It seems the dirty dishes are getting gleaming reviews! Our Finish 'Dishes' ad was named Campaign's 'Pick Of The Week' this week. Nice!
Every year in March, the CdeC (Spain's version of D&AD) celebrates the 'Dia C,' the main event for the Spanish advertising industry. It hosts creativity awards as well as lectures from local and international speakers. W+K CDs – and bonafide Spaniards – Carlos and Laura, were invited to speak. They write:
We had been invited to talk about our experience working overseas, so we thought that it would be a great opportunity to share with our colleagues a little of W+K philosophy and the way we do things here. We called it “Deconstructing W+K”.
We didn´t show any case studies or discuss any particular piece of work. Instead, we made quite an educational analysis on most of the wiedenisms (the sayings and philosophies W+K has adopted over the years), the idiosyncrasy of our creative process and the challenges and rewards of a ruthless commitment to creative excellence.
The take-out we wanted to leave behind was that the values that have made W+K one of the greatest agencies can really travel and be inspirational for those young and independent agencies starting up everywhere. As we said, “The best work of our lives” is not just a punchy line from a well-established and successful business, but a principle of work ethic that a small, independent agency chose 33 years ago and that any creative business in any small town of Spain can choose too.
This edition of the 'Dia C' took place in Pamplona, Ernest Hemingway´s favourite Spanish town. And we dare to say that it's much tougher to stand in front of 500 creatives with a hangover than being chased by a herd of wild bulls. But thankfully, everything turned out pretty well and the audience praised how inspired they felt to embrace failure more often and to happily walk in a little bit more stupid every morning.
As has recently been much reported (not that it was new news) the Nike strapline 'Just Do it' was inspired by the last words of American murderer Gary Gilmore before he was executed by firing squad in 1977.
The line 'Just Do it' first appeared on this 1988 ad:
I recently noticed that Gilmore's last words also apparently inspired the opening of the Human League's classic first single Being Boiled. Phil Oakey intones, "Okay, ready, let's do it" before that awesomely awkward electro-riff kicks in.
So there you have it. Gary Gilmore: the connection between Sheffield synth-punk and Nike. (As yet, no mention of voice of Buddha or sericulture detected in Nike comms.)
Lots of people at W+K were wondering why a woman was taking lots of photos of them last week. Check out today's Time Out and you'll understand why. W+K has been included in an article based on London offices that serve up 'a healthy dose of fun.'
Yep. This is always how we work in the green Padded Cell, Instanapzzz glasses and all.
On Thursday 26th March, W+K designers Michael Bow and Kelly Satchell headed down to the coast to speak to Brighton University’s final year Design and Illustration students about life outside of education and life inside of W+K London.
Their background stories, design developments, processes and successes were shared, along with ‘embracing failure’ tales and agency anecdotes. All in the hope of giving the group a clear insight into how design remains at the very heart of many projects here at W+K London. Which is what makes it a pretty special place to work.
Michael and Kelly came away feeling hopeful that they managed to abolish some of the myths of working as a designer in advertising. As well as feeling pleased to spread word of what working life is like at W+K, as a designer, to a selection of young creative minds that might be considering a career in the industry.
The talk is one of many that the guys are hoping to make to students in the coming months, which coincides with the re-launch of our design placement scheme here. For more information please head here http://wklondon.com/careers/design-placements
Every year Wieden and Kennedy send someone to work for a charity in a developing country. The month-long placement is part of The International Exchange scheme and the idea is that we are able to help out small, non-profit organizations by bringing some of what we know into their world. This year, I was lucky enough to be picked and I’ve spent my time in Malawi at a charity called Kusamala, working to improve agricultural practices amongst rural farmers.
In my short stay, I’ve looked at the way the charity approaches funding, education and communications. I think that being able to view their work from a creative and more business orientated perspective has helped open up new ways of thinking, resulting in new course offerings, a new visual identity and templates for promotional material moving forward.
I’ve learnt a whole lot about Africa, Farming and the way that aid organizations work. It’ been a pretty eye opening experience. Have I single handedly saved Africa? Nope. But I’ve got a much better sense of Malawi as a whole and the way that aid organizations currently work.
I’ve come to realize that help from the West is useful, but we shouldn’t assume that we’ve got all the answers.
