David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Latest Work
    • A ride of passageThis lovely ad for Halfords feels really thoughtfully judged. Despite the appeal of various teccy gizmos these days, there's still something fundamentally special about your first bike.
    • Full Steam AheadSteam Media's very first feature film 'The Last Sparks of Sundown' did extremely well at Chicago Comedy Film Festival
    • Making wavesThis accomplished-looking spot for Skol is set in an underwater bar with a house DJ and sharks on leashes.
    • Scary monstersAh, Halloween - a fertile source of inspiration in the world of advertising. We've had Ikea's take on The Shining - and now giffgaff is getting in on the act.
    • Wow, No Cow!Not even Richard Branson has the self-promoting acumen of Oatly CEO Toni Peterrson, who has a wonderful lack of self-consciousness as he murders the song he wrote about his product.
    • Who needs help?This spot is about a new app from The Samaritans which can apparently alert you to signs that someone you follow is feeling low by picking up on linguistic cues in their tweets.
    • Tim Godsall joins SomesuchAfter a change in his representation in the US, Tim Godsall - one of the industry's most revered directors - has now joined the roster at Somesuch for UK work.
    • Partizan gets a Stirling resultPartizan has signed director Martin Stirling; a man who - on his Vimeo page - describes himself as 'author / writer / douchebag'.
    • The A-List TeamWhy would you want to work as humble creatives at MC Saatchi when you are the love-gods and go-to guys of Hollywood A-listers?
    • Homespun SuccessTake a look at the three finalists in Homespun's short film competition.
    • Image-maker Nathalie Canguilhem signs to WandaAll-round fashion writer, director, designer and photographer Nathalie Canguilhem is not a name to be taken lightly.
    • An Agile move for director Lars TovikNorwegian-born Lars Tovik has joined the roster at Agile Films. Since moving to London in 2004, he has risen through the ranks amassing gongs along the way, including seven Gold Promax Awards.
    • Stuart A McIntyre goes RogueEditor turned director Stuart A McIntyre has signed to Rogue for representation in the UK and Amsterdam.
    • Vid Price joins The Assembly RoomsSince being established in 2004, The Assembly Rooms has gone on to be one of London's leading editing houses thanks to their keen eye for talent in the field.
    • Kai Schonrath gets ShirtyNice Shirt has turned ten, and to celebrate, they've treated themselves to a new film maker - the young and talented Kai Schonrath.
    • When I See An Elephant Fly...This unusual film promoting breast cancer charity Wear It Pink was created as part of an ambitious project which made use of the power of crowd-sourcing.
    • In Jane Goodall's footstepsThis gorgeous film for Google shows how they've mapped the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania.
    • Not winging it but Wanging itH&M has an uneven record when it comes to advertising, but this spot is definitely one to set its standards by.
    • In deep waterThis excellent public information film very effectively brings home the fact that weather conditions on our coastlines can change rapidly - indeed, in seconds.
    • Dancing on glassFKA twigs has pretty much defined the blurry boundary between promo and commercial with this collaboration between herself and Glass from Google.



Have you ever noticed how many directors have been identified by Shots as 'One To Watch'?


Nearly as many as have appeared in Saatchis' Young Directors thing. You have to wonder what it says about a director if he or she hasn't appeared in one of these lists.


Probably that their last birthday cake was well candled.




They're old.



"Christmas Bikes"
29 October 2014

This lovely ad for Halfords feels really thoughtfully judged. To start with, it's true that despite the appeal of various games consoles and teccy gizmos even the youngest children clamour for these days, there's still something fundamentally special about your first bike.

Combining the novelty of freedom and independence with the physical connection of the outdoors - the air rushing past, the option to go as fast as you can, and the frisson of danger that comes with it - riding a bike can be both a blissfully solitary activity and a way to parade your status as someone in your own right, separate from your parents.

All those feelings tend not to change over the decades because they are a rite of passage - and Halfords has tapped into its essence beautifully.

The look of the ad combines nebulously retro elements that don't anchor it to any era in particular, but which instead evoke fleeting reminders of the 70s and 80s while the fashions feel - apart from the young girl's - pretty contemporary.

