David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

The Fableists
2 mins 05s
7 May 2014
Loading the player ...
UK Fashion Labels

This terrific little film promoting an ethical clothing label for kids features a fearless - and skilled - young skateboarder learning his craft. As a brand, The Fableists is described in its press release as "a mix of timeless, unisex and ultra-stylish clothes... which represents a move away from mass-produced fashion manufactured under sinister conditions and laden with chemicals".

In showing Finn wearing Fableist gear we're made aware a) of its durability and b) that we all have a responsibility to children, wherever they are.

It's poignant and beautifully made, and the track Hope / Grace by Edinburgh band Delta Mainline is an apt choice. The boy executes feats that would have most of us, as parents, running to stop him; but as passive viewers we're made instead to marvel at his spatial awareness, his motor control and his balance as he sails off concrete cliffs and judges slopes.

There's something of the intensity of Aoife McArdle's promo for Open Eye Signal by Jon Hopkins, which also features a lone young skateboarder. Finn is like his younger self; and the degree of single-minded concentration and self-containment he displays is utterly commanding.

Apparently this is the first in a series of clips which documents "kids around the world - kids with a gift, kids with drive, kids with ambition, kids who have overcome adversity" and who embody the brand's rebellious yet positive attitude.

The label has come about as a collaboration among top London talent in the realms of advertising, film and design - so that the agencies involved are as much brand owners as they are suppliers. Full credit, then, to Brothers & Sisters, Great Guns, Jungle and director Olivier Venturini along with Electric Theatre Collective and indeed Finn himself for getting this project off the ground.

"World Cup Germs"

Matt said:

Funnily enough it's tenuous promotional sponsorships like this that leave a nasty taste in your mouth.



Latest Additions

"Love Sucks"
2 mins 20s
30 Sep 2014
Here we have, for your delectation, the heart-warming tale of a diminutive robot who falls head over heels for a dainty vacuum cleaner. This German online spot for Vorwerk's new Kobold VR200 manages to show how effective its suction is without resorting to dry, man-in-a-white-coat demonstrations... instead, we have our robot, bewitched and entranced, wondering how to win its love.

Domino's Pizza
"Hungry Birds"
27 Sep 2014
Not enough topping on your pizza? Then have some rammed into the crust. Yes, you too can relish cheese and bacon goo oozing out the side of your meat feast slice, or whatever it is. The watching birds hoping to get their beaks on the leftover crusts are facing disappointment... no wonder they look crestfallen.

28 Sep 2014
Another sweet ad from Vodafone that will have dog lovers everywhere cooing with delight at the antics of Buster, a much-adored bulldog with an underbite enhanced by vampire-style joke shop teeth. His loving owners involve him in conversations while he radiates doleful indifference; waddling up stairs, shaking his wet chops and generally being a bit, er, hangdog.

"French Wines"
26 Sep 2014
This does a decent job of making Lidl look like it knows what it's doing in the wine department. A little French ditty accompanies scenes of vineyards and glass-swilling oenophiles intercut with shots of côte du this and chateau that at reasonable - but not frighteningly low - prices. It doesn't feel the need to bang on about quality; everything's implied visually - which is a smart move.

"Towie Is Moving"
26 Sep 2014
This second ad announcing the arrival of new channel itvBe is miles better than the first. Using 'slebs' from the programme itself, it depicts Towie caught in some kind of earthquake - only to reveal that it is in fact moving from its current home to itvBe. Everyone takes part in good humour, and it's perfect for the target audience.

The Sun
"Fun Bingo"
26 Sep 2014
The Sun has done its best to inject this bingo ad with a bit of animated pizazz, but it's not an easy ask. There's a prize pot of up to £20,000 and you join for £10 and get £40 to play - the usual offer that draws people in and hoovers their bank account while they're looking for the lid to their virtual big dobber.

"Come Bond With Us"
26 Sep 2014
Will Colgate ever get it right? Their advertising has the imprint of the client's meddling hands all over it, all the time. What should have been a gloriously OTT extravaganza now has the stamp of a stage play at St Uptight's Boarding School for Repressed Boys. Just listen to the embarrassment in the older guy's voice as he tells 'Geoff' to "come bond with us"... and what's with the words 'creative representation' at the start? Do they think we'll imagine little men will be bouncing around our mouths if we use this stuff?

"It's a Boy"
25 Sep 2014
This touching ad for Vodafone features video footage and photos of a young man and his dad, who - after the the birth of his son's baby boy - is now a granddad. The footage starts with a video call informing the dad of his new status, and throughout the spot shows footage of him with his son, themselves as new father and baby, up to present day. Clever and affecting.

23 Sep 2014
This spot for IBM features the voice of the co-founder of Zya, Matt Serletic. However, his explanation of what Zya is and what it does is a pretty incoherent. "Music creation for the masses"? Is he talking about us, to us, or to our overlords? Plus Zya appears to be no more than an app that lets you mash together existing songs and add your own spoken samples. Great if you're 12 or under... less so if you're not.

P & G
"Protect Your Children"
23 Sep 2014
This oddity seems to be telling us that the huge corporation cares about your child's safety even more than you do. Haven't considered what ingesting a dishwasher tablet might do to your toddler's innards? P&G has, and is prepared to warn you. Is it meant to make you feel that every time you buy a P&G product, they're thinking about your family's wellbeing? Because it comes across as patronising twaddle.

