Difficult is worth doing


Coverage from The Sun (left).

‘The N was a little shaky and the D partially obstructed by cloud but
a team of skydivers successfully made advertising history last night
when they spelled out the word H-o-n-d-a live on air.

The UK’s
first live advert, filmed during the first break of the reality show
Come Dine with Me, passed without a hitch. At 8.10pm, the skydivers –
including European champion Phil Curtis, four world champions and nine
national skydiving champions – were given the green light to clamber on
to the outside of the aeroplane and, following a signal from the team
leader, threw themselves into the air.

As they plummeted to Earth
from 12,000 metres (40,000ft), they undoubtedly had the car
manufacturer’s advertising strapline ‘Difficult is worth doing’ ringing
in their ears. Within seconds they had formed the initial H, and O soon
followed. There was a hairy moment when the first N looked as if it was
drifting apart, and as a passable D took shape the group were
momentarily engulfed by grey cloud, but the finale of a beautifully
symmetric A was faultless.

With their mission accomplished the
team released their parachutes and floated to the ground amid much
whooping. One skydiver opened his palms to the camera, revealing the
time-honoured message: “Hello mum”.’

So said the Guardian of last night’s live Honda ad.

In life you have to take leaps of faith if you are going to get somewhere.
Throughout their history Honda has never been afraid of doing this.

The ‘Difficult Is Worth Doing’ strategy was born of the truth.  Soichiro Honda said ‘If you choose the simple way, it will be the easiest way, it may be profitable, but that is not my way of business. I believe that only by choosing the hard way is there progress’.

The premium corporate D sector is one of most challenging in the car market. The development of Honda’s new Accord took a leap of faith from their engineers to develop from the ground up a completely new car.

Wieden + Kennedy chose skydiving formations for the accord launch campaign because of their delicate precision moves in the air. Human engineering. A metaphor for the Honda engineers’ work on the ground. We wanted to attempt to make shapes of parts of the car using real skydivers as it was a challenge – quite literally a leap of faith.  The ‘Difficult Is Worth Doing’ blog and teaser spots introduced you to some of the Jump team who were going to attempt this and the difficulties that they faced.  This built conversations online.

Channel 4 came to us with media space for a live 3 minute spot. We took them through the strategy and our idea of skydivers creating formations. They took our original concept and had the idea of building the Honda logo live in freefall. In conjunction with this we produced the main TV spo(which breaks on Sunday) while they were producing the live jump.  This is a great example of collaboration with new media opportunities.  Releasing the live event just before the launch spot breaks caused even more noise.

If you missed the live ad last night, here it is:

does originality matter?

Here's a viral film for Ray Bans from agency Cutwater and director "Benzo" Theodore. 3.5 million hits on Youtube.

And here's one for Levi's from agency Cutwater and director "Benzo" Theodore. 3 million hits on Youtube.

Same agency. Same ad. Different clients. Seems to have got loads of attention for both of them.

Does it matter? Should we give up on this 'unique brand voice' thing, and just do cool shit that we sell to lots of clients?


Embrace failure

We didn't get the Department of Health anti-obesity project that we pitched for recently. Bummer. Reports say it has been won by M&C Saatchi. Congrats to them.
It's always tough to lose a pitch. Lots of hard work, lots of stress, and then – boom! It was all for nothing. This one was particularly disappointing. It was such a big challenge and we believed we had some great work. (Confidentiality prevents me from sharing any of it on here, unfortunately.) All you can do is present stuff you believe in.
You win some, you lose some.

the great wieden’s flap-jack-off

Flapjacks. So easy even a child can make them. But the simple recipe allows
great room for creative freedom.

Good flapjacks deserve Lurpak:
Lurpak and oats

To put their skills to the test, Ian, Sophie
and Ryan cooked up a little taste sensation.
Ian, ryan, sophie

Sophie baking

Cups and tupperware

A few hindrances later (ryan forgot the recipe, ian forgot the sugar), and
the flaps were jacked.

The results: 
sophie: very good taste, stuck to the paper, chewy, looked perfect.
Sophie eating

ryan: light and slightly savoury flavor, crumbly and soft texture, golden and
broken appearance.

Ian: taste- bitter with a hint of fish, texture- dry, look- a mess.

Summary: "It's funny how anything you burn just tastes of burn no matter what
it is."
Sophie's syrup

On twenty different levels, OMG


We don’t usually stoop to slagging other folks’ ads here. But in this case, we’ll make an exception.
Planning guru Kevin Chesters writes, from the very top of his vertiginously high horse:

I realise that there
is something of a fad for, "Hey Joe Public, write an advert and we’ll
give you tuppence/a free burger/a holdall full of shiny hooded tops"
and I’m all for the growth of (good) User Generated Content but,
goodness me.

Saw this (above) this morning in the "Metro".

1. "write a great
travel headline": I’d suggest that possibly filching a bad pun used
every week on Soccer AM for the last five years might not qualify as

2. "£50"??? Compare this to the cost of any agency/copywriter/designer/street sweeper and this looks tighter than tight.

3. What do you think Smee’s (or whoever is responsible for Expedia) think of this?

4. shame on whoever came up with this excuse for a ‘strategy’.

This ‘Moscow’
execution reminds me of the time I tripped into my creative director’s
office aged 22 in a fit of youthful exuberance and told him I had
written a great ad and his withering response was, "That is not a great
ad. It is a shit pun".

I suspect that about
fifty thousand people would respond to me with comments about simply
being defensive about our great art but for crying out loud. This is
terrible isn’t it? Can anyone argue cogently with me that it isn’t?
Everybody thinks they can write good adverts but this execution (and a
thousand and one suggestions for headlines prefixed with the
phrase "I’m not creative but…") just goes to prove they can’t.

And what on earth has
this got to do with "Let yourself go"? Might as well write "Herds of
Dairylea Goodness" in the corner for all that the execution has to do
with the strategy or strapline.

Man alive….

Please send all outraged defences / responses / abuse directly to Kevin.