Even the music is hard to define. It's not an obvious choice, lacking the kind of excitement and anticipation you'd expect from a pre-Christmas spot like this, but that just adds to the timelessness and helps to make it stand out.

Overall, this is something that will have mums and dads sighing nostalgically for their old Choppers or Raleighs and pondering the thought that their own offspring shouldn't miss out on that experience themselves. Meanwhile, children up and down the land will pick up on the cues in the ad; instinctively recognising what a bike will offer them even if they don't quite know how to articulate it. Expect to see a plethora of cycle helmets whizzing constantly past your window from December 25th onwards.

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Full Steam Ahead

Steam Media are understandably cock-a-hoop that their very first feature film 'The Last Sparks of Sundown' won the two biggest prizes on offer at the Chicago Comedy Fim Festival earlier this month.

As well as picking up the Best Feature gong, James Kibbey headed to the stage a second time to pick up the Best Director award and as you can see from the photo, he and producer Adam Dolman were absolutely delighted.


"Underwater Bar"
30 October 2014

This accomplished-looking spot for Skol is set in an underwater bar with a house DJ and sharks on leashes. The premise is that the ad reflects the drink's strapline: "Blue on the outside, mysterious on the inside"; and it's done a great job of visually interpreting this.

Mixing scenes overtly filmed in water with others that are more ambiguous, it creates an otherwordly environment with a very earthy atmosphere. Floating-haired dancers move effortlessly, bottles drift, sound waves from powerful speakers produce mesmeric ripples like aquatic smoke rings. Impressive.

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29 October 2014

Ah, Halloween - a fertile source of inspiration in the world of advertising. We've had Ikea's take on The Shining - and now giffgaff is getting in on the act. In classic horror style, a young woman is fleeing from a chainsaw-wielding maniac... and we anticipate the worst when she stumbles and falls. However, all is not what it seems.

There is a twist in the tale, involving all the scary ciphers we know - from zombies to clowns, freaks to defiled dolls. And while as ever with this brand the premise is oddly tenuous, you sense that with enough exposure the familiarity will gradually win you round and prod you into checking them out to see what they offer.

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"Wow, No Cow!"
29 October 2014

Not even Richard Branson has the self-promoting acumen of Oatly CEO Toni Peterrson, who has a wonderful lack of self-consciousness as he murders the song he wrote about the product he sells. Apparently this is a direct response to a threat from the Swedish Dairy Association to legally challenge Oatly's claim that "it's like milk... but made for humans".

His singing - in all honesty - is like one of those X Factor contestants everyone laughs at in the early weeks of the competition but it's not as if he doesn't know that, and it proves a fine riposte to his critics. This is exactly the kind of attention-making piece that gets the job done in a world increasingly driven by social media.

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Recent Promos

"Burning Beaches"
3 mins 34s
28 Oct 2014
The promo for Dels' new track Burning Beaches is imbued with a sense of foreboding. As the rapper himself describes it: "The video is about how paranoia in a relationship can affect your dreams and then in turn affect your reality." In other words, how your fears can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. There's some lovely underwater camerawork, and the brooding half-light adds an extra layer of dread.

Andy C (feat. Fiora)
"Heartbeat Loud"
3 mins 08s
24 Oct 2014
This is a poignant video and the little boy at the centre of it goes some way to alleviating the relentlessness of the track. It slowly dawns on us that he's been noticed as a natural around horses, and that this could be used to the advantage of the adults around him by making him compete in a horse race. But the misgivings the boy has are well-founded.

"The Infamous Bill"
2 mins 38s
24 Oct 2014
Khruangbin chose their name because it's the Thai word for 'plane' - the literal translation is 'engine fly', which they found irresistible. This lovely instrumental comes with a video based around the legendary Bill who knew how to work a whip to excellent effect. We never see his face; we don't need to... his boots and his creaky gloves say it all. A cool accompaniment to the band's swampy, psyche-folk guitar sound that smells of the deep south and warm leather.

