Australia won the ashes. Which is brilliant if you're Australian. But not if you're English and your name is Shay. Over a year had passed but Aussie gal Frere had not forgotten, following the loss of a bet on last year's Ashes, having to stand on her desk, recite God Save The Queen and yell out, "England is the Best!". It was now her turn for revenge.
Today is the 26th of January - Australia Day, as it happens. Shay's first instruction from Frere was to wear the Australian flag for the day. Even in client presentations...
The managing directors of five of the six Wieden + Kennedy offices (Kel Hook unfortunately couldn’t make it) spent a couple of days on ‘retreat’ this week at COO Dave Luhr’s condo in Sun Valley,Idaho. A hell of a place to get to but beautiful when you arrive – blue skies and snowy mountains.
Some people in the office suggested that this trip might be a ‘boondoggle’, or ‘management jolly’. Nothing could be further from the truth. We worked late into the night formulating plans for the next stage in W+K’s evolution and laid out radical new strategies that will astonish the world when they are revealed. The events that transpired on the evening on which some of our party were introduced to the subtle charms of Wild Turkey (henceforth referred to only as ‘Night of the Dirty Bird’) must remain secret. As must the meaning of the phrase, ‘I’m only scrimshawing the whalebone.’
The details of the discussions that took place in our work sessions are also confidential but we can announce the decision to have a fog-horn installed in every office. This will be sounded at times of disorientation and confusion in order to lead staff to a place of greater clarity and safety.
(above: Luhr, Tim O' K, Tom B )
In between working we did also find time to fit in a little ski-ing. Our target of zero fatalities was achieved. While some more experienced skiers explored the more challenging aspects of the mountain, I negotiated the trail signposted ‘easier way down’.
(Above: Neil C)
(L-R: Luhr, Tim O'K, Tom, Buz)
Running one of the world’s foremost creative powerhouses works up an appetite and we ate heartily on the trip. Tim proved himself to be an accomplished chef and treated us to his signature beef stew, followed by bread and butter pudding. Luhr did a mean leek dip. Christie conformed to ethnic stereotype by leaving a tip so small that restaurant staff pursued him out of the building to check if he’d inadvertently made an error. On the final evening we visited a local hostelry, The Pioneer Saloon. This establishment emphasises its authenticity and olde-worlde charm by having a large variety of extremely large dead animals fixed to its walls.
The founder evidently did his personal best to deplete the herds of the west’s buffalos. Here’s Buz about to eat a steak bigger than his own head.
Bad news this week when we heard that we’d been fired by Yakult. It’s customary in such situations to say something like, ‘This represents a big opportunity for us and frees us up to work with new partners in the fast-growing functional foods category.’ But, to be honest, it’s not an opportunity, it’s a blow. It’s a bummer. It does not represent the dawning of a bold new era for W+K London.
We’re very proud of the work we’ve done for Yakult and the results we’ve achieved. We’ve really enjoyed working with the
team, who are smart, passionate, honest and good fun. Unfortunately, there is a desire for a reduction in the number of agencies across
and we lose out. It just shows how precarious this business is and that you can never get complacent. One week you win Nokia, next week you lose Yakult.
Gwen Yip's a freelance creative who spent some time here at W+K recently. We linked to her blog before, but she's now posted lots more stuff about us, so we're doing it again. You can find lots of Gwen's charming illustrated adventures in london here. Here are some of her uncannily accurate and charming portraits of wieden + kennedy folks.
Ben Walker and Michael Russoff:
For reasons not fully explained, Shay Reading is pictured wearing a bear suit.
And here's a familiar scene. Covering the wall with dozens and dozens of potential Yakult ideas:
The Creative Director. An elusive, enigmatic, some say endangered creature. They are shy, easily disturbed and can be dangerous if confronted. It's rare to get a glimpse of one in its natural habitat but, if you're very quiet and you're passing the window of Wieden + Kennedy's London office, you may be lucky enough to see a bonded pair: Kim Papworth and Tony Davidson, who have made a nest for themselves in this remarkably public spot. They can be seen from the street, grooming, eating, and participating in social groupings known as 'meetings'. From time to time you may observe displays of the 'creativity' from which the species derives its name.
If you do see them, please treat them with respect and don't startle or disturb them. We're hoping that that they will stay for the long term and perhaps nurture a colony of creatives.