David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Latest Work
    • 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.
    • Samsung unpluggedThis wryly humorous ad out of the US shows iPhone owners at the mercy of their phone's battery.
    • Beautifully off-targetEmily Hardridge clowns around and sells herself and the skills of director Ben Tonge without necessarily persuading us to try Chambord.

THE BLACK BOX

ALICE:

How long is extra time?

JASON:

Thirty minutes.

ALICE:

But he just said four minutes.

JASON:

That's 'time added on'.

ALICE:

Isn't injury time 'time added on'?

JASON:

Yes but extra time is different.

ALICE:

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

JASON:

Usually.

ALICE:

So it could just go on forever?

JASON:

Yep.

ALICE:

Terrifying.


National Trust
"50 Things To Do"
60s
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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KFC
"Rodeo"
90s
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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Mattessons Sausage
"Stick or Twist"
30s
19 July 2014

We love this attention-grabbingly silly spot for Mattessons... not least because it puts the product proposition firmly at the forefront of the mind. A presenter in the old-school, severe manner asks us whether we think an unheeding mum should stick with her old recipe or give it a twist with the addition of some Mattessons sausage. Stick... or twist?

It's a lovely nod to British game show hosts of yesteryear: oldish chaps in drab suits with ties done up to eleven, asking light entertainment questions as if they were posing challenges that would flummox a rocket scientist. But of course, when she decides to 'twist', he twists too - and that's what makes this idea so visually arresting.

Revealing a pair of snazzy mustard-hued shoes, our presenter turns into a sly old fox with some real moves as the family - still completely unaware of him - tuck in to their meal. It's fun, it's memorable, and it's simple: want to give a weekday tea something extra - effortlessly? Choose Mattessons Sausage. This should be one happy client.

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Meteor
"Brain Surgeon"
40s
18 July 2014

One of three fab spots for Meteor in Ireland, which set out to demonstrate why everyone wants one of their mobile phone contracts. In this ad, brain surgeon and "international hair model" Jesús Ángel tells us that you don't have to do his job to figure out that Meteor's deals make complete sense.

It's silly, snappy and off the wall - plus it's a sublime piece of casting. Director David Kerr has taken the utterly daft script and polished it till it sparkles - every last word is underlined with just the right visual emphasis. Just watch our surgeon's face when his patient starts talking... terrific.

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Phones 4 U
"Future You"
60s
18 July 2014

Amazing what technology can do these days, innit? A woman goes into a phone shop and cautiously agrees with the salesman that the model he's showing her is a good choice. "It'll still be good in a couple of years," he tells her - and to prove his point, he takes her out the back - so to speak - and on a journey to the future.

Their mode of transport is, reminiscent of the famous film, a modified car - and once strapped in, they zoom off and arrive at a glamorous destination where everything is revolving around her and her little bichon frise.

She catches sight of a deliciously funny billboard that explains everything (well, to an extent) and yes, she's still using her phone.

The absurdity of the conceit is terrific, and all the stops have been pulled out to emphasise that the model is so good, you won't want to upgrade after 24 months even if you have the world at your fingertips.

In all, it's a lovely spot and as she breathlessly decides to take the phone, you finding yourself nodding at her in encouragement because Phones 4 U must most definitely be the go-to store. You can't ask more from an ad than that.

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Five Star Work

National Trust
"50 Things To Do"
60s
21 Jul 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.

KFC
"Rodeo"
90s
21 Jul 2014
The filming of this 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. 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.

Mattessons Sausage
"Stick or Twist"
30s
19 Jul 2014
We love this attention-grabbingly silly spot for Mattessons... not least because it puts the product proposition firmly at the forefront of the mind. A presenter in the old-school, severe manner asks us whether we think a mum should stick with her old recipe or give it a twist with the addition of some Mattessons sausage. Stick... or twist? You chose correctly. This should be one happy client.

Meteor
"Brain Surgeon"
40s
18 Jul 2014
One of three fab spots for Meteor in Ireland, which set out to demonstrate why everyone wants one of their mobile phone contracts. In this ad, brain surgeon and "international hair model" Jesús Ángel tells us that you don't have to do his job to figure out that Meteor's deals make complete sense. It's silly, snappy and off the wall - plus it's a sublime piece of casting.