"My Desire"
4 mins 12s
22 Oct 2014
Actor Frank Grillo stars in this promo about a man in meltdown at a bar. As he drinks alone, Interpol play in the background, the live entertainment for the evening. Grillo is looking at photographs that he's taken out of an envelope, and as he gets more and more smashed he begins to hallucinate. Something about the snaps is distressing him, but we don't know what. Will we find out?

The Staves
"Blood I Bled"
4 mins 36s
17 Oct 2014
A swathe of different stories are told in this video for The Staves' new track. Shot almost on the fly in Mumbai, these tales are densely interwoven and not always coherently linear - but that's part of the film's pleasure and charm. The sense of intrigue which builds through the slightly chaotic revelations compel you to watch again until you start to unravel the strands a little more.

4 mins 47s
16 Oct 2014
Kasabian's tale of psychopath Stevie, features a video of a baby grown in a lab reminiscent of the eerie black room in Under the Skin. We leap forward in time to see him at the age of ten being put through various experiments by menacing men in gas masks who seem to be attempting to stop him responding to pain. But young Stevie has other plans.

"Ave Cesaria"
5 mins 57s
15 Oct 2014
The latest number from the superb Stromae comes with a video from director Henry Scholfield which feels home-made, joyous, and yet somehow tinged with melancholy. Stromae is playing live at a family event (we presume) in a rather austere town hall, and the glimpses of everyone present are reminders of our fleeting existence even as the gathering laughs and dances.

Pharrell WIlliams
"Gust of Wind"
4 mins 55s
9 Oct 2014
The fossilised remnants of Daft Punk's helmets stand watch over oriental dancing girls doing a bit of gravity-defying twirling Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-style. It's certainly not the kind of thing you'd expect Edgar Wright to have directed, but this is indeed his work - and it has to be said that while not massively exciting, it's miles better than the track itself.

"Real Thing"
3 mins 25s
8 Oct 2014
tUnE-yArDs makes some fantastic music and while this isn't one of her best, it comes with an energetic and frankly bonkers video from director Tom Jobbins that captures her happy eccentricity very well. Three female mannequins discover multi-coloured plastic body parts in a box while Garbus sings through a hole in the bottom of it.

"I'm No Gold"
3 mins 48s
7 Oct 2014
LA band Liars put out some intriguing stuff from time to time, along with some memorable videos (Mess on a Mission; No1 Against the Rush) - and this fits right into that category. Lead singer Angus Andrew is filmed in close-up like a nightmare made (almost) flesh in a discordant track seemingly borne out of a bad speed trip. Insidiously catchy.

3 mins 32s
7 Oct 2014
The track isn't hugely exciting, but we like what director Jam Sutton has done with the video. Overblown opulence - such as you might have seen in one of Saddam Hussein's notorious palaces - is shown succumbing to decay and destruction, rendered valueless, as the gilded guns underline the fact that you can't take it with you.

Speed of Snakes
"Backbone of Night"
5 mins 44s
18 Sep 2014
This was apparently made on a budget of just 5,000 euros, so props to everyone concerned for achieving such a polished result. The video pays homage to the sci-fi movies of the 80s; combining the tropes of dystopian futureworlds and the creation of the perfect woman to great effect for new band Speed of Snakes, whose members also feature in this.

"Month of Sundays"
3 mins 30s
11 Sep 2014
This disorientating video for Metronomy's distinctive folk-pop track Month of Sundays is a superb piece of filming. Pinwheeling deliriously, its weightless feel is in direct contrast with the setting - slabby, monolothic residential blocks from the Brutalist school of architecture. If this is Cooper's debut music video, we have a lot to look forward to from him in the future.

3 mins 34s
10 Sep 2014
Kwabs' popularity continues to rise, and this soulful crowdpleaser is likely to contribute to his ascent. Singing about the best way to treat life - roll with whatever hand it deals you - he bounces through the city as his surroundings throb with the energy he gives off. Director David Mould does a great job of capturing the tone.