Developed nations coming to ‘fix things’ is not necessarily the way forward and often we’re just confusing people with so many different opinions and initiatives. For most people that live here, there’s always been people coming and going with some new ‘life changing’ initiative. Lots of broken promises have left people skeptical, and I don’t blame them. More often than not, when an initiative ends and the organization leaves everybody goes back to their old ways. They only changed because there was an incentive at the time, not because they fully believed in the cause.
With an average life expectancy now at around 50 years (it’s on the up), the concept of making the world a better place for our children is not top of the list. A bad crop, Aids, Malaria, flooding or disease are real threats that are more of a concern than thinking 20 years ahead. It’s hard for people coming in from developed countries to see this way of thinking (myself included) and it’s hard to get villagers to see the bigger picture. This unfortunately leads to a lot of instances where people are out for short-term rewards, shooting themselves in the foot in the long run.
Having met a lot of interesting people over here working for different organizations, you hear a lot of horror stories about initiatives going wrong. (Everyone seems to have a few tales to tell so I can’t vouch for the complete accuracy of them!)
I’ve heard stories of NGO’s offering monetary incentives for afforestation, only to find out the village chief ordered a forest to be chopped down so that they could make more money from planting trees! In the recent floods aid was given to 1000 villagers in a camp for those displaced by the water. That evening the charity realized that only 60 people actually stayed there at night, the rest had come from the surrounding area for the free hand outs. Mosquito nets were provided to new mothers to reduce the rate of infant mortality due to Malaria. These were used to make fishing nets. The list goes on and I’m sure for every horror story there are a dozen successes. However, this is what has puzzled me the most. Are we just getting it completely wrong? Is what the West perceives as pressing issues given the same weight over here?
W+Ker Ellie has been getting properly stuck in to our Forever Curious project, helping out with this year's brilliantly hands-on workshop. She wrote us a story about our latest FC day which, fittingly, was all about telling stories:
Magical morning mayhem. That's the title I gave the morning I spent being ‘Forever Curious.' Let me explain….
I’m still a bit of a newbie to W+K, but one thing I have heard mentioned since day one is ‘Forever Curious.’ Being a curious soul, I was intrigued to learn more. I found out it involved helping children and being creative, so I took the leap into the unknown and signed up.
On Friday 27th March, I found myself at Chats Palace in Clapton at 9am. The workshop was called ‘My Creative Story’ and we were joined by 16 children from Newport school in Leyton, aged 8-10. I didn’t know what to expect, slightly fearful of having to stand up in front of everyone and make a fool of myself.
We were paired off, one adult working with one child, although I was fortunate enough to be paired with two boys. They were brilliant.
The idea behind ‘My Creative Story’ is for children and adults to use our imaginations and create our own stories. We were each given a sheet of paper prompting us to describe a character, what happens, what prevents them from achieving what they want, etc. This became the outline of our story.
From our story outlines, we could develop the story in more detail. There were four activities on offer, with each adult/child combo completing two activities. The activities were Puppet Corner, My Story Den, Act it Out and Inside Out. My team completed My Story Den and Inside out.
There have been quite a few more dishes than usual piling up around in the office over the past few months - all in the name of our first campaign for RB dishwasher detergent brand Finish, which launched this weekend with a 40” TV spot, ‘Dishes.’ Directed by mega-cool Megaforce through Riff Raff, the film views life, and dirty dishes, through Finish’s dish obsessed lens, aiming to open our eyes to the dishes we’re surrounded by every day, especially the surprising dishes we may not notice, but Finish does.
Beginning with simple, obvious scenarios, as the narrative unfolds, viewers are taken on a journey from the mundane to the unexpected, all the way from an egg breakfast to something as big as existence itself. In each scene, dishes appear to float magically in formation, positioned just as they would be when stacked inside a dishwasher.
The film kicks off RB’s category brand repositioning campaign, which aims to shake up the household detergent category by focusing on the central role of dishes in people’s lives. In a market dull as dishwater dominated by product promotion and functional messaging, Finish wants to communicate to the public through a human truth: as long as people are on Earth, there will be dirty dishes to deal with.
