David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Latest Work
    • Celine Dion as you've never heard her before.Vita Coco pitch giving it your all on a beach hut karaoke stage as the ideal scenario for some life-restoring coconut water.
    • A hostel fit for 50.First it was Chris Eubank, now Hostel World enlist the most appropriate spokesman imaginable: 50 Cent. Yes, that one.
    • Lightly does it."Let there be light!" say U.S. Bank with this suitably illuminating commercial which portrays the institution with the kind of restrained optimism that has become so prevalent in the financial sector in recent times.
    • Why Pepephone makes horse senseWhat cheesily classic tropes makes your heart pound in your chest? The energetic violins of Vivaldi's Four Seasons?A horse galloping along a beach at dawn? Ridden by... another horse? If that's what we want, Pepephone will give it to us.
    • Where's James Corden when you need him?The tone of this excellent awareness film for Williams Syndrome is set in the first moments when actor Mathew Baynton is asked "How's James Corden?" in lieu of an enquiry into his own well-being.
    • Water claim!A young man fears the worst in this sweet ad for Samsung when the young woman he fancies drives away without giving him her phone number. Sure, she has his but what are the chances she's going to call?
    • The road to recovery.VW are on the road to reputational recovery in a charming new commercial out of adam&eveDDB.
    • Famous drivers, infamous driving.Celebrities driving erratically while members of the public fear for their lives in the passenger seat? Blimey, gameshows have taken a dark turn since Brucie's day. Luckily, this collaboration between Channel 4 and Aviva has a much more light-hearted tone.
    • Testicles v chesticlesThis spot for the nonprofit advocacy group Girls Who Code is a terrific way to spur school-age girls into addressing the tech industry's gender gap.
    • Not far enough along The Path.A fan of Aaron Paul's new Hulu series is keen to shoot the breeze with the actor while queuing at his local bistro - only he's not as far ahead in the show as he claims.
    • Joce Hockings makes the cut at Marshall Street Editors.Marshall Street Editors bring their roster up to a neat and tidy dozen with the signing of experienced editor Joce Hockings.
    • Presenting Alan Friel's 'Sophie at the Races'.It's always exciting to see a director sink their teeth into a personal project, and 76 Ltd's Alan Friel has done just that with his acclaimed short film,'Sophie At The Races'.
    • A liquid uprising.Carlsberg strike a blow for fan power in this fun revolutionary romp which sees the Paris citizens unite in the name of Les Bleus at Euro 2016... and if they get the chance to wet their whistles on the way, so be it.

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Vita Coco
"Karaoke"
60s
23 May 2016

There's a myriad of ways for you to work up a sweat, be it through exercise, physical labour, or mental exertion. Eventually, you're giving it your all on a beach hut karaoke stage, and it's this unlikely scenario which Vita Coco pitches as the ideal situation for some life-restoring coconut water. It's fair to say a mustachioed Frenchman giving a creative rendition of Celine Dion's 'It's All Coming Back To Me Now' is an oddity, but it's an enjoyable one.

The singer - in his element while in an inexplicable shirt - is a winning protagonist as his mangled efforts at the lyrics still manage to convey the song's emotional heft. Director Daniel Wolfe has plenty of fun replicating the exotic strangeness of wandering into a karaoke bar abroad by accident. Left field and proud of it, the ad is a fun way of presenting the advertised brand as an offbeat yet effective source of energy.

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Hostel World
"In Da Hostel with 50 Cent"
2 mins 30s
23 May 2016

Having brought Alan Partridge fans' dreams to life last year by having Chris Eubank turn his monocle to the nation's youth hostels, Hostel World now enlist the most appropriate spokesman imaginable: 50 Cent. Yes, that one.

Considering his recent money troubles (we would say he doesn't have a cent to his name, but that wouldn't really work), there's an enjoyably mad sense of logic to the rapper extolling budget-friendly accommodation. While the patrons and staff of this Barcelona guest house seem positively nonplussed by his presence, 50 Cent throws himself into his role as hostel inspector.

Smuggler's Barry Bangs has plenty of fun with the MTV Cribs box of presentation tropes: black-and-white slow-motion; sparkle graphics; sugar rush editing;, and a general fascination with fittings. Honestly, check out the chrome finish on that faucet - rapper's delight, indeed.

Meanwhile, while 50 Cent amusingly shows he isn't the smoothest operator in Catalonia, he commits to a script peppered with silly lines like, "Damn, that's some fresh sheet". The advertised accommodation website will be satisfied with another eye-catching demonstration of their world-faring philosophy, while the rest of us know we can trust Curtis James Jackson III for hostel-related discussion.

