Thanks to its breakout campaign for Old Spice’s Red Zone Body Wash—which broke with a Super Bowl weekend TV spot—Wieden is the agency your agency could smell like.
The work, a slightly twisted, tongue-in-cheek production starring a towel-wearing Isaiah Mustafa, was part of a concerted effort by the agency to strengthen its digital offerings. The results have landed the shop in its own version of Bizzarro World, a place where other marketers are looking to “The man your man could smell like” for ideas on how to run their own campaigns. The creative has garnered the brand a 2,700 percent increase in Twitter followers, 800 percent increase in Facebook fan page visits and a 300 percent increase in traffic to the Old Spice Web site. It’s also generated an estimated 140 million YouTube views.
According to Marc Pritchard, global marketing and brand-building officer of Old Spice at parent company Procter & Gamble, it has helped the brand lead market share and is “growing sales in double digits.”
Indeed, the Portland-Ore.-headquartered indie has had one of its best performing years in its 28-year history. It saw client growth in both Portland and New York, and increased its U.S. revenue and billings nearly 22 percent (billings to $1.5 billion, revenue $145 million).
For the most part, it mined existing client relationships. Chrysler added Jeep, Target gave Wieden lead agency status, P&G added a corporate branding assignment as well as Ivory North America, Nokia added North America, and Coca-Cola digital assignments for Diet Coke and Coca-Cola targeting teens.
The agency has also produced some of its best work for Nike, a client Wieden calls “the soul” of his agency. (Its running business returned to the shop in 2008.) “We were born in that cauldron of the early ’80s, when [Nike] wanted to be the Saturday Night Live of the Fortune 500,” he says.
Wieden’s best Nike work this year was the stop-motion spot “Human Chain” and its “Write the Future” commercial directed by Babel’s Alejandro G. Iñarritu. The latter spot, which starred more than a dozen pro-soccer stars and debuted on Facebook, was also in play during the World Cup as a digital installation on a Johannesburg skyscraper. It received so much positive buzz that World Cup sponsor and rival adidas ended up looking as battered as England after being drubbed by Germany.
The creatives that led the effort, Mark Bernath and Eric Quennoy, were promoted to ecds of the Amsterdam office, which had produced the work with assistance from Portland. (And London.)
And this month, Wieden opened a new office in Sao Paulo, Brazil, headed by Icaro Doria, ecd, and Andre Gustavo Soares, managing director.
Improving the shop’s digital output took four years. To start on that path, in 2006 the agency hired Renny Gleeson, former managing director at Aegis Group’s Carat Fusion, as global director of digital strategies. He built up the shop’s digital production capabilities, adding digital creatives, developers, designers, coders—”folks who help iterate,” says Gleeson. He also worked on communications planning—what he describes as “changing the way the media team approaches what it does, how ideas evolve”—and community management.
“It’s not like we flipped the switch,” Gleeson adds. “It was a build. And we needed the spark to set it off. That’s where Iain comes in.”
Iain Tait, recruited last April from Poke London, which he co-founded, joined Wieden as global interactive ecd. Within months of his arrival, the Old Spice team let loose its “response” campaign. For three days in July, the agency created nearly 200 customized videos starring Mustafa that responded to mentions of the Old Spice TV spots on blogs and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. These videos spread virally and, in some cases, became ongoing two-way conversations, engaging participation from celebrities like Alyssa Milano and Ellen DeGeneres, not to mention a random consumer who wrote in seeking help from Mustafa in proposing to his girlfriend.
This social marketing component generated 1.8 billion PR impressions for the brand.
Even before the Old Spice response campaign, Wieden was being recognized for its new digital expertise at Cannes. It won the Cyber Grand Prix for its 2009 Nike “Chalkbot” campaign—a collaboration with Deeplocal for Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong charity—and the Integrated Grand Prix for the Livestrong campaign of which it was a part. (Wieden also won the top prize in film, and a Best Commercial Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for its Old Spice work.)
