David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Latest Work
    • Talking therapyIn one of two touching spots for Age UK, James Bolam takes on the persona of Rob - a real-life widower whose words Bolam gives voice to.
    • Bragging rightsThe chap in this ad spends a lot of time trying to perfect his humblebragging skills in order to let social media know he's got a brand new 48" Bang & Olufsen TV.
    • Baby talk.One of the stars of T K Maxx’s Christmas ad is helping Facebook users drop a big hint about what they want from Santa.
    • A cut above the rest.This superb ad for German trade body Das Handwerk turns hairdressing into a kung-fu epic.
    • That's the spiritThe wit in this spot for Belvedere is as dry as the very best vodka martini.
    • Naively fighting nativism with the nativity.This commercial for KFC certainly has the 'huh?' factor.
    • Life isn't meant to be easy.This lyrical and intriguing short film was shot over the course of the eleven days it took to drive from Alice Springs to Adelaide in Northern Australia.
    • More than one direction.Ever fancied being a voiceover artist? Land Rover just may change your mind with this amusing commercial.
    • Get with the programmeA collection of precocious little scamps are getting a head start in the workplace by taking over at a Virgin Media store for the day.
    • The case for vigilance.This PSA from the USA warning about High School massacres raises crucial questions about gun ownership and the best approach to tackling them.
    • Eureka momentsJuan Cabral's spot for Apple's new MacBook Pro packs an incredible amount into sixty seconds.


On 7th December (2pm-4pm), DAVID REVIEWS and the APA are putting on a CraftWorks show at The Location Guide's Focus event in Islington.

The event is completely free and will be followed by a drinks reception.

We'll be talking giffgaff with Tom Rainsford; meeting an exciting young director; asking Lee Pavey to introduce some work from 'Outside the Box'; and reuniting some of the people who made Cadbury 'Gorilla'.

To attend, register at Focus's website.

Age UK
7 December 2016

Loneliness can be difficult for anyone, but it's an overwhelming issue for many elderly people. As they age, and friends, family and spouses die, they can find themselves marooned in a world that no longer shares any common points of reference with them. They're adrift, forgotten; with no-one to share their memories and no-one to look out for.

In one of two touching spots for Age UK, James Bolam takes on the persona of Rob - a real-life widower whose words Bolam gives voice to. It's an interesting technique. Initially our cynicism radar kicks in: does Age UK think we won't notice this is a well-known actor rather than an anonymous pensioner? But we soon realise that he's revealing what Rob cannot say to the cameras himself, and by that stage we're already taking in the message.

The charity offers people like Rob a lifeline by providing them with weekly calls and visits from volunteers. Having someone to talk to and - importantly - the same person for continuity, can mean a tremendous amount to anyone in his position. Especially at Christmas.

For those old enough to remember Bolam in his prime, this has an extra layer of poignancy. He looks frail here; indeed he could easily be Rob. Listening to him reminisce, saying of Rob's late wife: "You're the kind of girl who could ride shotgun on a stagecoach" you're hit with the sense of vitality that the pair must once have had. A feeling that we too have experienced, and which we know must come to an end one day.

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Bang & Olufsen
1 min 40s
8 December 2016

There's an art to the effective humblebrag. Establishing the right amount of self deprecation is key ('My wrist is too weak to hold up this heavy diamond ring!' is too much), along with an appropriately flippant hashtag and perfectly staged picture showing off the swag you don't want the world to know you're too jazzed about acquiring.

The chap in this ad spends a lot of time trying to perfect his humblebragging skills in order to show off his brand new 48" Bang & Olufsen TV. He tries the unboxing route, a bit of food porn, even sticks a cute baby in the shot for maximum like generation. All to no avail as his phone runs out of battery in the time it takes for him to make up his mind.

This is an entertaining ad that reflects some of the social media trickery we've all been #guilty of a time or two while keeping the product right at the fore.

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Baby talk.

One of the stars of T K Maxx’s Christmas ad is helping Facebook users drop a big hint about what they want from Santa. The twist? Your gift guru is an eighteen-month-old baby. Well, sort of.