‘Dishes’ is supported by a product focused ‘Glasses’ spot, which promotes Finish’s Shine & Protect innovation, which helps protect glasses from corrosion. With a single glass as its hero, the film brings to life the diverse experiences its protagonist goes through in everyday life. The viewer's focus is held on the glass, which stays locked on the centre of the screen in every scene.
So if you’re in the need for some spring cleaning inspiration, take a peek, peel off the rubber gloves, and learn to love your dishwasher.
Following yesterday's appearance in page three (get it?) of The Sun, Three is back in the papers today with a cheeky Metro cover wrap we created to help bring a bit of #holidayspam into everyone's commute.
Here's Three's Director of Marketing, Tom, reading his...
... our Three client Pippa casually sporting hers on the train...
... and here's W+K creative community manager Andrew flashing his budgie smugglers in front of our huge billboard in Maidenhead.
We've shown you ours. Now show us yours!
We like throwing our creative placement teams in at the deep end, and we want them to have fun too... so we gave placement team Sabine & Claire and placement designer Sam a brief to create an interactive installation for our Hanbury Street window space. They came up with a wonderfully odd (and surprisingly practical) productivity boosting tool and gave it a brilliant infomercial-style visual identity.
Read on for a few words from the team behind InstaNapzzz:
Are you constantly tired? Overworked? Unhappy?
Do you like napping but don’t, because you’re a normal working adult?
We’ve got you covered!
Introducing InstaNapzzz! The personalized, recyclable, revolutionary glasses that will make you look awake even when you’re not.
And they’re recyclable!! You’re in luck… Napping actually makes you more productive. That’s right!
No need to keep worrying about nodding off at work. InstaNapzzz will change your life! By simply taking a picture of your eyes and printing it on paper glasses, no one will notice a thing! InstaNapzzz will take care of everything, all you need to do is wear them.
Just come to Wieden+Kennedy's offices now, follow three simple steps and get your personalized pair of InstaNapzzz FOR FREE!
Goodbye missing out on naps, hello InstaNapzzz!
Be sure to share your best InstaNapzzz snaps using the #instanapzzz hashtag. We're collecting all the best ones on a gallery on our site, here.
Offer exclusively available at the Wieden+Kennedy London window. No purchase necessary.
Conditions apply: Please use responsibly. Do not use while driving. Do not machine wash.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen. You’ve made the world a better place.
And now, excuse us, it's naptime…
There's an interesting piece about Mad Men by the author James Meek in this week's London Review of Books. Worth reading if you're interested in the show.
Here are a couple of brief extracts from the long piece.
"Sterling Cooper, the fictional advertising agency around which Mad Men is built, is a caricature of the commercial TV system that produced the series: a pool of creative people in bitter thrall to the accountants and deal-makers they rely on for money. Although we learn in parenthesis that the agency gets most of its income from commission on the ads it places, for dramatic purposes the agency is divided into two departments: Creative, which comes up with campaign slogans, artwork and copy for ads, and Accounts, which persuades, charms, fawns, bribes and pimps its way to getting and keeping corporate clients. Mad Men is a show about writers dependent on advertising, written by writers dependent on advertising, the difference being that the fictional writers of Creative write the ads on which they depend."
"By making Leopold Bloom an ad man, Joyce anticipated the modern world, where a common dream is to brand ourselves, project an attractive corporate image through social media, then stumble on the one meme or clip that will stop the world in its tracks and get us bought:
What were habitually his final meditations?
Of some one sole unique advertisement to cause passers to stop in wonder, a poster novelty, with all extraneous accretions excluded, reduced to its simplest and most efficient terms not exceeding the span of casual vision and congruous with the velocity of modern life.
Yet the weight of big corporation commercial propaganda that occupies so much space, time and thought has a malignity. The cumulative effect of current British advertising is that in order to be happy, beautiful and prosperous, you should borrow money, drink, gamble, buy a new car and eat processed food.
The protagonists of Mad Men seldom address advertising as advertising. In Don’s first effort to articulate what it’s all about, he declares:
Advertising is based on one thing, and you know what that one thing is? Happiness. Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK.
This doesn’t make sense. Advertising that convinces you your life is fine isn’t going to make you buy something new; the aim of advertising is to promote dissatisfaction, a sense of specific want, not reassurance. As it turns out, however, Don is merely deluded. The happiness he speaks of is his code for the state of the ideal American family life he believes himself to have created, and believes himself able to sustain, even as he gives himself the freedom to step outside it at will. His early crisis with his wife comes because she is both a consumer of his brand, the Perfect Draper Family, and an essential part of it."
