Over the past couple of weeks, the average age of the W+K office has dropped sharply, due to a series of educational visits from various corners of the world.
We hosted students from the Universities Oklahoma and Delaware and West Herts College, Watford, who stopped by to check out our offices and get a feel for the ins and outs of adland, thanks to presentations by creative Jason & Joris and Mark & Paddy.
To top it all off, our ECDs Tony and Kim gave a talk for the D&AD New Blood festival, allowing soon-to-be ad grads to lap up a little of what life is like here at W+K.
Students from West Herts with our Vikki and our Guy.
We were delighted to receive a rave review from the University of Watford, who wrote on their ad course blog:
“There were lots of treats at the agency on Friday. Guy Featherstone, self-confessed skate boarding sneaker head and soon to be Head of Design at W&K Portland, treated us all to a talk about his design philosophies. Amazing stuff it was too. Vikki Kottler treated us all to breakfast. […] As always, the W+K experience was truly different, immensely inspiring and hugely enjoyable."
Aw, shucks. The pleasure was ours!
These days, we spend more and more time negotiating terms of business with the Procurement departments of clients and potential clients. These negotiations are more protracted and more contentious than used to be the case in my experience.
Increasingly, Marketing is disconnected from conversations about terms of business and Procurement seeks to impose standard terms across all suppliers and to bring any agency that seeks different terms into line. A prevalent approach is simply to say that these terms are ‘company policy’ and not open to negotiation. This can lead to discussions lasting for months, often long after work has started, or even finished.
This is no doubt part of the reason why the IPA and ISBA have been meeting recently (at The Performance Adaptathon) to discuss whether and how to remunerate agencies for value creation. As observed by Claire Beale in Campaign, “Let’s hope that, while they’re at it, they make a fresh stab at positioning marketing as an investment rather than a cost.”
This the heart of the issue – not just positioning marketing as an investment, but agreeing remuneration terms that are based on that principle.
How to avoid the Marketing Procurement dilemma
In the interests of understanding both sides of the debate, this week I have been reading ‘Buying less for less. How to avoid the Marketing Procurement dilemma’ by Gerry Preece and Russel Wohlwerth.
Authored by Gerry Preece, ex-head of marketing procurement for the world’s largest advertiser and by Russel Wohlwerth, an ex-agency executive who is now one of the industry’s most respected consultants, this book hits the “marketing procurement dilemma” head on. Preece and Wohlwerth deliver a punchy, concise, clear-minded assessment of the problem and offer straightforward solutions. If you’re an agency leader, a CMO, or a brand marketer, this book will empower you to influence how procurement approaches the space, thus enabling you to deliver better marketing work. And if you’re a Chief Procurement Officer or a marketing procurement professional, you’ll discover a powerful road map that will maximize your bottom line performance and results.
One of the Amazon reviewers commented, “If there was a "beach read" for Procurement within the marketing space, this would be it.” So I took the book on holiday with me and can now offer you this summary to help you decide whether it’s your sort of a beach read or not.
(Good news: it's a much slimmer volume than Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and much easier to read than Edmund Gosse’s Father And Son, my other summer 2014 ‘beach read’ selections.)
The background to the current situation, say the authors, is Procurement’s success in the 1980s and 1990s in buying marketing materials like printed materials. They were able to deliver measurable savings. So, over time, Procurement began to get involved with other marketing spend areas: telemarketing services, mailing lists and, bit by bit, Procurement started to deal with agencies, and areas in which not all value arrived in the form of price. This is where conflict started to develop. Marketers accused Procurement of failing to understand marketing and undermining creative relationships, Procurement accused marketers of feeling threatened by their superior buying skills, and accused agencies of fearing accountability. Agencies accused Procurement of heavy-handed fee-slashing that made it hard to do the job properly and profitably.
Well, yes, that does all sound pretty familiar.
Cutting agency costs may reduce the value of the services being purchased
But, say the authors, these complaints about procurement not understanding marketing and agencies being overpaid and complacent are not getting to the root of the problem, which is this:
“Marketing dollars are limited. They are finite. There is a broad, universal need for every CMO to become increasingly efficient with the limited resources that are available, and that translates into an undending pressure to do more with less. The real problem is that we have to increase marketing ROI.”
This, I think, is the “marketing procurement dilemma” referred to in the book’s title: the problem caused when Procurement wants to buy more marketing services for less, but – because they’re focusing on price, not ROI - they end up getting less for less. Because, if agencies are forced to cut costs, they can do so, but the ways in which they do so will affect the value delivered – putting cheaper, less experienced people on the client’s business, spending less time thinking about strategy, cutting creative development time, presenting fewer options, attending fewer research groups, reducing the number of face-to-face meetings, etc. In this ‘less for less’ scenario everyone loses.