Phones 4 U
"Future You"
60s
18 Jul 2014
Amazing what technology can do these days, innit? A woman goes into a phone shop and cautiously agrees with the salesman that the model he's showing her is a good choice. "It'll still be good in a couple of years," he tells her - and to prove his point, he takes her out the back - so to speak - and on a journey to the future.

Nivea
"Bring It On"
60s
17 Jul 2014
If this is the kind of advertising we can expect from FCB following their merger with Inferno then we must commend both companies on an astute business decision because this is a massive improvement for a brand whose advertising has often been so anodyne that our TV screens might as well be coated with one of their moisturising creams.

Holden Barina
"Buy My Barina"
65s
16 Jul 2014
This caught our attention yesterday and looks - on first viewing - to be an absolutely astonishing effort by a young man in Australia to sell his crappy old car. It turns out that the young man in question has a significant role at a digital agency so the car sale may be a bit of a ruse. But since that would mean this is an equally clever attempt to demonstrate the impact of a cleverly authored viral and to promote his company, it's still a pretty amazing piece of communication.

Nike's Jordan Brand
"Re2pect"
90s
15 Jul 2014
One 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. This tribute focuses on the respect he's been accorded throughout the sport as colleagues, opponents and fans doff their caps to him when he walks out to bat for the very last time. Among those paying tribute are Jay Z, Spike Lee, Billy Crystal, Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan.

Samsung Galaxy
"Wall Huggers"
60s
15 Jul 2014
This wryly humorous ad out of the US shows iPhone users at the mercy of their phone's battery. Caught out by the speed at which its juice runs out, or hoppingly anxious to clock a charger socket just in case, they're depicted as wall huggers: obliged to crouch on stained carpets cheek by jowl with strangers to wait until their phone deems it's okay to roam free again.

Smart
"Big Car"
2 mins 36s
11 Jul 2014
"We found it's much more efficient to ignore reality," says the Vice President of Development for Smart's next Big Thing - The Biggest City Car Ever - in this wonderfully dry satire on gas guzzling Chelsea tractor-style monsters. Nonsensical rationalisations as to why huge cars are ideal for pootling about in the city are delivered with deadpan restraint, complete with illustrations and slyly daft graphs.

BT Sport
"Believe It"
60s
12 Jul 2014
One of a series in a new campaign for BT Sport which revolves around the line: "you have to see it to believe it" and shows everyone from fans to managers reacting to what they're seeing on the football pitch. So if you're about to breathe a sigh of relief that the footie's finally over, don't exhale just yet because this heralds the start of the Premier League season which is just getting ready to, er, kick off.

Ikea
"Beds"
90s
11 Jul 2014
Juan Cabral isn't the most prolific director in the world, but boy, it's worth waiting for his work and this 90-second ad for IKEA raises the bar in the search for this year's best commercial. Much of the retailer's advertising is visually adventurous but this raises their game stratospherically. In the wrong hands it could have been overblown and pompous... instead, it captures the strangely vivid yet fleeting nature of dreams with uncanny, magical precision.

McDonald's
"Skills Zone"
45s
11 Jul 2014
This lovely New Zealand ad is promoting McDonald's 'Skills Zone'; an online site where youngsters can teach themselves about various footie challenges and then put their know-how into practice when they play. To that end, a wonderfully-cast young lad is seen having a game with other lads as he keeps up an interior monologue.

CLIC Sargent
"The Joke Appeal"
2 mins 05s
7 Jul 2014
This beautifully observed film publicising a worthy initiative by the charity CLIC Sargent portrays a playground scene with remarkable authenticity. A group of lads are exchanging banter typical of boys their age when one of them reveals that a friend of his - alone on the other side of the playground - is suffering from cancer.

