David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Latest Work
    • Everyone has their own fight.This engaging documentary gives a platform to boxer John Harding, a man for whom a second chance at life has been a long time in the making.
    • Frank Budgen:<br>An AppreciationFrank Budgen, who died earlier this month at the age of 61, was one of the finest directors our industry has produced.
    • The art of the grilled cheese sandwich.Squarespace tell the satisfying story of how the quest for the perfect grilled cheese sandwich grew into a New York favourite.
    • Cold with a chance of sweetie wrappers.Quality Street create their own meteorological magic with this charming festive ad.
    • Idris Elba's Siege mentality.This live action ad for 'Rainbow 6 Siege' has Idris Elba narrating on a hostage rescue with his signature authority.
    • These are the droids you're looking for.O2 give Star Wars fans an early Christmas present with an extended look at BB-8, the spherical droid that looks set to roll away with filmgoers' hearts.
    • Making us feel the loveThe little dog with the antlers who was just a bit player in an earlier ad now takes centre stage in this wonderful bit of daftness for Asda.
    • Time travel is the way forwardHelsinki Regional Transport even sounds uncool - that is, until you realise it's a mysterious power only the chosen people can tap into...
    • Hodor speaksIrish actor Kristian Nairn reprises his role in Game of Thrones in this direct assault on Apple by Samsung.
    • Are you a winner or a wiener?This amusing showdown courtesy of South African cider brand Savanna will give even the meekest of employees hope ahead of the office Christmas party.
    • The David Reviews Christmas ListThe Christmas ads, as they break.
    • Journeying into the Christmas unknownThis lovely piece of seasonal advertising for McDonald's has a wonderfully truthy feel as it shows a family setting off to visit their relatives.


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Short Films
21 mins 05s
23 November 2015

This engaging documentary gives a platform to boxer John Harding, a man for whom a second chance at life has been a long time in the making.

With candour and eloquence, Harding describes his upbringing on Lewisham's Woodpecker Estate - otherwise known as "the Ghetto". Every street corner, stairwell, and alleyway brings back memories for Harding, both positive and negative. Yet it's his admission that the risk of death was as routine as heading down the shops that stuns and horrifies.

Life as a Ghetto Boy gang member comes to an end with a prison sentence, but Harding's stretch opens eyes even further. Bravado and reputations decay behind bars, leading to even more serious repercussions.

What Harding needed - and what others need to avoid such a fate - is a safe outlet. His is boxing, and he praises the sport's virtues of discipline and controlled aggression while bemoaning the lack of facilities available to those trapped in their own dead ends. As much as this is a character piece, it's an honest commentary on society on the ground.

The combination of Harding's vivid narration and the direction lends the film a real sense of place and time, while the soundtrack flits well between the dramatic and the soulful. Twenty minutes plus is a brave running time, but it's hard not to be absorbed by Harding's resolve. Rewarding and thought-provoking work.

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Frank Budgen:
An Appreciation

Frank Budgen, who died earlier this month at the age of 61, was one of the most talented and widely-admired directors our industry has ever produced.

Famously demanding, difficult and exacting, Budgen was driven by a determination that his exceptional work could always be even better and his perfectionism imposed a greater burden on himself than anyone else.

His death has sent shockwaves across the industry with many of those influenced and inspired by him using social media to choose their favourite example of his work and it says a great deal about his talent that there is no consensus... everyone seems to have chosen something different.


"How To Reinvent A Classic"
23 November 2015

A trio of enjoyable ads has Squarespace at the centre of both personal and professional projects, but this film in particular is a satisfying story of how the quest for the perfect grilled cheese sandwich grew into a New York favourite.

The film depicts how Little Muenster evolved from experiments in a frying pan by making sure taste buds were tantalised online. Thanks to the advertised website builder, the budding restaurateurs were able to piece together their identity as work continued over the stove.

The editing is sleek and creates a pleasing flow to the ad, helped by the jazzy score. The viewer gets a real sense of the progression from hobby to viable business through a combination of chopping and clicking. There are glitches along the way - always check your smoke alarms, people! - but the flashes of inspiration make it all worthwhile.

Basing their campaign on their customers' experiences of the site is a shrewd move by Squarespace and the ease the brand wishes to project comes across well. Those sandwiches though... is it lunchtime yet?

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Quality Street
"The First Sign Of Christmas"
23 November 2015

Capturing the first flurry of snow at this time of year has become tradition on social media as people wait for the moment when Christmas really begins. With this in mind, Quality Street create their own meteorological magic with this charming festive ad.