Well, when not busy promoting dissatisfaction, I'm looking forward to the final season of Mad Men, though I have little hope of a happy ending for Don.
More on Mad Men from Welcome2Optimism here.
And I can strongly recommend James Meek's The People's Act of Love.
The Nike Air Max turns 28 today. And as many of you know, we take birthdays pretty seriously here at W+K.
It’s nearly half term and, as is traditional at this time of year, the advertising trade journal Campaign has published its annual ‘school reports’ on agency performance. The report on W+K is mostly very positive but I suppose it’s only to be expected that it is coloured somewhat by Campaign's perception of the significance of our parting ways with Tesco. They infer that it signifies an inability to manage big accounts. The perception from the inside is a bit different. The trouble with Tesco wasn't its size; the real problems were the issues within Tesco's business and its culture that have led to its recent difficulties. These were things beyond our control. We wish Tesco all the best under its new leadership team and with its new agency, but we have no regrets about the parting of ways. For ourselves, we believe it’s better to be better than it is to be bigger.
Campaign scored us 7 (‘good’ – the same score we awarded ourselves - though we wrote our self assessment prior to the loss of Tesco) and said, “Judged on its ads, Wieden & Kennedy London is a match for any UK agency. But the loss of the £110 million Tesco business to Bartle Bogle Hegarty in January 2015 has got people asking if it is set up to handle big accounts. It is true that the supermarket was mired in scandal and needed to show that it was making root-and-branch transformations but W&K never looked comfortable in the relationship and its campaigns lacked the quality and innovation that the agency brings to other clients. What’s more, this is familiar territory for W&K. In 2011, it lost the £80 million Nokia business (admittedly, another brand far from rude health) and had to cut a third of its staff.
The managing director, Neil Christie, has said that he does not expect redundancies this time round, but recent wins – including RB’s Finish and Chambord, and more work from Arla – won’t plug the gap left by Tesco. (This is true. But Finish, plus Arla, plus Chambord, plus Ovo, plus Tyrrells, plus a recent large win we have yet to announce will hopefully do it.)
Elsewhere, W&K was responsible for some of 2014’s best ads. Three’s "#SingItKitty" was a viral smash on a par with "the pony" and Honda’s "the other side" was the envy of creative departments around the world. Few digital shops create ads as innovative as "the other side" and none can match W&K’s populist touch. Even more impressively, the interactive spot was made before Iain Tait arrived from Google to replace Kim Papworth (who will stay on as a senior creative) as one of the executive creative directors. Rivals should be nervous.
Christie and co have worked hard (Christie hasn’t worked that hard, it’s mainly been ‘and co’ that have done the work) to make W&K the best US-agency outpost in London (Just to be 100% clear, the objective here has never been anything to do with being ‘best US agency outpost in London’; the goal is simply to be the best) and all the talk about Tesco should not detract from its achievements in building a consistently excellent creative team.
But Dan Wieden – reputedly a curious blend of hippy and hard-nosed businessman – will likely be asking what it is about this office and heavy-lifting accounts. (Well, Dan hasn’t mentioned it. So far, at least.)
How the agency scores itself: 7
How the agency rates itself: Not a bad year. We did some great work across a broad range of clients, getting many mentions in the selections of 2014’s best by Campaign, Fast Company, YouTube etc. We achieved some strong results. We picked up a bunch of awards. We had a successful year of new business. And we hired some great new people, including Iain Tait, who (re)joined as ECD from Google.
All in all, I can't grumble too much about this report, even if I disagree with the suggestion that we struggle with big accounts. We have struggled with two big accounts: Tesco and Nokia. Both of these were companies in crisis. We appreciate that our good work over the year on other accounts, big and small, has been recognised. So, post Tesco, it's business as usual for W+K London: aiming to do the best work of our lives for great clients. Onwards and sideways, as Kim P always says.
Some of us are a little tired today, following last night's British Arrows ceremony, at which Honda The Other Side, Lurpak Cook's Range and Three Sing It Kitty were honoured with some lovely arrow-shaped metal.
