David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Marks & Spencer
"Spend It Well (Food)"
40s
11 May 2017
UK High Street Retailers

What does Valenstein & Fatt's first work for M&S's food reveal? For starters, the synergy between it and last week's offering indicates that Vicki Maguire and her merry creatives are aiming to remind punters that the same clever M&S suppliers who provide them with the food they love also offer the clothes they keep overlooking.

The ad also confirms that everyone responsible for M&S's advertising have a proper appreciation of Food Film's iconic food photography as they've retained them. By resisting the temptation to put down a bold marker by ditching them instead, the new agency has demonstrated that it places its client's interest ahead of their pride. Well, either that or M&S insisted! Either way, it was the right decision.

Finally, by asking creative director Matt Doman to direct the film through Valenstein & Fatt's in-house production facilities, the agency has fired a warning to those clinging to the hope that the traditional production model will prevail when the stakes are high.

As mentioned before, the food sequences were directed by Michaël Roulier and Phillippe L'Homme (aka Food Film) and they deserve a lot of the credit for the outcome - but anyone hoping to see a bad outcome resulting from the decision to film the rest of this in-house is going to be disappointed.

Heineken
"The Trailblazers"

Miles said:

Proves that throwing all the money at the screen doesn't always make anything remotely memorable, ambitious or inviting.


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Five Star Work

International Olympic Committee
"Become the Light"
90s
22 Nov 2017
This fetching Olympic film was shot at minus twenty degrees celsius. Think about that the next time you complain about the heating. Despite flirting with hypothermia, Smuggler’s Jaron Albertin and DP Tom Townend have returned with something special. Against glistening snow and pitch-black skies, the ad highlights various disciplines.

David Jones
"Gingerbread Man"
60s
22 Nov 2017
This charming ad for Aussie department store David Jones stars a globetrotting gingerbread man heading home for the holidays. The little guy collects presents for his family on his travels, passing through London, Paris, and New York on his travels. The snowy adventure comes to an abrupt climax, however, when an overenthusiastic dog gets involved.

Tech Will Save Us
"Side Effects"
53s
21 Nov 2017
Unconventional brand Tech Will Save Us launch their range of toys for budding engineers in this excellent ad, directed by Somesuch's Raine Allen-Miller. The brand aims to give kids an early start in STEM fields, creating toys which encourage them to code and customise to their heart's content. The film plays with a familiar 'warning' message, twisting it to express some of the things creative kids can do with the right tools.

Adagio Skyr
"Daydreaming"
52s
20 Nov 2017
Well, this is one way to fight the dreaded mid-morning slump. Adagio Skyr promote their new range with some excitable yogurt preparation. Nothing comes between this office worker and elevenses - paperwork be damned. While her colleagues look on, the protagonist raids her private stash. We're sure office managers will heartily embrace such behaviour.

Heathrow Airport
"Fifty Years"
2 mins
20 Nov 2017
Mr and Mrs Bair fly again in this lovely Heathrow Airport film. The two-minute ad charts the furry couple’s fifty-year romance. Time flies when you’re in love, eh? As the Bair family grows, so does Heathrow. Scored by Petula Clark’s ‘Couldn’t Live Without Your Love’, it’s another charming effort from Outsider’s DOM&NIC - a worthy challenger to this year’s other ursine blockbuster.

The Samaritans
"Small Talk Saves Lives"
1 min 34s
18 Nov 2017
This film was created by The Samaritans and Network Rail to persuade us to look out for one another and offer reassurance about the value of intervening if we think someone looks troubled. It's a superbly-judged piece of work. Director Matt Hopkins has shown great restraint giving the subject matter the gravity it deserves and - in doing so - has made a film which stands a chance of making a real difference.

JBL
"Convenience Store"
30s
17 Nov 2017
Following 2015 chaotic cord fail, this latest JBL commercial is a 30" comedy of errors. Betrayed by his own headphone wires, this bloke endures a painful trip to the shops. The bumbling music lover is mistaken for an armed robber… and these have-a-go heroes take no prisoners. Director Guy Shelmerdine makes the most of his confined settings.

McDonald's
"Reindeer Ready"
90s
17 Nov 2017
McDonald's draw on festive traditions in their charming Christmas offering for 2017. We see a little girl save a carrot stick from her happy meal to leave out for Santa's reindeer, keeping hold of it all day to ensure it reaches it's intended recipient. When she gets home, however, her older brother throws a spanner in the works. Lovely work with great performances.

Girlguiding
"I Know My Place"
57s
16 Nov 2017
Girlguiding turn a demeaning admonishment into an empowering message in this excellent ad. We see girls and young women taking part in activities across the country - from outdoor fun to science experiments - as they find their place among the guiding community. The action here is never overstated, giving the film a nicely authentic vibe.

Penny
"The Walk"
1 min 45s
16 Nov 2017
Family reconciliation is at the heart of this unusual Christmas ad from German supermarket Penny. German retailers have become known for putting a darker spin on the festive season, and Penny joins the heartstring-tugging trend with this film about an estranged mother and daughter. The mother decides it's time to reconcile, and takes the first step of an arduous journey.

Marks & Spencer
"Extraordinary Christmas"
40s
15 Nov 2017
Given Paddington Bear’s starring role in the M&S Christmas ad, we’re surprised their food commercial doesn’t feature a sniff of marmalade. Unless he’s scoffed the lot, of course. Whatever the circumstances, this 40” ad provides more than adequate sustenance. Should mobilise discerning party hosts with ease.

Google Pixel
"Ask More"
1 min 53s
14 Nov 2017
Ask and you shall receive, says this entertaining Google Pixel ad. An initial “What is that?” sparks a two-minute Q&A session starring everyone from Dua Lipa to Salt Bae. The corporation’s flagship smartphone receives a thorough grilling - luckily, Google Assistant and a composed narrator have all the answers.

Star Wars Battlefront II
"Rivalry"
1 min 40s
15 Nov 2017
A kid is dismayed when his new neighbour succumbs to the dark side of the Force in this ad for Star Wars Battlefront II. A rivalry soon sparks which plays out over decades - from birthday party posturing to tree house one-upmanship. The narrative is well executed here, and does a good job of making the advertised game a logical next platform for their fun.

PhotoBox
"Dog Warrior"
40s
15 Nov 2017
The irrepressible Los Pérez bring a riot of colour to our screens in this entertaining ad for PhotoBox. Capitalising on the current trend for physical photos, we watch a kid gearing up to give his parents a truly album-worthy photo op. It's a great concept, as the camera slowly pans out to show the 'virtuoso of photographic dynamite' in all his glory.

Bose
"Kiss"
30s
14 Nov 2017
Bose continue their inner life campaign with another understated ad, this time featuring a kid leaving a school dance. While initially the solo scoot home might seem lonely, the camera stays on his face long enough for the audience to notice a lipstick print.

S7
"I Am You"
90s
14 Nov 2017
This terrific film for S7 airlines transports us around the world... and to somewhere else entirely. From the opening shot, which literally turns everything upside down, we know this isn't going to be a standard airline ad. EasyJet, it ain't. We see a series of exotic images as a voiceover encourages us to experience the world head on - not just like it through a screen.

T K Maxx
"White Christmas"
60s
13 Nov 2017
T K Maxx announce their intention to spray 'actual' snow all over some lucky customers' houses in this entertainingly quirky Christmas ad. The colourful film - directed by Ian Pons Jewell - appears to take place in the same saturated universe as their last outing: the excellent 'Why Shop at T K Maxx?'. We see a family opening presents before a very special one emerges from the pile - one of the brand's limited edition snow globes.

Boots
"Show Them You Know Them"
60s
13 Nov 2017
Ogilvy & Mather’s first piece of work for Boots is a sisterly affair. An evocative sequence covers parental squabbles, teenage love, and other notable milestones. Back in the present day, the sisters prove a taste in gifts only improves with age. The retailer itself plays a small but significant role. Various cosmetics feature thoroughout, emphasising the brand’s enduring presence in its customers’ lives.

Debenhams
"You Shall"
90s
10 Nov 2017
Debenhams give Cinderella the hashtag treatment in their Christmas ad. Commuter trains replace pumpkin carriages as two passengers enjoy a fleeting encounter. Of course, scouring the kingdom is old hat in 2017 - cue #FindThatGirl and #FindThatShoe. Despite the Twittersphere’s best efforts, 'happily ever after' seems way off… until fate proves it’s a softie at heart.

Breast Cancer Now
"Time Machine"
90s
10 Nov 2017
While many of us count down the days before Christmas, Breast Cancer Now have only one date in mind. The charity predict zero deaths from breast cancer by 2050 - and one little girl knows how to get there. This precocious scientist has the whole ‘timey-wimey’ business sussed, building a homemade time machine big enough for two.

E.on
"Freedom is Electric"
1 min 36s
9 Nov 2017
Muscle cars, monster trucks, and Batmobile wannabes assemble for a high-speed dust-up. It’s an imposing line-up… though green energy proponents E.on have a surprise under the bonnet. Fresh from another desert car shoot, Outsider’s Scott Lyons handles the action with ease. It may be a long winter ahead for ol’ Gil, though.

Dollar Shave Club
"Butter Dunes"
30s
9 Nov 2017
Dollar Shave Club dip their toe into Old Spice territory with this entertainingly surreal ad for their shave butter. A bloke smears some of the advertised razor lube on his face and is instantly transported to a slippery heaven, sliding effortlessly across buttery expanses of comfort in his skivvies. There's some lovely comedy here, including a cat being freed of its fur and a, ahem, nutty sight gag.

John Lewis
"Moz the Monster"
2 mins
10 Nov 2017
The template established by adam&eveDDB for John Lewis's big Christmas commercial undoubtedly makes it predictable. We could all anticipate that it will be a sweetly emotional film featuring a child in the build-up to Christmas Day but because it's a formula which the public adores, the most predictable aspect of all is the love it will receive.

IKEA
"Dance"
60s
8 Nov 2017
This touching Swedish ad for IKEA shows the enduring love a son has for his mother, even if she can't quite reciprocate the way she used to. A subdued acoustic cover of David Bowie's 'Let's Dance' sets the mood, as we watch a guy carefully wrap a present and catch the bus, a melancholy look out of the window suggesting he's mentally preparing himself for something.

House Of Fraser
"Sisterhood"
60s
8 Nov 2017
House of Fraser have unveiled their Christmas ad and it's a wonderful smorgasbord of loveliness. Agency 18 Feet & Rising turned to Vaughan & Anthea and the newly-reunited directorial duo have delivered a beauty. Against a backdrop of 'Who Took the Merry out of Christmas' by The Staple Singers, two sisters are shown enjoying the festive season in a 'then and now' compilation encompassing both their childhood and the present day.

Five Star Work

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