Glass Animals
4 mins 01s
9 Sep 2014
Sensual, hypnotic and slightly alien, this video for Glass Animals' Hazey is the perfect accompaniment for the track. We love the instruments and arrangements on all their songs, but sometimes the songs themselves don't quite hit the spot for us. This video, though, with its focus on the fluidly double-jointed dancers, makes us want to listen and watch again and again.

"Burning Up"
4 mins 12s
10 Sep 2014
Girlband JUCE are making quite a name for themselves, and this sunny number - filmed at Brixton Splash - has a real feelgood factor. Vibrant and laidback all at once, the atmosphere is captured perfectly by director Jess Colquhoun as one of those magical sunny London days brings everyone out into the streets to celebrate.

"Every Other Freckle"
3 mins 36s
10 Sep 2014
Alt-J's new album promises to be a stunner if the three releases so far are anything to go by. This latest comes with not one but two terrific promos: a dedicated 'boy' version and a dedication 'girl' version. We've gone with 'girl', but if you want to see the other, click on the boy version and decide for yourself which you prefer.

Daphne Guinness
"Evening in Space"
4 mins 12s
9 Sep 2014
THIS is why we have the British class system. How else could such OTT eccentricity ever be summonsed into existence? Former opera singer Daphne Guinness - blanketed from the grittier side of the world by birthright and genetics - has forayed into music videos in order to promote her debut album, out in September... and this piece of bonkersness is the result.

"Beggin for Thread"
4 mins 15s
6 Sep 2014
Banks smoulders with sensual menace in this video for her new track, Beggin for Thead. The thread she's begging for is "to sew up the hole you ripped in my head", which gives you a hint of the mood she's in; and the deliciously chiaroscuro lighting is an apt fit. Red-hued dancers provide additional tension and invoke the idea that dark doings are afoot.

La Roux
"Kiss And Not Tell"
3 mins 59s
8 Sep 2014
This latest track from La Roux's tardy follow-up album, Trouble in Paradise, is insanely catchy. Wonderfully cheesy production design based on the garish styling of late night chat line ads sets the tone, while the camera switches between shots of dated phones and La Roux's profile, which summons up Low-era Bowie all buzzed up on confectionery not cocaine.

4 mins 31s
6 Sep 2014
Tom Clarke and Sam Ricketts - Cloud Boat - sound quite a lot like Local Natives fronted by James Blake. That's not in any way a bad thing. This is one of the more plangent tracks on Model of You and comes with by a video in which a man who needs to come to terms with a break-up finds himself accompanied by a yeti-like monster for a while.

Ten Walls
"Walking with Elephants"
3 mins 01s
6 Sep 2014
This track starts promisingly, but unfortunately never quite gets out of its blocks and beyond the intro. Nonetheless, the very able director Nez has managed to create and intriguing video to go with it, featuring black / whitescreen-clad figures who, after running through a wintry coastal landscape, jump into the sea and propel their way along like humanoid dolphins.

"Inside Out"
3 mins 35s
6 Sep 2014
This is the second time the innovative trio has collaborated with Carlos Lopez Estrada, and we can see why. The off-kilter feel of both Work Work and Inside Out is something Estrada knows how to enhance; here, a swaggering dude walks through the night-time streets pouring forth lyrics about the war outside, while in the place of his head a perpetual eruption of the things he's talking about issues from his empty collar. Terrific.

The Presets
"No Fun"
5 mins 49s
6 Sep 2014
This track from Aussie dance duo The Presets sounds like a cross between Matthew Dear and Heaven 17. Crystal clear synths, lethal hooks and a throbbing pulse add to the electric 80s vibe and there's a compelling video, all suggestion and abstraction, luring you along for the ride. But that's not all: there's an interactive version into the bargain.

The Weeknd
4 mins 09s
26 Aug 2014
Director Sam Pilling creates some shots that are as smooth and immersive as a Valium bath in this promo for The Weeknd, but unfortunately, because it's a promo for The Weeknd, it also features lotz o' laydeez getting it on and disrobing as they stalk around some luxury hotel suite. Evidently their minds are unhinged by desire for the singer with the Accidental Hair.

Recent Promos

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