David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Latest Work
    • Like watching paint dry.Ronseal's latest commercial lit up the internet with responses raging from bafflement to delight.
    • Volume control.The Times and The Sunday Times unite to take control of the faders in this compelling ad for the two titles.
    • Cat gets a tongue thanks to Acne and Temptations.The clever clogs at Acne have collaborated with adam&eveDDB for an innovative development in feline/human relations in the shape of the Temptations Catterbox collar.
    • Liquid assets.This swish commercial for Martini marks the vermouth's return to the world stage and it arrives with a swagger and a no-nonsense stance on time-wasting.
    • Loving the skin you're inThis bold and beautiful film for Selfridges - to promote their latest Body Studio installation - celebrates the confidence five iconic women have in their own physique. From plus size model to 70 year old fashion muse, these are all women who inhabit their bodies on their own terms and refuse to kowtow to the judgemental gaze of the media.
    • Embrace your fear on the biggest stage.P & G harness the directorial talents of Rattling Stick's Jeff Nichols to pulsating effect in this ad celebrating the supportive figures behind Olympic greatness just in time for Mother's Day.
    • Help get Fern Berresford into Space.Director Fern Berresford is using KickStarter to raise funds for a short film called 'Fell' and there's only a week to go!
    • Reynald Gresset shows Independent spirit.French director Reynald Gresset adds both continental charm and storytelling nous to the roster at Independent.
    • Love is... a happy house.This lovely film for US DIY chain Lowe's creates a parallel between a burgeoning love affair and their respective houses.
    • They're baaaaack!This Swiss film for the Co-op reminds us what summer is really about.
    • Digital love.Director John Wikstrom presents a ghost story with a twist in this moving short film inspired by a YouTube post which proves there is good to be found in the comment sections.
    • Urban planning, the green-fingered way.Strongbow are the latest brand to jump on to the 'guerilla gardening' bandwagon with this enterprising film set on an abandoned street corner in downtown Johannesburg.
    • Extraterrestrial homesick blues.To mark the launch of 'Alien: Out of the Shadows', Audible remind us why space-faring sorts should never turn their back when a Xenomorph is at large.

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Ronseal
"Fence"
3 mins 10s
29 April 2016

If you want to generate a big response on social media, it's a good idea to put your new commercial in the first ad break of a programme that has a lot of people tweeting-along and Channel 4's Gogglebox is the current champion of this phenomenon. This explains why Ronseal decided it was the perfect slot for their extraordinary new TV commercial which duly delivered with a huge ripple across the internet.

Richard Pearson and Karl Stones of BJL must have been watching through their fingers as the ad broke but they needn't have feared... their three minute-long film of young man painting his fence went down a storm.

It has to be one of the boldest moves we can remember. Having had prior warning that something unusual was likely to be happening during the 9.10 ad break on Channel 4, DAVID wasn't as surprised as the overwhelming majority of viewers when the ad went on and on. But judging by the response on Twitter, the overwhelming majority of viewers bought into it and it has to be regarded a considerable triumph.

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The Times/The Sunday Times
"Noise"
30s
25 April 2016

The Times and The Sunday Times unite to take control of the faders in this compelling ad for the two titles. To illustrate their focus on clarity in their journalism, various scenes have the background noise muted to leave one defining sound. As a result, we hear nothing but a cyclist's measured breathing during a race; Donald Trump's echoing footsteps as he addresses the masses; and a baby's cry amidst a desperate arrival on to dry land.

There's an eerie quality to each scenario being reduced to one audio cue... or should that be streamlined to leave the most important sound? It's a neat communication of each paper's editorial attitude, and portrays the daily and Sunday editions as the source of coherence amidst the din and bustle of competing news outlets.

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Cat gets a tongue thanks to Acne and Temptations.

The clever clogs at Acne have collaborated with adam&eveDDB for an innovative development in feline/human relations in the shape of the Temptations Catterbox collar.

As if pondering the meaning of life wasn't enough, cat owners have to deal with the constantly shifting meaning of cats. In an effort to make communication between the two parties a little easier, Temptations - the brand renowned for their witty approach to cat food - have developed a collar allowing our furry friends to 'voice' their opinions.


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Martini
"Play With Time"
60s
27 April 2016

This swish commercial for Martini marks the vermouth's return to the world stage and it arrives with a swagger and a no-nonsense stance on time-wasting. Forget the digits on your balance screen - hours, minutes, and seconds are the currency of choice.

