A couple of weeks ago, we shipped one of our Nike account directors, Ollie, over to our Tokyo office to help out on some work over there. Between learning how to bow properly and belting out karaoke numbers, he wrote a bit about his first impressions:
For the next three months I'll be working at W+K Tokyo, helping to run a new Nike campaign. The work is actually for South Korea, but we're operating out of the Tokyo office. It's awesome for me, since I've never been to Asia before this, let alone Japan.
Arriving at W+K's home in the hipster hangout of Nakameguro, it was like I'd never left 16 Hanbury Street. The same medley of random, bonkers stuff adorns the place. Rubber chickens, Kinder Egg toys, baseball gloves etc.
Two standout things among everything are the Nike shoebox speaker (I think it actually works) and the W+K button sign. My bowing attempt was subsequently ridiculed. Great sign though.
Almost all Nike meetings are run in English. For the occasional meetings that aren't, a translator will be on hand to whisper the English to you via a headset. Proper Nathan Barley stuff. Love it.
In no particular order, these are some things I've learned since arriving less than a week ago:
The W+K Tokyo bunch are awesome. They're passionate about their work. They're passionate about their beer. It's a great combo. I already feel very at home here.
Birthdays are taken seriously. Very seriously.
The food is spectacular. Particularly the fish. Also, no one really cooks - you either eat out or buy pre-made food from the local convenience store. Well, at least that's what I do.
Lots of people sleep on the underground. I haven't worked out if the Tokyo locals are expert power-nappers or if they've all been on a massive tear-up. Possibly both.
Karaoke is a way of life here. I thought I'd hate it, but actually it's magnificent. If you ever find yourself in Tokyo and think you're too sophisticated for karaoke, think again. Have drinks, dinner, some more drinks and then hit the karaoke booths. You'll most probably leave at 4am, hoarse, after the night of your life.
'What about the work?' I hear Neil cry. Don't worry, Neil, it's all in hand.
As has recently been much reported (not that it was new news) the Nike strapline 'Just Do it' was inspired by the last words of American murderer Gary Gilmore before he was executed by firing squad in 1977.
The line 'Just Do it' first appeared on this 1988 ad:
I recently noticed that Gilmore's last words also apparently inspired the opening of the Human League's classic first single Being Boiled. Phil Oakey intones, "Okay, ready, let's do it" before that awesomely awkward electro-riff kicks in.
So there you have it. Gary Gilmore: the connection between Sheffield synth-punk and Nike. (As yet, no mention of voice of Buddha or sericulture detected in Nike comms.)
Some of us are a little tired today, following last night's British Arrows ceremony, at which Honda The Other Side, Lurpak Cook's Range and Three Sing It Kitty were honoured with some lovely arrow-shaped metal.
Our host was the one and only David Mitchell.
The Other Side picked up Commercial of the Year, as well as two golds for Interactive Web-Based Commercial and Best over 90" Web-Based Film, Cook's Range picked up triple gold for Best 30"-60" TV, Best 60"-90" Cinema and Dairy, and Three Sing It Kitty went home with a bronze for Telecommunications.
Our very own Andrew Bevan won (one half of) Best Creative Team and a silver for Charity for his Violence is Violence campaign for Mankind.
And W+K Portland nabbed gold for Sportswear and silver for Best Over 90" Commercial using paid-for media for Nike The Last Game.
And we managed to bring back the pointy bits of metal back to the agency in one piece this morning.
Peruse the full list of winners here. Congratulations to all involved!
First on the list was W+K Portland's Nike 'If You Let Me Play'. 72andSunny Amsterdam MD Nic Owen & co said, "This film is a mini masterpiece which tackles a big issue in a very elegant way, with swagger and irony. The film has been often 'quoted' in other work and even 'remade' recently. But this is the real thing, which opened the way for many conversations about women and sport. It also changed the way sports brands address women in their advertising."
And sixth was our Honda 'Grr' ad, of which they said, "The interesting thing about this film – apart from being beautiful – is that it managed to speak in a fun, charming way about one of the major issues of our time. It made people smile and think about the impact they have on the environment. This campaign opened the way for other car companies to put eco-consciousness at the heart of their communication and vision."
Champions League-winning, Balon d’Or polishing, record-breaking, all-round footballing megastar Cristiano Ronaldo stars in our new campaign for Nike Football.
The campaign marks the launch of Ronaldo’s new boot, the Mercurial Superfly CR7, made from Nike’s innovative flywire material and built for explosive speed. And when the fastest boot comes together with the most phenomenal player on Earth, the results are truly ‘Out of this World’.
