David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Latest Work
    • Out of AfricaMade for Smirnoff's African market, this energetic ball of fun follows the exploits of three young men who make their daytime workplaces their entertainment venues by night.
    • Message in a bottle"If you've got this far in life without owing anybody anything, how far have you really got?" What a great line to sum up the ragtag jumble of events that combine to define friendship in this ad for Grant's Whisky.
    • Glowing in the darkEerily beautiful, Sony's latest Xperia ad yields up snowboarders, illuminated suits and a wooded mountainside at night.
    • Do robots dream of electric sweeps?Here we have, for your delectation, the heart-warming tale of a diminutive robot who falls head over heels for a dainty vacuum cleaner.
    • From our foreign correspondentThis mesmerising portrait of Sunday Times correspondent is worth six minutes of anyone's time.
    • A swell piece of workThis Volvo ad is enhanced greatly by the terrific sound design.
    • Jeter's WayDerek Jeter gets a second fulsome tribute in this new ad for Gatorade.
    • Electric avenueDid you know that the FIA Formula E Championship kicked off in China on September 13? You didn't? You don't even know what it is? Well, listen up.
    • Double actDirector Misha Manson-Smith has drawn a marvellous performance from the protagonist in this lovely viral for Kit Kat which introduces us to the world's first 'splactor'.
    • Hoop dreamsNike's new spot pays homage to the deep love the Philippines have for basketball, and does so with great panache.

THE BLACK BOX

JASON:

(Driving) Could you read out the latest update on the Ryder Cup?

ALICE:

Sure. (Browses phone) Okay: "Fowler is going to have a chance to win this match with an eagle putt. He walks up and down the line, takes a long look, has a wee."

JASON:

What?!!??

ALICE:

Oh, hang on... there's more: "has a wee think, and..."

JASON:

And...?

ALICE:

(Helpless laughter for the next fifteen minutes)


Smirnoff
"The Double Side"
2 mins 10s
30 September 2014

Made for the African market, this energetic ball of fun follows the exploits of three young men who make their daytime workplaces their entertainment venues by night. Boxing rings provide stages for rap battles, a conveyor belt is transformed into a catwalk and a barber's shop becomes a nightclub. The interesting, unlikely choice of music - Audio Bullys' We Don't Care - works extremely well.

The terrible Ebola outbreak is hard to square with the increasingly sophisticated advertising targeting African punters but it's notable that much of the best work is being made by European agencies... perhaps there's one last bastion of colonialism yet to be overturned.

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Grant's Whisky
"IOU"
90s
30 September 2014

"If you've got this far in life without owing anybody anything, how far have you really got?" What a great line to sum up the ragtag jumble of events that go to define what friendship truly means.

In this spot, a group of young men are shown being there for each other, stoically (in most cases) enduring their buddies' flaws - because each will owe the others a pass at least once in their lives.

It's an excellent way to get past the fact Grant's has been perceived, by dint of being a blended whisky, as not particularly fashionable to a younger market in recent years.

What this cleverly does is skate round the issue of single malt snobbery by implying that a drink doesn't have to be drunk for discernment alone. There is a symbolism to it: if you derive meaning and pleasure from a certain brand, in a way that has nothing to do with affectation and everything to do with sincerity, then its taste will have a deliciousness all of its own.

This message comes through loud and clear with great charm if a certain predictability, and is bound to have appeal to younger guys who want a grown-up drink they can make their own.

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Sony Xperia
"Gliding Lights"
60s
30 September 2014

Eerily beautiful, Sony's latest Xperia ad yields up snowboarders, illuminated suits and a wooded mountainside at night.

It's hard at first to see what's going on - in fact, you need to pay close attention to suss out what's happening - but it doesn't really matter. The flowing movements of the boarders and the hazy colour that envelops them is captivating enough to make you stop and stare.

Group of the moment London Grammar has lent additional layers of cool with their track Night Call, and the sum total of the package is even more than its parts. The inference is that Sony is so in the know when it comes to what's current that no other phone can outmanoeuvre them.

It comes at the proposition obliquely as we aren't explicitly told that the phone takes excellent pictures in low light levels - but again, that's fine. The audience the ad is talking to is perfectly capable of understanding that you don't always have to spell everything out. Some things are just best experienced at an angle... much like snowboarding itself, in fact.

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Vorwerk
"Love Sucks"
2 mins 20s
30 September 2014

Here we have, for your delectation, the heart-warming tale of a diminutive robot who falls head over heels for a dainty vacuum cleaner.

This German online spot for Vorwerk's new Kobold VR200 manages to show how effective its suction is without resorting to dry, man-in-a-white-coat demonstrations... instead, we have our robot, bewitched and entranced, wondering how to win the cleaner's love.