With its global growth looking strong as well—it had a 10 percent jump in billings and revenue this year (billings to $2.3 billion, revenue $230 million)—the agency is especially optimistic about the future.
Update: Wieden + Kennedy also named agency of the year 2010 by OMMA Magazine.They say: OMMA’s Agency of the Year Awards celebrate the agencies that were able to rise above the rest over the past year, the shops that represented the best of class in the online advertising community.
'Money spent on a set of eyelashes will always pay dividends in the office beauty stakes."
On Adam Curtis's The Medium and the Message blog, there is an absolutely fascinating record of the real life world of UK advertising, filmed roughly around the time that the last series of Mad Men was set. It's quite astonishingly strange. The boundaries between the sexes, between 'management' and 'staff' and between young and old seem so much more pronounced than they are today, and yet the essentials of human nature haven't changed at all. The idea that an ad agency party in the so-called swinging sixties would be planned to finish at 6.30 pm seems hilarious. At one point we hear what I think is John Lennon's Cold Turkey on the soundtrack. It sounds like a transmission from the future but was released in 1969 so it could actually have been played at the party.
Davidson Pearce was still going when I started in advertising. It was acquired by BMP in 1988, which was then itself acquired by DDB, creating BMP DDB Needham, now just known as DDB London.
Here at W2O we love the creative mavericks. So we mourn the passing of Captain Beefheart (January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010). He was a true one-off. Here are his ten commandments of guitar playing. They're equally applicable to any creative tool or process. Get the stink onto your work.
1. Listen to the birds. That's where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren't going anywhere.
2. Your guitar is not really a guitar Your guitar is a divining rod. Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you're good, you'll land a big one.
3. Practice in front of a bush Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush doesn't shake, eat another piece of bread.
4. Walk with the devil Old Delta blues players referred to guitar amplifiers as the "devil box." And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you're bringing over from the other side. Electricity attracts devils and demons. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.
5. If you're guilty of thinking, you're out If your brain is part of the process, you're missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.
6. Never point your guitar at anyone Your instrument has more clout than lightning. Just hit a big chord then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.
7. Always carry a church key That's your key-man clause. Like One String Sam. He's one. He was a Detroit street musician who played in the fifties on a homemade instrument. His song "I Need a Hundred Dollars" is warm pie. Another key to the church is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin' Wolf's guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty-making you want to look up her dress the whole time to see how he's doing it.
8. Don't wipe the sweat off your instrument You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.
9. Keep your guitar in a dark place When you're not playing your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don't play your guitar for more than a day, be sure you put a saucer of water in with it.
10. You gotta have a hood for your engine Keep that hat on. A hat is a pressure cooker. If you have a roof on your house, the hot air can't escape. Even a lima bean has to have a piece of wet paper around it to make it grow.
W+K's very own Fern Trelfa serenading Graeme Douglas with her wonderful ukelele playing. Never have Elvis Presley covers played on a four stringed plastic axe sounded so wonderful. The bleach blonde George Formby.
Despite the early snow this year we are still dreaming of a white Christmas. So in the window of our offices we’ve built a model of our street, and every time someone around the world mentions #snow on Twitter, a special tweet snowflake will fall over our neighbourhood. So get tweeting and let it snow!
You can see the model street in our window on 91 Hanbury Street or by going to tweetsofsnow.com
And special thanks to Jaimie Vent for the awesome set design!
In the five years since its launch, Beyond the Valley concept store has gone from being a spring board for designers, to one of London’s leading destinations for design and fashion innovation. The store and label is an embodiment of this, enjoying collaborations with new talented artists, keeping the range diverse and ambitious.
The creative directors are Kate Bonhôte and Kristjana S Williams, graduates of Central Saint Martin's School of Art.
Beyond the Valley has teamed up with Wieden+Kennedy's L Gallery (the glass box on our reception desk) to present a selection of their finest products to inspire you over the festive period. In the lead up to the big day, more of these will be revealed. All products can be purchased at their store and gallery on Newburgh Street.