David Reviews

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

    • A moment of truth.The annual unwrapping of everyone's most played music on Spotify has become a cultural landmark.
    • Keep 'em peeled.This mockumentary-style commercial introduces us to John Birk who has the rather redundant job of explaining to people how to peel mandarins.
    • Erectile Dysfunction is on the, er, rise.US Urologists have united to warn of the possibility of ED among those who have been infected with Covid.
    • Talk therapy.A celeb-heavy festive outing rounds out the year for ITV in amusing fashion.
    • What's in a name?Whenever Sweden and lakes are mentioned, the mind immediately jumps to the opening credits of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
    • Hooked on a feeling.Agency 215 McCann and director Isaiah Seret offer an affecting insight into how the Master Chief's new toy is made.
    • Freddie Leyden heads to The VisionariesThe Visionaries have added discerning director Freddie Leyden to their ranks for representation on a freelance basis.
    • Absolute score three.Patrick Keogh, Rasel Hussain, and Risto Puukko have joined the CG wing at Absolute.
    • A little respect for the high street.American Express repurpose Erasure’s ‘A Little Respect’ for their Christmas ad,
    • Trainers, actually.This fun Christmas ad for Footasylum features Chunkz, Yung Filly, Darkest, Amelia and the irrepressible Gino D’Acampo.

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Spotify
"Billie Eilish Wrapped"
15s
30 November 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.

It's a wonderfully subversive way of emphasising the randomness of the decisions made by people and the different ways they listen to music. It also brings to mind a wonderful moment on Twitter when soul legend Dionne Warwick revealed that artists like her could see when they'd been added to a playlist and what it was called. This proved particularly embarrassing for those who confessed in the replies that the then 79 year old singer's songs were on lists with names like 'songs to play during sex'. "Sorry, Auntie," they said in unison.


Peelz
"Unapologetic Appeal"
2 mins
30 November 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.

The actor playing Birk gives his character the same striking lack of self-awareness which fuelled Steve Carell's comedy when he played Michael Scott in the US version of 'The Office'. And the daftness of Birk's absurd mission role is amplified by an accompanying choir who chip away at his self-esteem in a fashion reminiscent of Neil Innes's band of minstrels in 'Monty Python & The Holy Grail' as they pursued Eric Idle's Sir Robin to let him know how cowardly he is.

At two minutes, it's an unusually long ad – the Americans are adept at squeezing films like this into just 30" – but the film certainly doesn't outstay its welcome, as the extra time allows the comedy to land more gently.


Urologists United
"Reflections"
2 mins
30 November 2021

As the world has grappled with the seemingly endless list of symptoms associated with Covid 19, it's undeniable that the most disturbing outcome for those infected with this disease is the adverse affect on breathing function which has led to much of the mortality.

Those who have survived serious illness or only suffered mild symptoms can thank their lucky stars, but that doesn't mean that the disease hasn't had a long-term impact on them too, and – as this light-hearted but educational film from the US makes clear – erectile dysfunction can be one of the most debilitating conditions of long Covid.

The spot opens with a number of men talking about their earliest memories of sexual arousal… but it isn't clear, at first, that that's what they're reflecting upon. It's only when Urologist Dr Larry Levine reveals that anyone who's had Covid is six times more likely to suffer from ED than average, that we fully grasp what the men in the first half of the spot were going on about.

The reveal sparks some pretty direct talk from one of the contributors – he immediately wants to know why any of his fellow men would possibly risk their sexual performance because of a reluctance to be vaccinated. The humour accelerates as he drops some truth bombs, and makes a very compelling case by reminding the audience of these doctors' credentials in the arena of the penis.

This is a smart piece of work because it aims to weaponise the selfishness of the men who remain vaccine hesitant. Whatever their infuriating rationale, we know that their motives are selfish, so it's a shrewd to see if their behaviour can be altered by appealing to their narcissism. We'd like to think that even if this film doesn't move them to act, the spectre of self-inflicted impotence will haunt them for the rest of the pandemic... and beyond.


ITV
"It's Been a Year"
2 mins 30s
1 December 2021

A celeb-heavy festive outing rounds out the year for ITV in amusing 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, which focuses on community support and help for mental health in the wake of the pandemic. Putting recognisable celebrities front and centre with comedic scripts does a good job of burying the lede, grabbing audience attention when the focus does shifts.

It's a timely reminder that we've all been through a lot over the past two years, and deserve to vent and address our woes regardless of our role in life or how 'badly' we think we've been through it. Pinning hopes on a perfect Christmas may only add to the strain, so this film comes at the right moment to encourage folks to open up when they can.


Visit Sweden
"Discover the Originals"
80s
30 November 2021

Whenever Sweden and lakes are mentioned, the mind often jumps to the opening credits of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. However, this wry tourism film highlights another, more troublesome association of ideas: Swedish place names and IKEA furniture. Suffice it to say, the board's spokeswoman is fed up.

For a vexing number of people, she says, Bolman is a toilet brush, not a freshwater lake; Ektorp is a sofa, not a place; and Järvfjället is a gaming chair, not a mountain. Visit Sweden reckon enough is enough, and it's time for folk to pritorise the originals over the cover versions.

The script is fun and persuasive, but what makes the ad is the woman’s final pose with a camping mallet. It's a lovely 'job's a good-'un' moment, and offers a neat insight into the country's mixed attitude towards IKEA.


QUICK SEARCH

Five Star Work
(1-25 of 25)

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 François 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.

Carsome
"Mr. Handsome"
3 mins 42s
25 Nov 2021
A bloke goes to pieces over a new car in this delightfully weird ad from Thai website Carsome... though perhaps not in a way audiences will anticipate. Usually DAVID would baulk at the prospect of an almost four-minute long car ad, but this film only gets better as time goes on.

Women's Aid
"Spot the Abuse"
2 mins
23 Nov 2021
There's been a real awakening in recent years about the nature of domestic abuse. Whereas, once upon a time, our understanding of it was limited to cuts and bruises, most of us are now aware that psychological abuse and coercive control can be incredibly damaging too. And while physical abuse often leaves evidence which needs to be explained, psychological abuse can leave those subjected to it feeling helpless as they struggle to be completely certain that they are, indeed, victims.

SuperValu
"Share the Magic"
90s
23 Nov 2021
This Irish commercial for Supervalu provides yet another gorgeous bundle of Christmas sentimentality. A little girl called Aoife wakes to find an injured reindeer in her back garden. The impressionable child painstakingly nurses the fawn back to health, believing him to be one of Santa's fleet. Her parents indulge her, but only just... and eventually her dad gently tries to tell her the 'truth'.

Apple
"Saving Simon"
3 mins
23 Nov 2021
Father and son Oscar nominees Ivan and Jason Reitman have combined forces to make this rather beautiful Christmas film for Apple... and they've done it using the tech giants latest phone - the iPhone 13 Pro. The pair have drawn a fantastic central performance from a little girl who decides that she must preserve the life of a small snowman – whom she's dubbed Simon – no matter what it takes.

Albert Bartlett
"Amazing Hands"
40s
24 Nov 2021
Albert Bartlett's commitment to starchy excellence shines through this well-designed commercial. Staff members sail though the air in choreographed fashion as a fantastical production line takes place, with spuds treated to a full spa experience which includes a wash, blow dry, and trip on a model train for good measure.

Niantic
"Meet You Out There"
2 mins 07s
24 Nov 2021
Augmented reality (AR) firm Niantic declare the outdoors open again in this well-staged adventure ad. Perhaps best known for public nuisance app Pokémon GO, the brand now draw attention to other games and tools in their wheelhouse. Scored by The Mae Shi's 'Lamb and the Lion', the film tracks five smartphone users ready to leave home for as long as their legs-slash-battery life will allow them.

Chipotle
"A Future Begins"
2 mins 23s
21 Nov 2021
It's been almost ten years since a Johnny Kelly commercial for Chipotle cleaned up at the Cannes Advertising Festival, and the restaurant chain have decided to mark that anniversary by asking Kelly to revisit the world he created, and tell a new story about its characters. Kelly's animation is such a perfect vehicle for the story – it's so recognisable that it's iconic, and immediately delivers us back into this world.

Google
"Black-Owned Businesses"
3 mins 16s
21 Nov 2021
This fantastic commercial for Google brings a whole new dimension to Black Friday. The American retail phenomenon is said to owe its name to the profitability of Christmas shopping which starts in earnest once Thanksgiving is over, theoretically moving stores' balance sheets from red to black in one fell swoop.

Vodafone
"Each Christmas"
1 min 36s
21 Nov 2021
This immensely sweet commercial for Vodafone in Ireland depicts a slow burning romance between two people whose orbits are misaligned. While she left the rural community where they grow up to seek adventures in the wider world, he remained behind to tend the family farm. Christmas was the one opportunity they had to reconnect in person, and we witness their growing attachment over the years.

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.