two planners no longer in a room

Paul and Graeme, the human mobile multimedia nodes,  say:

We’re incapable of writing anything any more, but what did we learn from our ‘live’ APG paper-writing marathon yesterday?

Well firstly and most importantly, that we’re very bad at reading the rules of entry for APG. They state quite clearly that the deadline is Monday at 12 noon – not today as we thought (‘Doh!’ doesn’t quite cover it).

Despite having this news shared with us late in the evening we plowed on regardless, and more-or-less wrote the paper yesterday. There’s still a lot of tweaking to do, tidying up and that, but the guts are done.

Other things we learnt.

1.    APG papers are not easy to write quickly. 24 hours is not enough time, nowhere near enough. We’re still not really sure if we got to something interesting (it’s too early to tell) but you definitely need longer than the time we had in order to explore the dead-ends, argue the toss about some really unimportant thing like whether to use the word ‘paradigm’, and speed seems to mean that process and point get muddled, and you end up worrying about all the wrong things.

2.    The internet is distracting, really really distracting. Fun, but distracting.

3.    On the whole people are good. Funny, helpful, and nice. Even other agencies. (Hello, Mother).

4.    When you set out to do one thing (write a paper) you end up finding something else out, something far more interesting. For us that was the power of community, and the sense of responsibility it demands. Of course we know lots of people thought what we were doing was a little silly (maybe even a lot stupid), but knowing there were people watching and sending messages changed things. There were several moments when we just felt like jacking it in, but it felt that if we did that we’d be letting down the supportive people, and letting the ‘haters’ win. In a small way, I guess it felt like it wasn’t just our thing.

So, it would be nice to say that we’ll see you all at the awards ceremony, but we might be getting a little ahead of ourselves.

Other interesting facts:

its peak yesterday, we had 128 live streamings at once. Most of the day
we were averaging between 80-100. Even when we ended at 1.30 am-ish we
still had 40.

We had messages of support from all around the world, including Dubai, Brazil, Hong Kong and Australia

We got up to 93 followers on Twitter within 8 hours. (No doubt we'll break 100 today.)

We were covered on brand republic, media blips (a bit like an industry digg, from what I can tell) and current.

We were embedded / covered on over a dozen blogs.

Mother showed us to a client in a meeting and requested we gave them a wave. we did. they were happy.

And we did some work too.
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Two Planners Planning – LIVE

Paul H Colman & Graeme Douglas write:

So the APG deadline is tomorrow. 12 noon. About 24 hours away. And planners in agencies all over the country (well London and Manchester… well, London) have been beavering away for weeks, possibly even months, making their papers smart and beautiful.

We start today. And not because confidence is high (it’s not) but because our workloads have dictated it.

But here’s a thing. The core insight in our (not yet written) paper is that it’s often when the pressure is highest and the risk greatest that the biggest rewards can be achieved, and it’s planning’s job to manage and maximise these opportunities.

(Dramatic pause.)

Which begs the question: is what’s true of planning also true of writing APG papers?

There’s only one way to find out.

So with only 24hours to go, how do we increase the pressure, create greater risk, but more importantly maximize the opportunity?

Well – by streaming the entire writing process on the internet, of course.

So, that’s what we’re going to try and do.  Write it live.  In a single day.

We’re sure they’ll be some technical difficulties along the way, but pop by and say hello, or just observe ‘two planners in a room’ at, wait for it,  If we get around to it there’ll also be a twitter stream too.

Barley? Probably.  Effective? Let’s see what happens.

you could be our millionth lucky visitor!

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According to our 'stats', very soon Welcome to Optimism will clock up its ONE MILLIONTH page view. To celebrate this momentous event, we will be offering to our lucky one millionth page-viewer:

– the opportunity to invest in a Nigerian property scheme backed by a wrongfully imprisoned aristocrat
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– entry into a lottery with a major cash prize

For the chance to win, just enter your bank account details and password in the comments.

Platform for new talent goes live today!