Instead of snow, it's the sweetie tin's iconic wrappers that gently fall from the sky to the delight of these residents. Grabbing one of the colourful beggars is easier said than done, but it's all part of the fun.

In fact, it's a smart way of encapsulating the experience of digging into a tin of Quality Street with your nearest and dearest. Spotting your favourite colour, you try and grab it before anyone else. No doubt this will be a common occurrence in the coming weeks and the stalwart brand do a lovely job of capturing that feeling of anticipation.

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Rainbow 6 Siege
"Siege The Day"
23 November 2015

Idris Elba has been building a nice reputation for himself as the go-to man for advertisers looking for a legitimate injection of star power. This live action ad for 'Rainbow 6 Siege' has the man narrating on a hostage rescue with his signature authority.

You'd think those on the right side of the law would find it rather odd to see none other than Stringer Bell join in on their raid, but the objective is all that matters.

The ad is a shooter fan's dream and a plasterer's nightmare. Drywall is torn to shreds by gunfire, ceilings are dismantled via tactical sledgehammer, and the concept of feng shui undergoes a violent makeover.

Designed for the strategic gamer, the title's emphasis on timing, teamwork, and specialised loadouts is showcased in some style. As Elba says: "In this arena, bullets are nothing without brains". Lone wolves need not apply.

It's an impressive commercial for a game with something to prove. Despite its release at the tail end of this year's blockbuster release cycle, Ubisoft will be confident that 'Siege' can attract gamers looking for a more cerebral session... or the chance to wield a ruddy big hammer.

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On This Day

Dior J'Adore
"Le Parfum"
25 Nov 2012
Charlize Theron doesn't appear in the latest ad for Dior J'Adore but the commercial still bears her mark as it's her faltering voice you can hear as well as a piece of music that sounds like it might be from the soundtrack of 'Stardust'. The overall effect is a good deal more pleasing than we've come to expect from ads in this sector.

"Colliderscope - West Quay"
25 Nov 2014
This astonishingly beautiful ad displays a variety of the gifts and goodies available at Hammerson shopping centres (West Quay in this particular spot) by integrating them into an intricate mechanism powered by cogs and wheels. If you marvel at the filigree nature of its workings - the dainty scrolls and chains that drip nail varnish onto vinyl and cause billowing blue clouds to issue from teapots - that's because you should.

25 Nov 2007
The best yet in the Belong series for Carling beer has a small group of astronauts on the brink of gaining entry to some kind of supernatural entity when they are challenged by it because one of their number is wearing trainers. In the best tradition of what the Australians call 'mateness' the others refuse to go in without him.

The Anna Awards
"The Price Of Digital Fame And Fortune"
2 mins 30s
25 Nov 2008
This viral for The Anna Awards (which reward achievements in digital advertising) has a man in a chicken suit talking about fame and fortune. The protagonist has been afforded anonymity by the use of silhouette as though he is in a documentary about a whistle blower.

BBC News
"News On Your Mobile"
25 Nov 2008
An emotional and highly effective piece for BBC news reminds us of the impact it has on us when we first hear about a really significant piece of news. Some of the biggest events of the past fifty years are depicted including the assassination of John F Kennedy and the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

25 Nov 2008
For many of us, watching 'The Great Escape' on television each Christmas was as much a part of the festivities as Uncle Vince's flatulence and Aunt Vera's fondness for gin... so McDonald's may be on to something by using the iconic film as the basis for a seasonal ad for the second year running.

25 Nov 2009
Explosions of mud are made to look like fireworks in this German ad which suggests that this is the best way of celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the advertised vehicle which is the Teutonic equivalent of the Land Rover.

J C Penney
"Return To The Doghouse"
2 mins 55s
25 Nov 2009
This American ad features another amusing look at life in "the doghouse" where men are sent for being inconsiderate to their wives. Particular focus is placed on the court proceedings where it's determined whether or not men have to stay.

J C Penney
"Beware Of The Doghouse"
4 mins 42s
25 Nov 2009
This lengthy American ad from last year renders the notion of being "in the doghouse" into a literal place where men are sent for being inconsiderate to their wives. A man who bought his wife a vacuum cleaner is introduced to the whole grim fandangle.

"Fan Vs Fan"
25 Nov 2009
The ethos of Betfair is on display in this ad which shows real football fans challenging each other to bets. DAVID isn't sure he'd want to challenge the geezer who reckons Arsenal are going to win the Premiership as he makes it look like more than money will be at stake.