ITV
"Tainted Love"
60s
8 Jul 2014
A deliciously juicy and stylised trail mashing up those two iconic soaps, Coronation Street and Emmerdale. To a stripped-back, music-box version of Tainted Love by Hannah Peel, household names and villains appear in fairytale vignettes that ripple with sinister undercurrents of the Snow White story. From the huge apple at the start to the deceptive reflection in the mirror, it all points to mistrust and betrayal... the same old, same old, then, in soap tropes.

McVitie's BN
"Owl"
30s
8 Jul 2014
The instant popularity of the first raft of ads rather took us by surprise as we weren't sure people wanted to equate biscuits they were about to eat with cute furry creature but - not for the first time - we were caught out by the public's strange appetites. We were never ambiguous about the craft, mind you, and now we know everyone has bought into this idea we can be unhesitating in our praise of the latest addition to the campaign.

Hyundai
"The Empty Car Convoy"
2 mins 35s
4 Jul 2014
If you've ever watched Top Gear and wondered what it would be like without the chummy antics of its ghastly presenters, take a look at this wonderful viral for Hyundai. Kit Lynch-Robinson - a veteran of the aforementioned bundle of motoring and prejudice - has put this together and his sure directorial touch ensures that it has the perfect blend of tension and humour. It's little wonder that it's racking up so many YouTube viewings.

Vodafone
"Quotes"
60s
3 Jul 2014
This is a beautifully judged piece of work that will appeal to film and television buffs everywhere. Each of the vignettes is powered by a short recreation of an iconic moment from a film or a television series and - as well as being very funny - this is a lovely little quiz to test your knowledge. We got four out of five (admittedly the last is a gimme but see if you can get each of the other four).

Imperial War Museum
"Flight of the Stories"
90s
7 Jul 2014
This beautifully illustrated piece strikes the perfect balance between emotional resonance and dignified restraint. Instrumental music plays throughout as sampled speech, song and battle drifts in and fades away; ghosts of the past brought to rest in the new First World War galleries at the Imperial War Museum.

Sainsbury's
"Summer Snacks"
30s
6 Jul 2014
A very clever ad indeed. An engagingly sweet dad shows us how he makes healthy snacks for his lads and their friends while we glimpse the boys playing in the garden in the background. Cinnamon apple crisps, frozen strawberry yogurt buttons... they're impressively simple to make, and sound very tasty - plus dad's little fluff in his explanation is a lovely touch: props to all for deciding to leave that in.

Peugeot 108
"Gunshot"
60s
3 Jul 2014
According to Peugeot, the (mostly female) target audience for their 108 model "see the car as an extension of themselves, in line with their way of life: connected, personalised, sophisticated". So it's a smart move to align themselves with a track by Swedish singer songwriter Lykke Li, whose credibility and connectedness with her fans appeal to this market in a big way. Slick and poppy in a good way, this spot is bound to get the right attention.

Strongbow
"Bittersweet"
60s
4 Jul 2014
What a juicy ad to start the week off with. Using the excellent Temples track Keep in the Dark as its music bed, this spot for Strongbow shows us the contrast between the pleasurable and not so pleasurable aspects of making their well-known cider. Working in the bitterest depths of winter is the flip side to basking in the warmth of summer... and a delicious way to communicate the brand's bittersweet taste.

Lexus
"Strobe"
60s
3 Jul 2014
CHI's TV work for Lexus continues to exude class... albeit in a fashion that doesn't always feel that it'll be directly responsible for forecourt sales. This has the look of something that was done for real... as indeed it was. Apparently, a team of forty engineers were required to erect and control the large-scale rigging that allowed the 'Lightmen'.

The Sun
"Tooth"
30s
3 Jul 2014
One of those ads that proves the truism right: simple ideas are the best. This one centres round a young boy preoccupied with a wobbly tooth and takes us on a journey through his school day as, from the moment he brushes his teeth to the moment he gets onto the playing field, he can't leave that precariously attached peg alone.

Irn Bru
"Born to Support"
60s
3 Jul 2014
The Leith Agency in Edinburgh continues to produce potent advertising for Barr's Irn Bru and - as you might expect - they've come up with something suitable irreverent for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Demonstrating the self-deprecating humour that has continuously characterised Irn Bru's advertising, this has been played with a straight enough bat to be quite stirring.

Five Star Work

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