David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

PPL
"Isn't This Life Enough?"
60s
20 January 2014
USA Power Utility Companies

Scottish band Admiral Fallow have adapted their own song Isn't This World Enough? for this feel-good ad for an American power company. It's a heart-warming collage of imagery and successfully conveys the idea that the reliable and easily-controlled energy provided by PPL is something that provides comfort to its customers.

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Finish
"Gunge"
60s
30 Jul 2014
This must operate at the very margins of what's permissible and although it's yukky on several levels, it's a pretty persuasive piece of advertising. Carol Smillie introduces an expert who reveals how much shit (quite literally from the looks of things) passes through your dishwasher in its lifetime. Luckily for us they have a solution... luckily for them, they manufacture it.

Ariel
"First Bike"
20s
24 Jul 2014
A small boy is let loose on his first bike, and despite a few tumbles his parents aren't worried... because Ariel will get the stains out. The connection between a boy's first bike ride and the first use of the advertised product is spurious to say the least and the use of the Harry Nilsson track is just plain weird.

Asda
"Gavin the Gnome 2"
20s
30 Jul 2014
Gavin the Gnome puts his lesser colleagues in the shade again as he rises, Venus-like, from a pond; still wearing his mankini. He's evidently proud of the fact he's been chosen to represent Asda's superior value, and we can only surmise that the ratio of clothing to cost has a direct correlation, with his skimpy attire representing the proportionate amount less that you pay at Green Supermarket.

Asda
"Spot the Difference"
10s
30 Jul 2014
Another bafflingly cheap price from Asda in this ad promoting Ben & Jerry's ice cream. How is it possible to undercut Morrison's by nearly 50% on a premium brand? We can only guess that the sheer size and clout of Asda's parent company means it can afford to use whatever it likes as loss leaders - after all, once they've lured you into the store, you might as well do your weekly shop there.

University of Southampton
"Imagine a World"
30s
30 Jul 2014
A rather clever little ad which makes the University of Southampton sound like the place to be if you're smart enough to solve the world's problems. Rather than focusing on the nice people you'll meet and the social life you can have, it addresses truly interesting and intellectual challenges - a shrewd strategy because it implies only the cream of the crop need apply.

Kit Kat
"Donkey Break"
30s
31 Jul 2014
A couple of hardworking donkeys in Blackpool spot a well-upholstered chappie in socks and sandals tucking into a Kit Kat ice cream. It looks yummy. Why shouldn't they stop for a break too? So off they go and enjoy the same, perched on deckchairs. It has that traditional British seaside vibe combined with some neat special effects that put a donkey into a deckchair (and that's not a sentence that's been written before).

Barclays
"Oldies Football Team"
40s
29 Jul 2014
What will Barclays do next? Offer cake decorating courses? The bank is going to extraordinary lengths to project a more friendly image and they've clearly figured out who has all the money... the over-50s. Mind you, wouldn't it be better if their digital eagles helped punters find the best mortgage deals for their customers, rather than discuss 5-a-side tactics and league tables?

Aldi
"Swap"
20s
29 Jul 2014
A homely old dear sits on a park bench with her elderly hubby. They barely seem to know the other is there as they gaze vacantly at the ducks. Then, pragmatically, she shifts to the other end of the bench where a single oldster is also sitting, and pats his thigh. It's a nice analogy for those moments when you want to do something different which isn't necessarily important enough to warrant talking about.

Tumble
"Rooftop"
40s
28 Jul 2014
Celebrities are given yet another chance to be gawped at for their ineptitude / hidden talent in "the greatest show off earth" - Tumble, where they get to do all manner of circus-y things like trapeze artistry and high wire walking, all the while sobbing that it "can't be done". Do we really care, or is it just a new way to watch them fall from grace?

Aviva
"Bingo Caller"
30s
28 Jul 2014
Paul Whitehouse is transmogrified into a bingo caller this time around in Aviva's campaign. In between calling out random numbers, his cheery Lancastrian character tells us all about the Aviva Drive app which helps him save money on his car insurance. Interesting that his car itself is clearly branded - Ford, to be precise: where do they fit in?

McDonald's
"Stuart's A Hero"
30s
30 Jul 2014
"If you're awake we're awake," says the young yet avuncular VO at the end of this spot. And jolly glad you feel too. Whether you're burning the midnight oil because it's what your career requires or whether you're just a chronic insomniac, it's a comfort to know life hasn't entirely shut down around you in the small hours. Very clever of McDonald's to aim to own that gap in the market.

Avios
"The Big Reward"
2 mins 55s
30 Jul 2014
This heart-warming spot which occupied an entire commercial break has Chris Ramsay demonstrating the range of items you can buy to acquire Avios (points). Although the scheme he describes seems unnecessarily complicated - to say the least - the scenes featuring grateful people receiving their rewards are genuinely touching.

