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.

Google Nexus
"Oven Woe"

Martin said:

indeed they do!


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giffgaff
"Halloween"
50s
29 Oct 2014
Ah, Halloween - a fertile source of inspiration in the world of advertising. We've had Ikea's take on The Shining - and now giffgaff is getting in on the act. In classic horror style, a young woman is fleeing from a chainsaw-wielding maniac... and we anticipate the worst when she stumbles and falls. However, all is not what it seems.

Beer (The Brewing Industry)
"A Beer For That"
60s
29 Oct 2014
This spot for The Brewing Industry is directed by no less than Michael Winterbottom. Informing us that whatever we're eating and whatever the occasion, there's a beer for that, it suggests he's not averse to a decent pint of something himself as it comes across with warmth and feeling. However, a lot of that also has to do with the DP, who's made a lovely job of creating the cosy atmosphere we Brits tend to associate with an ale in front of a roaring pub fire.

Replay Jeans
"Relover"
1 min 50s
29 Oct 2014
It's a rare fragrance ad that you want to watch to the end, and this is one of them. Two impossibly perfectly groomed gangs - denim vs leather - meet on the beach for a rumble. However, the main Denim Boy is secretly seeing the pretty Leather Girl... so will tragedy ensue? It depends on who gets the gun out of the block of weather-defying ice between the two sides in this saga combining West Side Story and a smidgen of King Arthur. Nonsense, but entertaining nonsense.

Oatly
"Wow, No Cow!"
75s
29 Oct 2014
Not even Richard Branson has the self-promoting acumen of Oatly CEO Toni Peterrson, who has a wonderful lack of self-consciousness as he murders the song he wrote about the product he sells. Apparently this is a direct response to a threat from the Swedish Dairy Association to legally challenge Oatly's claim that "it's like milk... but made for humans".

The Samaritans
"On Your Radar"
2 mins 10s
29 Oct 2014
This spot is about a new app from The Samaritans. It can apparently alert you to signs that someone you follow is feeling low by picking up on linguistic cues in their tweets, so that you can offer support if you feel it's appropriate. Here, a teenager filming his friends receives text alerts which we see on screen and which explain how it works. Clever, naturalistic and engaging.

Carhartt
"Rain Defender"
60s
29 Oct 2014
A rugged, atmospheric spot for tough weatherproof gear, this is bound to resonate with the audience it's aimed at. That is, men who do heavy work in whatever the weather has to throw at them; happier to rely on Carharrt than the met report. It's done with that easy, laconic confidence Americans are so good at - if it were made over here we'd just have an ad full of quantity surveyors bravely battling a strong breeze.

BBC
"A Lifetime of Original Drama"
2 mins 15s
29 Oct 2014
Shakespeare's famous speech "All the world's a stage", spoken by Jacques in As You Like It, is here read by Benedict Cumberbatch as a procession of snippets from BBC dramas parades before our eyes. It's a superb soliloquy to choose... and eerily, parts of it - certain words and phrases - sound too contemporary to be from the original. But they are; proving that the ebb and flow and ups and downs of human life doesn't alter at heart.

Woolmark
"Lost and Found"
2 mins 43s
29 Oct 2014
An astonishingly intricate film detailing the journey of a freshly-sheared whisper of wool from sheep to its final resting place as part of the Woolmark logo. It has you marvelling at the filigree precision of the machinery that transports it - the textures and patterns of the mechanisms are even more impressive than the transformation of the strand we're following.

Albert Bartlett Rooster Potatoes
"Moving Upmarket"
30s
28 Oct 2014
Michel Roux Jr tells us that the area at the start of the ad wasn't always as classy as the shop window onscreen suggests, so the family restaurant moved to "upmarket Mayfair" to enjoy - it's implied - the same "rich pickings" that the farmers who supply the spud in question enjoy by moving their crops around.

giffgaff
"Handshake"
30s
27 Oct 2014
Another in the series for giffgaff playing on the notion that you're not trapped into a contract with their network. The campaign features different scenarios in which people either feel or are literally trapped, and this one has an office junior being expected to press the flesh with an employee who's just been for a wizz and hasn't washed his hands.

Lenor
"More Than Just A Blanket"
30s
27 Oct 2014
Quite an effective spot for Lenor, this, as it taps overtly into the psychology of smell. A young woman is evidently going through some angst on the phone - an image that's shorthand for the pains of first love - and her little sister cuddles up to her with her comfort blanket. The item symbolises uncomplicated, innocent times and so the scent of its fabric conditioner is associated with a return to that state. DAVID will collect his psychology doctorate on the way out. Thank you.

Branston
"So Many Things"
10s
27 Oct 2014
For a 10" ad (largely taken from last year's 30"), this is very sweet. An earnest dad and his son brave the dank grey skies of winter to launch a home-made model rocket. Unfortunately, it merely jumps and falls over like a stroke-felled seagull - not the blazing triumph dad was hoping for. But while he can't make some things, he can make others - and applies the same degree of concentration to the construction of a sandwich for the boy far more success.