Why marketing is different
The reason for the dilemma is that marketing is different from the other goods and services purchased by Procurement. The authors cite several reasons for this. They include:
- Marketing is an investment not a cost. (Nothing is easier than cutting marketing costs – if you don't believe it’s adding value, just stop spending.) Nobody makes an investment decision based solely on price. (Who buys a share in Microsoft because it’s cheaper than a share in Coca-Cola?) Marketing Procurement should not be about minimising costs, it should be about maximising the value of the investment.
- Specifications are fluid and quality is variable. £1m worth of campaign A is not worth the same as £1m worth of campaign B.
- Because of this variation in quality, the consequences of choosing one apparently comparable proposal over another may be substantial. Good marketing can drive significant uplifts in profits. Bad marketing can lead to a decline in profits.
- Agency differentiation lies in people and processes, not equipment and technology. Obviously, it’s hard to benchmark the talent of one agency against that of another.
- Measuring Procurement performance in marketing is imperfect and complicated. If you’re buying materials, you can quantify volume, quality and cost paid and benchmark this against what was spent before. But in marketing, specifications are hard to quantify and no two proposals are of the same value, so cost saving alone is not a relevant metric.
How do you get more for less?
Okay, marketing is different. Now, how do you get more for less?
Preece and Russel Wohlwerth suggest that this can be done by following four principles. On your Procurement team you need:
1. people with the right mindset (maximisation of value, not cost-cutting)
2. measured by the right metrics (value-add, not savings. Marketing and Marketing Procurement should be tasked with the same metrics.)
3. applying the right skills (strategic sourcing and good interpersonal, trust-building skills)
4. in the right assignments (long-term, ongoing assignments that enable people to learn the area and build trust)
Some companies do employ procurement people who fit this description, and we’ve been lucky to work with them. But not all do.
Putting this into practice
The book suggests four steps when sitting down with Chief Procurement Officer / financial decision-maker:
1. Confirm mutual understanding that marketing is a good investment
2. Explain in detail why marketing is different (as seen above)
3. Describe the implications (right mindset, metrics, skills and assignments)
4. get agreement and get going
Sounds simple. And the book is definitely a concise, clear and well-argued case for the basics of how to solve ‘the dilemma’, which makes it a useful beach read, but a less entertaining one than ‘The Goldfinch’.
The lesson for agencies is that we need more than ever to be focused on accountability for what we do, so that we can prove the value we are providing. We must do this in close partnership with client marketers, who share our interest in accountability. Without this, the debate will only ever be about cost.
A few months ago, shortly after a certain Guardian article was published, our planner Oscar just couldn't resist the call of the music industry any longer and bid adieu to W+K to focus on his music.
And he's only gone and done it, too.
These days, Oscar can be found producing music under the name Powell, DJing at various ear-bleedingly loud club nights, and he also runs the Diagonal record label with his mate, Jaime Williams.
Music site Juno recently posted an in-depth interview with Oscar, Guy and Jamie about Diagonal, where they talk about the, er, subtle art of collaboration, publishing on vinyl versus digital downloads and what the future holds for the label. Oh and a little bit about the enduring appeal of ironic merch.
Apart from making the odd branded glowstick here and there, Diagonal releases music by a diverse list of artists including Death Comet Crew, Russell Haswell and Bronze Teeth (music geeks, geek out - it's a project from Factory Floor's Dominic Butler).
Diagonal's beautifully minimalistic record sleeves are designed by our very own head of craft (and all round design legend) Guy Featherstone, and they really are something to behold. Here are a few of them:
[Powell 'Club Music']
[Bronze Teeth 'Unilaterals']
[Russell Haswell — 37 minute workout]
Keep an eye on Diagonal's Twitter for news of upcoming releases and gigs. And if you want more Powell in your life, you can tune in to NTS radio to hear Oscar's show Melon Magic on Friday nights from 11pm-1am.
A little while ago, Wired invited us to contribute to a special section they were running featuring thoughts and letters from ten years into the future, 2024, alongside contributions from writers like Cory Doctorow and Margaret Atwood.