To the poignant strains of Herb Alpert's late 60s track This Guy's In Love With You, he watches as she (we presume) coasts around the corner when the humans of the household have left for work. He admires her smooth lines and the efficient precision with which she glides, clearing everything in her path.

Yet she seems oblivious to his clumsy attentions.

He loiters diffidently, plucking a guitar string while she sails past, and if ever a robot looked crestfallen it's here, when she dismissively eats the card he's made her. So what happens? Watch and find out. Director Jamie Rafn has done a terrific job of making us care about the outcome, and the pace of the whole is beautifully crafted.

The pressing question at the end: will there be a sequel?

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The Sunday Times
"Bringing the World to Britain"
6 mins 45s
24 September 2014

Christina Lamb is - in many ways - an unlikely-looking war correspondent but if you watch this film, you'll quickly realise how little someone needs to resemble the stereotype of the battle-hardened tough guy to possess the requisite bravery and fortitude.

This is a mesmerising portrait from a really excellent series and as much as its makers try to persuade us that this isn't really advertising, it possesses a tremendous power which makes you want to support the work of people like Lamb far more effectively than a 30" commercial ever could.

The reporter's understated narrative begins with a description of what she takes with her when she heads into a war zone. It's a quietly impressive pot pourri of equipment designed to help her cope with the alarming emergencies she might face, but what she goes on to describe makes it clear these contingencies are about as likely to prove helpful as the information about life-jackets imparted by an air steward each time you taxi down a runway.

The death of her colleague Marie Colvin - which is referred to in this film - further underlines Lamb's courage and removes any doubts of authenticity when she describes a situation when she feared for her life.

At DAVID we've often been critical of internet work that requires viewers to invest their time but we simply cannot fault this series and we hope that others take note and provide us with similarly engaging material.

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On This Day

Sony
"Soundville"
2 mins 30s
1 Oct 2009
A typically epic piece from Fallon's Juan Cabral which involved wiring up the Icelandic village of Seydisfjordur with a sound system so the residents could listen to music wherever they were. Cabral's ads increasingly give the impression of being the result of drunken bets.

Superdrug
"Take Another Look"
50s
1 Oct 2010
Gavin & Stacey's Joanna Page is the new face of Superdrug and this is a terrific way to introduce her (even if it does make her out to be a bit of a harlot). She sneaks into the bathroom to sort out her make up so she can look pristine when her latest conquest wakes.

Walkers
"It's Raining Ten"
40s
1 Oct 2010
It's a slightly bizarre promotion but it's a terrific commercial. The Walkers campaign appears to have been reenergised and that's really surprising to those of us who have felt that it had become weary. Notwithstanding the lame gag that sees Lineker's ears disappearing upwards at the end, it doesn't put a dance step wrong.

Tetley Tea
"Just The Way You Are"
40s
1 Oct 2011
This ad beautifully combines animation and live action to provide a scene in which one of the Tetley Tea Folk directs a love song towards a cuppa. This has been executed with real tenderness but with just enough humour to prevent it seeming mawkish. Lovely.

Guinness
"The Cloud"
90s
1 Oct 2012
This grand commercial for Guinness has Brian Cox (the actor... not the astronomer) describing the actions of a cloud visiting a city. This is no ordinary cloud as it pays no heed to the wind and appears to be sentient. It's might be designed to represent the cloud in a pint of Guinness as it settles but really this ad is all about the grandiosity of itself.

Chivas Regal
"The Barman"
60s
1 Oct 2013
While we may have seen the 'famous actor in a subservient role' scenario before (Denholm Elliot, John Gielgud, for instance), viewed in an advertising context this may be considered educational in purpose. That is, the people who imbibe such drinks tend to be rather boorish... so here's a gentle nudge to them suggesting they adopt a more civilised approach.

Kellogg's Optivita
"Ray Winstone"
30s
1 Oct 2006
Ray Winstone trades a little of his street cred for a few of Kellogg's dollars as he speaks up for a cereal that can reduce cholesterol. Cleverly, Winstone's endorsement is qualified... because he disapproves of the "nanny culture thing", he is only giving us the facts - it's up to us if we buy it. Well, yes.

Scottish Widows
"Metamorphosis"
50s
1 Oct 2006
Filmed largely in Iceland, this ad introduces Hayley Hunt as the new Scottish Widow (taking over from Amanda Lamb). The film uses a black and red motif to represent the various services which are provided by Scottish Widows to provide financial protection for their customers.

Peugeot 307
"Long Time"
30s
1 Oct 2006
You may be away longer than you think according to this ad in which the owners of a Peugeot 307 come home to find their garden overgrown and that the children have outgrown their rusty tools. The ad is served particularly well by a soundtrack by Dan Teper of Tsunami which suits the piece perfectly.