Sam writes:
For those of you who have been following our blog, you’ll know that for the past
6 months Lucy and I have been developing a new talent incubator, which is
called, you guessed it, PLATFORM.  We have been very busy defining the business
plan + model, recruiting patrons to help us connect to the best talent and
create challenging briefs for applicants to work on at Platform.  We are also in
the middle of building an interactive, virtual Platform which forms the
infrastructure for the entire way of working and the holding page for this
platform is now ready!

So, the search for the best and as yet
undiscovered, creative minds from the worlds of arts, sciences and technology
from around the globe starts today. We are looking to find people from diverse
backgrounds and skill sets, who possess inspirational and curious minds.  The
chosen ones will work as a collective to solve live business problems in
conjunction with W+K, as well as working in isolation on specialist projects
awarded for their particular skills.

Applicants should visit Here you will find a prospectus explaining everything they’ll
need to know about Platform, together with a brief to enter. We would like
candidates to answer the creative brief as well as create a personal video
profile. We will go through all creative submissions then invite the selected
candidates into the agency for an open day where there will be a number of other

will be situated in a dedicated space at our offices on Hanbury Street, East
London and will function alongside the agency itself.  We have expanded into
The Black Eagle Brewery building where Platform will sit, surrounded by a number
of other environments, including a research lab, product development unit,
auditorium, flexible gallery space, workshop and additional Wieden + Kennedy
work areas.

So, if you’re interested in being part of this innovative,
new talent experiment then check out

Closing date for applications for initial intake is July 3rd.

night at the museum

Karrelle, james, graeme

A long night getting the written document together for the next stage of our repitch for Visit Wales. However much preparation you do, it always seems that it takes all night the night before one of these things. Above – Karrelle, James and Graeme in the closing stages as dawn comes up over Spitalfields.


Adam treats himself to a beer at around 5.00 am as the finished submission is finally ready to go.

meet Laura and Katie


Laura McGuaran joins us today to work on Honda and Nike as an Account Executive.

Laura is fresh from the hallowed halls of BBH where she’s been knee deep in the world of Vodafone and Dame Judi Dench voiceovers.  We do like a bit of Dame Judi every now and then.


And this is Katie Martin, who has joined us for a few months on the Nokia team.  Hurrah!

She’s fresh in from the land of the long white cloud (that’ll be New Zealand, so obviously knows Cheryl) and was most recently at Publicis Mojo enjoying the free booze from Pernod Ricard.

the amazing rock-a-hula chair


Via the magic of eBay, we took delivery today of the amazing Hula Chair. For just £100 this will solve all our workplace stress-related issues. It can help strengthen your abdominal muscles and give a general feeling of wellbeing. Here we see HR manager Natalie enjoying the Hula Chair experience at her desk:

As Elvis would say:

The way she moves her hips to her fingertips
I feel I'm heaven bound
And when she starts to sway, I've gotta say
She really move the grass around

Rock-a-hula baby
Rock-a-hula baby
Got a hula lulu from honolulu
That rock-a-hula baby of mine

Dr Frances Corner talks to Wieden and Kennedy about how the London College of Fashion imbues creativity

Frances Corner  LCF

Dr Frances Corner, Head of College at London College of Fashion came into the agency to share what the UK's only college to specialise in fashion education, research and consultancy does for the world of creativity.  She gave us a fascinating insight into how LCF is challenging the traditional stereotype of fashion as a lightweight subject by extending fashion's influence on culture, economy and environment. Dr Frances says, "Fashion is a catalyst for change: by offering new models of consumption and gaining a better understanding of consumer behaviour we will encourage social and economic change."

I asked a couple of people who attended the talk to share what they found most inspiring about Dr Frances Corner's talk.

Dave Stevens
"That the LCF attracts an exceptionally high rate of international student applications came as a surprise; whilst it might seem obvious to say London is an international city we forget that its relative ease of access (both geographically and visa-wise), offering of teaching in English (vs. having to go to lectures in German in Berlin or Italian in Milan) as well as its uniqueness (the home of 'street' fashion) make it not only highly appealing but also hugely competitive.

"Secondly, I was impressed by the sheer breadth of the course offering. The blending of the arts with the sciences to create a cosmetics course where you can develop your own lipsticks demonstrates a progressive approach that doesn't exclude the sort of expertise you might not expect to discover at a fashion college."

Liana Chang
"I was impressed to hear how LCF was advocating and defining sustainable fashion, not just from a materials innovation and technology point of view but also from wanting to change the relationship consumers have with their clothes, to appreciate quality, details, and the act and event of wearing them. It seemed completely counter-intuitive to the trendsetting that happens from season to season, but makes sense when you think about how couture houses, bespoke tailoring, and independent designers are being crowded out by the high street fashion machines like H&M."

I would personally like to thank Dr Frances for inspiring us with her vision and passion for fashion.  Oh, and of course, for agreeing to become a patron of W+K Platform.



Links to interesting stuff going on a the London College of Fashion


adland expenses scandal

A smart west-end restaurant. Curiously, waiting agency limos not pictured.

Coverage in the UK press of the MPs’ expenses scandal led me to wonder what would be revealed if there was a similar public disclosure of expenses in our industry.

W+K has never been an agency that goes in for high-ticket expenses. It’s more of a ‘sandwich for lunch at the desk’ sort of place than ‘private box at the opera’. (This may be why Ben Walker refers to me as, ‘The tightest MD in London.’) It's often been remarked – usually by Kevin Chesters – that you can't even get a packet of peanuts out of the hotel minibar on expenses at our place.

But still, it's interesting to wonder what might be revealed if adland’s expenses became public knowledge. It’s long, long time since I’ve been there, but I wonder if there’s still a line of cabs and chauffeur-driven cars outside The Ivy, waiting to collect those advertising luminaries who have a standing daily table reservation. There certainly used to be that line of waiting limos – Every. Bloody. Lunchtime.

2006 wasn't long ago but, looking back at Campaign's A-List book for that year, it seems like a distant era. Favourite lunch venues were listed as: The Ivy, J. Sheekey, Le Caprice, Zuma, The Wolsley and, of course, the Colombe D'Or in Provence. In these recessionary days, that cab waiting time outside The Ivy, plus a modest lunch for a few senior agency personnel, once or twice a week, over the course of a year, adds up to the annual profit margin on a UK account win that would make the front page of Campaign. Tricky to justify that cost to the junior art director being made redundant as a result of “cut-backs”.

And going back a little further, I can remember personally witnessing some expense account madness that surely can’t persist today. There was:

– the vast numbers of cases of quality booze that were routinely delivered to creative services staff around Christmas.
– the client whose country home extension was charged to the TV production job
– the agency board director who had £100 a day ‘walking around money’ out of petty cash to ensure that his ex-wife and creditors couldn’t get their hands on his earnings
– the agency director who bought a Winnebago on expenses so he could take the client to Formula 1
– the dinner receipt so gob-smackingly huge that it was framed and hung on the wall at TBWA
– my first boss, who – at a normal daily lunch for the two of us – ordered ‘sharpeners’ before lunch, a bottle or two of wine with every course, a bottle of dessert wine, a bottle of brandy, ‘stickies’ and a cigar and, at the end of the meal, had the waiter re-seal all the half-full bottles and give him a carrier bag in which to take them home
– the super-expensive Japanese restaurant where such huge quantities of sushi and sake were ordered that the only thing that could be done with all the leftover fish was to have a food-fight
– the agency director who claimed for several thousand pounds’ worth of ‘escort services’ from a gentlemen’s leisure venue in Amsterdam.
– the agency staff member whose flat was carpeted and furnished with ‘extras’  from the office refurbishment
– the agency boss who, at the end of a lavish Wimbledon bash for clients, had the caterers load all the undrunk booze into the back of his Jag so he could take it home.

I could go on, to the point where claiming a few grand for moat-cleaning would seem positively frugal. But I’m feeling a little queasy. (Of course, that could be on account of the enormous lunch that I had at Le Gavroche.) No wonder these companies went bust.

Welcome, puritans, to the new austerity. More salt on your porridge?