There’s a big crane hoisting stuff onto the roof of our offices at the moment. This is good because, blissfully, it means the builders have had to stop drilling for a bit.
If you get onto the roof of the building opposite, you can see that the structure of our extension – the ‘eyrie’, as our architect Josephine calls it – is now taking shape. Exciting.
Nice new lightshade in our basement spreading its warm glow over toiling W+K workers.
Visited the Earth Gallery at London’s Natural History Museum yesterday evening for the unveiling of Honda Racing F1 Team’s new car.
The car carries no corporate colours, no advertising and no sponsor logos. Though it does have a rather prominent Red H badge on its nose.
Instead of sponsors’ logos, the car carries an image of the earth seen from space.
The idea is to signify a new approach to Formula One and a desire to demonstrate Honda’s commitment to using its involvement in the sport to raise environmental issues. You can find out more about this at the myearthdream website.
You can read more about the unusual licensing approach that Honda is taking instead of conventional sponsorship in this article from The Guardian.
The car looked very impressive and there was a packed house at the event to see the car and hear presentations from the Chairman of Honda Racing F1 Team: Yasuhiro Wada, the Chief Executive of Honda GP Ltd: Nick Fry, and the Minister for Sport: Richard Caborn. This is a pretty bold an innovative approach to F1 from Honda; it’ll be fascinating to see how it develops.
The crowd included notables such as Jeremy Clarkson, David Bellamy and Linford Christie. Plus leading figures from the world of media, like, er, the W+K Honda team.
There’s a piece here on Digit magazine’s blog about the ‘under construction’ symbols currently displayed on the hoarding on our building. (Above.)
They write that after spending a while trying to work out what it was advertising they realised, "It’s not an ad as such. The building behind is actually
the agency’s London offices and the symbols are just there to cover up
the chipboard, turning every studio’s nightmare when trying to pitch to
clients – the noise and ugliness of building work – into a showcase for
the company… Ignoring the fact that it’s commissioned by W+K as essentially an promo
for itself, this is a piece of art not advertising — though after
years of guerrilla advertising and viral marketing, your first instinct
is to wonder what it’s selling. How long before we start regarding all
street art from graffiti to pavement chalk paintings in this way?"
Brilliant – so we may have inadvertently created a whole new sub-genre of urban spam.
Yesterday saw publication of Campaign magazine’s annual survey of the UK’s ‘top’ agencies, commonly known as the ‘school report’. For the second year in a row we scored an ‘excellent’ 8 out of a maximum possible 9 marks. Clearly, management has to take personal responsibility for that missing point. Here’s what they wrote about us:
"W+K’s reputation for creativity is well-earned but has in the past been based on work for a handful of accounts. Not before time the agency started to extend its canvas last year, bringing in significant new business including The Guardian and Lurpak butter. Add to those Cravendale milk, the Orange account in Romania and the launch of Brick-It (the first mobile phone soap series) and W+K begins to look like a more balanced operation.
Its creativity was widely recognised with awards. Its ‘St Wayne’ ad for Nike took the top honours at Campaign Posters. Meanwhile, its 2005 ‘Impossible Dream’ film for Honda won Best Commercial at the British Television advertising awards, the third consecutive year a W+K spot for the carmaker has won the prize. The spot was also won of the most highly awarded in the world in 2006, according to the Gunn Report. All very satisfying. But in many ways the agency is a victim of its own success, since anything less than a Cannes Grand Prix looks like failure.
Sustaining this creative potency will be among the major challenges for W+K during the coming year, as will leveraging this strength with more international assignments.
Another will be to draft in more digital exprtise. While W+K should be commended for the investment, most of the growth in staff last year came as a result of a general beefing up of its creative department. The agency may be spoken of in the same breath as US hotshops such as Goodby Silverstein and Crispin Porter, but it has a way to travel if it is to match them below the line as well as above it."
We knew we did a good job last year but it’s nice to see they were paying attention. Should we worry about how they rate us? One W+K staffer described a vote of approval from Camapign thus: ‘It’s like getting whacked-off by the ugliest girl in school.’
For what it’s worth, they also asked us to rate ourselves. We gave ourselves only 7 out of 9 and said, ‘Steadily getting better but much more potential for us to achieve.’
Wednesday night was the occasion of the A.M. (Automotive Management) Awards in Birmingham, at which W+K were guests of Honda. Above, Gary Peters of Ruislip Honda displays the award for Best New Car, which went to the Honda Civic. The ceremony was in some ways very different from ad industry affairs, with categories including ‘Best Bodyshop’ and ‘Best Retail Group’, but in other respects (the food, the comedian, the delay between ordering drinks and them arriving at your table) very similar to a Grosvenor House gong-fest.
Partisipating in the Great Spitalfields Pancake Race yesterday, in aid of our clients Save the Children.