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U.S. Bank
"Lights"
50s
19 May 2016

"Let there be light!" say U.S. Bank with this suitably illuminating commercial which portrays the institution with the kind of restrained optimism that has become so prevalent in the financial sector in recent times.

It's a compelling treatment both aurally and visually, with Gorgeous director Patrick Daughters flicking the switch on a rapid-fire light show. Desk lamps, fluorescent lights, the mellow glow of a computer screen, and even a light bulb erupting into incandescence all create a tapestry of illumination. Kudos to the maintenance team ( or post team!) for ensuring there isn't a dud bulb on-site, either.

Coupled with a progressively intense soundtrack of cheerful bleeps, beeps, and chirps, the ad draws you into an entire building 'waking up' as a new day breaks. For the advertised financial body, they want customers to treat each day as full of light-bulb moments. Thanks to the skilful realisation of the notion, the bank do a quietly effective job of sharing their bright outlook.

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Pepephone
"Horse: Maximillian"
40s
21 May 2016

What cheesily classic tropes makes your heart pound in your chest? The energetic violins of Vivaldi's Four Seasons? A horse galloping along a beach at dawn? Ridden by... another horse? Whoa, back up there a minute. Yep, that's what we're seeing.

As the music reaches a frenzied crescendo the camera pulls back to reveal horse-on-horse galloping action. All in the name of a Spanish mobile network.

"Listen... it's me," whispers the male VO seductively. "Alex Kapranos." We do a double take before realising it's not the lead singer of Franz Ferdinand speaking, but the horse on, er, horseback. "Equus caballus," it's saying. "Is this what you want?"

Supers appear, providing a selection of appealing benefits to being with Pepephone; and all the while, the horses career along the shoreline. Obliquely it occurs to us that the vision before us is designed to say that whatever we want, we'll be given, with cherries on top. If we like to see horses running, Pepephone will step up the equine quota and throw in some stirring music for free.

It's daft, but also beautifully smart: while we're captivated by the unusual sight on our screens, it's simple enough that it allows us to absorb the messages communicated. Plus the sheer imagination involved suggests, rightly or wrongly, that this is a company with a sense of humour - and therefore is as human as us. Dig it, baby.

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Williams Syndrome
"Nephew"
2 mins 30s
22 May 2016

The tone of this excellent awareness film for Williams Syndrome is set in the first moments when actor Mathew Baynton (who also wrote and co-directed this film) is asked "How's James Corden?" in lieu of an enquiry into his own well-being. It's not just funny, it serves as a metaphor for the difficulty of raising awareness of little-known ailments.

Baynton - who graduated from Horrible Histories to star alongside Corden in 'The Wrong Mans' - is on the receiving end of some extraordinary insensitivity in a carefully calibrated piece which has the feel of an excerpt from W1A - the BBC's excruciating comedy satirising itself.

Baynton's version of himself manages to remain extraordinarily calm in the face of the increasingly absurd interventions from the gauche characters played by Paterson Joseph and Sam Spiro who calculate his awareness-raising might have more impact if it incorporated a higher profile actor or a higher profile disease... preferably both.

Baynton gamely battles on and - in doing so - achieves what his onscreen character cannot... he draws attention to the rare neurodevelopmental disorder.

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Recent Promos

The Last Shadow Puppets
"Miracle Aligner"
4 mins 43s
19 May 2016
The Last Shadow Puppets a.k.a. Alex Turner and Miles Kane take their well-documented 'bromance' to giddy stratospheres with this luxuriant promo for 'Miracle Aligner', directed by Rogue's Saam Farahmand. Brave is the soul who attempts to come between these two rapscallions existing in permanent orbit around each other.

Cadenza
"No Drama (ft. Avelino and Assassin)"
3 mins 16s
18 May 2016
This is the kind of track that really needs to be felt; the volume turned to 'earbleed' and thwacking you in the kidneys while you attempt to look cool in a very, very dark club. However, while we lack that kind of context here at DAVID, we're more than consoled by the fact we get to watch the video instead. Created by the controversially-named PussyKrew, it features London producer Cadenza, the two rappers, and a couple of fierce dancers.

Coldplay
"Up&Up"
4 mins 08s
18 May 2016
There's nothing we can say about Coldplay that hasn't already been said, which leaves us free to concentrate on the rather lovely video for their new single Up&Up. Directed by Gal Muggia and Prettybird's Vania Heymann, it's a heady cocktail of surreal imagery, with turtles swimming through tube stations and babies flying on the wings of a plane.