Pepsi Max
"Hitchhikers"
30s
1 Oct 2006
A couple of hitchhikers measure their luck by a scale along the bottom in which a can of Pepsi Max moves along a sliding scale. A rains storm soaks them but the can starts to move to more positive terrain when Desperate Housewives's Eva Longoria picks them up.

Tesco
"Wife Of Bath Cheese"
30s
1 Oct 2006
Tesco's determination to be all things to all men sees them take a stride towards Waitrose's territory in this ad voiced by Richard Briers which tells of the exclusive Wife of Bath cheese range. Supply is limited so the farmer has decided to extend his resources - by buying another cow.

Mentos
"Refreshing Celebration"
30s
1 Oct 2007
Amusing ad for Mentos has the residents of small snowy community in a Nordic country participating in one of those strange annual events we sometimes see at the end of the news. At least that's what it seems to be until we see that it is Mentos they are plunging into and not snow.

Culinaire
"Wig Spin"
20s
1 Oct 2007
If you want a straight-forward product demonstration then this is the way to go. Although the product is undoubtedly the start of the commercial, the illustration of its most important quality via a hairpiece supports the message and prevents the ad from being dull.

Nokia
"Lost Property Rush"
30s
1 Oct 2007
Slick ad for Nokia has an announcer at a railway station reporting that they have found a lost Nokia phone. He goes slightly overboard with his description and pricks the interest of every passer-by. Before long, a crowd of people are descending on his booth with the apparent intention of claiming the phone.

Utterly Butterly
"Hot Potato"
30s
1 Oct 2007
Amusing ad for Utterly Butterly has a woman eating a scoop of her freshly baked potato but struggling with it because of the heat even though she had covered it in prodigious quantities of the butter substitute. Having survived one mouthful, she takes another and the whole cycle resumes.

Inland Revenue Self-Assessment
"Moira Stewart"
30s
1 Oct 2008
There's an office romance underway in this amusing film reminding the self-employed to get their tax returns in on time. Moira Stewart gives us the news about Steve and Jenny's date before letting us know about the other important dates related to taxation administration.

T-Mobile
"Shirt Change"
30s
1 Oct 2008
As each of the protagonists in this ad pulls a t-shirt over their head, they become a different person. Even though this special effect is partially hidden behind pink band carrying phone contact information, it's actually pretty impressive and could have done with a bit more focus.

Specsavers
"Alibi"
30s
1 Oct 2008
A man who paid too much for his glasses would rather tell his wife that he's been cheating on her than own up to his, er, short-sightedness. The police interrogartors push him to confess but as he strides out to face his wife he is resolutely determined not to reveal his lack of optical acuity.

Waitrose
"Golden Brown"
40s
1 Oct 2008
An attractive array of autumnal colours are used to remind us of the wondrous offerings from the posh people's supermarket as the nights draw in. Waitrose regulars must be chuffed to bits about the credit crunch as the hoi polloi retreat to Tesco and the rich once again have the pricey store to themselves.

Ryvita Limbos
"Snack Pack Race"
30s
1 Oct 2008
Fern Britton's new svelte(ish) figure has created a dilemma for Ryvita who used to suggest that Britton wore a fat suit when appearing on television. But Ryvita obviously want to associated themselves with her dramatic weight loss so they have retained her services as a more straightforward spokesperson.

Ginsters
"Undercover Spies"
30s
1 Oct 2008
Cows in a field are disturbed by the people from Ginster trying to keep a close eye on the quality of the ingredients that go into their products. This is an amusing way of letting us know about the integrity of the ingredients and it's pretty effective to judge from DAVID's hankering for a Cornish Pasty.

Dawn French Dear Fatty
"Supermarket Push"
30s
1 Oct 2008
Dawn French finds copies of her book in a supermarket and dashes around garnering favourable views from members of the public. Judging from the bemused looks on the faces of the people she bothers, the out-sized comedienne did this for real and you have to admire her chutzpah.

Country Life
"John Lydon"
30s
1 Oct 2008
More than thirty years after he snarled his way to infamy as the front man of The Sex Pistols, John Lydon turns up in a commercial for Country Life. Of course this would have been all the more ironic if it had been a commercial for the posh folks magazine rather than the butter of the same name... but it's up there nonetheless.

Sainsbury's
"Jamie's Back"
40s
1 Oct 2008
Two of Sainsbury's existing campaigns join up as Jamie Oliver turns up in the supermarket where the new character works. One of her colleagues practically hurls herself at the sainted chef like some kind of food groupie... carbohydrate perhaps? Geddit... it's a food group... oh, never mind.

thetrainline.com
"Sheep"
30s
1 Oct 2008
We're all sheep if we continue buying rail tickets the old fashioned way, according to this ad for the online ticket agency. DAVID wonders if these are the same sheep who bank with Royal Bank of Scotland, according to an ad from 2006 which is still on our screens. Whatever will the thick ovine bastards do next?

On This Day

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