The Havens
"The Line"
25 Nov 2010
This trailer directs you towards a longer film which invites viewers to ask themselves at what point an encounter between a man and a woman becomes sexual assault. It's an important message and we recommend you watch the film in full by clickinghere.

"Operation Rubbish Dad"
25 Nov 2011
'Rubbish dad' is helped out when it emerges that he's failed to buy a Christmas present for his missus. A crack team hands over perfumes, wrapping paper and Sellotape so he can handover pointless gifts even though his wife has protested that she doesn't want anything.

Gordon's Christmas Cookalong Live
"The Long Wait"
25 Nov 2011
There are plenty of spoofs of the John Lewis commercial available online so why shouldn't Channel 4 get in on the action? This ad for a cookery programme on Christmas Day has a young lad waiting impatiently to hand over his gift disappointed as he tries to deliver it.

Herbal Essences
25 Nov 2012
The advertised shampoo has long associated itself with the sounds of a woman's sexual climax. They haven't quite been doing this for forty years but the product itself has reached that grand old age and this proves a good enough excuse to ask us if we remember our first time... in a mischievously ambiguous way.

"Will The Lights Work?"
25 Nov 2012
Someone always has to do explore the hackneyed cliché about Christmas lights and this year it's Sainsbury's. Dad looks chuffed when the lights come on but it's no surprise when his triumph proves short lived. To be fair, this is a nice commercial despite the crashing obviousness of its subject matter.

Charlie Brooker's How Video Games Changed the World
"Video Games"
25 Nov 2013
Clever trail for Charlie Booker's new programme. Apparently, video games are more profitable than Alan Sugar's face or something, so this is our chance to find out how it happened. Lovely use of the primitive graphics that seemed so cutting edge when they first appeared. Charlie himself looks really rather healthy - as befits the post-Konnie Huq incarnation.

Phones 4 U
25 Nov 2013
An atypical display of generosity towards a co-worker leaves hapless Rory backed into a corner. Yes, it's those pesky freebies from Phones 4 U again; causing havoc because they're good enough to pass off as a thoughtful gift. Hannah certainly thinks so... and she thinks her luck's in.

Dolce & Gabbana
"The One"
25 Nov 2013
Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johannson snatch an afternoon together to visit memory lane before she has to get to the airport. It's good to see a bit of effort going into a perfume ad - we like how this assumes a back story we're not privy to (seek out the longer version for that) - even though, by its very nature, it's cheese on a stick.

25 Nov 2014
A classy-looking soiree has Jules Holland's band mates gradually succumbing to the posh food on offer and laying down their instruments until it's just Jules himself left playing. It's very clever - Aldi has been successfully transformed from a wannabe-supermarket to the great value, great quality retailer for those in the know, including affluent folk from the world of telly.

PG Tips
25 Nov 2014
Jonny and Monkey's digger film is back on air... and there's an additional bit which provides us with an excuse to pop it on again. It take the form of a lovely post-post-modern take at the end whereby Monkey doesn't just ironically tell us how to get a Monkey of our very own, but discovers he's just watched himself telling us.

"Christmas Round Ours"
25 Nov 2014
Samsung's delightful ad features an array of different phones and devices with which to enhance our Christmas. As with their Galaxy Note 4 spot, it's gentle and elegant and makes us feel kindly disposed to the brand. There's a nice balance between showing us what we all know - phone technology, say - and slightly less familiar scenarios, such as the video call using the TV. Hardworking and nicely shot.

"Extra Special Party Food"
25 Nov 2014
Asda manages to make its Extra Special Party Food range look entirely worthy of gracing a buffet table, even if the event isn't full of glitz and glamour. It creates the impression that you can just as easily get your nice nibbles while you're doing your main shop rather than make an extra trip to that expensive deli - after all, it's only going to get scoffed by the neighbours, innit?

Jennifer Lopez Live
25 Nov 2005
Jennifer Lopez shakes her booty in an effort to persuade us to buy a perfume called Live which bears her name. SO if you want to smell like a Latin beauty with a Prima Donna-ish tendencies this could be the thing for you.

25 Nov 2006
One of a new series of idents for ITV which, like the recently launched BBC One idents, uses a live sequence to evince the station's approachable image. Here canvas beach breakers on a sandy but depressingly British beach provide the 'alive with colour' motif.

Channel 4
"U2 Weekend"
25 Nov 2006
The only colour images in what looks to be a warehouse full of cut-out black and white figures are the members of U2. The other images are cultural icons with varying degrees of influence on the Irish band. Ultimately, elements combine to create another cultural icon - Channel 4's '4'.

On This Day

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