Our host was the one and only David Mitchell.
The Other Side picked up Commercial of the Year, as well as two golds for Interactive Web-Based Commercial and Best over 90" Web-Based Film, Cook's Range picked up triple gold for Best 30"-60" TV, Best 60"-90" Cinema and Dairy, and Three Sing It Kitty went home with a bronze for Telecommunications.
Our very own Andrew Bevan won (one half of) Best Creative Team and a silver for Charity for his Violence is Violence campaign for Mankind.
And W+K Portland nabbed gold for Sportswear and silver for Best Over 90" Commercial using paid-for media for Nike The Last Game.
And we managed to bring back the pointy bits of metal back to the agency in one piece this morning.
Peruse the full list of winners here. Congratulations to all involved!
If you’re a creative advertising student or graduate, this is your chance to get your portfolio in front of creatives in the most social of settings - W+K creative Jason's house.
Crib Crits is the third time he and his better half have opened their door to the next generation in partnership with the YCC. And they've all been super successful. So far, 10 creatives have gotten jobs after turning up to the previous events (and having awesome work, obviously). Yep, 10.
The next one takes place on 9th April. Agencies already confirmed to attend this one are Wieden+Kennedy, Mr President, Isobar, Grey, LBi, VCCP, BBH and more. To be in with a chance of showing off your folio in a living room, bedroom or toilet, send a link to your work to email@example.com and Jason will get back to you to let you know if you’ve been successful as soon as is humanly possible.
If you have any questions, tweet @jason_scott or @victoria_trow. Thanks and good luck.
Last night's Creative Circle Ball had a nice metallic sheen to it, as two of our campaigns each took home a few awards each.
Honda The Other Side picked up three golds (for 'best use of new technology', 'best online film' and 'best interactive'), as well as the 'gold of golds' for top ad of 2014.
Lurpak Cook's Range won gold for 'direction' and 'editing' (big congratulations to Dougal Wilson at Blink and Joe Guest at Final Cut) and silver for best TV film. Not a bad haul, if we do say so ourselves.
Photo courtesy of Creative Pool on Twitter.
Last week Scott and Alex headed to the Geneva Motor Show to check out the latest and greatest cars the world has to offer.
Drooling over the forthcoming Honda NSX was obviously top of the priority list. Scott tried to play it cool whilst struggling to work out how to get in.
Scott pulled it back and look much cooler than Alex posing next to the 2015 Honda McLaren.
The boys journeyed to the past to check out Senna’s F1 car.
And to the future, salivating at the emission-free, Hydrogen fuel cell FCV concept.
As well the cars, many manufacturers have other bits and pieces to keep the petrolheads entertained. This picture was taken around the time Scott unnerved our Honda client Martin whilst heading full-pelt into a computer-generated wall. Fortunately the real-world physics only went as far as a shake and a wobble.
All in all a great day – the team learned loads and left full of excitement about what’s to come for Honda. We’d like to give a huge shout out to Martin and Jemma at Honda for inviting us along and looking after us on the day.
Following the recent launch of Keep Up, You Can Now traces our longstanding relationship with Honda from both a client and an agency perspective, speaking with Martin Moll, Head of European Marketing at Honda and W+K ECD Tony Davidson to discover what keeps our working relationship ticking - or roaring.
Creatives Anthony and Greg report back from a recent inspiration-sourcing visit to the Christian Marclay exhibition at the White Cube in Bermondsey.
Every once in a while us creative types need to step outside the bubble of advertising cars, running shoes, and milk, to simply take in the arts. It’s a necessary practice of freeing your mind and hopefully padding the vault with new creative references. So in keeping with this tradition, we ventured off to the White Cube gallery to do just that.
The White Cube currently features the work of Christian Marclay, which the pamphlet at the door described as, “Marclay’s long-standing interest in the relationship between image and sound.”
Image and sound? Seems up our alley. Let’s begin.
As soon as you enter into the White Cube’s main artery, our ears perked up to the sharp pings and clanks of glass. Projections on the walls flickered footage of the artist’s journey down London sidewalks where discarded bottles and glassware from the previous night’s bender was scattered about. The artist playfully taps, pings and kicks, anything and everything that catches his eye, resulting in a symphonic yet physcofrenic medley of sound. We couldn’t help but get lost in this experience. The behaviour was almost child-like, evoking distant memories of running a stick along a fence.