It may not do much for your accountant's mental well-being, but the ad communicates its philosophy in a pacy, entertaining style with some surreal flourishes. The protagonist is open-minded and light on his feet, moving from one scenario to another like a smooth operator. Material goods add little to the anecdote well, but random, close, and passionate encounters do - the kind of events that merit a sip of satisfaction.

Playful with imagery and possessing an agreeably urbane vibe, Jake Nava's treatment deftly sells the brand's notion of alternative wealth - one based on experience rather than objects. While the VO's thick accent requires tuning in to, you can tell it belongs to a man with plenty of stories in the bank.

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Selfridges
"Incredible Machines"
3 mins 57s
27 April 2016

This bold and beautiful film for Selfridges - to promote their new Body Studio installation - celebrates the confidence five iconic women have in their own physique. From plus size model to 70 year old fashion muse, these are all women who inhabit their bodies on their own terms and refuse to kowtow to the judgemental gaze of the media - and of men, who tend to dictate what is and isn't acceptable.

The Body Studio itself consists of a lingerie-fitting studio, sleepwear, swimwear and sportswear departments, plus a salon; and is all about helping to create a positive shopping experience for women by encouraging them to not merely accept but feel pride in their body shapes.

"I feel powerful like a Ferrari," says Ruqsana Begum, who is the world's first female Muslim boxing champion; "Fast, furious and strong," while, as a counterpoint, Sharmadean Reid explains how her race rather than her religion plays a part in the way she is perceived as a woman: "My bum's always been quite flat for a black girl so then it's like, for a black girl you have quite a small bum and it's like, you can't win."

The many paradoxes of being judged by body type are captured cleverly - even a transwoman activist gets to have her say - and this in no small part must be down to the fact that director Kathryn Ferguson led an almost entirely female crew. Kudos to everyone involved... and let's hope it will encourage agencies - at the very least - to let female teams lead the creative on products aimed at them (you heard us, tampon brands).

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Recent Promos

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.

Plaitum
"Jagwa"
3 mins 54s
6 Apr 2016
Directing duo in/out - the latest addition to Riff Raff Films's Nursery of Evil roster - underline why they were signed to the ominously-named but highly talented crèche with this beguiling promo for Plaitum's 'Jagwa'. Red and blue spark off against the darkness as the imagery oscillates between fragmenting human bodies and abstract sound waves.

Ikes
"Clarity (Feat Hayley Cassidy)"
3 mins 57s
4 Apr 2016
Rising star Ikes confesses he doesn't do a great job of letting his girlfriend know where she stands with him in his new track 'Clarity'. The uncertainty of the relationship is played out in the promo, which shows him writing a song about paying more attention to his music than to her... ironically while she's in the room with him. A smart conceit, smoothly done.

Anoushka Shankar
"Land of Gold (feat Alev Lenz)"
3 mins 30s
4 Apr 2016
Anoushka Shankar's release 'Land of Gold' is a response to the plight of refugees, who not only suffer the loss of their home and their way of life but who are turned away from the places to which they flee for sanctuary. To emphasise this, the accompanying promo from Stroma Cairns features two girls from different backgrounds playing together in the concrete jungle; unaware of any cultural divide.

Gabriels
"Amethyst"
5 mins 32s
4 Apr 2016
The creator of Amethyst is almost as mysterious as the creator of the track's attendant promo... the only difference being that, at this point, we do at least know the artist's name. Gabriels is a producer, hailing from London and now based in LA; and this lone release is a massive, brooding beaut. Happily, the video - whoever it's by - meets it on equal terms.

Tourist
"Run"
4 mins 11s
4 Apr 2016
Tourist's single 'Run' is like a kettle that's switched off before it comes to the boil - it gathers a head of steam, but doesn't get to finish what it started. However, director Ozzie Pullin has come up with an interesting conceit for the accompanying promo, in which two people run towards each other across fields as the daylight fades. We're left wondering what has prompted their actions, and the realisation that we don't have to know suggests rather neatly that the music doesn't have to have an obvious resolution either.

Fears
"The Squeeze"
3 mins 45s
3 Apr 2016
Up and coming hard rock band Fears gets a suitably gritty promo for their debut single 'The Squeeze'. Directed by HLA's Ben Craig, it features the lead singer tied to a chair and being set upon by thugs in a scenario that pays homage to Reservoir Dogs and Casino Royale. Ben Moulden has done a great job with the lighting, too - inkily noir-ish yet possessed of terrific clarity.

Antony & Cleopatra
"Love is a Lonely Dancer"
3 mins 40s
30 Mar 2016
Alan Masferrer has taken a dance track which sounds straight out of the 90s and given it a promo beyond its wildest dreams. Faceless dancers - their features hidden behind the blunt bob of their wigs - perform intricate moves with their limbs to create kaleidoscopic shapes. The skill with which the directing, choreography, editing and VFX are executed come together to makes something very special indeed.

