David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Latest Work
    • Ahead of the curveWhat a great way of highlighting Centraal Beheer's adaptability and its readiness for the future.
    • Making a house a homeThis ad for Ronald McDonald House Charities is low key and tenderly made.
    • Get out thereThe compilation of boredom that opens this inspiring commercial for the National Trust will be recognised by many parents.
    • Backing the right horseThere's an atmospheric documentary style going on here, and it's a bit of a surprise when you realise this is an ad for KFC.
    • A twisted ideaWe love this attention-grabbingly silly spot for Mattessons... not least because it puts the product proposition firmly at the forefront of the mind.
    • It's not brain surgeryOne of three fab spots for Meteor in Ireland, which set out to demonstrate why everyone wants one of their mobile phone contracts.
    • Have phone, will travelA woman goes into a branch of Phones 4 U and cautiously agrees with the salesman that the model he's showing her is a good choice. She has no idea what's coming next.
    • Bring on the girlsA slick, chic piece of work that depicts Nivea as the skincare product that leaves you ready to take on the world.
    • DIY advertisingThis second-hand car ad may be pulling the wool over your eyes.
    • Nike's Jordan Brand bids farewell to one of its ownOne of baseball's biggest stars is retiring from the sport at the age of 40 - Derek Jeter has broken more records than an angry DJ and has been a superstar for nearly half his life.



How long is extra time?


Thirty minutes.


But he just said four minutes.


That's 'time added on'.


Isn't injury time 'time added on'?


Yes but extra time is different.


Do they have 'time added on' at the end of extra time?




So it could just go on forever?





Carlos Lopez Estrada is a Good Egg

Director Carlos Lopez Estrada - who won a Latin Grammy in 2012 for a Jesse & Joy promo - has joined Good Egg in London. The video made him - at the age of 24 - the youngest director to ever win a Latin Grammy.

Estrada (on the left in the photo) has since collaborated with some of the most experimental bands around, with each film proving more diverse than the last... different in tone, texture and technique.


Centraal Beheer
"Driverless Cars"
30 July 2014

What a great way of highlighting a brand's adaptability and its readiness for the future. There's a lot of media noise about driverless cars of late and one of the key issues in everyone's mind is 'safety'. How can we know that the coming technology will not create new dangers?

Of course, when we wonder about that, one the whole we're thinking about a pilotless vehicle responding incorrectly to something in its path or what might happen if it is fed the wrong information about a route.

What we aren't necessarily thinking about is the reactions of other motorists when they see these cars with their empty driver's seats. This ad does this for us and implies a whole heap of trouble as people adjust to this spooky phenomenon.

It mirrors - to some extent - the recent Toyota ad that had a prankster provoking all kinds of reactions as he drove a car while disguised as the front seat. Here though, the outcome is carefully choreographed mayhem and this alone provides a salient - if amusing - representation of the dangers ahead.

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Ronald McDonald House Charities
"Dad's Voice"
25 July 2014

We've said it before but it's astonishing how successfully McDonald's has rehabilitated itself over the past few years. From being the whipping boy for bad dietary decisions, it's become the fast food outlet with a conscience. They've addressed everything from the quality of their meat sources to the eco-friendliness of their packaging, and ads like this underline the perception that this is a company that puts something back into the community.

The charity provides free home-from-home accommodation for families with a child in hospital; enabling them to stay close to their youngster in one of 14 specially designated houses across the UK. As well as freeing parents of the expense of staying in a hotel that may not be all that close by, it means the child is able to have more time with their mum and dad so that at least some element of the strange new world they've found themselves in is comfortingly familiar... like dad's voice, for instance.

It's low-key and tenderly made; and the script picks up beautifully on the tiny details that make someone unique. Impressive.

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National Trust
"50 Things To Do"
21 July 2014

The compilation of boredom that opens this inspiring commercial for the National Trust will be recognised by many parents. The summer holidays are a wonderful opportunity that can too easily be wasted and scenes of children languishing in their homes in a state of listless ennui will be replicated in homes up and down the land.

The solution is simple - get out there and start enjoying yourself. The idea of 50 things to do before you're 11¾ is quite brilliant - right down to the carefully chosen age... while the list itself is really well-judged.

Director Liz Murphy has imbued this film with authenticity and charm as well as providing some neat visual synergy between the children when they're at home and when they're newly-energised outside.

Having seen two 20" ads in this series, we had a feeling there might be something else out there with a bit more grandeur and so it proves. It's a difficult job to prise children away from their gadgets these days but if anything will persuade them to get out there and start living a little... this will.

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21 July 2014

There's an atmospheric documentary style going on here, and it's a bit of a surprise when you realise this is an ad for KFC. It's certainly not what you're expecting when the spot opens on a ground-level POV of a horse being steered into the pen beside a rodeo ring.

Tension builds as a rider prepares for his turn, and the ambient noise combines with an instrumental track to draw you in and make you feel part of it. According to BBH, it "tells the story of a real-life modern cowboy and his son. Times may have changed, but the action-packed nature of their lifestyle hasn’t."

The filming - and the sound design - is excellent: the apprehension on the young man's face; the footage of the horse trying its damnedest to shake him off in the ring; the close-up of the father's face watching and following every nano-second that he stays on.

We don't see the ride to its conclusion - a superb decision that helps the piece avoids cliché. We get to make up our own minds about the subsequent greeting between the man and his son... did the bucking rodeo ride end badly? Or are the duo so laconic that they shrug it off either way, win or lose?

It's so well made that dad's bag full of KFC jars a little and the proposition might have been stronger if the product had stayed out of the last sequence and only appeared as a pack shot at the end. We'd still have understood it to be the food of cowboys and tough guys.

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Recent Promos

We Are Shining
"Hot Love"
3 mins 12s
29 Jul 2014
Model of the moment Adwoah Aboah provides an intense focus to Simon Cahn's video for Hot Love by 'We Are Shining'. The London-based duo continues to build on their experimental vibe; a melting pot of gospel, Latin, African and European influences that are oddly reminiscent of superb 80s band Yargo. Aboah's essential stillness acts as a strong counterpoint to the frenetic playing in the unlikely supermarket setting.

Tensnake & Jacques lu Cont (ft Jamie Lidell)
"Feel of Love"
3 mins 56s
30 Jul 2014
The track itself is no great shakes, but add the video and you get something very amusing indeed. Directed by Remy Cayuela, it invokes the Woody Allen scene from Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask). The only problem for these game little sperm, however, is their eventual destinations.

Royal Blood
"Figure It Out"
3 mins 05s
10 Jul 2014
Rapid risers on the music scene Royal Blood - a two-piece based in Brighton - have released this glam-tinged belter which comes with an appropriate video from Ninian Doff. Lashings of thrashy riffs set the tone for the unfolding story of a girl in a shopping mall, whose dazed appearance seems connected to the bloodstains that show up on her in blue-filtered light.

Lily Allen
"URL Badman"
3 mins 37s
8 Jul 2014
Lily Allen's never one to take things lying down - and after accusations of racism over her last video Hard Out Here she's hit back with this track about loser trolls who don't have a life beyond anonymously badmouthing people. As you'd expect, the track is full of sassy, smartly-observed lyrics and directorial duo The Sacred Egg do a great job of visually interpreting them.

Daniel James
"Ain't No Money"
3 mins 47s
4 Jul 2014
Up-and-coming singer songwriter Daniel James has released the lead single Ain't No Money from his eponymous debut EP... and a rousing, gospel-tinged number it is. About greed and corruption, it comes with a striking video from director Mark Jenkinson. Set in the streets of the city at night, a venal businessman is pursued by some unexpected followers who increasingly unnerve him.

"Kicking Down Doors"
4 mins 19s
2 Jul 2014
It may be on a rather uncool Pepsi World Cup-inspired compilation album, but Santigold's latest is a banger. Produced by Yogi - the trio associated with Skrillex - it's a trap-infused, electro-fried tribal chant that goes toe-to-toe with M.I.A.'s best. And, even better, it comes with a superb video from director Andy Morahan, inspired by the football game that took place in No Man's Land during WW1's Christmas Truce.

"Dat A Freak"
3 mins 12s
30 Jun 2014
The build, build, build, drop school of EDM from the likes of Diplo and A-Trak is invariably a dancefloor winner, and this - while not quite in the same league as Butters Theme or Jumbo - will garner a lot of play in the clubs this summer. The accompanying video isn't exactly original, but it's been done with humour and pzazz and is very entertaining in a sniggery teenage boy kind of way.

MK (feat Alana)
"Always (Route 94 remix)"
3 mins 29s
30 Jun 2014
Director Courtney Phillips has made an impressive docu-style promo for the house track Always, without which the song feels like so much aural wallpaper. Heard together with the video, the two elements work symbiotically: the anonymous bass fits the undercurrent of uncertainty surrounding the unfolding events, while the boys' skills add a much-appreciated wow factor.

Nicole Scherzinger
"Your Love"
4 mins 04s
30 Jun 2014
Nicole Scherzinger's Your Love will probably do okay in the summer charts; it's catchy and generic enough to have broad appeal. Director Dawn Shadforth has done a good job of capturing that MTV vibe with Scherzinger frolicking on a lovely beach and dazzling colours lighting up the scene after dark. But however sexily she parades around, there's no escaping the fact that the former Pussycat Doll has all the warmth of an ice cube at the North Pole.

"Ta Fête"
3 mins 19s
19 Jun 2014
The talented Stromae has released another iconic track bound to fill the dance floors of Europe all summer - especially as it's been adopted by Belgium's Red Devils as their tune for the World Cup. A rousing, footstomping number, it comes complete with a video by Lieven Van Baelen that combines football references with a live-action gladiatorial video game watched by boorish crowds.

3 mins 35s
13 Jun 2014
If you like your hiphop languid and aggressive all at once, HEL will be your rappers of choice. The laidback feel is totally belied by the lyrics - all pussy, bitches and swagger - which is rich, coming from a trio who don't exactly set your knickers on fire with desire. But at least the video is damn compelling as far as these things go; so props to Youness Benali for its hypnotic, off-kilter imagery.

"My Own Blood"
3 mins 43s
13 Jun 2014
Spare and brooding, Blacksmif's My Own Blood - while very different - evokes the same late-night desolation that Portishead's album Dummy did in the 90s. Director Youness Benali captures this by showing Blacksmif singing in an equally spare setting. Numbed, he tells us that his "own blood won't talk to me", as the camera pans around him and he stares unseeing into a distance we can't imagine.

Ella Eyre
"If I Go"
3 mins 06s
12 Jun 2014
Henry Scholfield is something of a magician when it comes to music videos. His last one - Stromae's Tous les Memes was a tour de force which has clocked up 42 million views on YouTube so far, and he's pulled another marvel out of the bag with this video for Ella Eyre. Here, he's managed to bypass the laws of gravity to create three minutes of über-cool disorientation.

Cash & David
3 mins 18s
5 Jun 2014
The shadowy Cash & David follow up previous track Funn with this lush number which - if we're not wrong - features former Eastenders actor Charlie George Hawkins, who's excellent in the choreographed video that accompanies it. Apparently the action is an interpretation of the way music can be completely immersive, and the three protagonists represent the 'male' and 'female' instruments; their angelic and wicked sides - with Charlie G torn between the two.

Jack White
3 mins 51s
5 Jun 2014
The indefatigably eclectic Mr White is back with a new bag of tricks for our delectation; a rattling, boneshaking collection that's both more ramshackle and more sophisticated than his previous album Blunderbuss. This eponymous track's a jerky garage-style number with a terrific video directed by French duo Jonas and Francois and combines exquisite, hi-def close-ups with smeary, greasy, broken images which reflect in vision everything that's going on in audio.

3 mins 37s
4 Jun 2014
This is one of those videos that turns a passably catchy track into a much more memorable one - albeit simply because people will know it as "that funny handshake song". Peace has been hailed as the new leader of the indie scene, which tells you all you need to know about that - but the video's a corker. Businessmen suss each other out with a series of increasingly convoluted greetings that would put the Masons to shame... and it all ends very oddly indeed.

4 mins 20s
4 Jun 2014
This hypnotic track by Belgian trio Raveyards is a killer, as weirdly sweet as it is sinister. The stop-start glitchiness throws you off-balance just as it draws you in, and the rumbling bass is at odds with the vocals, which are light and summery as blossom. Director Charles De Meyer has made the perfect video to match its trippiness.

"Perfect Match"
5 mins 24s
4 Jun 2014
A reasonable enough track, but what a cracking video - as you'd expect from Belgian director Joe Vanhoutteghem, who has made some wonderfully barmy promos. Here, mismatched couples and trios meet up for secret assignations while the car belonging to one of them follows voyeuristically. At least, that's what we think is going on. And if it's not, who cares - it's great fun and tempts you to watch it over and over in the hope of working out its secrets.

The Kooks
"Around Town"
6 mins 44s
4 Jun 2014
We're not great fans of The Kooks, and this track doesn't really do anything to change our minds - but what it does have is a great video by director Ryan Hope. Combining elements of Pulp Fiction and Leon, it follows the events surrounding a world-weary hitman and his feisty young assistant. Well acted, there's nothing half-hearted about the plentiful shoot-outs that unfold (something that gets a big thumbs-up from us).

Kaiser Chiefs
"Meanwhile up in Heaven"
3 mins 57s
30 May 2014
Kaiser Chiefs lurch around a funfair in this promo for the unsnappily-named Meanwhile up in Heaven. Not even the almighty him/herself could rescue this song, and despite the best efforts of the director the band - bewilderingly dressed as bridegroom, World War One soldier, astronaut and so forth - can bring neither meaning nor intrigue to the proceedings. Stop the ride, please; we want to get off.

Lily Allen
4 mins 11s
30 May 2014
Ruff Mercy's done a fine job of giving Lily's latest single a bit of visual oomph, using his distinct style as seen on Dahlia Black's Fuck a Rap Song. The track itself is light, sleepy and oddly lacking in zing as she sings of being nervous about getting into the spotlight again and name-checking various other female singers in a way that leaves you unsure whether she's dissing them or threatened by them.

Cam'ron & A-Trak
3 mins 34s
30 May 2014
If you like your lyrics traditionally misogynistic and your rappers resplendently bedecked in bling, this is probably for you. The video features Cam'ron, Juelz Santana and chums sashaying around New York singing about male members lodged in female intestines and other such delightful things; and while some of the glimpses of the city are imaginatively filmed, the overall impression is one of tedious deja vu.

5 Seconds of Summer
"Don't Stop"
3 mins 38s
30 May 2014
This frolicsome number is just the thing for One Direction fans desperate to see Kick Ass but who were/are too young. Don't Stop by boy band 5 Seconds of Summer features the lads dressed as erstwhile superheroes playing all kinds of japes and capering about in shiny fabrics. It's generic stuff, but director Isaac Rentz has pitched the video perfectly to its audience.

A Dead Forest
"Cast of Lines"
3 mins 02s
30 May 2014
New Zealand brothers Adam and Sam Sherry - who together make up A Dead Forest - have more than a touch of Fleet Foxes about them in this single Cast of Lines. It comes with an intriguing video featuring an old man: as he dresses the camera lingers on his wasted body with tenderness and grace.

10 mins 02s
29 May 2014
Georgio Testi's promo for Fuckers is moody, claustrophobic and gorgeous. It's a performance video, but the narrow letterboxing compresses the action into a thin strip dense with barely suppressed violence. Singer Jehnny Beth navigates an unswerving line through the chaos thick with pulsing drums; the whole piece has the accessibility of The Horrors and the magnetism of early Joy Division. It's a stunning track, and Testi has done a great job of conveying some of the power of the band's live sets.

Recent Promos

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