Dyson
"Cut the Cord"
30s
26 Oct 2014
This commercial for Dyson reminds us of the difference between a modern battery-operated vacuum cleaner and the old-fashioned models of yesteryear by having a greyed-out version of the same women shadowing our Dyson-wielding heroine as she sorts out her home. Victoria Wood's VO is giving cause for concern here... her performance sounds like an impersonation of Jeremy Clarkson's curious delivery.

Albert Bartlett Rooster Potatoes
"Potato Skins Au Gratin"
30s
27 Oct 2014
Another of the excellent ads featuring Michel Roux Jr in a strong campaign. Here, he shows us what makes Albert Bartlett the spud of choice in his kitchens, and we actually see for ourselves that they have a firm, smooth consistency when baked that looks rather delicious. Add to that the simple recipe for grilled potato skins au gratin and you have one very hardworking spot indeed.

Admiral Insurance
"Meet Boris"
30s
26 Oct 2014
Admiral Insurance doesn't make particularly interesting ads but this one caught our eye for its introduction of Boris and family - a Boris plainly based on the sturdy model that is the Mayor of London. How can we tell? Well, the floppy yellow hair obscuring his eyes is something of a giveaway. Quite why they've singled him out, and what they've got in store for him remains to be seen. Watch this space.

Glenlivet
"The Original"
30s
27 Oct 2014
Scottish malt Glenlivet has made its first ad for the South African market. In it, a man who has obviously made a success of his life so far has come back to his home town - only to find all the other guys are copying him. From haircuts to drinks, they all have what he has because they want to be an original too. Let's hope he wields that power responsibly.

Forevermark
"As One"
60s
27 Oct 2014
If you want to impress with diamonds, you need to practice a little dance routine first of all to prepare the way. At least, that's what upmarket jeweller Forevermark suggests in this black and white odyssey directed by the choreographer of Black Swan. A couple whirl and turn, giddy with the strength of their ardency, in a pas de deux of love while passers by smile at them, charmed.

Now TV
"Onesies"
10s
26 Oct 2014
The Now TV couple is hunkering down for winter; battening the hatches and snuggling up in their onesies in front of the tellybox. They're not doing a lot as the VO excitedly explains the benefits of the service, but fortunately our eyeballs are kept amused by the antics of the dog - also in a onesie - sidling up to the sofa so he can lie across the back.

Vodafone
"Donor"
30s
26 Oct 2014
A quietly moving ad for Vodafone features a phone call from a hospital to a patient awaiting a transplant. As we hear the voices speak down the line, we see home video footage of the patient - John - of him as a boy; as a healthy young man; in a bed trailing tubes. It uses ambiguity well and it doesn't matter that you're not getting the whole story - the gist is enough.

Regatta
"Outdoor Family Life"
30s
26 Oct 2014
This is mildly more interesting than its companion ad. Here, a family goes on wholesome weekend walks and plays with sparklers after dark; creating that crisp yet cosy autumnal feel we all respond to so instinctively. It's a shame the music is so anodyne but never mind - the main thing is that you associate happy times with the brand and it's nicely filmed.

Full Tilt Poker
"The Call"
30s
27 Oct 2014
The gruff VO tells us to "forget the movies - the best poker stories are right here at Full Tilt." What we want to know is why does the male of the species get betting ads with a bit of thought behind them while women get lurid pink, sparkly ads screeching that they can play bingo while catching up on sleb gossip?

Canada Goose
"Free Air Life"
8 mins 50s
22 Oct 2014
This impressively-filmed spot works as a mini-documentary; charting the lives of a number of Scandinavians for whom the great outdoors is vital in their own respective ways. We're shown that in extreme conditions, they rely on Canada Goose clothing - it may have been made by North America's politer neighbours but it's fit for Nordic winters.

Lloyds Bank
"Moments"
40s
26 Oct 2014
This follow-up spot for the latest set of personalities to discuss their businesses has them confiding some of the moments that have meant the most to them over the years. Dawn O'Porter endearingly sounds like a gleeful child saying that once she had her own place, she could be naughty and her mum and dad wouldn't know. It's a gentle, feelgood campaign that makes you want to think nice things about Lloyds... however jaundiced your view on the world of finance might be.

Full Tilt Poker
"The Bluff"
30s
27 Oct 2014
It's very interesting how despite the proliferation of online gambling sites, so many manage to come up with very distinct concepts - laddish, surreal, comic... and wannabe movies. This has the focal point moving from one protagonist to the other across two ads; each smoothly trying to second-guess their rival. What'll be the outcome?

Aunt Bessie's
"Bumpers for The Chase"
80s
25 Oct 2014
A good deal of effort has gone into these bumpers. They may not be everyone's cup of tea, but time and thought has gone into how best to milk the premise for all it's worth in each 10" spot. Hence giant balls of wool with hidden screens inside, and kittycams, and Thermos telescopes. We'll probably never know why these two are almost sexually obsessed with other people's meals, but then again, would we really want to?

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