Lauren Aquilina
"Kicks"
3 mins 40s
11 May 2016
Bristol-born artist Lauren Aquilina steps into the ring for this promo for 'Kicks' shot by Weronika Tofilska. Aquilina's honeyed vocals belie the defiant thrust of her lyrics as she shouts down those picking the wrong fight. Meanwhile, Tofilska flits between the in-ring stage and a diverse cast refusing to pull punches or kicks. An engaging piece with a persuasive vigour to both the music and the visuals.

Mura Masa
"What If I Go?"
3 mins 06s
11 May 2016
Mura Masa - aka 20 year old Adam Crossen is a musical magpie, merging a seemingly random choice of instruments and style to make something quite new. 'What If I Go?' acts as a soundtrack to the video by Yoni Lappin, which follows three young couples through their day and into a night out; and which has a fresh, spontaneous charm all of its own.

Tom and His Computer
"Organ"
3 mins 05s
11 May 2016
At first we wondered if Tom was an alias of Jackson and His Computer Band, but no - this is an entirely different chap. Thomas Bertelsen, Copenhagen producer-DJ, to be precise. And what a track this is: with its odd syncopation, simple driving beat and wavering chords it's like John Carpenter writing music for Doctor Who.

TCTS
"Thinking About You (ft Leo Kalyan)"
3 mins 59s
29 Mar 2016
A put-upon salaryman is harassed by his boss and sent to find some boxes in the bowels of the factory he works in. But things take a turn for the outlandish as one trippy scenario after another confuses the hell out of him; all seemingly orchestrated by the siren-like co-worker he has the hots for. Good, compelling fun from upcoming director WVLF CVB for TCTS.

Radiohead
"Daydreaming"
6 mins 26s
8 May 2016
As if revealing ninth studio album 'A Moon Shaped Pool' via a series of social media purges and an unholy union between Trumpton and The Wicker Man wasn't enough, Radiohead enlist the directorial talents of Paul Thomas Anderson for their latest promo. See, it pays when your lead guitarist is also an acclaimed soundtrack composer on the side.

Laura Mvula
"Phenomenal Woman"
2 mins 56s
9 May 2016
Laura Mvula's distinctive song-writing style sees her in ebullient form for her new single 'Phenomenal Woman'. Capturing the song's vitality with ease, Alex Southall - who directed her previous video, 'Overcome' - this time creates a bright, playful and dynamic clip set in Cape Town's Bo Kaap township. Watch out, Laura... Mrs DAVID wants your hat.

Yeasayer
"I Am Chemistry"
5 mins 02s
5 May 2016
This slightly uneven track for Yeasayer works because of the psychedelic instrumental halfway through... and in turn, that works because of the video which accompanies it. Released in January, it was directed by New Media Ltd in collaboration with Canadian sculptor David Altmejd, who creates figurative pieces pushed almost to abstraction... and it's as beautiful as it is disturbing.

Frances
"Don't Worry About Me"
3 mins 45s
4 May 2016
Young singer-songwriter Frances has penned a touching song for someone who has been there for her and who she now wants to be strong for in turn. The simplicity of the track is all the more poignant for Zak Razvi's accompanying promo, which focuses on an elderly man keeping vigil at his dying wife's bedside.

J Dilla
"The Sickness (ft NAS)"
2 mins 42s
4 May 2016
Producer and rapper J Dilla may have died in 2006 but his music legacy lives on. RuffMercy has made a worthy promo for Dilla's track 'The Sickness' (featuring Nas) from long-lost album 'The Diary'; employing his distinctive anarchic style and collagist imagery to create a visual impact equal to the track's energy and heft.

Jack Garratt
"Surprise Yourself"
4 mins 36s
4 May 2016
Is Jack Garratt the secret love child of James Blake and Ed Sheeran? We have our suspicions. However, the undulating intensity of 'Surprise Yourself' works well with Tom Clarkson's promo in which a disparate bunch of people face their fears / realise their ambitions. The discovery that nothing is holding back but themselves is given wings by the uplifting chorus.

Radiohead
"Burn the Witch"
3 mins 59s
4 May 2016
When Thom Yorke and co. hit the delete button on their social media presence a few days ago, hopes of Radiohead's long-awaited successor to 2011's 'The King of Limbs' began to rise. Enter 'Burn the Witch' - and the immediate takeaway is that Trumpton has taken one hell of a dark turn.

