We've welcomed a host of lovely new people into the W+K family recently; it's probably about time we introduced them.
This is Chris Chapman. He joins our design team from Grey where he worked on Volvo and Lacoste. Chris has some great fun facts. He once ate 43 Weetabix (and 2 litres of milk) in a talent completion. He came third. He has a genetic condition which makes him resistant to many common illnesses and fortifies his bones against injury. He has recently finished writing 'Sci-fi-orator'; a science-fiction book, which he describes as "not really science fiction".
A big welcome to Patti Doxey. She has joined us from JWT and is now a member of our lovely PA department. Patti grew up on the Chatsworth estate where the duchess taught her to drink tea and she recently got married to a chef, clever girl. Congrats Patti!
Manjinder Bal joins our Finance department ,working in accounts payable. In his previous life, before joining the media industry, he dabbled in real estate property management and also spent a number of years in the world of importing and exporting of ladies' shoes.
Joining our HR team as lead HR manager is the lovely Amy Dunlop. After seven years at Hall & Partners, Amy decided to give good old W+K a shot. Something you should know about Amy: David Blaine once took a bit of a shine to her on a flight back from New York and left his seat in upper class to join her in economy where he fed her bread rolls. Strange!
Our Studio welcomes a new (old) face in the form of Adrian Guerin. Adrian freelanced with us back in 2013 and loved it so much he's back for good. Before he returned to us he travelled to Australia overland via Turkey, Iran and India, where he got to dabble in photography, his other passion. Glad to have you back, Adrian!
Last week we were honoured to be invited by St Joseph's Hospice to go and present a big cheque to them, have a tour round and meet some of the team there.
We've been raising money for St Joseph's since one of our beloved WK-ers, Cheryl Rogers, passed away there in January last year. It's an incredible place and as usual the team visiting left feeling incredibly humble and moved by the experience.
Anita showed us round as not all of us had visited before, and explained a bit about the Hospice's history. The level of care they give their patients both at home and within the hospital walls is genuinely amazing. They put a huge amount of thought and effort into helping people live their lives to the full to the very end (that's their mission statement) and it was incredibly special to learn a bit more about the work they do and how the money we've raised has helped them. Thanks everyone at St Joseph's for showing us round (and some delicious cake)
Seeing as pretty much everything else seems to be happening online these days, why shouldn't we shift the classic panel debate format into a virtual space as well?
Our head of planning, Beth, was invited to take part in a Guardian live webchat about advertising, which is like a very clever and polite version of the debates that play out in a YouTube video's comment section.
The topic today was "How to build a winning ad campaign." Want to know the secret formula? So do we. But for now, you can see the discussion (in reverse order) in the comments section below this article on the Guardian's site, and see what Beth and some of her peers have to say on the topic, including Gerry Human, chief creative officer, Ogilvy & Mather London and Trevor Robinson OBE, executive creative director and founder, Quiet Storm.
A couple of years ago, W+K designer Sanket launched a project close to his heart and one he's been working on in his spare time. Taxi Fabric sees him bringing emerging Mumbai design talent to the public, by upholstering the interiors of the city's taxis with their designs.
Taxi Fabric started off as a simple blog, and today it is a platform for designers in Mumbai to showcase their work in a unique way. Through this project, Sanket is hoping to raise awareness in India of the impact design can have on people's lives.
Working with a small team, Sanket has fitted five taxis with five designers' work so far. They are currently working with designers sponsoring their own taxis, but are looking to develop the project further and give even more of the city's taxis a striking makeover. Sanket has self-funded this project so far but after investing a lot in research and sampling with suppliers, and in order to help emerging designers showcase their work, he has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise the necessary funds to support this growth.
If you'd like to get involved, please head over to his Kickstarter page where all sorts of great rewards are up for grabs including the chance to design your own Taxi Fabric.
We're also pleased to say that Sanket is the winner of this month's Spore Fund grant, which sees W+K awarding a small grant to someone in the agency for a creative project unrelated to work, based on a proposal and budget plan. Congratulations Sanket!
Stay tuned for more updates on Sanket's lovely project.
Read on for a Friday update from W+Ker Andy on his latest educational adventures in Cannes:
Today I saw Colleen, one of of our global ECDs, take part in a panel discussion around the subject of 'gender diversity' and what it's like to be a woman in advertising. Hearing them speak it seemed that, luckily, we appear to be an industry that is actually pretty good in this area comparatively, even though we all need to do more to level the playing field. Whilst some of the panel talked about certain issues that they've faced along the way, on the whole things seemed pretty positive. Now, as I am a man, clearly this is not something I have faced and so maybe I am not best qualified to comment, but equally I am thankful for working in an agency where I think gender quality isn't really an issue, and one that is actively trying to make sure it isn't one. What I do know is that when I go to our head of department meetings, I am the only man in the room. That must be a good sign.