In the adjacent room, colourful mixed-media pieces complement the video installation. Here, Marclay translates the theme onto canvas, channeling 60s Batman, Roy Lichtenstein prints with a bit of Jackson Pollock – combining them in a distinctly sly and tongue-in-cheek way. The pieces seem to describe themselves. The word ‘Splat!’ literally referencing the paint splatter behind it.
Finally, we enter the last room of the exhibition. It’s a large room with one long running shelf that spans all four walls, holding hundreds of pint glasses. Think of the window sill outside of The Heart on a friday, x100. In the centre of the room, a performance artist dunks his head in a pail of water. Like bobbing for apples, he searches the bucket, takes a big mouthful of water, and walks toward the wall of glassware. Greg and I watch (alone) as the artist chooses a glass, and painstakingly spits the water into it.
As we slowly back out of the room (hoping to go unnoticed), we watch him pour the pint of mouth-water back into the bucket and proceed to start the process all over again (and you thought you had a hard day at work). A interesting experience. Maybe there’s an idea in there somewhere. Maybe not.
After collecting a few thoughts and experiencing the uncomfortable nature that is ‘performance art’, overall, it was a good visit. The White Cube is a brilliant gallery displaying art in a beautiful space. If you have a moment, we suggest you take an hour to see it for yourself.
Until next time, we’re Greg and Ant.
Lovers of (a) Twitter and (b) all things well organised, rejoice! A small team of W+Kers present and past is behind the launch of app bringing order and efficiency into our (online) social lives.
The brainchild of Joseph Ernst, Jonny Plackett, and Jon Matthews, with design by Kelly Satchell, the app is called Tworganize, and we think it's set to revolutionise the way we engage with Twitter.
In the team's own words:
In the beginning, web browsers introduced bookmarks: a personal way of storing and organising all the incredible content we find on the web. Then came Youtube, with channels and playlists, to organise not just your own content, but content you find and like and want to share. Then came Pinterest: a visual way of storing, organising and sharing all the incredible images we find on the net.
But the fastest growing social network has no archival system at all. Twitter has no system which allows you to archive and organise your favourite, most relevant or most memorable tweets.
Tworganize is a simple drag and drop filing system for Twitter. It allows you to store your favourite tweets in different boxes, which can be kept for reference, or shared with your friends.
Try it out for yourself: Simply visit tworganize.com or download the app from the Chrome Store and follow the simple instructions. Then log in to your twitter account to start. Once you have logged in to your Twitter account, you simply drag your favourite tweets into one of the customisable boxes on the left.
The team would love to hear any questions, comments or thoughts. Drop them a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow them on their (neatly organised) Twitter @tworganizeApp.
As part of our ongoing relationship with leadership development programme The International Exchange, W+K Creative Ben is spending a month working with the Kusamala Institute in Malawi.
I arrived in Malawi on Sunday afternoon to begin my month long project helping out at The Kusamala Institute of Agriculture & Ecology, a permaculture NGO based in Lilongwe. They are a young charity with lots of big ideas about tackling issues related to nutrition, agriculture and biodiversity. They want to start being less dependent on external funding by offering money-generating services based around permaculture. This is where I’ve been asked to help them out, working on branding Kusamala and packaging their projects in a way that allows them to tell more people about the work they do and the services they offer.
I’ve spent this week getting to know all the different things this charity does, asking a lot of questions along the way.
I started by tagging along on one of Kusamala’s permaculture courses, aimed at teaching people how to implement sustainable agricultural systems. The basic principle mirrors the way a forest’s ecosystem works to create a range of harvestable crops that don’t need fertilizer, pesticides or soil maintenance. (It’s a lot more interesting/complicated than that, you can read more about it here).
I then spent a lot of time meeting some really interesting people doing amazing things both inside this organization and in partner companies. In particular, I’ve been interested in the work that ‘Agro-Tech’ is doing over here, looking at mapping systems to monitor aid distribution and land productivity using a combination of bar codes and GPS mapping.