Wired’s introduction to the feature foreshadows the death of print: “It’s hard to believe, but back in 2014 people still read paper magazines. As an exercise in nostalgia, we asked some of our favourite writers, artists and photographers to convey 2024 news in ‘the format we used to love'."Our Creative Directors, Dan Norris and Ray Shaughnessy and Head of Emerging Platforms, Luke Tipping came up with the idea for an ad that promotes real-life ad blocking retinal technology, which replaces OOH advertising with images a user wants to see.We highly recommend getting your hands on the July copy of Wired for this fascinating speculation on the future of advertising and tech.
Keep watching this space!
Bonjour and happy Bastille Day, mes amis! As well as being the day France celebrates the French Revolution, today is also the day we launch something with a bit of French flavour.
Peek your eyes at our new Chambord campaign:
The 30" TV ad, directed by Nick Gordon, breaks tonight during Big Brother, kicking off the playful, colourful and surreal new #BecauseNoReason campaign.
With our first campaign for the brand, we wanted to tip our chapeau to Chambord’s ‘Frenchness’, but we also wanted to make it modern, exciting and unpredictable.
Chambord's #BecauseNoReason attitude encourages people to do what they want and follow their own rules in the age of overwhelming pressure to look the right way, do the right thing, take the right pictures and say the right things.
We wanted to give Chambord a personality that would thrive in social and beyond, and so today we're also rolling out a social campaign that will promote the #BecauseNoReason attitude at key moments throughout the summer, when people are most vulnerable to bowing to social pressures – festivals, fashion shows, that crucial Saturday night go-out-or-stay-in moment. Fans will be given bright and witty doses of encouragement across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, all in Chambord’s ‘absurd logic’ tone of voice.
Keep your eyes peeled for much, much more over the coming weeks.
And whether you're celebrating Bastille Day or not, here's some Monday #BecauseNoReason inspiration, by way of a Chambord Royale recipe:
Pour Chambord into a flute glass.
Top with the fizz of your choosing.
And finish with a raspberry.
Cheers, my petite cabbage.
Allez! The trumpets will not toot themselves.
By now, the emotional rollercoaster that is the World Cup feels like it's been going on forever, but boy are we going to miss all the fun after this weekend's final.
Back at the start of the tournament, in the heady days before goalpocalypse (yes, that semi final shocker of a score), we unveiled a thematic window installation titled World Cup Wishes. It features 3000 traditional Brazilian 'Senhor de Bonfim de Bahia' wish ribbons with a sporty twist arrnaged to spell 'football' in Portuguese, with each ribbon carrying the wish of a football fan or a reaction to the latest drama on the pitch.
The window – much like the tournament – is still going strong, with crowds of curious passers by and football fanatics stopping by throughout to grab their own wishes.
We made a video that captures the whole thing. Enjoy!
Don't forget, you can still tweet your wish with the hashtag #WorldCupWishes, and you may find your own message on display in time for the final.
On Friday, two groups of W+Kers reunited with schoolchildren from Milllfields Community School and Newport Primary School at Chats Palace, Homerton, for the next installment of our Forever Curious workshops.
Over the course of two carefully crafted sessions inspired by some of our Spark Cards, kids teamed up with W+Kers to explore a series of workshops designed to encourage them to think creatively and let their imaginations run free. We created superhero versions of ourselves, played with parachutes, arranged flowers and created play dough sculptures.
It’s safe to say we W+Kers were humbled by the talent, insights and enthusiasm of our young buddies, who schooled us in rainbow looming, 80s hip hop and YouTube bloggers, amongst many other things.
The sheer amount of creativity, fun and joy we all experienced is hard to capture in words, so here are a few pictures from the day.
We’re really excited to see the results of our workshops come to life in an exhibition later this month. Watch this space!
This month, Three launched Feel At Home in an effort to relieve customers of mobile phone costs while abroad. A progressive idea, we think you'll agree.
But soon, Britain had a full-blown epidemic of holiday spam on its hands. You know the stuff. Envy-inducing holiday snaps we all love to hate, unless we're the ones bombarding our friends and family with it. Pictures of sunsets, hot dog legs, palm trees, plane wings, little lizards, cocktails and beach feet...
On behalf of Three: we're sorry.
You see, Three thought allowing its customers to use their UK allowance in over 16 destinations, to call and text back home, and to use data at no extra cost was a good idea. Makes sense, right? But Three underestimated people's enthusiasm for posting holiday pics while abroad, and it became clear that it was time to do the right thing and apologise.
So we created a campaign together to help Three say sorry, and take full responsibility for the tidal wave of holiday spam hiting British shores.
A 60” TV spot set in the holiday spam crisis centre launches today, in which Three's spokesperson issues an apology to the public and urges customers to brag responsibly when sharing.