23 Sep 2014
Another lovely spot for Barclays' Life Skills project. In this ad, an engaging young chap called Michael tells us about his habit and how important it was that he ditched it. The habit? Starting every sentence with 'erm' or 'aah'. The simple demonstration of the difference it makes to other people's perception of you when you hesitate is clear and suggests confident speaking is encouragingly do-able.

29 Sep 2014
It's good to see something different in this sector even if it ends up ruffling a few feathers, as we suspect this might. Lil-lets have created a campaign in which the person most knowledgeable about tampons is a young man. We're not sure quite how women will react to this, but it'll be interesting to find out... especially as the environment in which he displays his expertise is not one you'd expect.

24 Sep 2014
Shades of the famous Tango Blackcurrant ad as an office-bound fellow declares that we should consider a mini roast to bring a bit of Sunday to the tedious terrain of midweek. It's a lovely piece of hyperbole with a suitably silly climax and stands a chance of persuading people to do exactly as they're instructed. Watch out, farm animals - we're coming for your delicious corpses.

The Sunday Times
"Bringing the World to Britain"
6 mins 45s
24 Sep 2014
Christina Lamb is - in many ways - an unlikely-looking war correspondent but if you watch this film, you'll quickly realise how little someone needs to resemble the stereotype of the battle-hardened tough guy to possess the requisite bravery and fortitude. This is a mesmerising portrait from a really excellent series and as much as its makers try to persuade us that this isn't really advertising, it possesses a tremendous power which makes you want to support the work of people like Lamb far more effectively than a 30" commercial ever could.

"The Swell"
29 Sep 2014
What grabs your attention when you watch this ad is the sound design. It's what turns it from a good ad to a great ad. As clever as it is to draw analogies between the experience of driving a particular car and intensely physical activities, Marcus Söderlund's excellent direction is definitely enhanced by Aaron Reynolds's equally brilliant contribution.

"Go Sober"
23 Sep 2014
We're asked to believe the people in this ad for Macmillan regularly get pissed at work or on a night out and could do with a month off the booze to get some perspective. It's a good idea to make us examine our own drinking habits more closely and - while this doesn't quite nail the proposition - the situations are recognisable enough to strike a chord.

24 Sep 2014
Nice little bit of fun for Graze here, featuring the hundred-plus snack recipes. They're gathered together for a stirring pep talk by a Summer Berry Flapjack with a Brief Encounter-style delivery - only one nut gets a tad over-excited. Still, in inimitably British fashion, the crowd falls disapprovingly silent until order is restored and the speaker can continue.

"Filter Out The Unnecessary"
23 Sep 2014
After searching high and wide for a bar full of suitably appalling members of the Shoreditch taleban, we'd imagine the agency suddenly realised they could film this in their in-house bar. It's good to see advertising folk leading the charge against pretentiousness... perhaps it'll inspire City bankers to launch a crusade against greed. Joking aside, it's lovingly made and does make perfect sense for this brand.

"Gerard Butler"
23 Sep 2014
Scottish hunk Gerard Butler utters vacuities drawn from the perfume advertising well of stupidity as he stumbles around New York in search of purpose. If you want to smell like Gerard Butler, you'd probably be better off wearing the same t-shirt to the gym for a fortnight but - to be fair - the kind of person who does want to smell like him probably already does that and then douses themselves in this stuff.

Microsoft X-Box
22 Sep 2014
This cleverly makes it look as though even Lionel Messi himself can get caught up in the idea that he's on the field when he's playing the advertised game. And since we all know that many professional footballers are avid players of games like these, we have to assume there's some truth in it (even if it's faintly depressing to think of them pretending to be more successful versions of themselves while sat in front of a big screen).

"Sausage & Mash"
22 Sep 2014
Amiable Jimmy Doherty once again demonstrates that the advertised wine is extremely useful in the kitchen - this time proving helpful when making sausage and mash. Actually drinking the stuff is obviously the elephant in the room and we're half expecting the next ad to feature Doherty demonstrating how it can clean blocked drains.

Samsung Galaxy
"Britian's Most Popular"
22 Sep 2014
Stars and their attendant satellites revolve around Galaxies in this latest for Samsung. Lily Allen sings on stage while filming a Milky Way of adoring fans, and lesser luminaries document moments of their lives in the hope that some will shine out and eclipse other, similar moments documented by other, similar people. It's really nicely done, but arguably lacks what's needed to offset the current iPhone 6 fangirl hysteria.

"I Am Volcano"
22 Sep 2014
Visually, this is very impressive - and we very much like the notion that what we're drinking is in part responsible for life itself. However - and it's a big however - the script itself sounds like a clumsy translation. For something this grand, you don't expect to have to consider entrails of any description, or wrestle with the idea that volcanoes are "stronger than time".

22 Sep 2014
Stephen Mangan chucks as much energy into this VO as his comedy pal Peter Serafinowicz did in the recent commercials for a similar service and - together with the arresting visuals - he persuasively makes the case for joining eBookers and tracking down some bargains. Decent advertising is critical to services like this and it's noticeable how much better commercials in this sector have become in the last year or so.

22 Sep 2014
Things aren't getting better for the young man still living with his parents in the latest addition to this campaign for GiffGaff which has dad interrupting a gathering in the living room when he wanders in a state of semi-sleep and starts pissing into a dresser drawer. Time to move out and an allegory for people attached to mobile phone networks too... they should consider GiffGaff instead.

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