fink in the basement

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Bit late posting this, but better than never.

We’re always looking for different uses for the space we have in wieden + kennedy’s palatial building here in London’s fashionable east end. Other than just working, that is. For example, a couple of months back we put on a private view in our reception called W10K, a joint project between Wieden + Kennedy London and Bucks Design College (see september blog). So decided to put the basement to good use. Our mate Matt Kaleda at Ninja Tune records was looking for spaces to showcase up and coming artists, so we thought, why not?

Below are some pics of the evening, which was a private gig with the singer/songwriter Fink, who sang tunes from his album Biscuits for Breakfast.

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(Uncut said, "John Martyn with added digital traces… stunning." Observer Music Monthly said, "a brooding power reminiscent of a stripped down Nick Cave. A leftfield delight.")

The acoustics in the basement aren’t the greatest  but Fink was chuffed with the space and everyone who came along agreed it was a fantastic night and he was great. Fink actually enjoyed it so much he asked to come back. The crazy fool.

Fink also played last night in the BBC’s Electric Proms series of gigs with Nitin Sawhney. You can watch the performance here and you can skip straight to Fink’s bits: ‘Biscuits For Breakfast’ – 5:05, ‘Everybody Loves the Sunshine’ – 29:10, ‘I Don’t Want to Know’ – 33:55, ‘Dead Man’ – 1:30:15.

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Oktoberfest

It’s October, and we like to try a beer from time to time, so last night we had our very own Oktoberfest – at The Bavarian Beerhouse, on City Road.  Kitschtackitastic.

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Here we see Amy and Ida, doing the Blue Steel look, from Zoolander.  Or is it Magnum?  Or is Amy about to throw up some of the 15 litres of lager each glass contained?

Ad here we see Jon Chads and Keith.  We knew all along.

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Army of Trolls

Army of Trolls is the portfolio of London Based, videogame obsessed artist Gary J Lucken.  Working from his computer, surrounded by Japanese toys and piles of old 2D videogames, Gary produces a unique brand of colourful artwork heavily influenced by the videogames, toys and pop culture he loves so much.  You have probably seen some of his very fine work in recent years.

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We’ve just spotted that he’s created some fantastic Honda stuff, and (flatteringly) there are a few elements from our ads in there.  Check it out here.

agency meeting

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A tough crowd, assembled to hear about plans, problems, achievements and ramblings generaly connected with Wieden + Kennedy, its people, its work and its clients. Lured to the meeting by the promise of free beer and miniature cornish pasties.

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Cheryl showed latest promotional work for The Guardian.

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Matt shared a preview of our new cinema commercial for Space.NK.

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Tough crowd (again). Not easily impressed, this lot.

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Currently with us on placement: creative team Noe and James, who met through a website.

His Royal Airness

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On Friday 20th October, Niketown London laid out the red carpet for the living legend Michael Jordan and God-like shoe designer Mr Tinker Hatfield (who we visited earlier this year at Nike’s Innovation Kitchen in Oregon).  100 special invited fans, including myself (Darren), Jules and Guy F witnessed MJ and Tinker chat about Jordan’s career, shoe design and what the future held for the Jordan brand.  As soon as the chat was finished it was a race to the basketball section to try and buy the very limited Jordan V grapes and, if you were really lucky, the black and blues. (Rumour had it only 30 pairs came in.) It was like they were giving away free money – chaos.  But I’m very happy to say we won the race and copped the shoes.  Nice.

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Nike and LCD Soundsystem

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In an interesting counterpoint to the post below, Pitchfork reports that Nike has commissioned LCD Soundsystem to create an original workout mix, featuring new music by the band, pieced together like a DJ mix. It’s available as an iTunes download and purportedly based on "an arc designed for running". Pitchfork says:

"LCD Soundsystem have sold out to the greatest American shoe company ever to co-opt popular culture… Okay, "sold out" is harsh, especially considering Nike’s advertising and marketing track record: 1987’s "Revolution" spot by Portland-based ad tycoons Wieden & Kennedy (who’d also worked with Lou Reed for Honda), the "Bo Knows" campaign of the late 80s, Spike Lee as Mars Blackmon wondering how MJ put so much height into his jump ("must be the shoes")– at this point, they’re less stealing from pop culture than contributing to it. And it doesn’t hurt that these campaigns were wildly successful, so if James Murphy and company can condescend to the corporate ranks, far be it from me to cry foul."

Well, that’s a point of view that would enable us ad industry music fans to live with our consciences.

W+K succeeds in offending Nick Cave

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Jarvis Cocker hosts a round table discussion in this month’s Observer Music Monthly and asks ‘Does music still matter?’

Jarvis: To start with: advertising. I don’t live in England any more but I came back the other day and was watching telly and that Johnny Cash song came on [‘Hurt’]. But it was advertising Nike trainers, and that struck me as being a particularly inappropriate use of music.

Nick Cave: I personally find that offensive. Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust For Life’ was used for a car ad. I used to drive around in my car when I was 19 screaming that song, and it had an anti-establishment purpose. For it now to be appropriated by the advertising industry … I think that’s fucked. I don’t know what situation the people who have written the music are in, if they need the money or … I’m not trying to take the moral high ground but I wouldn’t allow my music to be used in that way.

Jarvis: Do you get offers?

Nick Cave: Often. There’s a song called ‘Red Right Hand’, and a sanitary napkin company back in New Zealand wanted to use it, which was tempting … but that was the closest I’ve ever come.

I was tempted to make a glib comment about all this, particularly in the light of the mind-boggling prospect of the Bad Seeds’ ‘Red Right Hand’ soundtracking a sanpro ad (that’s just wrong) but as a big fan of both Johnny Cash and Nick Cave, it did make me think. Are we agencies doing a bad thing? Personally, I find the use of ‘Hurt’ on the Nike ad (from W+K Amsterdam) a respectful and moving use of the song, but I may be biased and clearly not everyone feels that way. There is a danger that ad agencies and record labels piss in the cultural water supply by taking pieces of music that are meaningful and important to people and devalue them by putting them to commercial use. (There was a fuss when The Beatles ‘Revolution’ was used on a Nike ad a few years ago. And I remember feeling somehow personally let down when The Clash consented to having ‘Should I stay or should I Go’ used on a Levi’s ad. Who’s working for the clampdown now, boys? I thought. And it does cheer the nonconformist in me a little bit every time I hear that Tom Waits has refused yet another lucrative offer to use one of his songs on an ad.)

But the artists can always say no. And most ads are pretty ephemeral. And the exposure of an ad camapign can bring artists a wider audience than they might otherwise expect. (Conversely to my comments about The Clash, I was delighted when Vauxhall put The Fall’s ‘Touch Sensitive’ on their Corsa Hide and Seek ad. Better musical taste than we ususally see from agency DLKW.) Long after the ads are gone and forgotten, the music will live on. If it’s any good. Who else remembers that Levi’s ad with the Clash song now?

Still more from Tokyo

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We used this very blog as our presentation to the Tokyo office, to tell them about what’s been happening in London.  Here they are:

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Simon Summerscales, Fat Controller and giant, with a Honda monkey bike:

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Ha ha smoothie:

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Supping sake:

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The pigeons can get food for themselves.  And speak English.

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Aah:

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And we really need to adopt the Japanese heated toilet seat thing.  You can’t know how pleasant this is until you’ve tried it:

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And the toilets offer other special services too:

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