Online, films focus on specific ‘problem areas’ of holiday spam, apologising for each one and introducing the public to a condition known as TSD - Travel Selfie Disorder, along with a cure: a visit to Three’s microsite, www.stopholidayspam.com There, you'll also find a handy holiday spam hotspot map, and updates on the current situation.
The TV and online films are supported by a whole host of activity including a suite of OOH and DOOH executions in major sites around the UK, including airports, roadside sites, the epic BFI IMAX site and the new Waterloo motion screen, with specific apologies tailored to the kind of holiday spam people share from favourite destinations – statues in NYC, tilting towers in Pisa, marsupials down under.
Please brag responsibly, kids. We urge you to sign the pledge to stop holiday spam here, and please, be vigilant. If you see it, tag it.
Tag that bragger with #holidayspam.
Keep your eyes peeled over the coming weeks, there's a lot more to come.
As a creative business, fostering creativity in future generations is incredibly important to us, and we’re always looking for ways to finding meaningful ways to give back to our community.
For us, staying curious is as much about learning from others as it is about sharing our own knowledge and skills.
We’ve commissioned a special project, My Creative Spark, which is part of the W+K Forever Curious project, aiming to develop creativity with young people in our local community.
My Creative Spark focuses on capturing and sharing creative spark moments, when inspiration strikes or when we feel at our most creative.
To help open up this conversation about creativity amongst W+Kers and school kids alike, we designed cards which allow people to share their Creative Spark moments in a simple way. We distributed them within our agency and to the two schools we’ll be working with on the project: Millfields Community School in Hackney (whose adorable choir you may remember from our Christmas Chocolate Coin Factory installation) and Newport Primary School in Leyton.
Here are a few examples:
We held our first sharing sessions last week, and we're already blown away by what we've seen. There's lot more planned for this project and we can't wait to get stuck in to our first round of workshops later this week, so stay tuned for much more from us.
Last Friday afternoon we were lucky enough to have a visit from our Finlandia Global Brand Mixologist, Pekka Pellinen. He took a break from training London bartenders, advising the Finlandia account team on seasonal serves and entertaining the Finnish Embassy to teach us W+Kers a thing or two about mixing drinks.
He started out by explaining the 4 key elements to a perfect cocktail: something sweet, something sour, a spirit and a mixer, before we were let loose to try it ourselves on the DIY bar.
We were then taught how to make a wood chip smoked bloody mary, a flaming Finlandia bottle centrepiece and to saber a bottle of champagne – definitely an afternoon to remember.
As well as being the purest vodka in the world, the Finlandia range encompasses flavoured vodkas that perfectly lend themselves to mixing. We tried a few of Pekka's delicious concoctions that use them, including the Helsinki Mule and the Fin and Tonic. Here are a couple of Pekka's recipes so you can try them yourselves (no saber necessary):
4cl Finlandia Lime
Dash of fresh lime juice
Method: Flame and build over crushed ice
Garnish: Cucumber stalk and lime wedge
Fin and Tonic
4cl Finlandia Grapefruit
Method: Pour over ice cubes and stir
Garnish: Square of fresh grapefruit
Thank you Pekka for coming in! It only seems right to end this post with his favourite joke – What’s the difference between a barman and a mixologist?
A mixologist always wears a silly hat.
Happy Monday everyone! Let's kick off the week by welcoming in a whole bunch of newbies to the W+K fold.
This is Ben, our fab new Planning Director. Joining us from Saatchi’s, Ben has made a ton of really interesting work for a ton of great brands. He led the thinking on brilliant, multi-discipline campaigns for the likes of Nintendo, Toyota, BBC 6 Music, Uniqlo, and Selfridges. He was also the brains behind E4's famous Skins campaigns. Interesting fact – he’s a Leeds fan.
Frankie Purvis joins us from BMB where she spent 4 years working on everything from tights (Pretty Polly), tech (Microsoft), trains (East Coast), cheese (Dairylea) and chips (McCain). She’s jumping aboard the good ship W+K as an Account Director. Apparently she has a terrible taste in music, so we look forward to hearing her playlist around the agency shortly.
Hot on the heels of Frankie is Nicolas Jayr who has joined as a new AM on 'Team Nike'. Nic Jayr joins us from BBH where he spent 4 years working as an Account Manager on Google, Johnnie Walker and ASOS. Nic's from France and lived in Barcelona for 3 years and is a huge FC Barcelona fan. Bonjour Nic!
And finally, for now, Kimberley Hammond. She’s slotting into our fabulous PA department as a creative assistant. Some fun facts: during her Fine Art degree she spent most of her three years painting fried eggs, she’s obsessed with shiny paint and she’s grade 6 on the piano but can’t play a note.
He followed someone into our Wilkes Street office yesterday and was caught on video. One of our laptops was stolen from the desk shown below at exactly the time this man gained entry to the office and, judging from the video footage below, it looks like this gentleman may be able to help the police with enquiries in connection with the theft.
He comes into the building, tailgating someone who has unlocked the door, and sits by the door, apparently to case the joint. First of all he checks out the laptop by the window but that's secured and not easily removable. At around 1.10 he goes over to one of our desks and, concealed by the pillar, seems to put something in his carrier bag. Then he makes a swift exit. When our staffer returned to the same desk a few minutes later, his laptop was missing.
Clearly there are lessons here for us about our security measures, and this just shows how vigilant people need to be in any office open to the street.
This guy may be local and known in the neighbourhood, so if anyone reading this recognises him, in his Nike Airmax T-shirt (how aggravating is that, given that Nike is a client), then we'd love to hear from you. If you have a business in the area you may want to watch out for him.
And, if this is you in the video, and there's an innocent explanation for what you were doing in our office, then please let us know and of course we'll take down the video.
Our resident Creative Researcher, Laura Barker, introduces the W+K fund she's resurrected in London.
In Portland, back in the day, there used to be a prize called 'Slime Mold'. I have no idea what that even means.
Sporadically people would submit creative ideas and a winner was chosen who then received some money towards something creative that they wanted to do.
Here at W+K London, our lovely management team has deemed to resurrect this fund.
The W+K London version is called the equally baffling ‘Spore Fund’.
So every month we invite the whole agency to submit an idea or creative project that has NOTHING to do with work. The winner is announced at our monthly agency meeting.
Then stuff gets made.
Katie Anne Harrison’s saucy snapchat lookbook.
Katie put the money towards a project she was working on with a small independent lingerie brand ‘Miss Crofton’, and released a lookbook for the brands new collection exclusively via snap chat.
And Ollie Wolf’s directorial dreams in his film ‘At Dawn’.
Ollie Wolf’s dosh was put towards the production of his film ‘At Dawn’, a true story of WW2 engineer Michael Nash (who happens to be ex-Wiedener Rory Hill’s Grandad)
It’s been great to see these projects bought to life with a little help from the W+K purse.
Watch this space and we’ll keep you updated on what our talented bunch gets up to next.
Our week at Cannes was rounded off on a nice metallic note, with a grand total of eight Lions. Following Monday’s Creative Effectiveness Lion for Lurpak Weave Your Magic, Saturday’s Film and Film Craft ceremony saw two more campaigns pick up awards.
Honda Hands won a silver Lion for visual effects and sound design in Film Craft, and a bronze for corporate image in Film.
Lurpak Adventure Awaits was awarded three Gold Lions for direction, cinematography and sound design in the Film Craft jury, and a bronze Lion for savoury foods in Film. The campaign was also picked by Ian Armstrong of Jaguar as one of his three great ads he admires but has nothing to do with. Ian said ‘what Lurpak are doing for me right now is they’re recognising there’s an elegance to their brand.’
It’s equally nice to know that we played a part in the UK’s overall success in the Film Craft category. Collectively, UK agencies picked up 17 Film Craft Lions, over half of those they were shortlisted for.
When Neil Christie, MD of Wieden and Kennedy, was asked to speak at ProcureCon Marketing, a conference aimed at procurement professionals, our Finance Director Bronwen Hemming thought it was a great opportunity to go and listen to what those Procurement types were really saying about our Industry and Agency compensation models.
It got off to a shaky start when the first speaker, talking about “Developing open relationships with creative agencies for a win-win mindset”, recounted a story in which he was extremely pleased to report that the incumbent global agency had won a re-pitch. My instant thought was, why put an agency through that if you have an open relationship? To drive the price down by the threat of losing the business is the reason that came to mind. Not exactly win-win.
But then something startling happened. It began gently with a great working example where a procurement team, in a large retail business, deployed a new asset management system that focused on reducing POS wastage. Now that’s a sensible way to save costs. Do less and maximise its potential. Nice one.
Then talk by talk, it started gaining momentum - measuring and maximising value. This is where you, the budding procurement professional need to step up and up-skill. Stop focusing on cost reduction and work out how to improve Marketing ROI. The speech by Gerry Preece, former P&G Global Procurement Director, was really quite inspiring and echoed what we agency folk have been thinking for many years. Your spend with us is an Investment, not a cost. You need to work with us as a partner, not a supplier. Basing your procurement KPIs cost savings is not going to get you to the best work. Your KPI metrics should be based on measuring and maximising value. Gerry was so passionate about this, he even had a new job title for everyone in the room. Stop calling yourself Marketing Procurement Manager and start calling yourself Marketing Investment Manager. I almost stood up and applauded at that point.
It felt like a sea change. Is this really where procurement is now finally headed? Will I be engaged in conversations now about the value of outputs, instead of continually justifying rate cards and being asked to knock off a few bob, so procurement can hit their savings KPIs?
But how do you measure “value”? This is where things became a little unclear.
Payment By Results (PBR) mechanisms were the keen favourite remuneration mechanic, dividing into subjective (evaluation of agency performance) and objective (sales, share, tracking) measures. It definitely helps to define success and have a clear sense of shared accountability for activity. However, from my experience, it is often hard to isolate the effect of advertising on sales and commercial goals, leading to protracted negotiations and excessively complex schemes. It can actually end up being demotivating for agencies – PFA showed that only 1/3 of agencies on PBR schemes earned even 50% of their maximum PBR entitlement. As Neil Christie mentioned in his speech “I’ve had a client openly tell me, in a year where he agreed we had smashed the targets, “We can’t pay you 100% or you’ll have no incentive to improve next year.” If large sums of money are at stake, there can be an incentive for marketers to ‘save’ by marking down agency performance. From an agency viewpoint, it often feels like agencies are the only ones carrying the risk in these remuneration models, especially when we have agreed to risk some of our margin to the PBR scheme. If they are truly developed with a framework based on treating the Agency as a partner, to be able to share in rewards (above our normal margins), then let’s work harder together, Agencies, Marketing and Procurement to find fair and rewarding measurements on Value.
So what else can procurement, or the newly appointed “Marketing Investment Manager” do to maximise the return on marketing spend? There were some frank suggestions from the Agency speakers: have a clear scope of work, come to us already aligned with your marketing department on strategy, look internally at your own processes in addition to focusing on agency efficiency/price reductions, be up front about what money you have to spend, have an understanding that cheap will not get you the best talent/value and lastly, let us work collaboratively to solve your business problems.
After two days of procurement talks, it felt positive that there was a change from a pure cost reduction focus to investment and managing that investment. But, the reality is though, in that room of procurement professionals who all genuinely seemed to be supportive of this new focus, when a hands up poll was done of, “Are your KPIs based on savings targets?” the overwhelming response was still, “Yes”.
Our Cannes correspondent, Marta, is still in Cannes. And she's still standing. She writes:
It's been a busy few days at the Palais, with most chat revolving arout the goldmine awaiting brands in Brazil, wearable tech (yep, still) and the secrets to brand storytelling on mobile platforms (most of which seems to boil down to "tiny screen, huge potential"). Out on the roasting pavements of the Croisette, the rainbow of wristbands is starting to pile up and the rest of Soho is about to descend any minute now.
So, with that in mind, today's post is going to a brief one.
Five things I learned in the first few days in Cannes:
1. Darth Vader is just misunderstood
He's just as football mad as the next guy. He even has a tricked out data room to prove it, created by the brains over at Twitter. Real time monitoring with a distinctly sci fi vibe.
2. It takes a village military
At the aforementioned Twitter event, a military drone pilot was brought in to fly a selfie-taking octocopter, due to a risky mix of emailing-whilst-walking punters and rosé-dazed lunchers. Technology will save us, but there's also a good chance it will decapitate us.
3. Forget peak beard, we've reached peak swag bag
There are more tote bags being dished out than a small country could make use of in a lifetime. One particular swag bag was filled with yet more (empty) swag bags, like a set of heavily sponsorsed nesting dolls. Let's think outside the beige bag, people.
4. Yeah, yeah, 'Ye
Kanye West isn't god, however much he wishes he was. But you'd be forgiven for thinking the messiah was here, with all the commotion.
5. Darth Vader is a social whizz.
And he's following me on Twitter. Uh oh.
Our Cannes correspondent Marta is reporting from the riviera this week. She writes:
Already, after a day-and-a-half, I think I get Cannes. I'll admit, I was a little suspicious of what had been described to me as a "rosé-fuelled Soho-on-the-beach circus". Why go all the way to France to mingle with our peers, when London is in the thick of the ad world? But, as soon as I rolled into the festival's namesake city in a decidedly unglamorous swamp-green people-mover, everything became clear. It's not about the headliners (The Hoff, Kanye) or the oneupmanship of party venues (yachts, bubble houses), it's exactly what it says on the tin: a festival of creativity.
