security pants

Brief_safe

Brilliant item available for sale from Shomer-Tec, producers of ‘Law Enforcement and Military Equipment.’

The descriptive blurb is so good it deserves to be reproduced in full:

The "Brief Safe" is an innovative diversion safe that can secure your cash, documents, and other small valuables from inquisitive eyes and thieving hands, both at home and when you’re traveling. Items can be hidden right under their noses with these specially-designed briefs which contain a fly-accessed 4" x 10" secret compartment with Velcro closure and "special markings" on the lower rear portion. Leave the "Brief Safe" in plain view in your laundry basket or washing machine at home, or in your suitcase in a hotel room – even the most hardened burgler or most curious snoop will "skid" to a screeching halt as soon as they see them. (Wouldn’t you?) Made in USA. One size. Color: white (and brown). To add realistic smell, check out "Doo Drops" on Page 65.

Or, of course, you could just hide your money in an actual pair of dirty pants.

U2 ESPN campaign

Here’s a new commercial produced by Wieden + Kennedy New York to support ESPN’s World Cup coverage. The campaign features a number of spots that celebrate the power of football to bring the world together with music by U2 and v/o by members of the band.

This post celebrates the fact that I’ve just learned (thanks to Gav from IT) how to insert YouTube clips into the blog.

Wieden + Kennedy’s rubbish idea wins at D&AD

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Months of work and mega budgets on Honda but what did we actually win a pencil for at D&AD? The agency Christmas card – bin bags printed to look like Christmas puddings, so that when you filled them and put out your christmas rubbish it would bring a bit of festivity to the street. The idea was created by our first team of WK Siders – Tom, Wevs, Orlando and Sarah. We founded WK Side to bring in groups of people from outside the industry and give them a chance to work at an agency. So that they could learn from us and vice versa. It’s fantastic that the first group of Siders, in their 3 months here, managed to come up with an idea that won a pencil – the sort of thing that creative people spend their entire careers chasing, usually unsuccessfully.

don’t look back

Nice thought, related by Green of Scritti Politti in an interview with the Guardian.

"An NME journalist went on the road with (Bob) Marley. They flew into Miami, checked their bags at the hotel and then went to the soundcheck. And afterwards the journalist said ‘Are we going back to the hotel now?’ and Marley said, ‘No, we’re going forward to the hotel.’ I always liked that."

want to work at wieden + kennedy?

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Welcome to the jobs section. Here goes:

Wieden + Kennedy London is an independent, creatively-driven communications agency whose clients include Honda, Nike, EA Games, and Yakult. The quality of our work has consistently been recognised by creative awards juries as amongst the very best in the world.

We’re looking for new media designers who are ready to do the best work of their lives. People that have raw talent and experience in concept and content development for web and preferably experience in other new media channels (mobile, mp4 devices etc). Skills should include concept, visualisation, design and build. Advanced HTML, CSS, Javascript, Flash 8, Photoshop, ImageReady, Fireworks, After Effects, Dreamweaver, etc.

They won’t be part of a separate digital division or department, they’ll be an integral part of the creative development and execution process. If you’re interested contact simon.summerscales@wk.com

Life in the middle

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We’re overdue for pointing our readers in the direction of life in the middle, a blog by Paul Colman. Paul is an amusing and perceptive commentator on marketing, martial arts and other things. He’s a client of ours. And he’s apparently quite hard. But despite these things, we’d be recommending his blog as worth reading. Because it is.

He added an interesting post recently on cold calling.

However you look at it, cold calling is shit, really. I’ve been on both ends of it. It’s miserable having to call people you don’t know and try to sell them stuff. And it’s depressing getting a call from someone you don’t know who says, ‘And how are you today?’ when we both know that he doesn’t care how I am and he’s about to follow a script designed to part me inexorably from my time and my company’s money. So the two of us understand that he’s going to have to speak for as long as possible without drawing breath because basic politeness will probably stop me from either interrupting or simply hanging up, however tempting these options might be. And then I love those assumptive ‘questions’ in the script – ‘Is one of your company’s objectives to maximise revenue from blue chip new clients?’

