David Reviews

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

AD BREAK - GOGGLEBOX 17TH MAY
20 May 2019

The first commercial break in Friday night's broadcast of Gogglebox on Channel 4 is bit of teacher's pet in the world of advertising. DAVID doesn't know what it is about its 2.5 million viewers that's so appealing but it's regularly used to launch new campaigns and has - on several occasions - provided the first TV sighting of the John Lewis Christmas extravaganza. So, it's not exactly a typical ad break. But it feels like the right one to choose for the first in a new feature at DAVID where we take a look at commercials in their natural habitat.


In keeping with this reputation as a canvas for significant debuts, Gogglebox was chosen as the platform for the latest big budget Warburtons ad. Having previously had Sylvester Stallone, Peter Kay and Kermit the Frog presenting their ideas to Jonathan Warburton, it was entirely in keeping with this campaign's ambition that they turned to Robert De Niro to make his case.

Seeing one of the icons of American cinema in a British TV commercial provokes a feeling similar to the one generated when the Dutch footballer Ruud Gullit became a player in the English Premiership. Sure, we all knew he'd only done it for the money, but there was still something stirring about the sight of a global superstar doing his thing over here.

De Niro gives it his all. By which we mean he unleashes all the goofy faces he reserves for his comedy performances. Stuart Heritage writing in The Guardian claims that De Niro's performance in this ad represents "his best work in living memory". To borrow from the pun-laden vernacular of the ad itself, it's hard to believe this was a perspective formed without significant amount of dough changing hands, but it's certainly true that the beautifully chaotic delivery from seasoned comedy director Declan Lowney jumps around too quickly for De Niro's overblown comic sensibility to derail it. It also sells bagels. It really sells bagels. And lest we forget, that's the point of the exercise.

The whole thing is a grand piece of theatre. Merely getting De Niro on board was a magnificent achievement, and neither the script nor the delivery squanders the opportunity... making it a hard act to follow.

Something has to though and in this ad break the task falls to Ford's grandiloquent campaign for their Transit van. It feels like a Super Bowl ad - not one of those that wins water cooler attention, so much as one which forgettably tunes in to the event's inherent jingoism.

In an era where 'white van man' has come to represent blinkered bigotry, Ford has to decide whether to pander to the trope or resist it. This testosterone-soaked affair leaves no doubt which way they decided to jump as they portray Britain as the man's, man's, man's world imagined by James Brown with barely a glimpse of a woman's face to break up the male hegemony.

Queen's 'We Will Rock You' could be considered a subversive track to provide the musical accompaniment given that the much-missed Freddie Mercury's fondness for this kind of macho energy was of an altogether different hue. But as it's the band's most anthemic track, and it's already been repurposed as a rabble-rousing sports stadium standard, it's hard to see it as anything other than the safest of safe choices.

These two lengthy ads only left room for one more commercial in this break, and McDonald's stepped into the breach with a film pushing their latest coffee-based drink. Over the past few years, the fast food chain has brilliantly positioned itself as an alternative to the myriad of pretentious cafés littering our high streets with their complex caffeine offerings. It's created a lovely vein of advertising which must also have gained McDonald's some real traction in this market.

The latest iteration cleverly allows McDonald's to advertise their iced latte using sexy over-the-top imagery while claiming that that's not what they're doing, and because they've already established the motif of anti-pretentiousness, it works.

With Burger King's excellent new work out of BBH indicating that McDonald's most direct competitor has suddenly remembered that advertising is a worthwhile investment, McDonald's are going to have to rise to a new challenge. The UK advertising for the brand by Leo Burnett London has been consistently excellent and we suspect they will be relishing the coming battle.

Speaking of battles, next week's Ad Break column will examine the commercials which appear during Sky Atlantic's broadcast of the last ever episode of 'Game of Thrones'. Let's hope the programme's notoriously fussy devotees like what they see, or they'll be angrily demanding rewrites like a dysfunctional ECD.

Stories

TASH TUNG ARRIVES AT BLINK.

Blink have added director, photographer, and visual artist Tash Tung to their burgeoning roster.


GAIA BORRETTI JOINS THE ASSEMBLY ROOMS.

Talented editor Gaia Borretti has bolstered the team at The Assembly Rooms.


PULSE FILMS SIGN FINN MCGOUGH

Pulse Films have signed director Finn McGough for worldwide representation.


HOMESPUN YARNS DIRECTORS ANNOUNCED.

The three directors selected by Homespun Yarns to turn their pitches into films have been announced.


TWO SIGNINGS IN THE MIX AT JELLY LONDON.

Jelly London have strengthened their ranks by signing paper craft expert Hattie Newman and self-taught animator Allen Laseter.


NERDO HOOK UP WITH PARTIZAN STUDIO.

Partizan Studio are pleased to announce the signing of Italian animation outfit Nerdo to their roster.


RICHARD 'STRETCH' RUSSELL JOINS BIG BUOY.

Flame artist Richard Russell - otherwise known as 'Stretch' - has joined the growing team at Big Buoy.


JOHNNY KELLY ARRIVES AT ANTIDOTE.

Animation whizz Johnny Kelly has joined Antidote for representation in Ireland.


MARTHA DELAP COOKS UP A STORM AT PARK VILLAGE.

Park Village are pleased to announce the signing of renowned food director Martha Delap to their roster.


CHARLES BURROUGHS JOINS MAD COW

Multi-talented Canadian director Charles Burroughs has joined the roster at Mad Cow.


NOT TO SCALE ORDER SOME PANDAYOGHURT.

Colourfully-named director and designer Pandayoghurt has joined Not To Scale for commercial representation.


VALENTINA BE JOINS DIRTY FILMS.

Italy's Valentina Be has become the latest addition to the roster at Dirty Films.


AGILE FILMS WELCOME GILES RIPLEY.

Agile Films are pleased to announce the signing of director Giles Ripley for commercial representation.


OLIVIA WILDE JOINS ANONYMOUS CONTENT.

Olivia Wilde, the director of critical darling 'Booksmart', has joined Anonymous Content for worldwide representation.


CRAFTWORKS @ LOCO

We're doing a special CraftWorks at LOCO -The London Comedy Film Festival.


ANNEX BRING MATEO WILLIS ON BOARD.

Annex Films have signed wildlife director and cinematographer Mateo Willis for worldwide representation.


FARAZ SHARIAT JOINS COMPULSORY

Compulsory have signed German-Iranian director Faraz Shariat to their roster for UK representation.


MERMAN SNAP UP ANTON CORBIJN.

Anton Corbijn says he is "extremely positive and excited" after sealing a move to Merman.


PRETTYBIRD COLLABORATE WITH THEO ADAMS.

Director and performance artist Theo Adams is pleased to call PrettyBird "home" after joining their Collaborators roster.


EMILY MAYE ARRIVES AT YOU ARE HERE.

US-born director and photographer Emily Maye has brought her eye for sporting endeavour to You Are Here.


PAUL HARRISON COMES HOME.

Acclaimed colourist Paul Harrison has returned to Freefolk London after two successful years in New York City.


FLOCK SWOOP FOR NICK LOFTING.

FLOCK have added veteran cutter Nick Lofting to their core roster.


AD BREAK - GAME OF THRONES.

According to The Guardian, 3.2 million people watched the final episode of Game of Thrones in the UK when it was broadcast at two o'clock in the morning on 21 May.


SAM CADMAN JOINS ANOTHER FILM COMPANY

Sam Cadman has signed with Another Film Company for UK representation.


PETE CANDELAND SIGNS FOR PARTIZAN.

Partizan have signed animation whizz Pete Candeland for commercial representation.


Stories

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