Das Handwerk
"The Cutter"
2 mins 20s
5 December 2016

This superb ad for German trade body Das Handwerk turns hairdressing into a kung fu epic. A young hairdresser realises what he must become to earn Master’s respect: pure salon steel.

Under Master’s relentless gaze, the apprentice pushes himself to the limit as he learns true scissor control. Even Shaolin monks would balk at this training regime. In the end, it’s all worth it for that perfect fringe - and a murmur of approval.

Fans of cheesy action cinema will be in their element here. The dub is straight from a dodgy 70s kung-fu actioner, along with over-dramatic musical stings and OTT sound effects. Oh, and lip-syncing? Forget about it.

The nationwide initiative believes more young people can flourish with the right trade and the right guidance. Daniel Warwick’s affectionate treatment of the script ensures the message is received with maximum entertainment value.

Furthermore, the ad taps into another fundamental truth - all anyone really wants is for a talking pony to tell them: “You are ready”.

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Belvedere Vodka
1 min 34s
8 December 2016

The wit in this spot for Belvedere is as dry as the very best vodka martini. It promotes the fact that half the profits of every special edition bottle sold will go to the charity (PRODUCT)RED fighting AIDS in Africa. And rather than creating some kind of commercial chimera - i.e. a vodka ad that wants to be both worthy and sexy - it takes a beautifully tongue-in-cheek approach.

Written by VICE's Trent Rohner, director Dugan O'Neal and Dawson's Creek actor James Van Der Beek (who also stars), the spot mocks the go-to clichés of drink and fragrance ads.

Initially it would seem to be just another brooding black and white bit of nonsense in which Van Der Beek ponders the notion of fame and destiny - but it soon starts to go awry. A woman's sultry whisper illuminates his thought processes ("Is it wrong to like the taste of the right thing?" "Vodkaaah," she breathes) until - having struggled with his existential motivation - he realises he has to get out of wherever he is.

The sultry VO is a terrific device, providing the perfect balance between that fauxportentousness endemic in this genre of advertising and its sheer silliness. Plus it gives Van Der Beek a terrific line at the end which suggests he has single-handedly wrestled the virus to the ground and punched it in the head... all without getting a hair out of place. Superb.

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Recent Promos

Alice Jemima
3 mins 10s
8 Dec 2016
Devon’s own Alice Jemima picks an impressive backdrop for her latest single. As London’s skyline flickers in the distance, the singer-songwriter awaits a special delivery on top of a multi-storey car park. Jemima gives nothing away when the camera is near, but she makes “We can light this dark, dark city up” sound like the only invitation that matters.

4 mins 03s
8 Dec 2016
'Grow' by Frances features on the soundtrack for 'Mum's List' - a bittersweet portrayal of life after tragedy. The promo flits between footage from the film and Frances playing at a piano covered with family photos. It's hard not to be moved by the singer-songwriter's voice, and the restrained setting lets her emotional delivery take the lead.

Naughty Boy
"Should've Been Me"
4 mins 25s
6 Dec 2016
Naughty Boy’s latest track benefits from an uplifting promo by director Ben Strebel. Skate parks are a staple setting for music videos, but Strebel offers a new perspective with a trip to Uganda where a skate park offers the chance for self-expression in Kampala’s Kintale slums. One boy watches his peers own the half-pipe before he starts shredding and grinding like the best of them.

The Rolling Stones
"Ride 'Em On Down"
3 mins 18s
2 Dec 2016
This promo for a new track by the Rolling Stones features Kristen Stewart as a woman using her car to burn fuel on meaningless adventures in post apocalypse LA - Mad Maxine, as it were. Not that this is abundantly clear from the get go... the puzzle pieces are there but it's left to the viewer to satisfyingly slot them into place.

Loyle Carner
"The Isle of Arran"
3 mins 37s
2 Dec 2016
In Georgia Hudson's promo for 'Isle of Arran', Loyle Carner walks through the corridors of an unearthly hospital on his way to visit his newborn child. The track is all about the importance of fathers being there for their children, and Hudson does a great job of showing his conviction as he cradles the baby in the fading light of the maternity ward windows.

Capital Cities
3 mins 09s
30 Nov 2016
Remy Cayuela brings 'Vowels' to life by creating a new style of lyric video. With the help of choreographer Denna Thomsen, the track's words were translated into American Sign Language and incorporated into a dance routine. It's a great idea, sassily executed with great camerawork by DP Jeff Bierman - we just wish the song could do it more justice.

"When We Were Young"
4 mins 11s
22 Nov 2016
Folk artist Passenger serenades a pub in this rose-tinged promo for 'When We Were Young'. The track itself is an inoffensive jaunt into yesteryear; but director James Lees and DP Ben Moulden give it some weight with a promo that bathes the pub and its inhabitants in lazy sunlight and a wistful haze. We'll have a pint of nostalgia, please.

Emeli Sandé
"Garden (ft Jay Electronica & Aine Zion)"
4 mins 03s
22 Nov 2016
Rapper Jay Electronica and poet Áine Zion join Emeli Sandé for her latest release, 'Garden'. The attendant promo from Charlie Robins is, fittingly, set in a stately garden complete with tropical glasshouse, and the action moves between the two. The steamy, dreamy lushness of the latter complements the song's vibe... making it a perfect combination.

Ok Go
"The One Moment"
4 mins 13s
24 Nov 2016
Viral wonders Ok Go are back with another compelling, visually complex promo which takes a few watches to fully appreciate. Which won't be a problem, because this has made a social media splash which guarantees you'll see it a few times whatever platforms you use. The video is first shown in its entirety in real time - shot in 4.2 seconds - and then shown in slow motion to accompany 'The One Moment'. The colourful salt bursts, paint splatters, and exploding guitars are visually hypnotic, keeping our attention right to the end of the song.

"Happy When You Go"
3 mins 26s
23 Nov 2016
Banfi's debut track receives a hypnotic promo courtesy of Indy8's Jake Dypka. A girl shows off her hula hoop skills while intermittently vanishing into thin air. It's a clever effect which helps put a new spin on escaping suburban ennui. Meanwhile, the Leytonstone three-piece lace proceedings with jangly guitars and lyrics with discernable bite.

Kate Bush
"...And Dream Of Sheep"
3 mins 41s
21 Nov 2016
It's inevitable that whenever Kate Bush resurfaces in the world of music there's more than a ripple of excitement. And this particular release is given an extra frisson by the promo that comes with it. The song is about someone lost at sea, so for authenticity Bush was filmed singing live in Pinewood Studios' vast water tank, floating in a life jacket.

Robbie Williams
"Love My Life"
3 mins 26s
23 Nov 2016
Robbie Williams just loves being the centre of attention, eh? To be fair to the man, there's no ripping off shirts and/or skin in this promo for 'Love My Life'. He's dressed for winter as a group of black-clad camerawomen record his afternoon stroll. Slickly shot, though there's no escaping the fact the track sounds like any of the popster's past ballads.

Willie J Healey
"Would You Be"
3 mins 47s
22 Nov 2016
Willie J Healey describes his music as a bit "rock'n'stroll" - and he's just as happy to go with the flow on the promos front. When director Finn Keenan wondered if he'd be up for playing "a pathetic, but very likeable, character who dedicated his life to recording the sound of things that don't make sound" he didn't need asking twice.

"Breathing Me In"
4 mins 52s
21 Nov 2016
A pair of lovers get a little hot under the collar in Kristian Young's promo for Koven. Fire becomes a metaphor for individuality and strength when a woman burns her man's back with the intensity of her emotions... and he isn't happy. The story opens with them taking an idyllic trip out into a forest. But as they start to get passionate she literally sears his back with her hand... and they discover she is alight.

Jim James
"Here In Spirit"
4 mins 57s
21 Nov 2016
Jim James - Jesse's musically-inclined brother - flits between town and country in this reflective promo for 'Here In Spirit'. The video champions reconciliation and acceptance regardless of our differences. Butterfly on his shoulder, James reminds us: "If we don't speak out, we can't hear it" - salient advice during these turbulent times.

