David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Latest Work
    • James Marsh joins Pulse FilmsPulse Films have signed Academy Award winning director James Marsh to their roster.
    • The Sweet Shop sign Gudmundur Gudmundsson.The Sweet Shop have signed Icelandic director Gundmundur Arnar Gudmundsson for worldwide representation.
    • A moving story.Squire Studios' Phil Tidy provides a consummate lesson in pacing in this touching and important film for charity Harrison's Fund.
    • Sounds delicious.Readers with misophonia should probably consider giving this ad for Crosse & Blackwell a skip... even if it is very good.
    • Three stripes, many shades.This vibrant Adidas commercial celebrates how we perceive colour.
    • Pyeongchang calling.Fear meets its match in this beautifully animated BBC Sport promo.
    • A better way of looking at things.This optimistic film out of Brazil - ostensibly advertising telecommunications company Vivo - urges us to look at life more generously.
    • A classy approach.This classic 30" commercial for Knorr makes the advertised product look like it'll be the centre of a better life than the one you have now.
    • Stitch's Jack Singer is a cut above.Stitch boost their roster by signing accomplished editor Jack Singer.
    • Trailblazers WantedThis is one of a series of online films designed to support the live-action TV work promoting a greater sense of inclusivity in Army Recruitment.
    • Naughty or nice?Sky Cinema viewers are encouraged to pick a side with the broadcaster’s new Heroes and Villains channels.
    • Luis Cervero and Pleix turn Rogue.Spanish filmmaker Luis Cervero and French collective Pleix have joined Rogue for representation.
    • Mixed reactions.Mullen Lowe’s debut Subaru ad shows the marque is in tune with its customers' needs… well, nearly everyone’s.
    • The New GuyThis lovely ad from Vodafone Ireland depicts a little boy's developing relationship with his mum's new partner.


David Reviews is proud to introduce Sisterhood - a pool of female talent designed to help the advertising industry to access a broader range of voices.

Sisterhood launches with several hundred directors but will soon expand into any other areas of film-making currently dominated by men.

Sisterhood profiles are available for free if you meet the eligibility requirements. Contact Jason Stone on 0141 776 7766 to find out more.


Army Recruitment
13 January 2018

This is one of a series of online films designed to support the live-action TV work promoting a greater sense of inclusivity in Army Recruitment.

Where the live-action work is subtle, obliging viewers to discern the message by reading between the lines, the animated work is explicit and openly pitches army life at those who have probably never considered it.

If you heard this campaign being discussed on Radio 4's Today programme a few days before its official release then you'll know it clearly had its critics within the upper echelons of the Army, and we suspect it was the animated films that provoked the ire of the top brass.

They have also been met - predictably enough - with a cacophony of derision from keyboard warriors who fetishise an outdated notion of masculinity they feel is represented by khaki-clad soldiers with a low tolerance of otherness.

They resent this nuanced, accepting approach because - in their eyes - it panders to political correctness. But these largely white men are certainly not the target audience so does their opinion really matter?

Possibly not, but that doesn't mean these films are beyond criticism. As eye catching and lovingly constructed as they are, they are also gauche and don't quite land the way they're intended to.

The issue lies not with the work itself, but in their disconnect from the reality of being in today's Army. While the organisation has made great efforts to modernise on an institutional level, it's naive to suggest that the prohibition of homophobia (or any other insidious hatred) will prevent it from existing on the ground.

Indeed, the very fact that the Army is now attempting to recruit minorities is an admission that the existing culture within its ranks is still overwhelmingly 'traditional'... along with all the prejudices that that entails. There's a suggestion, particularly in the animated work, that new recruits can expect to join an existing group of open-minded people. While it's perfectly plausible that the lot of the female, gay or Muslim cadets has improved over the past few years, it's a struggle to believe that bullying and victimisation has been eradicated.

While detractors - whose only experiences of combat are day-long sessions of 'Call of Duty' - whine about the erosion of 'bravery' and 'British values' within one of the last bastions of old-school masculinity, they fail to consider just how brave you'd have to be to join an army that doesn't entirely welcome you. And, unfortunately, the animated work doesn't really acknowledge this either. All the more so because they didn't really need to soft-peddle that challenge - minority recruits will be ready for a fight.

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Sky Cinema
"Heroes and Villains"
11 January 2018

Neutrals need not apply in this neat Sky Cinema ad. Viewers are encouraged to pick a side with the broadcaster’s new Heroes and Villains channels. Luckily, Sky boast an impressive cast.

The ad weaves together numerous iconic movie props and motifs. Flowing camerawork glides through masks and spider webs, while well-chosen sound clips complete the effect.

It’s a deft trip through cinematic conflict. Whether you cheer every time the Joker makes a pencil disappear or when Superman catches falling journalists, the broadcaster entertain both perspectives.

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Luis Cervero and Pleix turn Rogue.

Spanish filmmaker Luis Cervero and French collective Pleix have joined Rogue Films for representation. Cervero is a sought-after director in both advertising and cultural circles, while Pleix combine technical and creative talent.

Let’s see what Rogue’s new additions have to offer...