Launching in the build-up to his appearance in El Clasico on Saturday night, a motion book story portrays Ronaldo as the hero who discovers the new Mercurial Superfly CR7 has crash-landed on earth in a meteorite. When he arrives at the scene and dons the boots, he gains explosive powers.
He shoots around the world at supersonic speed. He beats fighter jets for pace, breaks cops’ speed guns, plays matches in several global locations and even trains at extreme altitude on a snowy mountain before zooming back to Madrid, all in preparation for the epic clash with Barcelona.
The spot fuses live-action with animation to reinvent the comic book genre for Nike’s core audience of digital-native, mobile-first football fans. Just like with the biggest superhero movies, we teased the film with mini trailer across Nike and Ronaldo’s social channels on Thursday to generate intrigue and excitement.
After viewing the teaser, fans were directed to the Nike Football app as the exclusive place to watch the full film, and of course, order themselves a pair of boots.
In addition to the online film, we also revealed a giant meteorite-landing site in a busy square in Madrid to bring our digital story crashing into the real world.
Five W+K runners headed out to Paris last weekend, to compete in Nike's 10km race.
The night prior to the race saw the sort of flawless professionalism you'd expect: a bottle of red per head and steak tartares all round. Classic pre-race fuel.
Cue 10am the next day and the W+K runners were fresh as Farah, so it came as no surprise to see personal bests rolling in, come the finish line. Hats off to Betty B, Loose Crook, Miller Time, Gigolo Jayr and P-Y-M-P.
Over the last 20 years, Nike has enjoyed a wonderful relationship with Arsenal: 3 Premier League titles. 5 FA Cups. The Invincibles. Ian re-Wright-ing the record. Thierry's Va Va Voom. Need we go on?
And over the years, W+K has had the pleasure of marking some special occasions about this great club for Nike. Two of our favourites from times gone by:
'Arsena' to mark 2003-04's extraordinary unbeaten season:
And the outrageous 'The quickest route into Europe' to mark Sol Campbell's switch to the red half of North London in 2001:
This year, W+K has worked with Nike to produce a commemorative shirt, following the Club's 2014 FA Cup victory, celebrating the 20 year partnership between the club and the Swoosh.
The shirt, which uses the current 2013-14 home kit as its base, incorporates a glorious medley of iconic Arsenal kits from the past two decades.
Limited-edition, individually numbered artwork prints of the shirt will be created and sold, with a number available to purchase at Nike's Phenomenal House in London. Phenomenal House will open its doors to the public from 26th-31st May for a unique and action-packed celebration of fearless football.
The shirt itself will also be on display at Phenomenal House from 26th-30th May, then at Nike Town in London from 31st May, before moving to its permanent home in the Arsenal Football Club Museum from 30th June.
Group account director Rachel Parker, who has come to London from our Portland office for a while (we've got people working out how to clone her so we can keep her AND return her to the States), was one of the sporty W+K ladies who ran Nike's We Own The Night race last weekend. Here are a few words from Rachel about what went down:
Saturday night, while most Londoners were cozy on their sofas, hiding from the pouring rain and whipping wind, 10,000 women took to Victoria Park for Nike’s We Own the Night 10k run. This was the second year for Nike's event, and this year, a handful of women from W+K’s Run Club were there to represent and take part in what was, for some, their first 10k.
This wasn’t your typical organised run, but more akin to a park festival with thousands of women sporting the same turquoise Nike race shirt and setting off for a run together. Nike pulled out all the stops. There was music and even pre-race trainers who led a warm-up to keep up motivation on a chilly night.
There were Nike athletes, including Paula Radcliffe, fashion designers, and DJs. The race course was like none other, complete with a light forest, light tunnels, live music, and thousands of women encouraging one another along the way. Everyone who crossed the finish line received an exclusive Alex Monroe designed finisher necklace, and I, for one, haven’t taken mine off since.
Last night, Nike launched Attempt the Unthinkable, a new film starring Wayne Rooney, as part of the ‘Risk Everything’ football campaign for 2014. The animated film imagines Rooney’s explosive response to the opposition’s wild attempts to stop him during a high-stakes match against Brasil.
Attempt the Unthinkable is the first in a series of three 15-second films we created, following a street art installation last month on London’s South Bank.
Each film celebrates the risk in the players’ DNA as they prepare to play on the world's biggest stage, with the familiar sounds of commentator Clive Tyldesley ringing out as the action unfolds.
Over the next couple of days Nike will unveil two more films starring Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere, entitled Fear Nothing and Never Play it Safe and pitting the England stars in equally sensational scenarios.