[picture of people taking pictures of people... outside the Palais, with a DeLorean. A somewhat heavy handed metaphor for going back to the future of advertising, or something]
My background doesn't lie in traditional advertising. With that comes a certain degree of scepticism of an industry cloaked in clichés, but also an incurable curiosity about how the magic is made. I've always been in awe of those who use brand storytelling in a way that captures the imagination of millions of people, those who seem to have found the magic formula to creating inspiring work that leaves an indelible mark on culture. And here I am, surrounded by them, all decked out in linen, lanyards around their necks and branded tote bags in hand. It's impossible to remain sceptical.
Most people back home think Cannes is just an awards show with a bit of hob-nobbing on the side to keep things sweet. In fact, there's a head-spinning week of official events for delegates to get stuck into, with over 200 speaker sessions, workshops and panels scheduled for the curious masses that flock here to learn what's new and what's next in our industry, and those wanting to get a little closer to nailing that magic formula. Add to that more fringe events than you can shake a pristine white yacht at, and you have an action packed festival that seems to make a lot more sense.
The first panel I attended was "She Says - Why 80% of Your Advertising Budget is Currently Being Wasted" – a discussion led by Laura Jordan Bambach, President of D&AD and founder of She Says, with CEO of Havas, Russ Lidstone, founder of women's adventure wear brand Bowndling (and ex W+K planner) Collyn Ahart, and founder of the 3% conference, Kat Gordon, sharing the stage. With women accounting for upwards of 80% of all purchases in every consumer category (not to mention being early adopters of tech and drivers of social media) brands seem to be failing to speak to a demographic projected to control over 60% of the US wealth in less than a decade. Just imagine those numbers globally. When asked if they think advertisers understand them, a shocking 90% of these women say no.
At the aforementioned parties, there's been a lot of chat about women in advertising. Not only about how brands speak to women, but what we as agencies can do to address issues facing women in the industry. If all that's been achieved is the start of a conversation about how we can change things, we've come a long way already, one day in.
Oh, and doesn't hurt that on the first night, we took home a Creative Effectiveness award for a campaign we're incredibly proud of, Lurpak 'Weave Your Magic'.
Stay tuned for more.
This category recognises a previously awarded creative campaign that has achieved a measurable impact on the client’s business. Judging is based upon idea, strategy, and results and effectiveness.
In his announcement of Lurpak’s win, Jury President David Sable, Global CEO of Y&R, said the ‘truly inspiring’ campaign has turned butter from an ingredient into something to be celebrated, and in doing so, has changed the category, setting the bar high for all future food advertising.
You may not have yet noticed (REALLY?!) but the World Cup is on. Yes, it's kicked off in South America with the beautiful game back in Brazil. To mark this month of footie, we've gone all Brasileno.
W+K has created a sporting twist on the traditional Brazilian wish ribbon – the Senhor de Bonfim de Bahia* for those of you in the know.
An installation of over 3000 ribbons, each carrying the wish of a football fan, marking their hopes and aspirations for the tournament.
I wish it was 1966 again.
I was Scotland had qualified.
I wish Ronaldo were single.
I wish this face paint would wash off.
I wish my hands were as big as Buffon's.
If you're passing the agency, come have a rummage to see more of what fans are rooting for.
Or tweet your wish with the hashtag #WorldCupWishes and you may find your own message on display.
Plus the fun doesn't stop there. There'll be reaction to each of the games as the action heats up on the pitch.
I wish the ref wasn't a Brazilian in disguise.
* Statto fact: Each ribbon measures exactly 47cm in length, the same length as the tiny statue of Christ himself outside the Church of Bomfim in Bahia, Brazil.
There are two sides to Honda.
The rational side it's famous for: quality reliability, and clever engineering.
And then there’s the other side: Honda’s racing alter ego, its challenging spirit.
We wanted to celebrate the other side of Honda with our new campaign, Roar, which launches today to introduce the new concept model of the Civic Type R, ahead of its European launch next year. Promising to be the most extreme yet, the Type R is the perfect hero for our campaign.
Roar kicks off with a 30' film,in which the new Type R Concept ‘breaks through’ the Civic. As the roar of the revving engine builds, the car morphs from a standard white Civic in a shiny gallery space into the trademark red Type R Concept in a racing garage, ready to tear up the track.
But this is just the beginning of our celebration of 'The Other Side of Honda’. We're developing a larger interactive and integrated campaign for launch this autumn, so keep an eye out for some exciting new stuff from us very soon.