4 mins 26s
21 Nov 2016
Rapper Buddy may only be 23, but he's already preparing for death. That is, his faith means he's "making my way to heaven while all of my homies been facing the Devil". This promo reflects his outlook: finding the positive in the negative and feeling grateful for the opportunity of life itself; an approach which ensures he makes the most of every day he has.

Ulrich Schnauss
"Love Grows Out Of Thin Air"
5 mins 38s
17 Nov 2016
German electronic musician Ulrich Schnauss creates richly-layered synthscapes which are as strangely uplifting as they are profoundly sad. This track, taken from his latest album, has inspired a promo directed by Sean James Garland about the nature of loss and grief and focuses on a detective mourning the death of his adopted son.

3 mins 21s
17 Nov 2016
Danish popster MØ reunites with director Georgia Hudson for some Balearic escapism. The promo for 'Drum' captures Ibiza at its most picturesque, far removed from club nights and extortionate bottles of water. It's a free-spirited effort as MØ dances on the beach and in a chic abode, proclaiming, "It's your life, it's all yours". Nice location to live it in, too.

Michael Kiwanuka
"One More Night"
3 mins 54s
21 Nov 2016
Director Nez collaborates with the Brooklyn Jumbies - dancers and performers in the African tradition - for this latest release from Michael Kiwanuka. The promo is heavily letterboxed at the start, giving us only a glimpse of the street in which the action is located, before widening to reveal a community literally rising up and standing tall. Upbeat and optimistic.

Frightened Rabbit
"I Wish I Was Sober"
3 mins 37s
16 Nov 2016
A multi-storey car park hosts a crowded intervention in this moving promo for Frightened Rabbit’s ‘I Wish I Was Sober’. A woman finds herself at her lowest ebb, but strength in numbers prevails as she is met by an ever-growing body of helping hands.

Coco Banana
"Earthquaker (Screw Edit)"
2 mins 25s
17 Nov 2016
Who is Coco Banana? The sparse info available only describes them as a female "American songwriter" with no other songs out there that we can see. Her voice has been slowed down on 'Earthquaker' by the Paris-based label Records Collection to create a sound that stops you in your tracks, and Simon Landrein's NSFW animated promo keeps you anchored there.

Maroon 5
"Don't Wanna Know"
6 mins 18s
16 Nov 2016
We love the conceit of David Dobkins' promo for 'Don't Wanna Know' - Maroon 5 as Pokemon Go-style monsters chased by adoring fans - but this contemporary meditation on the nature of fame can't quite pull itself free of the song's banality. Some good comedy cameos, though: the best is the exchange between Vince Vaughan and Adam Levine at the end... sweaty bum cheeks et al.

Emeli Sandé
"Breathing Underwater"
3 mins 50s
15 Nov 2016
This promo for Emeli Sandé's latest song 'Breathing Underwater' from her new album 'Long Live The Angels' features a familiar music video trope - disconnected stories of people at low points in their life, each finding redemption in their own way. Their experiences are intercut with Sandé's emotive performance to camera.

Spring King
4 mins 11s
15 Nov 2016
Put Blind Date in a blender with The Fast Show's Channel 9 and add a little League of Gentlemen. The resulting cocktail would be Jack Whiteley's promo for 'City' by Manchester rockers Spring King. It's part two of a pair - 'Detroit' introduced us to dating show Euro Lover; now Bartek and Penelopete are off to 'enjoy' the sights and sounds of the aforementioned city circa 1990.

Katie Melua
"Perfect World"
4 mins 42s
14 Nov 2016
Yes, yes, we know it's Katie Melua - but these are crazy days we live in. If Trump can be president, Melua can write a lovely song. And she has, in 'Perfect World'. Better still, animators Karni and Saul have created a truly stunning animation to go with it. We defy you to watch this journey through a frozen wilderness without finding a lump in your throat by the end.

Recent Promos

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