its dust trail roots. Coupled with a Scandi-cool, trip-hop soundtrack, it's a pointed attempt to lower the average age of pickup owners.


Betway
"Our Nature (Director's Cut)"
1 min 50s
8 December 2021

Ever wondered what a history documentary made by a bookmaker would look like? No? Well, erm, Betway have got you covered anyway with this cinematic effort. As present-day sports commentary echoes throughout, the ad demonstrates how single combat has been integral to our species since day one.

Things have changed since the days of cavemen versus sabretooth tigers (a bout between Tommy Fury and Jake Paul almost happened, for goodness' sake), but the desire to win remains. The time-jumping premise means production designer James Hatt has his work cut out for him, but he and director Philippe Tempelman do each arena justice.


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On This Day
(1-25 of 25)

Orangina Red
"Bloody"
50s
9 Dec 2009
And we thought black cats were supposed to be lucky. A middle-aged man is forced to strip by a black cat wearing a bikini in this bizarre French ad which suggests that a new variant of the drink made with blood oranges is perhaps a bit too bloody.

Foster's
"Spoof"
25s
9 Dec 2010
This hilarious spoof of the current Foster's campaign takes advantage of recent events in Australia. The good news for Foster's is that it's rather an affectionate spoof and you can't really imagine the brewer being unhappy about the way its ad has been subverted.

Lady Dior
"Burlesque Miracle"
6 mins
9 Dec 2010
A burlesque dancer appears to cure a man's impotence in this overblown piece of nonsense featuring Marion Cotillard and Ian McKellen who should both know better. There's a side plot involving Russell Tovey as an artist but it doesn't add any coherence.

Victoria's Secret
"Fantasies"
90s
9 Dec 2010
After watching this ad directed by Michael Bay, we're pretty sure we've worked out what Victoria's secret is... she's actually a bald, overweight man with a penchant for soft pornography. About as sexy as receiving a rectal examination from Abu Hamza al-Masri.

Pot Noodle
"A Pot Noeldle Christmas"
75s
9 Dec 2010
A fantastic spoof of the annual Coca Cola ad shows a Pot Noodle van delivering Christmas cheer. As you'd expect, it isn't quite as wholesome an idea of the festive season as the one depicted by the soft drink giant from America.

ESPN
"Manchester Fans"
50s
9 Dec 2012
This is a terrific exposé of the rivalry between football fans. Two similar Mancunians - one supporting United and the other City - talk about how tragic their lives would be if they supported the opposition. Split screen is used excellently to drive home the message that they'd be exactly the same.

Marks & Spencer
"Christmas Food"
50s
9 Dec 2012
No one does Christmas food like Marks & Spencer and, just as importantly from our point of view, no one does Christmas food advertising like Marks & Spencer. An absolutely sumptuous display of gorgeous food is used to persuade punters to take the easy option by selecting a Christmas menu from the masters of the chiller cabinet.

Hermés
"A Holiday Haven"
85s
9 Dec 2015
Fans of Edward Koren's work will find much to enjoy in this charming ad for department store Hermés. The New Yorker magazine illustrator's signature furry style is lovingly brought to life in this tale of a reindeer, a Christmas tree, and a fuzzy creature of no fixed species making their way to Paris.

Old Mout
"The Voice"
60s
9 Dec 2015
We've all been stuck at the bar next to someone who just can't put a sock in it, but what are you supposed to do when you can't even see the chatterbox? That's the amusing conceit behind this ad for Old Mout Hard Cider. When Tommy strolls into a bar looking to quench his thirst, the VO - a graduate of the School of Drink Ad Narration - begins describing why the man has supposedly picked Old Mout.

Mobistar
"Her"
1 min 35s
9 Dec 2015
It's another Christmas tradition that advertisers use the festive season to promote togetherness through their products. With a roguish glint in their eye, Mobistar show why you really should keep in touch with your family. The path to true love never runs smoothly, and these two wind up tumbling into a ravine thanks to a party guest's revelation.

Chilly's
"DNA"
60s
6 Dec 2019
The recent popularity of DNA testing kits has ruined many a Christmas across the nation, exposing family secrets before the sprouts are even served. However, a hapless bloke takes things one step further in this entertaining ad for Chilly's water bottles. The man's delivery is deliciously awkward as he presents his in-law's Christmas gift - complete with a lengthy backstory.