Until then, crank up those speakers and enjoy the roar.
On Sunday June 8th, a W+K 1st XI (there were in fact only 7 of us) took to the road, venturing north to the land of Manchester for the return of Soccer Aid.
Warming up by watching our Tesco sponsorship idents in the build up to the kick off, we then turned our attentions to the game itself, perched on the edge of our seats, singing, shouting and applauding as the ex-legends and celebs of England and the rest of the world did battle over 90 minutes.
Mourinho toppling Murs, Davids losing the plot with just about anyone who tried to tackle him and Seedorf proving that he’d still make it into the majority of Premiership teams, it was a fantastic spectacle to behold.
And not only that, but as it currently stands, Tesco colleagues and customers have raised a phenomenal £300k for UNICEF, adding to the running total of £4.2m
Back of the net.
Get ready, things are about to get MAD INTENSE across the pond.
Our fresh new Stride campaign hits the internet today, making regular gum intensity look seriously dull in comparison. How? By daring to do things other brands shouldn’t, wouldn’t and couldn't.
And by hiring the world's best lawyer.
To introduce the concept of mad intensity, we packed all the shouldn'ts, wouldn'ts and couldn'ts of marketing into a series of online films. Two new Stride spokesmen are front and centre: Donald, the megalomaniac marketing director of Stride Gum who we revived from Stride’s early days, and Doug, the world’s best lawyer hired by Donald to allow him to say and do whatever he wants.
Whether it’s offering to give away bazookas with every pack, claiming famous dead people chew it, swearing or using a famous track as his theme tune without asking the artist’s permission… Donald wants to do it all, just to convey how mad intense his gum is.
The series includes a long form film, three 20’ films and one short, sharp and madly intense 8’ film aimed at mobile social sharing. There's also a whole load of other activity supporting the films, including display and online media, OOH and social activity across Stride’s channels.
The question is... can you ever go too far?
(Yes. According to Doug. Yes, you can.)
Yesterday, we told you a bit about Tesco being the official fundraising sponsor of Soccer Aid this year.
Aiming to raise money for UNICEF’s crucial work to save and change children’s lives all over the world, the star-studded footy match will be televised live from Old Trafford’s hallowed turf, starting at 6pm on Sunday on ITV.
To mark the occasion, we created a series of idents to run through the preview show and throughout Sunday's live coverage.
The idents feature Tesco employees and customers getting behind the fundraising, showcasing their efforts and thanking them for all their support. Much like the stars taking to the pitch for the Soccer Aid ‘England vs Rest of the World’ match, fundraisers and donors show unique flair with every pound landing in the donation bucket.
Echoing the spirit of a football match, we've amplified the action through commentary, describing all the goings-on with characteristic footballing enthusiasm and adding a playful touch.
The idents will be supported with activity in Tesco’s social channels, including live alternative commentary during the match and exclusive behind the scenes content.
An hour-long preview show will air tonight at 9pm on ITV, so be sure to tune in to see which celebrities and former professionals will be representing each team and get a peek at the past week's training sessions.
Before we turn our full attention to the Maracanå next week, the footballing world looks to Manchester to set the stage.
Yes, this Sunday the boys are back for the biennial Soccer Aid charity tournament at Old Trafford.
The brain child of Robbie Williams back in 2006, the event has gained tremendous momentum with former pros and 'still hopeful' celebrities called up to two opposing starting XIs – one for England, the other representing The Rest of the World.
UNICEF is the sole beneficiary of the tournament with all proceeds going to that charity. To date, Soccer Aid has raised a whopping £12million on their behalf.
And for the first time, Tesco is the official fundraising sponsor, so to mark the event, will be launching a suite of idents to run during the hour-long preview show this Friday and the live coverage of the match on Sunday. Both on ITV.
We're welcoming everyone passing through the agency between now and kick off to dig deep and donate.
Even our reception's very own Blenderman is building pre-match frenzy.
If you aren't passing by Hanbury St before Sunday, you can do it for the kids here.
Throughout the year, TV ads duke it out for the top spot in The Thinkboxes, a bi-monthly award celebrating and honouring all forms of TV ad creativity.
Our Lurpak Adventure Awaits spot was picked top of the 'boxes for March/April, thanks to some "pure TV brilliance". Thanks Thinkboxes!
Head over to the Thinkboxes site to read more about it from our lovely Lurpak client, Laurence.
Not only that, but another one of our deliciously creamy ads, Cravendale Barry the Biscuit Boy, was shortlisted for the award on account of "more trademark wackiness". Remind yourselves of Barry's milky cautionary tale: