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

OB MANAGEMENT WELCOME JÖRN THRELFALL

OB Management have welcomed Jörn Threlfall to their roster for commercial representation.


FOREVER SIGN DANICA KLEINKNECHT.

Sasha Nixon and Forever are "thrilled" to confirm the signing of Los Angeles-based director Danica Kleinknecht.


TREY EDWARD SHULTS SIGNS TO ACADEMY

Up-and-coming director Trey Edward Shults has joined Academy films for representation in the UK and Europe.


MR BEN JOINS VISION.

Vision are pleased to announce the signing of production designer Mr. Ben for immediate representation.


ARROW FILMS TAKES FLIGHT.

Irish production house Russell Curran is no more, and in its place stands Anne-Marie Curran and Arrow Films.


RATTLING STICK WELCOME BACK HAMISH ROTHWELL.

Kiwi filmmaker Hamish Rothwell is back in the UK with Rattling Stick, and he’s keen to hit the ground running again.


JOE CONNOR SIGNS TO ROGUE

Acclaimed director and 'curious soul' Joe Connor has joined the roster at Rogue.


IVAN BIRD'S NEW MOXIE PERCH.

A little while after Ivan Bird took up a new perch at Moxie Pictures, we had a little chat with him.


EMILIE THALUND JOINS HENRY.

Danish director Emilie Thalund now has French representation courtesy of HENRY.


YOU ARE HERE ARE TWO UP

You Are Here have kicked off the new year with a pair of additions to their already impressive roster: Ryan Schude and Jesse Lewis-Reece.


FAT LEMON SCORE DAN CASTELLA.

Fat Lemon have strengthened their comedy offer by adding Dan Castella to their roster.


JOSEF BATES REACHES GIDDY NEW HEIGHTS AT PRETTYBIRD.

English comedy director Josef Bates has expanded the directorial options at PRETTYBIRD with the addition of his name to their already impressive roster.


OLLY CHAPMAN.

Furlined's London MD Olly Chapman has suddenly died at the age of just 53.


LUCY FORBES HEADS TO SMUGGLER

Smuggler are pleased to announce the signing of breakout director Lucy Forbes to their roster.


ANTIESTÁTICO WELCOME MARCO GENTILE.

Well-travelled filmmaker Marco Gentile has become the latest to join Antiestático for UK and Spanish representation.


MARCUS TORTORICI LANDS AT SPINDLE.

American-born director Marcus Tortorici says he’s chanced upon “something special” in the form of Spindle Productions.


FLAURA ATKINSON JOINS STITCH EDITING

Stitch Editing have added talented young editor Flaura Atkinson to their line-up.


FLORIAN JOAHN IS COMPULSORY MATERIAL.

Director-slash-photographer Florian Joahn has joined COMPULSORY for worldwide representation.


TEMPLE CACHÉ JOIN BIRTH PRODUCTIONS.

Birth Productions have further strengthened their roster by signing production outfit Temple Caché.


JON HOZIER-BYRNE SIGNS TO RUSSELL CURRAN

Irish filmmaker Jon Hozier-Byrne has signed to Russell Curran's roster of directors.


SEBASTIEN GUY WALKS INTO THE VISIONARIES.

Actor-turned-director Sebastien Guy has joined The Visionaries for UK representation.


NEW DUO FOR MY ACCOMPLICE

The eclectic roster of highly talented directors at My Accomplice has been further bolstered by the arrival of Dorothy Allen-Pickard and Rohan Blair-Mangat.


RATTLING STICK WELCOME MISKO IHO.

Finland's Misko Iho is pleased to join his compatriot Pete Riski at Rattling Stick.


GEORGI BANKS-DAVIES JOINS ROGUE.

Georgi Banks-Davies has renewed her highly productive connection with Kate Taylor by joining her at Rogue.


EVERYTHING'S HUNKYDORY WITH DAVID SYMMONS.

HunkyDory have completed the signing of First Dates and 24 Hours in A&E director David Symmons for commercial representation.


Stories

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