Ancestry
"You Are Your Story"
90s
9 Dec 2019
Ancestry.com exploit Germany's divisive history to compelling effect with this 90" commercial from director Michael Lawrence, who charts one family's turbulent lineage from the late-nineteenth century to the present day. The costumes and set design boast plenty of beautiful period detail as you might expect, but there's also a theatrical quality to the piece.

H & M
"Moments in Between"
90s
9 Dec 2019
Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) celebrate the quieter moments of the Christmas season in this charming festive offering. From spending low-key time with loved ones to travelling to highly anticipated events, the film proves that not every minute of the holidays needs to be packed with distracting tinsel. Director Max Vitali handles the low-octane action nicely here.

Internaxx
"Cash Cowboy"
45s
9 Dec 2008
A cowboy explains how the internet has changed things. Intenaxx enables people to invest online which has made life a good deal easier as previously it was necessary for him to lasso cattle to make an 'investment'. To ensure we understand this is all allegorical, the cows are dotted with currency symbols.

Olympus Pen
"Call Me"
10s
9 Dec 2009
Kevin Spacey invites us to call him so that we can make beautiful pictures with him in the latest instalment of this engaging campaign. Shall we all do it? We could all turn up at the Old Vic with our cameras and surprise him. Come on... it'll be fun.

Burger King
"Restaurant Removal"
30s
9 Dec 2009
To illustrate the importance of 'taste' to Burger King, a restaurant is stripped away until a pair of customers are sat outside on their own. Oh that's right... punters make the mistake of going to Burger King for the décor instead of focusing on the food. Yeah, right.

Sainsbury's
"Salmon Snacks"
20s
9 Dec 2009
Another addition to orange supermarket's ongoing Christmas campaign shows Jamie Oliver knocking together some attractive looking smoked salmon snacks and washing it down with some Cava. This year's seasonal advertising continues to reflect the austere mood.

Got To Dance
"Davina McCall"
30s
9 Dec 2009
This amusing trail for a new series on Sky One has Davina McCall appearing to recreate a famous moment from the film Flashdance. This is all the more effective for the slightly awkward way in which McCall clambers on to the desk. Très bien.

LG Vacuum Cleaners
"Something's Lurking"
70s
9 Dec 2010
If you're going to suggest that household dust is perilous then you might as well do it in a fun way as LG have in this American ad. Dolls are used to face the figurative danger posed by ordinary dirt around the home as a rousing soundtrack brings home the action thriller metaphor.

Sainsbury's
"Christmas Cheese"
20s
9 Dec 2011
Children dressed as mice steal Jamie Oliver's cheese in the latest of orange supermarket's Christmas commercials. All these postscripts have softened the impact of Jamie's farewell... a bit like finding out that your flight is delayed just after you've done the big goodbye at an airport.

Terre d'Hermès
"Desert"
30s
9 Dec 2012
In this typically absurd - but aesthetically impressive - perfume ad, a man is coated with sand as he walks through the desert. We can only assume that the advertised smelly stuff has an arid quality and of that's the kind of thing that rocks your boat then clearly it's the perfect product for you.

Gran Turismo
"Beat"
2 mins
9 Dec 2013
This takes beatboxing to a whole new level... instead of creating percussive sounds, the young guy in this spot produces the throaty, turbo-charged revs of a racing car engine. He continues for so long there comes a point when you're wondering if his larynx will start bleeding, but it's very impressive and demonstrates that wherever you are, your head can be still competing in the vehicle of your choice thanks to Gran Turismo.

The Sun
"Christmas & New Year Magazine"
30s
9 Dec 2013
The inimitable voice of Derek Griffiths plus some smart casting do a good job of making this a better ad than the product deserves. In this age of Sky Plus etc, TV guides feel anachronistic - but this shrewdly appeals to its older, conservative target audience without alienating younger markets thanks to its judicial use of humour.

Hunter
"Christmas Lights"
1 min 50s
9 Dec 2013
An unsociable old grouch trudges along a roadside in the Scottish highlands; giving short shrift to the van driver who greets him in a festive manner. On and on he goes in the permanent gloom; finally fumbling for his key when he reaches his home miles from anywhere. What happens next takes us totally by surprise - but in a very good way indeed.

The Economist
"Mandela's Walk"
85s
9 Dec 2013
Arguably the greatest legacy of Nelson Mandela is the strength of the unity generated by the goodwill he invoked. So many people have spent the last twenty-three years naming him as their greatest hero that it's easy to forget he was such a divisive figure throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Many on the right were convinced that Mandela was a dangerous revolutionary and would not have been unhappy if he'd never been released from his long incarceration.

On This Day
(1-25 of 25)

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