‘No, our objectives are to carve figurines out of cheese and buy as many as possible of those scary little ornaments made of real, dead but somehow embalmed or glazed frogs playing little musical instruments.’

When you give an answer like this there’s usually a bit of a pause on the other end of the phone… And then you realise you’re not being clever or funny, you’re just making their already unpleasant job even worse.

Paul’s cold-calling guidelines look pretty good to me and I’d commend them to anyone who might be thinking of cold-calling wieden + kennedy. Unfortunately, in my exerience, most of the people who cold-call me haven’t gone to the trouble to look at our blog or website. So they probably won’t get this tip.

Great meeting

What makes a great meeting? Or is ‘great meeting’ an oxymoron? (You could be forgiven for thinking, watching the Apprentice, or The Office, that meetings in British business have to involve flip-charts, bullshit, bravado and the despair you feel as you remove the cellophane from the biscuit plate in conference room 14c in a business park in  Runcorn while you wait for someone to set up an interminable powerpoint presentation.) I started thinking about this after a meeting I attended this morning. It was a great meeting.

We’re pitching for the Guardian at the moment. As part of that process, we were invited to one of their editorial meetings. Which was fascinating for a number of reasons. Partly the content of the meeting – the people and what they discussed – and partly the style in which the meeting was conducted. Anyone from the Guardian is welcome to attend these open meetings, at which that day’s paper is reviewed and the next day’s stories are discussed. There’s a big team of people – about 30 – and they all seem incredibly well-prepared, smart, focused and switched on. No-one shuffles in a few minutes late because they slept in or missed the bus – they all assemble promptly and come ready to contribute. No-one makes excuses for not having had time to prepare. The mood is positive, supportive, but quite high-pressure. They cover a lot of stuff at some speed, as you would expect for an organisation that has to turn out in 24 hours, every day,  something that will be read by millions and scrutinised by the country’s opinion formers and leaders. It was inspiring to watch the passion and good humour with which they approach this. At the end of the meeting there’s no hnaging around chatting; everyone disappears at once to get on with things. It made me think a couple of things about our business:

– we’re lousy at running meetings productively and efficiently. There must be ways in which we can make them both more effective and more inspiring.

– people in communications talk about the pressure and stress of the deadlines we face and the high expectations of our clients. We have it pretty easy in both these respects compared to putting together the Guardian.

Deep pockets

People sometimes ask, ‘So why is there a perception of advertising as a generally badly-run business with slack management  living off outdated service and remuneration systems?’

Gee, I don’t know. Could it be anything to do with stories like this one in Ad Age?

Ad Age reports that, while IPG has lost $2 billion over the last 5 years, its top 5 executives were paid $124 million over this period. $2 billion. That’s a big loss. Shareholders might have been better off putting the money into something less risky than advertising, like Nigerian get-rich-quick schemes. Interpublic said, "The large difference between the potential and realized value of past awards reflects the company’s performance and is both appropriate and in keeping with the intent of incentive compensation." So, they’re saying, the fact that execs only trousered $124 million (an average of $2.8 million p.a. each), not the $232 million they would have made if they achieved targets, is an indication that their performance-related compensation scheme works. Must have been tough to forego those extra few millions that can make all the difference.

No wonder client procurement people give us a tough time in fee negotiations. They may get the impression that all agencies are run in this way. Must go – I have to catch the helicopter back to my trout farm.

another spoof of Honda ‘Choir’

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Following 118 188’s ‘hommage’ to our Choir spot for the new Honda Civic, I was interested to discover another spoof version. If anything this one is even more considered in its attention to detail, recreating many of the scenes from our original with a comic twist.

You can see it here.

This version says ‘This is what my car feels like’ and shows us a clapped-out old banger encountering all sorts of everyday driving challenges – traffic cones, tossers in white vans, speed bumps, farts and, er, a dead badger.

I guess we can only be flattered that they’ve gone to so much trouble.

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