Michael Kiwanuka
"Black Man In A White World"
3 mins 33s
30 Mar 2016
Cool track, classic 70s soul vibe, promo full of stillness, defiance and alienation... what's not to like? Except 'like' seems rather a tepid word by the end. The lone black man dancing through the streets of an oppressively empty suburb is so lost in his own experience that he ascends into the air, slowly spiralling higher and higher as he dances, above a car whose crash we witness, and up into the clouds before tumbling back to earth. And we can only watch and ask: how the hell did they film this?

Major Lazer
"Light It Up feat. Nyla & Fuse ODG"
3 mins 29s
23 Mar 2016
Sam Pilling's promo for 'Light It Up' is not what you'd expect at all. The surging Jamaican beat and Nyla's vocals keep the energy high... yet the beautifully-lit monochrome film follows the family rituals of a traditional Ghanaian funeral and is opened and closed with extracts of a poem by Kwadwo Nkita-Mayala: 'Kae', which means 'remember'.

Mali Music
"Contradiction"
4 mins
16 Mar 2016
Mali Music's contribution to the soundtrack of Spike Lee's Chicago-set movie 'Chi-Raq' offers an upbeat, yet poignant, perspective on the effects of urban gun violence. As the singer and guest collaborator Jhene Aiko perform to a chilled beat, a party in full swing is captured in an equally unhurried manner - as if trying to preserve this scene of youthful exuberance for as long as possible.

Jack Garratt
"Worry"
4 mins 38s
14 Mar 2016
Multi-instrumentalist Jack Garratt evokes the glory days of VHS with this grainy mash-up of a promo and a casting session. Tom Clarkson's piece nails the 'taped over' look, with bursts of static accompanying each hefty burst of Garratt's guitar. Meanwhile, the auditions which unfold throughout are wonderfully bizarre with melodramatic expressions transitioning into something along the lines of demonic possession.

Sundara Karma
"A Young Understanding"
4 mins 10s
11 Mar 2016
Lusciously locked four-piece Sundara Karma have their promo for 'A Young Understanding' hijacked by a loiterer in a purple jacket. No doubt he's been the bane of live news reporters up and down the land. As the band's anthemic track continues, director Oscar Hudson sees his expensive camera nicked by the purple menace... only for a new and unexpected display of self-expression to unfold.

All Saints
"One Strike"
3 mins 44s
8 Mar 2016
Pop veterans All Saints return to the fore with a black-and-white promo for comeback single, 'One Strike'. Tight letter-boxing draws our eye to the minimalist visuals and Partizan's Tom Beard does an accomplished job of ensuring our gaze remains fixed on close-ups of eyes, lips, and flickers of the light. A suitably focused and grown-up statement of intent from the Nineties survivors.

Vaults
"Midnight River"
5 mins 12s
4 Mar 2016
'Midnight River' by Vaults is a slick track full of yearning vocals, and Jovan Todorovic brings it to life by featuring lead singer Blythe dancing her way through a series of run-down rooms in various outfits. Eventually she finds herself alone on a beach, and we guess that the rooms must represent some kind of inner turmoil that she's been lost in and the beach a return to the wider world.

Julio Bashmore
"Let Me Be Your Weakness (ft Bixby)"
4 mins 27s
4 Mar 2016
Fun and energetic, this promo for Julio Bashmore's heavily auto-tuned track injects a welcome bit of colour and quirkiness into proceedings. From pink poodles and human furries to traditional dancing and LARPers, there are all kinds of interests featured in a way that reminds us we're all different and the world would be singularly dull if there weren't a few oddball tastes around.

Frightened Rabbit
"Get Out"
3 mins 21s
3 Mar 2016
Frightened Rabbit's sound is developing all the time, and 'Get Out' is testament to how far they've come since their debut album 'Pedestrian Verse'. Greg Davenport's promo takes up the track's theme - the physical effect that infatuation has on the body as well as the mind - and translates it into a dance piece between two young women against a backdrop of Brutalist architecture.

Ok Go
"Upside Down And Inside Out"
3 mins 21s
3 Mar 2016
Each time a new OK Go video comes out, the general consensus is that this is the one that can't be topped. And each time we end up being proved wrong. But where do you go after a promo made in a single take in zero gravity? Line dancing in a magma chamber? Synchronised swimming in the Mariana Trench? Watch and marvel.

Recent Promos

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