The Great British Bake Off
"Lost"
20s
28 Jul 2014
Mel and Sue drift upstream anxiously, looking out for a Great White. The water looks uninviting; their view is obscured by rushes. Are they stuck in the tropics somewhere, rogue sharks lurking in the shallows? As the camera pans back we discover just how bad their situation is... and we realise they're in deepest England looking for a big white marquee that's home to The Great British Bake Off.

Suzuki
"I Put A Spell On You"
40s
28 Jul 2014
There's something agreeably old-fashioned about this ad for the Suzuki Swift which has the car stalking a young man as he makes his way through town. We see what he doesn't - that he keeps missing the opportunity to admire and find out more about the vehicle. Presumably, the underlying message is about not missing out because of prejudice against the brand, but it's quite subtle.

BBC One
"Commonwealth Games"
25s
28 Jul 2014
Here's a special ident from the BBC for the Commonwealth Games featuring an overhead shot of Glasgow. It appears to have been filmed using time-lapse photography, but also has a shifting perspective (either this was filmed by a camera in a very slow-moving balloon or it's some kind of post-production wizardry). As always a circle has been found to match the 'O' of 'One'.

Centraal Beheer
"Driverless Cars"
60s
30 Jul 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.

Peanut Butter Cheerios
"How to Dad"
2 mins 10s
23 Jul 2014
After a long period of being portrayed as domestically-retarded dunces, dads have had something of an advertising comeback over the past couple of years and this Canadian commercial for Peanut Butter Cheerios is a joyous celebration of dadhood. The protagonist explains why it's the most awesome job in the world and somehow uses the idea as a platform to promote the advertised cereal.

eHarmony
"Camel"
30s
22 Jul 2014
eHarmony's advertising has erred on the side of caution since its launch in the UK with an endless series of earnest commercials featuring those who've put their faith in the web site to land them more than a one-night-stand but - possibly having discovered that piety doesn't get you very far in the UK - they've broadcast this excellent ad that makes the same point with a bit of humour.

Clarks
"Best School Trip Ever"
30s
26 Jul 2014
This high-energy ad for Clarks jumps from one scenario to the next in a fashion that suggests that either (a) something clever was being tried that didn't quite come off or (b) it was broadcast a day or two before it was finished. It's a shame because the sequences themselves are rather good and it's exactly the way you'd hope Clarks to be presenting themselves.

Tropicana
"Recharge"
30s
28 Jul 2014
Coffee too clichéd, and OJ just damned unsophisticated? Then welcome to Tropicana Energy, the caffeine-infused fruit drink with a kick like a mule but which still provides one of your five a day. Think of it as the new water. Instead of swigging expensive liquid you could get for free from a tap, you can swig something vaguely more interesting and possibly start a conversation with a hot colleague about caffeine intolerance.

Ronald McDonald House Charities
"Dad's Voice"
60s
25 Jul 2014
This low-key and tenderly made ad for Ronald McDonald House Charities underlines the perception that this is a company that puts something back into the community. Providing free home-from-home accommodation for families with a child in hospital, the charity enables mum and dad to stay close at hand so that at least some element of the strange new world they've found themselves in is comfortingly familiar... like dad's voice.

Sainsbury's
"Pitta Pizzas"
30s
23 Jul 2014
Another simple and effective ad from Orange Supermarket in which quick and wholesome meals for children are made. This time, it's a mum looking after her own and her sister's children, and she gets them involved in making their own pitta pizza toppings. The whole spot has a nice naturalism about it, and it's good to see youngsters enjoying their creations so unreservedly.

Aldi
"Pop-Up Book"
20s
22 Jul 2014
It's that time of year when retailers start focusing on their back to school ranges. How best to draw attention to them? F&F have gone for video games; Aldi uses a pop-up book. F&F have mentioned lowest individual item price; Aldi uses the full uniform price... which is probably more effective as it says you can kit out your kids for a grand total of £4. Frighteningly cheap.

Google
"London Zoo"
30s
22 Jul 2014
This ad flags charmingly highlights the idea that Google is the fount of all knowledge. Not only can the search engine help mum know how long it's going to take to get to London Zoo, it can provide a series of images to whet the appetite of her young son ahead of their visit (Though we hope he isn't so enthralled by what he sees that they don't get there.)

Tesco F & F
"Video Games"
30s
22 Jul 2014
This is good - in its own way - but who is this targeting? While it makes sense to appeal directly children when they are the ultimate recipients of a product, is this true when it comes to school uniforms? Is it really likely that kids will pester their mums to go to Tesco for school uniform or that mums will agree to do so because of this?

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