Launched earlier this year, W+K's monthly Spore Fund invites the whole agency to submit an idea or creative project that has nothing to do with work, in the form of a one-page proposal and budget plan. The winner is announced at our monthly agency meeting.
When talent assistant/PA and bassist Laura McGrath won Spore Fund last month, she put the grant towards a music video for her band Khruangbin’s song ‘Infamous Bill’, enlisting her friends and W+K creatives Jason Scott and Joris Philippart to direct the film.
Shot in the style of an abstract, slow-motion Western, the film tells the story of Bill, a mysterious outlaw with a bullwhip. Speaking of their inspiration behind the film, Jason and Joris said, “We wanted to capture the darkness of the character and use this to create intrigue and mystique that complements the band’s Texas roots and their Tarantino-esque sound.
Little things can have a significant effect on our lives. Take the fact that human touch is really good for us.
Neuroscientists have proven that little incidental touches are vital for happiness and wellbeing to humans. Did you know that holding hands can decrease symptoms of depression? That a cuddle can help a premature baby gain weight? Or that a little pat on the back from a teacher can double a student’s confidence to speak up in class?
Being the curious bunch we are, we stumbled on to these findings recently and we were astonished how something so simple, and something we can all have access to, can make such a difference. We were even more surprised to discover that ethnologists recently found out that us Brits touch each other the least out of any other country in the world. Which means here in the UK, we're the most touch deprived.
So we decided to make an interface to try and change that, through the simple act of holding hands.
The really great thing about holding hands is that it’s one of the most effective ways to release the happiness neurochemical oxytocin into the body.
Using a simple Makey Makey, a team of W+Kers including Luke Tipping, Joseph Haigh and Daniel Smith built a giant conductive controller that only works when users hold hands with a playing partner. With this experiment, it really does take two to play the game.
We hooked the In Your Hands controller up to a game and debuted the project at the Wired 2014 Next Generation event in London last weekend, alongside projects from Google and MIT. Next Generation aims to excite and inspire curiosity in 12-18 year olds with talks, workshops and interactive exhibits themed around technology and creativity.
The results of our In Your Hands exhibit were fascinating, with Wired guests queueing up to take a spin on the controller and getting competitive in trying to smash their previous high scores. The best thing about the day was feeling a buzz in the atmosphere, thanks to all the oxytocin flowing through players' systems, as well as a constant flow of high fives. Great stuff.
Get a glimpse of the day here:
Thanks to Wired for having us, and to all the W+K guinea pigs we tested the controller on.
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.
W+K Managing Director Neil Christie is speaking at the Marketing Society of Scotland event tomorrow on Inspiring Creativity. To generate a state of fevered anticipatory excitement they've posted an interview with him online here.
Here are the words of wisdom:
What’s your golden rule? Work hard and eat more fish.
Who has been your biggest influence? Impossible to pick one: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Mark E. Smith, Captain Beefheart, The Beatles, Tom Verlaine, David Bowie, John Updike, John Lydon, Tove Jansson, David Lynch…
What is your most hated business expression? “On-boarding”.
'What’s the smartest business idea you’ve ever had? Joining Wieden+Kennedy.
Which leader do you admire most and why? Captain James T. Kirk – leader of men, explorer of new worlds, defeater of monsters, inter-species romancer.
New W+K creative team Thom Whitaker and Danielle Noël (these guys) popped down to the Barbican for a bit of creative digital inspiration. They write:
This week, we decided to let our inner geeks run free by visiting the Digital Revolution exhibition at the Barbican. The exhibition itself takes viewers on an interactive journey allowing them to see how far digital creativity has advanced over the years and what the future potentially holds for it. But in short, it’s just really fun.
The first part of the exhibition was like stepping into a teenager's bedroom in the 80s (minus the Duran Duran posters). It’s full of old video games and computers that you’re encouraged to interact with. One of the things that struck us the most about this part of the exhibition was that, despite being both out of date in appearance and function, the queue to play Pong was still longer than any queue we’ve ever seen to play Call of Duty. Makes you wonder whether we’re over-complicating things a little, doesn’t it?
But, as we moved further through the exhibition and towards the present day, that thought was soon dispelled. We were blown away by some of the installations and film pieces exhibited. One particular highlight was the giant animated version of Will I Am’s face that appeared to follow you around the room wherever you were standing. On paper that sounds like the stuff nightmares are made of, but it was strangely fascinating. Of course, once we figured out the illusion the magic was broken slightly, but for at least 30 seconds we genuinely felt like Will I Am was stalking us.
Another standout piece came from renowned digital artist Chris Milk. His piece, The Treachery of Sanctuary, allows people to stand in front of three screen panels and see themselves transformed into a bird before their very own eyes. The piece is designed to explore all three stages of life, death and rebirth, and on the final panel you are encouraged to flap your arms hard enough so that you can watch yourself fly off the screen. This not only provided an insight into how far the digital arts have come, it also provided people with that all-important Instagram opportunity to fill the void left by the Hayward Gallery's recent attraction, the balloon room. Let’s face it, we’re all a bit guilty of it.
By the time we finally made it to the future it was difficult to think of what could possibly be next, and the truth is no one actually knows, but the exhibition did highlight some interesting pieces of research that are being done at the moment. One particular piece that interested us explored the idea of wearable solar panels so that people can create their own energy through the clothing they wear. We’re not entirely sure we’re going to rush out to Urban Outfitters and get some, but who knows… maybe next year.
In this week's issue, Newsweek looks at the phenomenon of 'arstorcratic cats' treated like rock stars by some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Whatever next?
Newsweek asked Luke Tipping, senior interactive creative and member of the W+K Three team responsible for creating our Sing It Kitty campaign, for his thoughts on what makes cats so popular with brands.
You can read the whole story on Newsweek's site here.
There had been banter and boasting between W+K runners Goss and Winek about who was fastest. It was time to find out once and for all. So we (unofficially) closed Wilkes Street outside the office to stage the first-ever Jack the Ripper Memorial 100m sprint. The result? Decisive victory for Goss.
For the last couple of weeks, some of the Honda team (Scott, Graeme, Alex, Lou, Tom and client Dean) have been roaming around Slovenia and Croatia shooting a forthcoming project together.
There were drones! Sweet, sweet non-miltarised Drones.
We summoned Ancient Egyptian deities!
Scott became a gnome!
After a week's location work followed by six long, long day/night shoots (including one epic 24hr marathon) we've finally wrapped with something that we think's going to be a little bit special. Watch this space for more soon.