Easter weekend is a natural point at which to scoff buns and chocolate, yes, but also to pause and consider how the year 2013 is going for us so far at Wieden + Kennedy London.
Winning new business was a key goal for us in 2012. We succeeded in bringing in a number of new clients, including Schweppes, Finlandia, Maximus, Southern Comfort, FUZE tea and arguably the win of the year, the UK’s largest retailer, Tesco. We landed the Tesco account in September and at that point we shut up shop for new business so as to focus on existing clients and make sure we were not so busy that the quality of our work suffered.
Christmas 2012 and the first few months of 2013 have seen the fruits of that focus, with new work breaking for Honda, Lurpak, Tesco, Three, Visit Wales and more. Here are a few recent highlights at W+K London:
- We were delighted that Tesco was able to report its best Christmas sales results for three years, which led to a 3% rise in share price. Our Tesco Christmas campaign was described by Retail Week as ‘top ranking’ of all supermarkets’ efforts in terms of popularity on social media; they credited it with giving Tesco a ‘significant boost’. The results were certainly an encouraging start to our work with Tesco.
- In February the One Club teamed up with the American International Auto Show in Detroit to name its list of the ten greatest car ads of the last 25 years. Our work for Honda took the first and second places. And we helped Honda to launch the new Civic across Europe with a campaign that transcended language, despite/because of being based around a palindrome.
- As Britain grumbled its way through recession and winter, we launched a new campaign for Lurpak celebrating the power of “good, proper food” to put fire in the nation’s bellies.
This work also went down well at Campaign. “This, surely is why we are all in the business. A brilliant idea when it launched and one that just gets better with time and development. This latest execution is beautifully crafted, with the same perfect tone of voice we’ve come to expect from Wieden + Kennedy.”
AdWeek described it as “visually astonishing… another sensory masterpiece”.
Another execution from the Lurpak campaign.
Around the same time, one of our earlier Lurpak posters was inducted into the Outdoor Hall of Fame. (It’s a bit like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but with posters.)
- We created a psychedelically colourful London Transport campaign for Lactofree to encourage grumpy commuters to say yes to breakfast.
Gazillions of views, umpteen shares, a million remixes, Fleetwood Mac back in the charts - Socks the pony smashed Twitter, topped the world’s viral video charts and appeared on national news from the USA to Japan. The Mail wrote: “As the government's austerity programme rolls on, and the UK tightens its belt, Britain is a nation in need of something to smile about. And it seems a Shetland pony moon-walking to the strains of an '80s pop tune could be just the thing. An advert for mobile internet firm 3, which sees a pony tapping its hooves to Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac, has been lauded as 'the best thing ever' by fans on Twitter.”
Moreaboutadvertising.com asked “Is W+K London’s ‘little pony’ ad for Three the most successful UK campaign ever?”
And went on to say: “Agency Wieden+Kennedy London is sometimes criticised for trying to be original and different with everything (often a rather painstaking process). But who else would be so brave?” *agency accepts criticism, blushes collectively at praise*
- Our print campaign for Tesco setting out their response to the horsemeat scandal was described as “poetry” by the Standard and compared to a Shakespearean sonnet by the BBC, who said the copy had "an incantatory quality, in the way it repeats certain phrases, trying to cast a spell on the reader with words”.
- We helped launch a new initiative for Tesco – the Price Promise. Here’s how it works: when you shop at Tesco, online or in store, they will compare your basket against the prices at Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. If your shopping would have been cheaper there, Tesco will give you a voucher for the difference for up to £10. The Price Promise campaign has rolled out nationally on TV, posters, press, online and in-store. Price Promise has been described as a potential ‘game changer’ by Retail Week.
The art direction on the print work, meanwhile, has been described as "Exquisite. Crafted. Considered. Clever"
And in between making adverts, we survived explosions in the street outside our office, attended the Vodka Cup in Finland, reported back from TED and SXSW, picked up a couple of gold arrows at the British Telly Advertising Awards, got an ‘excellent’ school report from Campaign, hired some great new people, and created an online Easter egg hunt for virtual eggs with real prizes.
No wonder the first quarter of the year seems to have passed so quickly – we’ve been busy.
2013 is shaping up to be another tough year for the advertising industry. I’m not particularly positive about prospects for the business in general (though UK ad spend is forecast by some experts to grow, I don’t necessarily see this translating into increased agency revenue), or the UK economy - forecasts seem to be generally gloomy - but, based on the first quarter of the year, with more hard work, continued focus on our people and the quality of what we do, and the support of some amazing clients, I am very optimistic, with custard on, about the outlook for Wieden + Kennedy London.