Alesso
"I Wanna Know"
4 mins 38s
2 May 2016
The pain of unrequited love is central to this promo for Alesso's 'I Wanna Know'. A stunt double filling in for the singer's character in a gloriously cheesy action movie yearns for the lead actress, but she only has eyes for Alesso. We get to see the stunt guy perform all kinds of tricksy moves including a hilarious mid-air motorbike somersault, although possibly his biggest achievement is looking soulful in a ridiculous wig. Lovely stuff.

Digitalism
"Go Time"
3 mins 18s
2 May 2016
Digitalism is back with 'Go Time' from new album Mirage. We never quite got the fuss about this electronic duo, who always sound better on paper than on the ear. Joan Guasch's promo has them wandering about watching duplicates of themselves pass by before they reconvene on stage - a stage full of smoke and mirrors, which, it strikes us, is a cool metaphor for the band's abilities.

Lemaitre
"Closer"
4 mins 13s
27 Apr 2016
Casey & Ewan direct this fun spot for Lemaitre's 'Closer', which features a child with anger management issues morphing into a hulk-like figure when something upsets him at school. Mayhem ensues in the music room, during the art lesson, and even when he's about to eat a doughnut... plus we wouldn't fancy clearing up the feathers from that cushion he's destroyed...

The 1975
"A Change of Heart"
4 mins 47s
28 Apr 2016
'A Change of Heart' sees a change of direction for The 1975, and it's actually rather charming. Penned by Matt Healy, the song deftly captures the shallowness of young relationships and director Tim Mattia has created a Chaplin-esque video to go with it. We have a feeling the combination will appeal not just to their loyal fanbase but to a wider audience as well.

Zak Abel
"Everybody Needs Love"
3 mins 19s
26 Apr 2016
I Owe Youth directs this distinctive promo for Zak Abel's new track. Abel sings directly into camera while playing table tennis - and the combination works surprisingly well. He's a charismatic young guy and IOY have neatly channelled his ability to convey emotional intensity while doing something physically demanding (you try playing with a bat in each hand).

Jamie Isaac
"Last Drip (ft Rejjie Snow)"
7 mins
25 Apr 2016
Jamie Isaac's brand of electro-jazz minimalism stretches out across seven minutes in this extended version of his track 'Last Drip'. It's paired up with an atmospheric promo by Dexter Navy in which Isaac and friends wring every last drop from a night made progressively woozier by spliffs, booze and possibly other mind-altering pharms - Navy does a great job of suggesting the disoriented sensory blurring that results.

Run The Jewels
"Love Again (ft Gangsta Boo)"
3 mins 54s
19 Apr 2016
Ninian Doff's promo for 'Love Again' by Run The Jewels is supercharged sexy. But not in the way you might expect. Thankfully there are no bootylicious babes shaking their assets or manspreading fly guys calling the shots... instead, what we have is a world in macro where insects and flowers dominate the scene and are both predator and prey; pursuing the objects of their lust.

Jordan Max
"Hell"
3 mins 49s
19 Apr 2016
Jordan Max may be only 23 with a name that sounds like footwear, but his brooding track 'Hell' comes from an older, more sophisticated perspective. In it he wearily berates humankind for its apathy, and Hector Dockrill's promo provides a compelling counterpoint with urban youths both accepting their environment and finding ways to rise above it.

Olivia Sebastianelli
"Lighting Fires"
3 mins 36s
19 Apr 2016
A neat one-shot video delivers the debut track from Olivia Sebastianelli. Singing about the effect love has on us, she traverses dim corridors shedding layers of clothing as she goes. The journey is a a metaphor for her struggle to develop as a woman and as an artist, and directorial team Yellow Haus ensures she has a commanding presence that is bound to appeal to her fans.

Michael Kiwanuka
"Love and Hate"
7 mins 58s
15 Apr 2016
Michael Kiwanuka uses his soulful vocals to good effect on his latest single Love and Hate. Director Huse Monfaradi has made a performance promo to accompany it - a low-key affair which works well by not overshadowing the track itself. Also, as the song is nearly eight minutes long, any concept promo might easily buckle under its weight so it's a wise move!

Declan McKenna
"Paracetemol"
6 mins 01s
4 Apr 2016
Matt Lambert's promo for 'Paracetamol' by teenage singer-songwriter Declan McKenna follows the friendship of two young people on the LGBT spectrum. A trans boy and his gay best mate are filmed in a documentary style which offers touching insights into their lives; underlining the way in which the careless, callous bigotry of the media towards such vulnerable youngsters is both shocking and unacceptable.

Recent Promos

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