I also went a to talk given by the three women (see what I did there?) behind the 'podcast phenomenon' Serial. It was brilliant. I was left in awe of the creative thinking, skill and vision behind something that is, in their own words, '10 hours of journalism about the American justice system.' They spoke about the difficulty of real-time production and wanting to make it feel real in every way, which is why they left in all the bits around presenter Sarah Koenig's uncertainty about what was happening and how she felt day to day.
When it comes to the art of 'storytelling,' their POV was clear: 'we should not be running away from details and moments in stories that reflect the way life is actually led. Don't mimc it, or create it in the way you think it should be told. Telling stories in a real way is artistry and what makes it emotionally meaningful.' I think this might be one of the best things I've heard all week, and it reminded me of how we often say to prospective clients in new business meetings that at W+K, we don't really do the 'advertising bullshit thing,' but that we always look for human, brand and product truths and then try to articulate them in new, creative and engaging ways. Try.
Then to wrap up the week of talks, I saw the 'Cannes debate' with Martin Sorrell and Al Gore. Martin was as smooth as you would expect any £50M+-a-year CEO to be. Al was as smooth as you would expect any ex– Vice President, friend of Steve Jobs and Google and Apple board member to be.
In fact, they were so smooth, so powerful and so rich they actually glowed gold on stage. A true wonder to behold:
Our man Andy' is still in Cannes. He spent yesterday trying to dodge the celebs and take in some of the more legit industry stuff instead. He writes:
Ok, so I'll admit my last post was pretty low brow. So I've tried to take it up a notch this time.
I saw Richard Curtis (sorry, still dropping names) and John Hegarty talk about the launch of the UN's 'Global goals', a series of ambitious targets to end extreme poverty and tackle climate change for everyone by 2030. They got very excited about an ad they've written, which will run as the 'first ever global cinema ad campaign'.
All well and good, but what they were really asking was for us in the audience to use our 'media power' to tell people about it. So that's what I'm doing. And now you can tell everyone you know about it, and so on...
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.
On top of being a creative here at W+K, Katie teaches on the Illustration Pathway at Central Saint Martins.
As part of the Restless Futures Programme, Katie's Stage 2 students have created a virtual gallery that harnesses the power of the Internet to spread messages of sustainability, titled #NOMORESTUFF. Although the exhibition exists in no physical form, their bite-size mantras, or eco canapés, will live on the Instagram as a visual dose of sustainability-themed inspiration.
You can read a write up by Ben Terrett (ex W+Ker and now UAL Governor) here and browse the gallery on Instagram here.
Earlier in the year we started our Design Placement scheme, and welcomed Sam Part as our very first willing guinea pig. Sam writes:
I recently spent three months as a design placement at W+K London, and I enjoyed every minute. I was given the opportunity to work on a self-initiated agency project about failure, as well as the 'InstaNapzzz' window installation during my time there. It's a fantastic agency full of very talented and welcoming people.
I learned a lot, but here are the top five things I came away with:
1. Asking questions is a good way to learn. Just make sure they are good ones.
2. Being confident in your ideas can pay off. I found that visualising the crazy ideas floating around my head helped others understand what I was thinking.
3. Crossing into different disciplines is surprisingly rewarding. I never had a way with words, but I had fun trying out copywriting, much to the amusement of my peers.
4. Talking about things I was doing outside of work helped shake up my thought process. It was refreshing, and I think it helped others understand the way I think.
5. I came across lots of amazing people with varying backgrounds at W+K. I learnt very quickly that anything is possible. You just have to talk and listen to the right people to help you make it happen.
After finishing my spell at W+K, I launched a dream project of mine in Selfridges in London, called ‘Candy Mechanics.' It's something I've been working on for some time and combines 3D scanning technology with good old fashioned sugar. For six weeks, my partner-in-crime Benjamin Redford and I will be making custom 3D-printed candy. Pop in and see us on the lower ground floor in the Ultra Lounge until the 7th of June, to have your own head replicated in lollipop format.
You can also see same examples of Sam's lollipops in the L Gallery here in our office, featuring a few familiar faces from the W+K London family.
Including these glorious candy versions of CDs Sanam and Anders: