Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all that. The concept seems totally random- what exactly is the connection between Rooney/ Nike / the world cup and juice? But the banana swoosh did raise a smile.
It's actually quite amusing to note some of the excruiatingly tenuous attempts by marketers to link their products to the world cup. A couple of beauties, spotted on a recent walk down the high street: 'Chocolate's coming home' from, I think, Thornton's and the world cup-themed Rabbit vibrator promotion from Anne Summers.
But even these aren't as insanely random as Volvo's bizarre attempt to forge a link between piracy and 4x4s. Someone was daft enough to suggest a promotion linking the Volvo XC90 to the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, which means we have the joy of seeing how Disney's summer 'blockbuster' featuring Johnny Depp pretending to be a gay Keith Richards has 'inspired' Volvo to bury a car in a big hole. Isn't it great to see the finest creative minds applied to such worthwhile projects?
After SONAR ended, we moved to London with the HIFANA crew. On the afternoon on the 19th (Monday), Eric J and I made a short presentation of WKTLAB to about 30 people at W+K London office. The same evening, HIFANA performed a short gig which was coordinated by W+K London. (Thanks London!) The performance took place in a small room above a club space called 93 FEET EAST located in the central area of East London. The atmosphere was much like a stage set up in a private home party when HIFANA’s performance started at 19:30. The 150-people audience consisted of staffs and friends of W+K London, UK music label people including Ninja Tune and Warp, as well as Japanese artists residing in London, journalists, gallery owners and other influencers. All I can say is that the excitement in the room was overwhelming. The visuals were projected directly onto the wall, and although the sound system was hand built, the sounds were great, so people were able to enjoy in a relaxing, but energetic mood. Being able to see HIFANA’s performance up real close, there were many comments like “Amazing, never seen anything like this! Fresh!” This gig, although the smallest, probably turned out to be the most meaningful show HIFANA has performed in the past several years. It was a good experience putting together a live event in collaboration with the London office people, and more than anything, it was great to prove that HIFANA can please a crowd of Londoners with discriminating taste for music. We also got great reaction from UK music label people too.
Yesterday 20 bright young things came to our office to discover what this W&K advertising lark is all about. They were introduced to the work we had done on Nike, Yakult and Honda as well as seminal projects such as Dan Wieden's musical ruler and our award-winning refuse sacks.
The Garden Recruitment Graduate Scheme cherry-picks potential advertising stars of the future and introduces them to different advertising organisations better to inform them what career paths are available in the industry. The session went really well and we hope that in the future some of them will be able to return to do further work experience and get first hand exposure to our particular brand of chaos.
John Jay, ECD of our Portland office, visited yesterday and spoke to the agency. It was an inspiring talk, covering many aspects of what's going on in culture just now and the challenges and opportunities Wieden + Kennedy faces for the future. Amongst the many thought-provoking bits and peices he shared with us was the following list of notions of innovation from Google. I thought these were interesting and, though we're in a very different space from Google, it's easy to see how we can usefully apply these to what we do.
9 notions of innovation
Ideas come from everywhere. (Google expects you to innovate.)
Share everything you can. (Every idea accessible to everyone.)
You’re brilliant. We’re hiring. (Google favours intelligence over experience.)
License to pursue dreams. (Employees get a ‘free’ day a week to pursue self-set projects.)
Innovation, not instant perfection. (Google launches early and often with small beta tests.)
Don’t politic, use data. (Use of ‘I like’ discouraged.)
Creativity loves restraint. (Give people a vision.)
Worry about usage and users, not money. (Provide something simple to use, easy to love. Money will come.)
Don’t kill projects, morph them. (There’s always a kernel of something good that can be salvaged.)
If you accept that comms agencies have to innovate constantly or die (because new ideas and new ways to gain competitive advantage are what we get paid for by our clients) then these seem like good principles to adopt. I love the suggestion that everyone is expected to innovate. We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that creativity resides solely in the creative department.
And I like number 5. We're sometimes so obsessed with executional excellence that we endlessly defer completion. We could sometimes do with a 'ready, fire, aim' approach to avoid 'great but late'.
Several of the others seem to reflect how we already operate - especially 2 and 8. And all of them are worth considering.
Well, Ad Age had the Grand Prix winner in their three tips for the top. (See below.) But it wasn't us, it was AMV/BBDO's Guinness spot. Congratulations to them. Our boys didn't come home entirely empty handed; we picked up two gold lions, one for Honda Civic 'Choir' and one for Honda 'Impossible Dream'. Not a bad haul at all.
Ben and Matt, the team (along with Michael) behind the Choir spot, flew out on Friday for the ceremony when we heard they were likely to pick up a gold. Timing on this wasn't perfect as we have the pitch for Yell first thing Monday morning but, hey, it's not every day you get a gold at Cannes. Imagine Ben's surprise when he stepped on the plane to Cannes and bumped into the Yell client, also on the way over for the awards.
Anyway, he picked up his Lion and was back in the agency this afternoon in time to put the finishing touches to the work for tomorrow. Fingers crossed for the pitch.
It's a sweaty Friday afternoon in the office here in London. Energy levels beginning to wane. But many hours to go till hometime. Meanwhile, in a galaxy, far, far away, the Cannes Advertising Festival is underway. This gathering of the great, the good, the glamorous and the guttered is the Oscars of the ad business. Without the big money or the stars, but with just as much ego and conspicuous consumption. Wieden +Kennedy London picked up the Grand Prix last year - for our Honda 'Grrr' commercial. So, we were Kings of the World and All Space for a few minutes. Ad Age tips us again as a potential Grand Prix winner. That'll no doubt jinx us. TV awards are announced Saturday night, so we'll see.
Simon McCrudden, one of our planners, is often berated on Paul Colman's blog. His blogging credentials, personality and just about everything else are always called into question. The latest quote from
was "[Simon] is a bit like the old drunks you get in the corner of pubs - he can be difficult, but is part of the furniture".
Well we'd like to staunch the ridiculous tide of meanness, address the balance and generally just right the wrongs that have been done to Simon. It's true, he may be slightly geeky and a little odd. It’s also true that he has quite a high pitched laugh and does strange planner-type things with his hands constantly in meetings. But in spite of all this
, he is actually a pretty good planner. And although it sticks in my throat to say it, I wouldn’t want to work with anyone else on either of my accounts. He brings strategic order to the creative chaos and writes some of the funniest (but also terribly insightful obviously) briefs around. Still not sure about the brown cardigansor plastic flip flops though.