David Reviews

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

Latest Work
    • The padawan's progress.‘Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order' receives a spunky commercial courtesy of 215 McCann and director Garth Davis.
    • Fresh wounds.One of sixteen films produced for South Africa's 1st for Women Foundation, this gut-wrenching instalment draws attention to the rape and murder of 19-year-old student Uyinene Mrwetyana.
    • In the bag.It speaks volumes for the quality of the competition at this year's Homespun Yarns that this delightful film directed by Claire Norowzian didn't take the crown.
    • Horror triumph at Homespun Yarns.This short film by Jamie Gyngell was the winner of this year's Homespun Yarns competition.
    • Which election is the Labour Party trying to win?Which election is the Labour Party trying to win?
    • Get Brexit shunned.It's foolish to ignore the skill of this piece of Brexit Party propaganda but there are reasons to believe that it could prove completely counter-productive.
    • Far Beyond The StarsSportswear brand Vollebak create an entire futuristic universe in just sixty seconds in this intriguing commercial.
    • Mistletones and whine.We like to imagine The Fast Show's Louis Balfour would love a piece of Buck Friendly & the Mistletones.
    • They call me the seeker.Director Finn Keenan's new gung-ho commercial for Nike introduces Western viewers to the concept of qiang diao.
    • Bike Not IncludedRyan Reynolds is no stranger to extended cinematic universes, so perhaps it's no surprise that he's created one in Adland.

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Labour Party
"It's Time for Real Change"
4 mins 40s
19 November 2019

Which election is the Labour Party trying to win? Certainly not this one to judge by this hapless piece of communication. Our country faces the greatest challenge to its democracy since World War II, and the leading opposition party is putting out films so dull that you could reveal the whereabouts of Madeline McCann at the end of it, and the secret would remain intact because no one would ever get to it.

The problem for Labour is that Jeremy Corbyn and his acolytes are under the impression that they won the 2017 election. They didn't. They didn't get crushed in the way that everyone thought that they would, but that doesn't mean anything now.

The threat posed by Boris Johnson's complete disregard for the truth requires a robust and dynamic response. And this film is wildly short of what's required, and there is absolutely no chance of it converting a single wavering voter. Depressing.


Brexit Party
"Don't Waste Your Vote"
2 mins 45s
25 November 2019

This is a very skilful piece of propaganda. It weaves two ideas together: one, that Leave voters have been let down by both of the major political parties. And, two, that the NHS has a funding crisis. Without being explicit, it suggests that these two things are connected. For those who voted Leave because of the simplistic claim that the money currently paid to the EU can be siphoned directly into our ailing health service, this fraudulent conflation provides a motive for supporting the Brexit party. It cleverly reinforces this idea without painting any lies on the side of a bus.

It was shrewd to minimise the presence of Nigel Farage. It's certainly true that the party which emerged like a phoenix from the UKIP bin fire is utterly dominated by the frog-faced bigot, but whoever made this film recognises that he is a divisive figure, especially among the Labour voters in the northern heartlands that this film is aimed at.

The good news from a progressive point of view is that this film has enough weight to split the Leave vote between this party and the Conservatives, and many Labour MPs will benefit from this. Let's hope so. It would be very satisfying to think that this piece of communication was sufficiently well aimed so as to be completely counter-productive.


Vollebak
"Deep Sleep Cocoon"
60s
12 December 2019

Sportswear brand Vollebak create an entire futuristic universe in just sixty seconds in this intriguing commercial. A man on a ship somewhere in the far darkness of space comes back to his pod wearing - for lack of a better phrase - a sleeping bag, and goes about the process of what passes for a nightly routine among the stars.

The design work here is lovely, hinting at winder context without giving the audience too many unnecessary details. From casual acceptance of asteroid strikes to custom-delivered vitamin supplements and inter-galactic message transmission, this is a delicately executed slice of sci-fi which suits the brand's tech-focused output.


Short Films
"Buck Friendly & the Mistletones"
1 min 32s
12 December 2019

We like to imagine The Fast Show's Louis Balfour would love a piece of Buck Friendly & the Mistletones. After all, who else would tackle Irving Berlin's ‘White Christmas' with a piano, a choir, and, er, a theremin?

That's the premise of this amusing piece of work from director Uncle Friendly, who imbues the 1942 classic with egotistical solos and a professional rivalry that boils over into straight-up violence.

It's the pianist's constant looks to camera that make the scene - his smug smile and debonair bemusement soon giving way to pure rage. Let's see if this triggers a spike in theremin sales before December 25th.


Nike
"Qiang Diao"
2 mins 17s
12 December 2019

Director Finn Keenan's new gung-ho commercial for Nike introduces Western viewers to the concept of qiang diao, or "confidence, swagger, or flair" in Mandarin. Everybody wants some; not least a certain nouveau riche tool in a pool.

From the comfort of his electric water-throne, the Shanghai big shot instructs one of his lackeys to find qiang diao and bring it back post-haste. Cue a madcap dash into China's biggest city and a sweaty journey of self-discovery.

Sure enough, as the attendant pleads with gymnasts, basketballers, skateboarders et al for help, he finds that - in the parlance of Thierry Henry - va-va-voom comes from within, not a catalogue. Good news for him, bad news for his deluded boss.

It's also good news for the audience, as the film chucks all manner of sporting flourishes and OTT sound effects their way. The elongated victory yell from the newly qiang diao'd protagonist is an especially fab touch.


QUICK SEARCH

Recent Promos
(1-25 of 25)

Osh
"Lunch Money"
2 mins 56s
13 Dec 2019
Home is where the heart is, the old adage goes. For up-and-coming rapper Osh, home is Norbury, south-west London, and that's precisely where we find him in director Glenn Paton's upbeat promo for ‘Lunch Money'. Driven by a jaunty piano riff and Osh's assured vocals, it's a familiar but textured glimpse at favourite hang-outs and community spirit.

Lous and The Yakuza
"Tous est gore"
3 mins 03s
12 Dec 2019
Congolese-born singer Lous & The Yakuza insists "everything is gore", which might explain why a river of blood appears in director Wendy Morgan's uncanny promo. It's one of many striking images conjured up by Morgan and DP Joel Honeywell, who make the most of L&AY's stage presence and preternaturally long dreadlocks.

Plan B
"First Past the Post"
4 mins 41s
11 Dec 2019
There's a popular social media post which describes voting as public transport rather than marriage, getting you where you need to go instead of a lifetime commitment. Plan B breaks things down further in this inclusive, educational promo, explaining the UK's electoral system in terms everyone can understand.

Leif Vollebekk
"Blood Brother"
4 mins 25s
5 Dec 2019
They say you should never sit on the top deck of a bus on your own, but - as this likeable promo for Leif Vollebekk demonstrates - there is fun to be had on occasion. So it proves for one introverted passenger, who turns round to see the Canadian folk singer in the middle of performing his latest track, 'Blood Brother'.

Empara Mi
"What You Gunna Do"
3 mins 42s
5 Dec 2019
Death and rebirth lurk in the shadows of this dramatic music promo for Empara Mi's latest single. The Guernsey-born singer - real name Chloe Curran - awakes in a nightmarish, red-lit basement, chained and haunted by a flaming figure as a mysterious black substance begins to consume her from the inside out.

Sam Fender
"Saturday"
3 mins 17s
4 Dec 2019
Matt ‘Super Hans' King stars in this nimble promo for Sam Fender's ‘Saturday', wherein the Peep Show actor finds himself bumped from his headline slot down the local social club. However, it takes more than a cancelled gig to keep Dave Candle down. Compelled by the so-called Geordie Springsteen's new track, King's luckless comedian shimmies and sways across town "to cure the weekday blues"

Skinny Living
"No Messiah"
3 mins 09s
3 Dec 2019
Skinny Living's new single ‘No Messiah' does anything but deliver easy answers. With a voice brimming with soul and candour, frontman Ryan Johnston tries to comfort a broken spirit but admits he's no saviour ("You gotta save yourself/This is the only thing that I can't do for you"). This bittersweet truth is ably captured by director Charlotte Regan.

Koffee
"W"
4 mins 41s
29 Nov 2019
At one point in this stormy, community-minded promo for Jamaican rapper Koffee, a weatherman urges viewers to "sit tight as this is something we may not have seen before." What follows suggests that if money doesn't grow on trees, it may just fall from the sky instead. Rarely have adverse weather conditions been so lucrative.

Blackbear
"Hot Girl Bummer"
3 mins 09s
29 Nov 2019
"Fuck you, and you, and you, and you/ I hate your friends and they hate me too" are the optimistic opening lines of this lo-fi track from Blackbear. The accompanying visuals are both zesty and eclectic, showing the artist in a variety of incongruous surroundings, but everything is trying so hard to be edgy that we can't take the lovechild of Eminem and Soundcloud seriously.

Rina Sawayama
"STFU!"
6 mins 19s
26 Nov 2019
At one point in Rina Sawayama's bracing new single ‘STFU!', the Japanese-English singer asks: "Have you ever thought about taping your big mouth shut?" Right now it seems like an inordinate number of people could stand to follow Sawayama's advice. One such individual is Ben Ashenden's ignorant-cum-racist first date.

Easy Life
"Nice Guys"
3 mins 39s
20 Nov 2019
Leicester quintet Easy Life dabble in celibacy, retro-futurism, and political satire with this Greg Barth-directed promo for ‘Nice Guys'. As guests on sexual abstinence talk show Brick by Brick Purity, the band are expected to get with the programme… only for lead singer Murray Matravers to drop an f-bomb within a minute.

DJ Shadow
"Rocket Fuel"
3 mins 46s
18 Nov 2019
Director Sam Pilling's latest music video for DJ Shadow is a mischievous blend of archive footage and lunar fisticuffs that also features a cameo from the late Stanley Kubrick. Well, sort of. Like 2016's ‘Nobody Speak' promo, geopolitics is reduced to a good old-fashioned punch-up as the Apollo 11 ‘mission' unfolds on a film set.

Louis Tomlinson
"We Made It"
4 mins 11s
15 Nov 2019
Is Louis Tomlinson turning into a Liam Gallagher tribute act? This promo for new single ‘We Made It' certainly suggests so. Sporting a windbreaker in an amusement arcade, the erstwhile One Directioner keeps his hands in his pockets as if he's about to shake the coin pusher when no-one's looking. Very rock and roll.

JGrrey
"Dreaming Fool"
3 mins 34s
12 Nov 2019
This JGrrey promo may take place in a black void, but there's still enough to maintain viewers' interest. Minimalist set design and vivid lighting are the order of the day here, as the neo-soul singer and her crew smoke spliffs, writhe on car roofs, and kick back on the sofa as if in some form of purgatory. Judging by her lyrics - "I don't wanna wake up/If this is what dreams are made of" - this suits JGrrey just fine.

Prospa
"Control the Party"
4 mins 41s
8 Nov 2019
Prospa's militant club banger ‘Control the Party' receives an equally thumping promo courtesy of director Jak Payne, who certainly wears his influences on his sleeve. Riffing on sci-fi horror tropes and clandestine government experiments, Payne subjects the protagonist (model Alice Dellal) to a short, sharp stay in a remote facility.

Battles
"Fort Greene Park"
6 mins 11s
7 Nov 2019
There's a relentless sense of flow to this piece for Battles' 'Fort Greene Park'. The film has a hypnotic quality as it showcases unusual methods of transport: unicycles, scooters, and infinite skateboards are all present and accounted for. The track's electronic pulse gives the visuals a sci-fi vibe, making the whole affair feel like excerpts from a futuristic movie in which walking has become obsolete.

Bastille
"Another Place (ft. Alessia Cara)"
3 mins 37s
7 Nov 2019
This Bastille promo from director Anna Radchenko feels like a left-field B&Q commercial. As frontman Dan Smith offers such pearlers as "I could write a book about what you said to me on the pillow", he tries desperately to hold back the flood with duct tape in a lopsided apartment. It's vividly staged, and certainly puts any minor DIY mishap into context.

Jeff Buckley
"Sky Blue Skin"
5 mins 55s
5 Nov 2019
Jeff Buckley's ‘Sky Blue Skin' may not be the jolliest thing you'll hear in the coming weeks, but the accompanying promo from directors Temple Caché is a thoughtful, tactile look at a musician who died well before his time. Shot like a moving scrapbook, the piece combines archive footage, still photos, and dreamlike imagery to winsome effect.

Twin Atlantic
"Novocaine"
3 mins 55s
6 Nov 2019
Glasgow rockers Twin Atlantic return in style with a new single and a colourful promo to match. 'Novocaine' sees the group in contemplative mood, evoking feelings of synesthesia and fractured memories as they chase the lingering impressions of past loves down twisted, and often cryptic, rabbit holes. An immersive sensory experience.

Redrum
"Unit 22"
4 mins 17s
29 Oct 2019
There's a grimy weight to this dark claymation promo for Redrum's 'Unit 22' which instantly sucks the audience into its world. Set during a rave on a dystopian frequency, the highly stylised action takes some seriously unexpected twists and turns once the, er, right substances are consumed. Claustrophobic and ever-shifting beats.

Rilès
"Thank God"
3 mins 46s
25 Oct 2019
French-Algerian rapper Rilès is a vision in black and gold in this confidently shot promo for latest track ‘Thank God'. Flitting between a rugged desert landscape and a black void, director Scotty Simper lets his bushy-haired lead express his gratitude to the man upstairs with abandon... oh, and a hefty supply of body paint.

Sam Fender
"The Borders"
4 mins 55s
24 Oct 2019
Having been described in some quarters as the 'Geordie Springsteen', Sam Fender's latest single 'The Borders' tells an emotionally-wrought story about friends growing up and growing apart. The accompanying promo enhances that poignant narrative, as director Thomas James explores a friendship ended by jealousy and mistakes.

Ritual
"Hard Times"
3 mins 01s
23 Oct 2019
A group of friends and their tangled romantic lives are the subject of this artsy promo for Ritual's latest single 'Hard Times'. The titular times are depicted in a series of break-ups and make-ups, with members of the various couples leaning on their friends for support in different ways - all held together by a neon-soaked club scene which suggests greater intrigue lies beneath the surface.

Icky
"The Beat"
2 mins 53s
22 Oct 2019
Beer bellies are brought to their logical conclusion in this surreal film directed by Neda. Paying irreverent tribute to Beyoncé's pregnancy photoshoot - among other cultural mainstays - the three-minute-piece combines blood, beats, and birth to offer an outstandingly hedonistic look at bringing new life into the world.

Katy Perry
"Harleys in Hawaii"
3 mins 14s
21 Oct 2019
This Manson-directed promo for Katy Perry's ‘Harleys in Hawaii' sees the pop singer ride a Harley Davidson. In Hawaii. Which is nice work if you can get it, we suppose. Come for Perry's overproduced ditty about fingers running through salty hair and stay for Manson and DP Arnau Valls's verdant depiction of America's fiftieth state.

Recent Promos
(1-25 of 25)

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