On the side, after hours, when his two adorable kids are asleep, W+K designer Greg art directs, designs, art works and pretty much completely produces an art culture magazine called VNA (Very Nearly Almost).
[Greg with Shepard Fairey, Cleon Peterson and VNA's Roly]
Last Saturday, Greg and another member of the VNA team hopped over to sunny LA to launch the latest issue at Subliminal Projects on Sunset Boulevard, the gallery owned by artist Shepard Fairey.
The cover artist for the new issue is Cleon Peterson, the lead designer for Shepard/Obey, who is blowing up in his own right these days with art fans and collectors alike. Cleon, Shepard and a handful of LA artists made the trip to the launch and helped make it a memorable event.
Sound like fun? You’re in luck – the VNA team will be launching the issue in London at Number Six Dray Walk (in our 'hood, just off Brick Lane) next Thursday evening, 26th February. All are welcome... come on down!
W+K placement team Hanna Stenwall and Joyce Kremer are members of SheSays, an organisation for women in the creative industries. SheSays helped us host an event in our basement last night on the very W+K theme of embracing failure, where we shared some of our experience (and a few embarrassing photos) with their members.
Hanna and Joyce write:
Fear of failure. It’s quite primal really. We’re a performance-driven breed, always planning for the worst case scenario. For some reason, we tend to think that the result of our work equals our worth as human beings. No wonder we fear failure.
At W+K, you’re encouraged to ‘embrace failure’. The philosophy behind the legendary statement runs through the company’s veins. You can’t be blocked by fear when you're supposed to take risks. Without risks, the world would be predictable. Dull. Plain boring. A nightmare.
Yet we rarely take time to talk about this fear, what it does to us and how to overcome it. So that’s what we did. W+K and SheSays joined forces. Gathered some friends. Popped open some bottles of wine. Shared some stories. Basically, a lot of good things came out of it.
Over 100 people came to the agency last night to find out how Helen, Vikki and Ray embrace their failures. We can say that it was quite a success. Even though we, not too surprisingly, feared failure.
Thank you to everyone who came, and everyone involved. Without you all, this would have been just another Wednesday night.
Although the year is coming to an end, we're still welcoming some lovely newbies into our W+K family.
A big hello to Victoria Smith. She's joined us a Creative Producer. She has some ace fun facts: she once had a make up brush thrown at her by Naomi Campbell and has partied with Beyonce and Jay-Z without even realising it!
This is Flore Segal. She arrives by way of Unilever's brand strategy team and the Miami ad school. Things to know about her: she's French, speaks five languages and has an impressive array of creative-crafty skills... sculpting bronze statues, sewing, upholstering and antiquing furniture. Welcome!
We've also had a couple of freelancers take the plunge and go permanent in the last week. Hurrah.
Miles has taken the aforementioned leap having freelanced here on and off for the past seven years. Yes, seven years! He's now a welcome addition to the Design department.
Finally, Indy Basra. Another new permanent member of studio after a little freelance stint. He's previously worked at TBWA and Saatchi & Saatchi. A fun fact: he is a big Arnold Schwarznegger fan and does a mean Arnie impression.
Our wonderful people were recognised within their respective departments. MD Neil came 6th in 'Top 10 Suits', ECD Tony 5th in 'Creatives', and our Head of Planning, Beth was 10th in 'Planning'.
And then there's this: the obligatory lookalike list, where Neil is compared to Marcus Waering. We're yet to witness Neil's culinary skills, but we'll admit we can see a certain similarity between beards.
There’s nothing sadder than abandoned Christmas trees, left out on the streets after the season’s festivities are finished.
That’s why, as the last festive season was winding to a close back in January, W+K creatives Jason and Joris decided to do something about it and salvage the poor little fellas, whilst getting a head start on this year's Christmas cards.
As soon as we were back in the office after our Christmas break, we put on our gloves and set about collecting abandoned trees from our neighbourhood, before chipping the wood outside our office. We then turned the wood chips into paper at the world's oldest mechanised paper mill, Frogmore Paper Mill, and screen printed a simple but eye-catching recyling-inspired tree design on the front. Finally, we added a classic decorative tree topper, a shiny golden star, to turn last year’s abandoned Christmas trees into this year’s Christmas cards.
For two weeks this December, we're turning our office into a shop selling the cards, and there is also a limited amount available to buy online at wklondon.com/ChristmasCards. All proceeds from card sales will be donated to Trees For Cities. Each A6 card comes with its own recycled transparent envelope.
We also made a film to document the process of collecting the trees, chipping them and turning them into paper.
We've made some room at the W+K family table just in time for Christmas and welcomed four brilliant new creative brains to the agency.
First up, we have Swinglish (half Swedish, half English) creative team Henrik and James. They join us after a few years at Anomaly and stints at R/GA and Grey.
They've made lots of great work over the past few years and won a bunch of awards. Much of their work can be seen on their provocatively (if questionably) titled site www.welcometopessimism.com, along with some of their side projects. Despite the name of their site, we're pleased to say that they're not actually cynics, they're actually rather positive blokes and an exciting addition to our creative department.
The've also had a couple of brushes with fame, or at least with notoriety – Henrik was once asked to take part in Sweden's "adult" version of Big Brother, and James was taunted by a famous retired French footballer cruising for a brusing. You'll be pleased to hear they both took the high road.
Next up we have Will and Adam. Adam used to be involved in some sort of hedge fund business and can only see in 2D, and Will was a marine biologist. Good thing for us they decided to have a go at advertising, then.
They came to us as a placement team a couple of months ago, but after absolutely smashing it on client briefs and masterminding our Conker King window (much to the delight of passersby and procrastinating W+Kers alike), we decided to offer them a permanent place at W+K. And they accepted. Hooray!
W+K Director of Communications + Behaviour Planning, Danni, brings us some news about the future of Snapchat:
Snapcash from Snapchat has just launched - check out the amusing video:
If you don't have time, Snapcash is basically a fast way to transfer money to another user without doing a bank transfer. Sign up your debit card to your Snapchat account (enabled by Square Cash) and 'snapcash' money easily. Snapcash is only available in the US and available to those who are 18+ with a debit card.
Other transcational methods we’ve seen that empower young people to manage their own money are from a relatively new company, Osper. They offer a prepaid debit card for 8-18 year olds, giving children financial freedom to learn the value of money. All monitored by a parentally controlled app.
The fact that Snapchat has evolved their proposition beyond ‘chatting’ means they are listening and responding to what young people want, and the way they communicate with one another.
More news of how they’re going beyond being a simple messaging platform is the leaked news of Snapchat Discover.
Snapchat are rumoured to be in talks with popular publishers: CNN, Mail Online, ESPN, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, Buzzfeed, Spotify, Vevo, National Geographic, Vice and People Magazine, to provide their users with entertaining content including articles, videos and music. Beyond this, the Discover platform is a further way for brands to reach Snapchatters beyond the recent advertising approach, as publishers will be able to sell ad placements within their content, and in true Snapchat style, will disappear once you’ve seen it.
These developments are currently unveiling in the US, which will no doubt soon be over here.
As Snapchat breeds themselves into a can’t-be-without tool for young people, from messaging to entertainment and now transactions, we can only expect more and learn more from this social guru.
"Wieden+Kennedy has described being named as Agency of the Year in The Drum's Advertising Census 2014 as “an honour” after it was found to be the top performing business across all of the publication’s polls.
The independent advertising agency was discovered to be the most consistent performer following the release of the Advertising Census, which ranks agencies for financial performance, client satisfaction, peer recommendation and creative performance."
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.