"Better Where It Matters"
18 January 2018

Mullen Lowe’s debut Subaru ad shows the marque is in tune with all of its customers' needs… well, nearly all of them. A dad can’t wait to show his son their new car but the Subaru XV fails to meet the lad’s expectations. Turns out a five-star NCAP safety rating can’t compete with rockets.

Like VW’s recent ad, Subaru admit their latest model won’t impress every family member. Long-term, however, children will thank mum and dad for going rocket-free.

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"Getting to Know You"
18 January 2018

This lovely ad from Vodafone Ireland depicts a little boy's developing relationship with his mum's new partner. Director Lena Beug wisely chooses to keep things light here - rather than show the relationship as contentious, we see a man trying hard to be the best dad he can be.

While brands such as IKEA revel in a bit of family angst, this film manages to communicate the gravity of the new influence in the kid's life through a positive prism. From rugby games to trips to the beach, the process of the little unit coming together is tenderly drawn.

The climax features a trope we've seen before, but it feels like it's been earned here - as the new guy finally becomes a fully fledged part of the family. This is subtle work handled with appropriate nuance and skilfully done.

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Five Star Work
(1-25 of 25)

BBC Sport
"The Fearless Are Here"
22 Jan 2018
Fear meets its match in this beautifully animated BBC Sport promo. As Winter Olympians descend on Pyeongchang, the Beeb pay tribute to their indomitable spirit. When the mercury drops, this lot bring the heat. Wolves, tentacles, and giant eyes do their best to thwart their prey but these medal hopefuls have trained too hard to let fear win.

Vivo Telecoms
1 min 37s
21 Jan 2018
this optimistic film out of Brazil - ostensibly advertising a telecommunications company - urges us to look at life more generously. A number of people appear on the screen, together with a drop-down list offering a number of alternative ways of looking at them. The first, lazy choice underlines an existing prejudice but beneath there are better options because... there are always better options.

Army Recruitment
13 Jan 2018
This is one of a new series of films for the Army which aims to help the organisation shake off out-of-date perceptions and recruit on a more inclusive basis. This is a big task and this film, like the other live-action work, is plainly straddling the need to champion diversity without offending the very conservative instincts of those who are embedded within the military.

"Mum's Birthday"
12 Jan 2018
If this film is anything to go by, Cadbury made a very wise decision when they appointed VCCP last year... because it's an absolute belter. Academy's Frédéric Planchon has told a simple tale with beautifully weighted delicacy and if you're unmoved by it then it's probably time for a cardiogram to ensure your heart is functioning properly.

Ster Kinekor
"Reign of Ian"
11 Jan 2018
As the film industry's war against illegal downloads continues, South African cinema chain Ster-Kinekor introduce Ian - IT worker and a walking treasure trove of pirated films. Sitting on a throne of keyboards and computer towers, Ian satisfies his co-workers' desire for new releases with a tub of dodgy USB sticks.

"Play Less Nice"
9 Jan 2018
Nike in Canada are trying to encourage the famously polite inhabitants of the North American country to become a little more competitive by compromising on their niceness. As a young man who projects an aura of pleasantness sets off for his morning run, he's thanked by an elderly neighbour for putting out her bins. But once he's started his stopwatch, it's another story and he ruthlessly knocks over a pair of the rubbish receptacles which are in his path.

10 Jan 2018
We've all had recurring anxiety dreams prompted by urgent chores; endured the dread of tackling a certain task in case we throw a terrible light on the truth. So this spot for Turbotax, a US tax preparation software product, is bang on the, er, money with its homage to horror flicks. A terrified, sobbing woman hides in her closet as an unseen threat draws ever closer... what ghastly revelation is about to occur?

Thomas Cook
"The Chase"
10 Jan 2018
Despite the proliferation of alternatives, all-in holidays remain extremely popular and it's little wonder when they're being sold as beautifully as this. It focuses on an adolescent boy and girl who are on the precipice of love as they chase each other through a rather gorgeous-looking resort.

"No Big Deal"
9 Jan 2018
This dramatic ad from the American National Highway Traffic Safety Administration draws attention to the potentially devastating consequences of drunk driving. By forcing the viewer to absorb a single accident in forensic detail, the impact on multiple lives becomes frighteningly clear. This film elevates the seemingly small, spur of the moment decision to get behind the wheel after drinking to something almost operatic.

"They're Here"
6 Jan 2018
Those clinging on to the Christmas spirit will enjoy this festive Samsung commercial from Merman’s Ben Quinn. We're thrust into one family's party preparations and once the doorbell goes, it's all hands on deck. There are some lovely reaction shots nestled throughout: one girl's disdain as she, er, 'greets' another guest is priceless, while subtle expressions lend an authentic air. Diverse casting only strengthens the ad’s inviting atmosphere.

VW Golf
"Kids' Dreams"
5 Jan 2018
To the strains of ‘If You Could Read My Mind’ by Scala & Kolacny Brothers, this clever Volkswagen commercial shows children falling in love with automobiles of all shapes and makes… er, apart from VW. Still, the German manufacturers take the snub well - taking pride in their impressive safety record instead.

Bulk Powders
"Dominate Life"
5 Jan 2018
It's not often that a commercial is funny enough to make a battle-weary journalist spit tea all over his computer screen... but this ad for Bulk Powders got the job done. We can't really say too much more without giving the game away, so watch it before reading any further. The gag is able to surprise because your guard is lowered by the weird vibe generated by the interaction between the car salesman and his customer.

Haven Holidays
"A Breath of Fresh Air"
2 Jan 2018
A pair of bad-ass trikers propel this lovely Haven Holidays commercial. Thought you looked cool on your new bike? Think again. Rocking heart-shaped glasses and a mean look to camera, the duo acquire numerous accoutrements en route, including sea crabs, ice cream, and even a French bulldog. Well, every holiday needs a souvenir.

"Global Citizen"
1 Jan 2018
HSBC tackle Brexit with dignity in this beautifully constructed ad which makes a bold statement in spite of its restrained tone. The film has the Travel Man himself - Richard Ayoade - point out just how multicultural our country really is. From watching American TV shows on Korean tablets to owning French bulldogs and drinking Costa Rican coffee, Ayoade highlights the absurdity of chasing separation from the rest of the world.

"First Steps"
31 Dec 2017
Olly Blackburn has conjured a real intimacy and joyfulness with a perfectly judged execution of a very sweet script. It's been incredibly well thought through... the fact that she's a medic rather than a high-powered businesswoman, and that she's on a bus rather than sat in a plush office underlines her everywoman quality and thereby ensures that even sexist bigots will forgive her for not being there.

Kellogg's Special K
"Powering You"
31 Dec 2017
No one at Sport England is going to mind the echoes of 'This Girl Can' in this super new piece of work for Kellogg's Special K. Quite the opposite, as it speaks volumes about the campaign's resonance that its spirit has clearly proven so inspirational. The message is less generic here than in its eminent forebear, because Kellogg's badly want us to grasp the value of the vitamins it uses to fortify this cereal.

"Life Steps"
28 Dec 2017
We all have our Everest and for poor Graham it's the stairs in the family home. And as he's perpetually being summoned by his wife, he faces their grim 'north face' more often than he'd care to. This is Fold7's debut work for Rightmove and it uses a couple of clever tricks to secure your attention... one of which will lead to complaints.

First Choice
"Go Mahoosive"
2 mins
1 Jan 2018
If you want someone to send up all the tropes of the promos made for chart-busting artists, who better to turn to than Emil Nava? The acclaimed director throws everything at the screen in a two-minute long film that is one-third parody and two-thirds tribute to the genre that's established him as the go-to director for a huge range of stars.

"The Reindeer Princess"
18 Dec 2017
It says something about the skill that's gone into making this commercial that it uses a moving human interest story to advertise a brand operating in one of the most demonised sectors of business... and you just don't mind. Its protagonist Anne grew up in a small rural community in Norway where her sense of differentness left her feeling as isolated spiritually as she was geographically.

2 mins 50s
13 Dec 2017
This hugely entertaining film by Tom Kuntz was made for Apple's annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in the summer. Dripping with Kuntz's trademark gusto, it offers an apocalyptic vision of a life without apps... prompted, in this case, by an unfortunate rearrangement of plugs by a new arrival temporarily housed in the main server room.

International Committee of the Red Cross
12 Dec 2017
The International Committee of the Red Cross and HLA's Simon Ratigan summon every parent's worst nightmare in this 90" awareness film. CCTV captures the moment when a child temporarily goes missing. However, the Red Cross remind us those in conflict-stricken regions share the same torment… for years rather than minutes.

Belgian Lottery
11 Dec 2017
Parabella resurrect their sun-worshipping snowman for another charming animated ad for the Belgian Lottery. While the last instalment saw the frozen fellow wishing he could catch some rays in Hawaii, this year he's pining after a Christmas soiree. Luckily, some woodland pals decide to help him out.

Stella McCartney
11 Dec 2017
Those currently enduring sub-zero temperatures will appreciate this summery gym session courtesy of Stella McCartney POP. The perfume and RSA Photographic/Black Dog Films’s Leonn Ward borrow a school hall for a slick dance-off. Dodgeball practice will simply have to wait. While perfume brands frequently stray into ponderous territory, Ward and co emphasise freedom of expression with old-school elan.

"Roger Ballen x The Skateroom"
1 min 38s
6 Dec 2017
Skate art meets psychological horror in this collaborative film. Launching on the Arts Council’s online platform, boutique deck designers The Skateroom partner with photographer Roger Ballen for a monochrome fever dream. Luckily, art-conscious skaters won’t have to navigate this Saw-esque labyrinth themselves.

1 Dec 2017
It's difficult to stand out at Christmas and with 99% of clients pointing at the John Lewis showreel and asking their agency to reproduce something on it, it's incredibly hard to steer away from sentimentality... but Iceland has found a way. The heavy-handedness is perfectly judged as we witness the subversion of a familiar Christmas scene which - crucially - has been executed in a fashion which feels certain to ensure turkeys will fly from the retailers shelves.

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.