David Reviews

 "You're not an artist, Peggy. You solve problems." Don Draper.

    • Just another Christmas.There's something charming about the mundane nature of this Christmas film for the BBC.
    • Thinker's drink.Fans of modern cult classic TV series Hannibal may find their itch for a fourth season scratched by this esoteric commercial for Bowmore whisky.
    • I want to play a game.DAVID knew this day would come: Nike have run out of sports to promote.
    • Never give up.A man challenges his granddaughter to a game of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in this likeable Nintendo ad.
    • Christmas cracker.This spangly offering from Asda's George clothing line celebrates trans people and those of marginalised genders during the most fabulous season.
    • Ambitious start-up Creators Inc opens in LondonJani Guest's ambitious venture Creators Inc has flung open its London doors.
    • Kicking back against SantaThis latest addition in a series of awareness films for SickKids – a Canadian charity – has something to say about Santa's delineation between Nice and Naughty.
    • Bearing up.This charming commercial for Barbour's Paddington collection features the marmalade-loving bear.
    • Exit, pursued by a bear.Has anything so spectacular ever been quite as silly as this fantastic commercial for Samsung?
    • Engineering solutions.This super little documentary for Hyundai focuses on engineer Peter Schreyer.

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BBC
"Christmas 2021"
3 mins 44s
3 December 2021

There's something charming about the mundane nature of this Christmas film for the BBC. After two years of upheaval, it's a breath of fresh air to see a communication which doesn't focus on the 'new normal' or emphasise a bumper blow-out holiday season, but simply returns to the small, simple personal traditions that we know and love.

Being ignored when reading Christmas cracker jokes, drinking at inadvisable hours of the morning, bickering about what to watch on telly - it's these staples which tug on audience heartstrings during these tumultuous times. The brand's programmes and radio playlists are a constant throughout, of course.

A thread of budding romance through it all adds an extra dimension to proceedings, as many relationships which started online or at a distance during the pandemic will be tested over the holidays. Our Christmases may look difference on the surface, but there's an overwhelming sense of togetherness and love which unites even the most disparate family gatherings.

Director James Rouse has done a great job of drawing out the narrative here, playing confidently with the position that the BBC holds on a British Christmas Day. We can only hope that our own December 25ths look as calm and normal as these ones - full of in-jokes, silly jumpers, awkward conversations, and all.


Bowmore
"Beautifully Balanced"
60s
3 December 2021

Fans of modern cult classic TV series Hannibal may find their itch for a fourth season scratched by this esoteric commercial for Bowmore whisky. Balance is the name of the game as doubled up images and fine details are emphasised in director Stuart Douglas's work, drawing viewers deep into a sensory experience with a difference.

It's something ads in this sector often attempt to achieve - a sense of class and mystique without too much concrete meaning behind it - but rarely hit the mark. Yet this film hits the right note of dreaminess and meditative contemplation without crossing over into pretentiousness.

An emphasis on the ties between landscape and the production of the advertised spirit also adds value to the tie-in with Aston Martin, adding a luxe feel and assuring discerning drinkers that they're investing in an experience as much as a tipple. It's a worthy offering as viewers contemplate getting their festive bottles in.


Nike
"Nandi's Play Lab"
60s
3 December 2021

DAVID knew this day would come: Nike have run out of sports to promote. Last month's stickball ad was a warning, as it turns out, and made us wonder if chariot racing or goose pulling was next. That's where precocious drummer Nandi Bushell comes in.

The lockdown star invites younger viewers to invent and submit their own sports instead, like turbo sock dodge, Laser Lair 5000, and bum boxing. Expect promoter Eddie Hearn to want a piece of the latter.

All three sports are brought to life with homespun flair, though the brash American commentary is less successful. Still, this playful off-shoot allows youngsters to showcase the competitive fruit of months spent at home.


Nintendo Switch
"Mario Kart"
40s
3 December 2021

Gone are the days when older people were the butt of the joke when it came to video games. Key to this shift are Nintendo, whose motion-sensing Wii console introduced many to the medium in 2006. Now parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are part of the action.

The trend continues in this well-played Switch commercial, as a man challenges his granddaughter to a game of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe at Christmas. "I used to play this with your mum," he says. "She was rubbish". Who knew karma was shaped like a green shell, eh?

It's all in good humour, and the easy back-and-forth between three generations solidifies the brand's family-friendly image. Director Jamie Rafn also incorporates game footage and controller movements well, avoiding the curse of video game ads that seem detached from the action.


Asda George
"Slay It"
63s
3 December 2021

Christmas can be a fraught time for many LGBT people - a time of year which focuses on family and togetherness in a way which they are traditionally, and often still, excluded from. This spangly offering from Asda's George clothing line attempts to flip the script, celebrating trans people and those of marginalised genders during the most fabulous season.

The film sees a woman return to her village hall post transition, her nerves palpable before she summons her confidence and reveals herself as the butterfly she has blossomed into. Layton Williams gives an affirming and attention grabbing performance as the central figure, bedecked in as many sequins as one outfit can handle.

The choreography references vogueing and the storied tradition of ballroom performance as typified in the classic 'Paris is Burning', getting the whole room onto the dance floor. A diverse cast and game performances make this feel like a whole lot of fun, while it remains to be seen if the associated Tik Tok challenge goes viral.


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Five Star Work
(1-25 of 25)

BBC
"Christmas 2021"
3 mins 44s
3 Dec 2021
There's something charming about the mundane nature of this Christmas film for the BBC. After two years of upheaval, it's a breath of fresh air to see a communication which doesn't focus on the 'new normal' or emphasise a bumper blow-out holiday season, but simply returns to the small, simple traditions that we know and love.

Bowmore
"Beautifully Balanced"
60s
3 Dec 2021
Fans of modern cult classic TV series Hannibal may find their itch for a fourth season scratched by this esoteric commercial for Bowmore whisky. Balance is the name of the game as doubled up images and fine details are emphasised in director Stuart Douglas's work, drawing viewers deep into a sensory experience with a difference.

Asda George
"Slay It"
63s
3 Dec 2021
Christmas can be a fraught time for many LGBT people - a time of year which focuses on family and togetherness in a way which they are traditionally, and often still, excluded from. This spangly offering from Asda's George clothing line attempts to flip the script, celebrating trans people and those of marginalised genders during the most fabulous season.

SickKids
"The Brave List"
60s
1 Dec 2021
This latest addition in a series of awareness films for SickKids – a Canadian charity – has something to say about Santa's delineation between Nice and Naughty. It contends, with considerable justification, that there is a third group comprised of children who belong on neither of the existing lists... these are the kids who belong on the Brave List – youngsters who have been through the ordeal of serious illness.

Samsung
"Manifesto"
2 mins 05s
1 Dec 2021
Has anything so spectacular ever been quite as silly as this fantastic commercial for Samsung? It sets out its credentials in the very first vignette when an aggressive bear turns out to be the brand spokesperson in a furry suit... the unconvincingness of the transition only adding to the fun.

Hyundai
"The Call"
3 mins 37s
1 Dec 2021
This short documentary film is fizzing with energy and wit. Peter Schreyer is undoubtedly a remarkable man, but the world of automotive engineering is generally only interesting to boorish bores (yes, we mean you, Jeremy Clarkson) so it requires a very special approach to capture our imagination.

Planters
"A Nutty Holiday"
1 min 34s
30 Nov 2021
The Eighties are back in a big way in this excellent commercial for US peanut purveyors Planters. The brand evoke holiday traditions from days gone by in Adriana Robles's film, which sees a bloke sucked into his telly and plunged into a musical version of the past. It's a great example of how brands can harness nostalgia without sneering at the present day, as comparisons are drawn with affection rather than derision.

Direc TV
"The One"
60s
2 Dec 2021
Some rash channel-hopping plonks Serena Williams into the Matrix in this DirecTV ad. When a bloke zips between live tennis and The Matrix Reloaded on his phone, he causes the two universes to collide. As an audience of Agents look on, Williams plays multiple copies of her opponent - an ability many of her real-life rivals doubtless wish they had.

Meijer
"Christmas Tree"
60s
30 Nov 2021
This touching film for US supermarket Meijer follows a predictable emotional path, but it's one that essential to the spirit of the season. A bloke plants a tree with his young grandchildren, promising that one day it will become their Christmas tree. Yet as the years unfold, he never declares it quite ready for the chop.

Spotify
"Billie Eilish Wrapped"
15s
30 Nov 2021
The annual unwrapping of everyone's most played music on Spotify has become a cultural landmark, and Spotify are celebrating it this year with a pair of films riffing on the public's perception of it. Thus we learn that Billie Eilish's music appears on more than 265 gardening playlists, something the singer 'celebrates' by chucking a bouquet of flowers into a leaf shredder.

Peelz
"Unapologetic Appeal"
2 mins
30 Nov 2021
This mockumentary-style commercial introduces us to John Birk who has the rather redundant job of explaining to people how to peel mandarins. The role is obviously unnecessary proves a great way of drawing attention to a fruit which appears only too willing to yield its delicious segments of orangey goodness.

Urologists United
"Reflections"
2 mins
30 Nov 2021
Those who have survived serious illness or only suffered mild symptoms in the last two years can thank their lucky stars, but that doesn't mean that Covid hasn't had a long-term impact on them, and – as this light-hearted but educational film from the US makes clear – erectile dysfunction is very much on the, er, rise because of the pandemic.