Finally on Friday of this week I went out into the Dowa district to visit some of the 15000 farms that Kusamala supports through the permaculture farming initiative. It was incredible to see rural Malawi and also realize the dependency on government subsidized Maize and Tobacco crops. This was the first time that I could see the benefits of the work that Kusamala does, with noticeably better crop yields and a wider diversity of produce. (More about this on my blog).
What originally seemed like a fairly straight forward task just keeps getting bigger and more complicated when you start factoring in donor partners, other NGO’s working in the same space, different needs for aid and also the way that funding is structured. There are a lot of things that don’t make sense and it’s clear to see that my confusion this week has been shared by most people in tis sector for years, if not decades.
So that’s where I’ve go to. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve asked a lot of questions, but I think I have a few more to go before I can start to actually make a useful contribution to this charity.
Till next time…
One afternoon last week, a few of us went down to one of our favourite places in London, the Southbank Centre, to check out the annual WOW (Women of the World) festival. In its fifth year, WOW is a festival of talks, debates, music, film and comedy celebrating women and girls, held around International Women's Day.
One afternoon each year is dedicated to women working in the creative industries. Women from all corners of the creative world – from TV commissioners and theatre directors to journalists and musicians – gathered to discuss the challenges facing women in creative roles and inspire us to create more, and better, opportunities.
Led by Jude Kelly, the Southbank Centre's own Artistic Director (read here for a great interview with her), the afternoon started with a panel of some of Britain's most accomplished women working in the arts, sharing stories of their journeys to the top and what they've learned along the way.
The rest of the day was spent in "think ins," smaller, hour-long sessions run concurrently in various sites within the Royal Festival Hall. Highlights this year included talks from women (and men!)
We heard a thought-provoking panel on 'Changing Minds and Systems' from artist Sara Shamsavari and Science Grrl founder Anna Zecharia. We were also especially fired up by a panel on support and mentoring with Diana Osagie, head teacher of Islington Art and Music School, who told us that it was our responsibility to ensure we 'hold the door open' and create opportunities for scholars in the arts. In her own words, IAM is 'the best school in the Universe' and after her rousing talk about the school's philosophy and stories of its students, we believed her.
At the end of the day, what stood out to us is how lucky we are to work in an environment where so many of the senior roles are occupied by women, in an industry where diversity and equality still have a long way to go. But we also came away thinking that we need to do more to support women in our own field, as well the wider creative community. Not only those in education, but mid-career women looking to take their next step, whether it's upwards or sideways.
There's a lot of great stuff happening at WOW – we thoroughly recommend a visit to the festival next year if you can. Follow the festival on Facebook for more information.
It's Nice That has a podcast called 'Studio Audience' that is available on Soundcloud. The latest episode includes a discussion of Wieden+Kennedy. You can listen here. The W+K bit starts from about 11.40. They say lots of nice stuff about us and our founder Dan Wieden. They remark that despite what might sound from the outside like 'toe-curling, Nathan Barley nonsense", we do seem to be serious about building a distinctive, creative culture. Which is indeed the case.
Over the past few months, we've been working with our friends Nice and Serious, an ethically-driven creative agency, to create their new brand identity.
Designed to be an adaptable and sustainable identity that can react in response to new developments in the field and work across all brand communications, the rebrand reflects the agency’s nice and serious values: creating beautiful things to solve serious issues.
The new brand system, which encompasses a new logo and identity concept, will be applied across the company’s website, social media channels, end frames, signage and stationery, and carried through to the brand’s tone of voice.
The new brand identity system creates a simple and flexible visual connection between Nice and Serious’ values and each project’s narrative. This identity represents the nice and the serious, and the relationship between the two.
Whilst the typography stays constant, the central area, where the two elements overlap, is an ever-changing window, a live area allowing Nice and Serious to visually showcase what the company is all about. It’s a space to tell a story through illustration, showcase a piece of work, or educate people in the form of a beautiful infographic.
We’re also collaborating on a redesign of Nice and Serious’ offices – watch this space!
Finding themselves with a spare skateboard deck leftover from a shoot, our design department saw a creative opportunity. Rather than letting it go to waste, why not make something that the whole agency could enjoy?
Over the years, the agency has acquired a collection of sayings lovingly called "Wiedenisms" by its employees, phrases that capture W+K's philosophy; some Wiedenisms have become such a big part of everyday agency life, they can even be found emblazoned on our office walls.
