David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Latest Work
    • Of human bondageAn intriguing and futuristic ad for BBC Earth questions what really makes us human. Is it our capacity for abstract thought, or language?
    • Podcast - The Social Media BacklashOur latest podcast examines the social media backlash faced by Pepsi and McDonald's in the last few weeks.
    • Five Favourite... Car AdsAppreciating five of our favourite car ads from 2017 so far.
    • Up the Boatmen.Budweiser reaffirm their support of grassroots football in this engaging film.
    • Nocturnal AnimalsThis high-octane ad for Superdry shows a group of friends getting up to no good after dark.
    • Black Label score a hat-trick.Black Label have signed three directorial talents to their roster: Kathryn Ferguson, Lisa Gunning, and Tell No One.
    • What a TearjerkerKFC announce the arrival of their Nashville Hot chicken on our shores with this classy ad.
    • Repeat after me.Kelly’s struck a chord last year with their Cornish-language commercial. Now the brand wants us to become fluent… well, that may be a stretch.
    • When opposites attract.With festival season looming, Vero and Nexus director Kibwe Tavares offer a fantastical spin on muddy fields and watered-down lager.
    • Rooms with a view.This Irish Virgin Media ad offers something for almost everyone.
    • Sway and SlayThree introduce us to a pair of animated giraffes whose confidence levels couldn't be more different.
    • The sound choice.BBC Four pay tribute to high fidelity with these well-crafted idents.
    • Beast of friends.Toilet paper and cuddly mascots seem to go arm in arm. Andrex have their puppy; Cushelle has a CG koala; now Lotus unleash an animatronic yeti.


Wednesday, 14th June.
Betwen 4.30pm and 6.30pm.

The LSE, Sheffield Street, Holborn, London, WC2.

Tickets: £20 plus VAT.

● Sharon Horgan.

● GiffGaff.

● W.I.Z.

● Graham Rose tribute.

● The reunion.


BBC Earth
"Being Human"
25 May 2017

An intriguing and futuristic ad for BBC Earth questions what really makes us human. Is it our capacity for abstract thought, coupled with a seemingly unparalleled ability to share information via language? How much of it is inextricably linked to our sensory systems, from proprioception - our awareness of our own bodies in their immediate surroundings – to the pleasure or pain that different experiences evoke?

For instance, we've all walked into an unfamiliar house and been struck by the smells that combine to create its own unique signature. We can divine from the fusion of cooking odours, cleaning sprays, pets, perfumes and more whether it's a happy home, or a busy one; whether the people who inhabit it have the same kinds of priorities as ourselves or whether we just want to get the hell out. Every single person has a way of connecting to the world that is completely their own thanks to the the way our brain's neural networks grow and adapt from infancy... so what would a self-aware machine – a cyborg - make of this?

The ad features such a creature explaining 'she' can do many of the things humans can. As she speaks, facing away from us, the back of her head is uncannily exposed to reveal its inner circuits and wires; emphasising her otherness. But for all her synthetic composition, when she turns to address the camera directly we can't help but note the remarkably expressive face she has; full of wistfulness; subtle and delicate despite the somewhat rigid mouth. She can merely dream of what it is to be human... although only metaphorically at that: dreaming is beyond her.

The spot feels like a lament from an intellect that, although potentially superior, yearns to enjoy a more holistic experience of consciousness. All of which which makes us question whether we're merely responding to a voice designed to sound sad, or if 'she' is indeed feeling something after all.

While the 'human' AI trope has been covered many times, this is done in a rather lovely way here. Better set 'Being Human' to record and hope we discover some answers.

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Podcast - The Social Media Backlash

Pepsi and McDonald's have both faced the ire of the crowd in recent weeks. The fizzy drink brand received a universal shellacking when they implied that a can of their sugary offering could bring a riot under control if handed over by a young female member of the Kardashian clan.

The response to McDonald's recent commercial dealing with bereavement was more nuanced but no-one can deny that lessons need to be learned.


Five Favourite... Car Ads

Car ads are a unique art form - striking the balance between product, narrative, and emotional punch can be a fine line to walk and takes no small talent to pull off.

Here - in no particular order - are just a few of our favourites which have come through the door since January.


"Sholing F.C."
1 min 40s
25 May 2017

Budweiser reaffirm their support of grassroots football in this engaging film. As more illustrious clubs spend hundreds of millions on new stadia, it’s a sore point for clubs like Sholing F.C. Having seen progress stifled in the past by league criteria, the Hampshire team must work hard on and off the pitch.

The club’s objectives are a world away from Champions League qualification. For Sholing - currently playing in England’s ninth tier - safeguarding its future for three more years is the target. As one emotional fan demonstrates, the club’s place in the community is priceless.

Despite the Universal Stadium’s modest surroundings, director James Wallis and DP Ben Marshall pick out some apt details: a foam finger from Sholing’s FA Vase triumph hangs with pride; ads for local businesses surround the pitch; while you can pick out individual voices in the crowd.

'Adopting’ a lower-league team has become a popular means of strengthening a brand’s supposed sporting credentials. Through their generous investment, the lager hopes to raise awareness for other non-league clubs. An engaging palate cleanser after this season’s top-flight escapades.

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"The Night is Young"
25 May 2017

This high-octane ad for Superdry shows a group of friends getting up to no good after dark. Made by acclaimed promo director Courtney Phillips, it has the fashionable youngsters hopping fences, blowing things up, and running foul of the law. They even get frisky in public places and flash drivers from a bridge, the scamps.

The clip has a cool, grungy quality which will make anybody think twice about a cup of tea and an early night... especially as it's scored by the rambunctious energy of heavy rock/blues duo The Graveltones.

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Recent Promos

"We Just Don't Care (ft Shingai)"
3 mins 17s
24 May 2017
SHY FX's new release is impossibly infectious; combining jungle with a 90s girl band vibe thanks to Shingai's velvety tones. And what a promo Craig Moore has put together for it. This isn't your average dance-themed clip: this delivers dizzying break dance spins and one-handed, er, handstands. The energy, skill and post-apocalyptic style make this one to watch again and again.

Elton John
"Tiny Dancer"
6 mins 45s
24 May 2017
Over four decades after its release, Elton John’s ‘Tiny Dancer’ receives its first official music video. No, that John Lewis ad doesn’t count. Instead, Sir Elton invited filmmakers to pitch their own promos. The winner? Somesuch’s Max Weiland. The result is a languid and compelling snapshot of Los Angeles.

Ghost Poet
"Immigrant Boogie"
2 mins 38s
22 May 2017
The title of Ghost Poet's latest release lends an additional layer of nightmarishness to the track itself. The word 'Boogie' carries a certain 70s jauntiness, evoking Elton John, Earth Wind & Fire, and John Travolta strutting his stuff. Here though, the dancer is a refugee; his dancefloor a war zone leading to a hoped-for sanctuary that simply turns its back on him.

"Dig Down"
4 mins 15s
19 May 2017
It seems Muse have been watching re-runs of Max Headroom since their last release. Hair slicked and broadcasting from a VR dimension, the three-piece offer moral support to this bionic commando through various monitors. Call it future warfare with a foot in the past... though the track itself treads familiar ground.

"I Come From Pain"
2 mins 58s
18 May 2017
The first thing you notice while watching Zhang + Knight's promo for French singer Sônge is the palette. A myriad shades of blues and lilacs - so exquisitely put together it's spellbinding - leave you wondering whether it was a happy accident or whether the directors simply have a far more developed colour perception than the rest of us mere mortals.

Marika Hackman
"My Lover Cindy"
3 mins 15s
18 May 2017
Sam Bailey - band member of Francobollo and promo director into the bargain - has created a clip for Marika Hackman's 'My Lover Cindy' which will probably become known as the 'tongues' video. When a couple duel it out for supremacy in their relationship, gashes caused by the business end of an épée morph into mouths which are lipless, lascivious and attention-grabbing in a car crash kind of way. Gross but compelling.

Royal Blood
"Hook, Line, and Sinker"
3 mins 28s
18 May 2017
Having escaped their milky prison, Royal Blood find themselves on more familiar ground in this performance-driven promo for ‘Hook, Line, and Sinker’. Strobe lights and crunching riffs abound as the Brighton two-piece mark their homecoming in a sweatbox. What the video lacks in finesse, it compensates for in bullish intensity.

The Vamps
"Middle of the Night"
3 mins 09s
18 May 2017
'In The Middle of The Night' by One Direction heirs apparent The Vamps is a slice of pure pop, accompanied by an intriguing promo from director Mike Baldwin. The visuals here elevate the track, focused on a couple arguing furiously in sign language in a bleak diner. The heartbreak is tangible here, the desperation from both sides yearning to bring a resolution to a conflict neither fully wants to escape. Powerful stuff.

Dan Black (ft Kelis)
3 mins 30s
17 May 2017
Aside from Partick Thistle's Kingsley, surrealist football mascots are few and far between. Any team looking to revamp their pitchside support should check out this promo for Dan Black’s ‘Farewell’. The track itself is undemanding, but it’s clear Black’s costume department had a field day crafting humanoid blobs and walking toy chests.

JP Cooper
"Passport Home"
3 mins 21s
16 May 2017
Manchester singer-songwriter JP Cooper has only one destination in mind in this promo for ‘Passport Home’. While the dreadlocked troubadour reflects in his hotel room, we see others shouldering their own burdens, be it physiotherapy, applying for citizenship, or simply landing a trick in one piece.

3 mins 36s
12 May 2017
Holly Blakely brings her golden touch of gorgeous choreography and slick visuals to this intimate promo for Mabel's 'Bedroom'. The sensual slumber party set on a giant bed soon takes on a carnal feel, hip-thrusting dance moves combining with the neon-tinged grade to create something which perfectly matches the music. We like the cameo from a likely very confused snake, too.

"Are You Looking for Action?"
8 mins 06s
12 May 2017
Kasabian sound like a band whose team won the Premier League last season. Even if Leicester City’s title defence hasn’t gone according to plan, no one can blame Tom Meighan and Serge Pizzorno for still being in a party mood with ‘Are You Looking for Action?’ The disco-infused track is one of Kasabian’s longest to date, but the Partizan's Sing J. Lee holds our attention with a live glitterball rave captured in one continuous shot.

The Aces
3 mins 14s
21 Apr 2017
Female band The Aces let us know in no uncertain terms that they're not prepared to have relationships that are just based on sex. Their promo for 'Physical' by Charlotte Rutherford illustrates this by showing just how unimpressed they are with their erstwhile beaus - though it looks like it was a lot of fun to make.

Julian Barratt
"You Can't Handcuff The Wind"
3 mins 59s
10 May 2017
Julian Barratt - The Mighty Boosh; Flowers - stars in a new spoof movie about washed-up actor Richard Thorncroft who is unexpectedly thrust back into the limelight. And just to prime us, an old music video has surfaced of Thorncroft singing a soft-rock ballad from his heyday. 'You Can't Handcuff The Wind' is a glorious paean to that decade's more dubious musical trends, and its accompanying promo brings a barrel of cheese to the party.

Bossman Birdie
"Walk The Walk"
2 mins 53s
10 May 2017
Grime artist Bossman Birdie thinks rather well of himself, and despite his tendency to refer to women as "gash" and use "pansy" as an insult other people think rather well of him too. Luke Davies' sharp promo for 'Walk The Walk' makes use of Bossman's swagger by creating 'living' magazine covers adorned with witty subheaders.

"I Believed"
4 mins 03s
10 May 2017
James Alexandrou calls his promo for Maló 'an experiment in performance'. That's because he has the singer perform 'I Believed' over and over for two and a half hours to achieve the same level of exhaustion that he might reach on stage at a gig. With atmospheric cinematography by his long-term collaborator David Foulkes, the heartfelt result looks very authentic.

Cadence Weapon
"My Crew (Woooo) "
3 mins 13s
8 May 2017
After a lengthy absence, Toronto rapper Cadence Weapon delivers a cool, controlled, double-time rap that has ghostly echoes of Massive Attack. The track manages to combine electronic precision with a visceral squelchiness, and Kevin Calero's promo mesmerises as the singer and his crew drift through the inky void like out-takes from Under The Skin.

"Now or Never"
6 mins 07s
28 Apr 2017
Fans of Baz Luhrman’s ‘Romeo + Juliet’ will appreciate this story-driven promo for Halsey’s ‘Now or Ever’. Shot with a hyperreal sheen by Partizan’s Sing J. Lee, the promo sees Halsey and her beau caught in the crossfire. Even if the slow-burning track never kicks into gear, there’s plenty on-screen to chew over.

"Bambro Koyo Ganda (ft Innov Gnawa)"
3 mins 27s
28 Apr 2017
Directorial collective Stylewar has fashioned an assemblage of existing video clips from around the world into a promo for Bonobo's latest release 'Bambro Koyo Ganda'. Along with additional footage filmed by them, the resulting piece is around three and a half spellbinding minutes in which time speeds up, slows down, or jumps around.

3 mins 20s
28 Apr 2017
Tinashe reminisces about better times with her buff boyf - he brings her breakfast in bed, they lounge by the pool... but all is not as it seems. As the relationship develops a huge fault line she decides the best way to tell him to go to blazes is to to burn everything of his - including his house. That's the last time she'll be given free reign with the sparklers on bonfire night.

Father John Misty
"Total Entertainment Forever"
2 mins 53s
27 Apr 2017
That Father John Misty a.k.a. Josh Tillman dabbles in LSD for medicinal purposes should give you some idea of what to expect from this promo for ‘Total Entertainment Forever’. Sure enough, who knew George Washington was a fan of virtual reality and Viagra? Downstairs issues aside, Washington appears in rude health as he loads ‘Constitution Hack’.

"Not The Same"
3 mins 09s
25 Apr 2017
American rapper Kyle has the magic touch in this promo-cum-movie teaser. Inspired by upcoming film 'Sleight', Kyle pulls off some eye-catching tricks during his quest for fresh milk. What's more, it looks like the whole thing's been done in one continuous take. Now that's magic... or some impressive directorial sleight of hand, at least.

Mark Lanegan
3 mins 57s
25 Apr 2017
Mark Lanegan sounds like he's been gargling with gravel for a thousand years, so it's fitting that Zhang + Knight have directed a video for 'Beehive' featuring a vampire couple. Reduced to feeding off white mice, they make a suicide pact and go out into the night-time world of a seaside town before waiting for sunrise on the beach.

All We Are
4 mins 52s
25 Apr 2017
We've never seen the process of obtaining planning permission played out quite so compellingly as in this promo for All We Are's 'Human' by Eoin Glaister and Agile Films. The narrative threads of small town life threatened with destruction - a church, a farm, a zumba class - converge to form something infinitely watchable and compellingly foul-mouthed. Well worth a second watch to take all he entertaining touches in.

Tinie Tempah
"Text From Your Ex (ft Tinashe)"
3 mins 30s
25 Apr 2017
Tinie Tempah riles his scantily-clad new love in this promo when she discovers he's not finished with his ex. Oh, Tinie, you bad lad, you. His charisma evidently ensures women can't resist a bit of Tempah-time, and he explains he can't help responding to a call from an equally scantily-clad previous because he has a reputation to maintain, right?

Recent Promos

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