ITV
"It's Been a Year"
2 mins 30s
1 Dec 2021
A celeb-heavy festive outing rounds out the year for ITV in funny fashion. Stars like Lorraine Kelly, Helen Worth, and Gino D'Acampo take their place in the chair of one patient make-up artist, airing their woes as she takes on the tradition role of barber, bartender, and priest: confessional. As it turns out, the film is part of the channel's Britain Get Talking campaign.

Halo
"Magnes"
4 mins 39s
30 Nov 2021
One of Halo Infinite's new additions is the grappling hook, with players able to zip Batman-style around levels. While rival shooter Battlefield 2042 features a similar device, Halo want theirs to have emotional heft as well. Thus, agency 215 McCann and director Isaiah Seret offer an affecting insight into how the Master Chief's new toy is made.

Lacta
"Don't Ever Leave Me"
4 mins 02s
29 Nov 2021
Chocolate is a product with romantic connotations, so it's both interesting and apposite that Greek confectionery company Lacta have opted to support the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women which fell on November 25. The film, like the relationships it depicts, starts off feeling like a love story... so many of the tropes associated with the idea of romantic devotion are rooted in abusive behaviour and as the dial turns we begin to recognise what we are really looking at.

Allianz
"The World's Strongest Woman"
65s
29 Nov 2021
This Irish Allianz commercial lulls viewers into sports ad territory then performs an impressive one-eighty. Well-versed in the sport and leisure arena, director Fern Beresford depicts the four strongest women in the world and their respective 'warm-up routines'.

Pizza Hut
"Stuffed Crust"
30s
29 Nov 2021
DAVID likes this Pizza Hut campaign, and a large part of that is down to Parker J. Patterson. Having survived a lion attack earlier this year, the well-dressed spokesman draws attention to the brand's stuffed crust pizza...though he won't go as far to call it "the greatest stuff in the world".

Halo
"Forever We Fight"
2 mins 20s
28 Nov 2021
After making the fans wait a whole year because of delays, it was imperative that the developers behind the latest instalment of the Halo franchise landed their offering with sufficient vim to get everyone on board... and they've done that and more with this spectacular live-action trail which has got devotees of this series frothing at their keyboards with excitement.

Etsy
"Our Santa"
30s
28 Nov 2021
This is a lovely little film and – more than almost every commercial we've seen this year featuring a Black cast – provides a meaningful insight into the reality of existing as the other in a white-dominated society. As a dignified older Black man does his duty at Santa's Grotto with his young grandson, it's clear that he feels alienated by the situation. While, it isn't immediately clear why this is, it swiftly becomes evident.

Orange
"Together Season"
90s
28 Nov 2021
This French commercial for Orange is built around a very similar idea to the recent Apple Christmas commercial... It must be a fruit thing! Here, in a film directed by Riff Raff's Franηois Rousselet, a snowman is a cypher for everyone who has had to wait a long and difficult couple of years to spend Christmas with their extended family.

Telia
"Neighbours"
90s
28 Nov 2021
Every year, a Christmas commercial from an unlikely territory captures the imagination of the British public, usually egged on by one of the national newspapers. One of this year's contenders for this unusual honour has to be this Lithuanian commercial for telecommunications company Telia which introduces us to a pair of warring neighbours.

RAF
"Engineering"
67s
29 Nov 2021
The RAF appeal to a previously under-tapped resource when it comes to military recruitment: nerds. Those with a passion for engineering are in the crosshairs of this slick offering, which pays visual tribute to the problem solving, innovation, and sheer technical joy potential sign-ups can find in the role.

Verizon
"Akbar"
3 mins 41s
29 Nov 2021
Akbar Cook is the principal of West Side High School, Newark, New Jersey - an educational institute previously known for gangs, fighting, and being a general sink hole of both behaviour and academics. He's turned the tide for many pupils over his tenure, but now faces a challenge greater than any before: Covid-19.

Jean-Paul Gaultier
"The Boxer"
50s
26 Nov 2021
This kinetic ad for Jean-Paul Gaultier has a curious narrative progression. There's plenty of glitz and glamour on show as a collection of bright young things attend a boxing match with a difference - namely that it ends in what's implied to be a wall-shaking shag. Perhaps the Eiffel Tower showstopper is a bit over the top, but then that's an essential part of the brand's appeal.

Posten Norge
"When Harry Met Santa"
3 mins 55s
24 Nov 2021
This moving love story illustrates the patience and fortitude required if the object of your amour is only able to put in an appearance once a year. It isn't a particularly enticing proposition, and this film doesn't shy away from the negative aspect of this idea... the man eagerly awaiting Santa's annual visit appears full of sadness and uncertainty.

Five Star Work
(1-25 of 25)

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