It is customary round about now, when the kids start singing and the band begins to play, for Welcome to Optimism to reflect on the preceding 12 months. 2013 has been an extraordinary year for Wieden+Kennedy London and I’d like to thank our amazing people and brilliant clients for all we've been able to achieve together.
As those who know me will be aware, I’m a hard-bitten Scotsman with a heart of solid granite. I’m not given to sentimental displays of emotion. But as I sip my steaming tankard of festive Cravendale egg-nog (fortified with Southern Comfort) and nibble on a choice chunk of Tesco Finest stilton by the roaring fire in the Wieden Executive Lodge Spa Therapy Zone, I think back on all we have achieved in the last 12 months, and I feel something warm and sticky welling up inside me. Is it a glutinous mixture of stilton and egg-nog or could it be… a burgeoning feeling of festive gratitude and pride towards our people, clients and indeed all mankind?
For pastoral purposes, let's assume it’s the latter and let’s just remind ourselves of the year that was 2013. The goals we set ourselves for this year were all about ‘more’.
So, how did we do?
We certainly delivered on this: 88 new joiners in the last 12 months is an extraordinary influx of extra resource and talent across the board. We dramatically increaded our creative firepower, strategic smarts, tech capability and diversity. This also means that 40% of the agency is new. That’s brilliant in terms of capacity and energy, but it’s challenging in terms of making everyone feel part of the family and helping them adapt to the Wieden way. Particularly because even as new joiners start to settle in, we are continuing to grow and continuing to add new people to the team. So helping and supporting our people will be a key focus for next year.
We’ve done some bloody great work this year. And it was nice to see the recognition that this work received.
Shots magazine made us their agency of the year 2013. They said:
“Wieden+Kennedy has demonstrated once again how to create iconic work, irrespective of the category in which it plays. They don't just create great content, they seem to create new benchmarks - with freakish consistency."
W+K came top in the survey of "Ten Great Ad Agencies Of 2013" on Forbes, with over two thirds of those polled voting for us as their top agency.
“In a recent online survey among 1850 CMOs and other senior executives,Wieden+Kennedy emerged as the favorite ad agency.
W+K is looked upon as being head and shoulders above the rest of Madison Avenue. The agency, which creates advertising for Old Spice, Coke, ESPN, and Nike, was voted as the best all-around agency by a remarkable 66% of the respondents, almost the combined total of the next two runners-up.”
Here are a few of the accolades and awards accrued by our work this year:
Honda - Hands
“Flawless,” said Campaign, “Captivating… wonderful,” said Adweek. Best Ad of the Year said Shots.
#6 in YouTube’s top ten of the year
Three - Dance Pony Dance
“Funniest advert of the year,” said the Daily Mail.
Two golds at Cannes.
#3 in YouTube’s top ten of the year
Tesco - Love Every Mouthful
“What great advertising is all about… done with impeccable taste,” said Adscam.
Lurpak - Good proper food
“Visually astonishing, another sensory masterpiece,” said AdWeek.
Gold at Campaign Big Awards
Named ‘best press campaign of the year’ by Campaign in their 2013 Annual.
Lurpak – Weave Your Magic
“A masterpiece of craft and storytelling,” said AdWeek.
Silver at Cannes.
Stride – Gumulon
“This is totes AMAZEBALLS. Chew control is so much fun. Whoever made this is a genius!!” said a reviewer in the iTunes store (probably one of the W+K team under a pseudonym).
FWA Site of the Day winner.
We continued to try new things, including creating an online easter egg hunt for Tesco, an Instagram video campaign for Nike CR7, developing and designing a new milk shake brand (Gulp) for Arla, rebranding feminism in partnership with Elle magazine, making an actual magical Christmas chocolate coin factory that raises money for a local school, taking on much more social and community management work for our clients, and even creating a mobile game that you control by chewing with your mouth – does it get any more mental than that?
We certainly worked hard. And we produced a ton of stuff.
We didn't do many competitive pitches this year - we were too busy - but we grew dramatically with additional assignments from existing clients – a good indication that we’re doing an excellent job for them. Mondelez appointed us lead agency on the global Halls account without a pitch, Arla Foods awarded us their global account across a portfolio of dairy brands, and our Nike, Honda, Brown-Forman and Tesco business all grew this year. Plus - we started working with our neighbours at D&AD. And we have a couple of new business things on the go that should hopefully result in new relationships in the new year.
The plan was to make sure we work efficiently and effectively, to maximise the ‘inspiring’ and minimise the ‘tiring’. We made a lot of improvements behind the scenes: progress made but more to do next year.
It wasn’t all hard work. There was a lot of hard work, yes, but we also had some fun, and people tell me that they enjoy fun, so this is a good thing. We had a legendary founders’ day party, a brilliant Christmas bash, the drinks trolley, ice skating, go-karting, bake-offs, booze-ups, etc, etc. Mostly booze-ups, actually.
It's been a long year, we've worked hard, we’ve achieved a lot and, apparently, it’s nearly Christmas. Hopefully the UK economy won't collapse if we shut up shop for a few days over the festive period.
All the very best to you and yours.
Let the bells ring out for Christmas!