W+K designers Michael Bow and Guy Featherstone wanted to create a permanent piece from a phrase that hadn't yet featured in the office but was close to the agency's heart: "Difficult is worth doing." Born from the early days of the our partnership with Honda, we've adopted this creative mantra and approach ever since.
Michael and Guy saw a similarity in the attitude also shared by skaters and skateboarding culture – that relentless persistence is what it takes in order to progress. In addition, the double stroke to the typography was inspired by the fluid lines of skating. The design neatly incorporates the existing truck holes of the board.
Michael says of the project, "Despite our limited experience with the process, we chose to laser etch the design on the board. We felt this would be a good opportunity to push our boundaries and learn new skills. There were a few issues that we encountered during production, especially with regards to etching on the curved ends of the board. After a number of failures we managed to make something we were proud of - and something that truly embodies the philosophy of 'difficult is worth doing'."
We've been fortunate to work with some incredible directors over the years, and we always love seeing what they create outside of adland.
Take Daniel Wolfe, the super talented director of the interactive film we made for Honda, The Other Side. He's been getting a lot of buzz for his debut feature film Catch Me Daddy, a suspenseful thriller about a girl on the run from her family. It was a massive hit at the Cannes Film Festival last summer and has critics fired up about new British talent. It's even managed to reach a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a pretty amazing feat in itself.
Catch Me Daddy is out in cinemas across the UK today, so you can finally see it for yourselves. In the meantime, read an interview with Daniel on Film4's site and check out the trailer:
We've got three new faces joining the W+K London family this month. Here's a little introduction.
This is the lovely Holly Baker-Cliff. She has joined us as an AE on Finish and UKTV. Holly was previously working with the Nike Foundation in London before moving to the more exotic climate of Rwanda, where she became involved in amazing work with the local community.
She also revealed a little secret at our agency meeting; she auditioned for S Club Juniors. We're looking forward to hearing that next time the karaoke machine gets rolled out.
George Lisanti is a fresh face in the finance department, stepping into an accounts payable role. He joins us from a WPP shared services finance department. George is a massive football fan. We hope to get him on our agency football team shortly!
Finally, we welcome Sanket Avlani as a permanent member of the design department. He freelanced with us for a couple of weeks at the end of last year - doing great work on Nike and crafting the Book Of The Year's cover to within an inch of it's life.
Yesterday our Director of Communications and Behaviour Planning, Danni Mohammed, visited the School of Communication Arts to mentor some of its students.
Here, she shares what the students taught her:
Inspiration point 1. The building
The school occupies St Matthews Church on Brixton Hill, a fully functioning church used by the local community for worship and as a place for gathering. SCA found its residence up wide spiralling church stairs to the 4th floor. (Thinking of setting up a school? What better place than a Grade II listed church in the heart of Brixton?)
Inspiration point 2. The classroom
Unlike a typical lecture hall or tutorial classroom, the SCA has pulled together a ramshackle of tables, chairs, sofas, together with a mini stage for talks and what looked like some makeshift awnings to create its home high up in the church.
The philosophy of the SCA is to learn through collaboration and mentoring from within the industry. Each day, students attend 'school' and actively work on live briefs, from D&AD New Blood to industry briefs from the likes of Metro. The diverse range of the tasks set help students decide where they want to focus.
Some examples of the D&AD New Blood live briefs they’re currently working on include:
Inspiration point 3. The students
I managed to get around three teams in the three hours as well as a chat with an ex-D&AD student of year who came back to do a talk about how to approach the D&AD awards. What was inherent in the students' need to create was their underlying ambition to solve real problems in a purposeful way. The approaches they took all varied and showed glimpses of their future professional selves. Ideas were insightful, fresh and relevant.
What most impressed me was one student who decided on his briefs because of his passion for the topic, and even when advised against them by the Dean. You couldn't help but get carried along with his logic (because he knows what he's talking about) and most importantly the broad and insightful ways he came to his ideas.
It was a wonderful opportunity to meet a group of polite, ambitious students with no shortage of ideas. If you get the chance to be a student, go for it, and if you get the chance to be a mentor, go for it. You’ll come out of that church more inspired than when you first stepped upon it.
Finally inspiration point 4. The Dean
Is it just me, me or does he look like Alan Rickman?