Nike (RED)


Today, (RED) announced Nike as its latest global brand partner, lining up alongside the likes of Gap, Motorola, American Express, Starbucks and Apple to create co-branded products to raise money for the fight against AIDS, T.B. and Malaria. The first product to be developed by the partnership are some rather natty (RED) laces, which will be worn by a host of Nike athletes over the coming months.

Says Nike:

"The Nike and (RED) concept is a simple one that invites people to ‘Lace Up. Save Lives’ by purchasing a pair of NIKE  (PRODUCT)RED laces. One hundred percent of the profits from (NIKE)RED laces will be split equally between The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which funds AIDS programs that provide medicine for those living with HIV, and Nike football-based community initiatives that deliver education and understanding around HIV/AIDS prevention.  This unique partnership delivers programs that both medicate and educate.

Progress has been made in the drive to reduce HIV infections in Africa, with fourteen countries reporting a decline in the prevalence of the disease. This is great news and proves the fight can be won. But AIDS remains one of the greatest challenges facing the world today. An estimated 3,800 men, women and children die in sub-Saharan Africa every day, in addition to 6,000 new infections every day among 15-24 year old men and women.

‘The (RED) Nike laces can tie athletes around the world together with people living under threat from HIV in Africa in a beautiful way ,’ said Professor Michel D. Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund. ‘Wearing these (RED) laces is a sign that you care about others and it helps us to protect and treat millions of people who every day risk infection or struggle with the effects of HIV.’"

We say: you should buy some. They're available from Nike retailers as of tomorrow (1st December).

creativity and the crunch


Found an interesting post on Mark McGuinness's blog Wishful Thinking entitled 'Is burnout inevitable in the creative industries?'

The article deals mainly with the gaming industry, based on a Quality of Life survey conducted by Develop magazine, but I think the issues raised are pertinent to creative businesses in general.

The survey results say:

  • 85% have to work ‘crunch’ – periods of intensive overtime before deadlines
  • 60% have to work over 10 hours overtime a week during crunch — some as many as 25 to 30 hours per week
  • 60% feel that they work too much
  • 65% say that working crunch has impacted their health
  • 98% of respondents are not paid for the overtime they work

I guess that these numbers would be no surprise to most people working in advertising. In fact, the concept of 'overtime' doesn't really exist in our business. And, to be honest, the stats would be no surprise to Wieden + Kennedy folks, who have been working extraordinarily hard this year.

McGuinness comments, "Several of the survey respondents suggested that ‘crunch’ is
normal and inevitable, not just in computer gaming, but in any creative

Crunch seems to just be accepted as ‘the norm in
creative industries’ — this attitude will only prolong the myth that it
aids productivity…Fundamentally I’m in the entertainment business, and a bit of pain is the norm in these…In a milestone-oriented environment this is inevitable. It’s no
different to film and TV, where creativity is integral to the product
and boundaries are pushed."

The gaming industry is apparently notorious for this last-minute binge-working and the term 'crunch' has been coined in that business to describe it. In the many years I've spent in advertising, this has always been a business in which late nights and weekend working have been generally accepted as part of the way that things are done. High-pressure new business pitches on top of day-to-day work, tight production schedules, and big set-piece presentations tend to result in our own late-night, last-minute crunch working.

It feels as though the current environment, when agencies need to do more, quicker, across vastly more complex and differentiated media and technology channels, is making the situation worse not better. However much time we have to do a job and however well we try to
plan the resource, we always have that ‘crunch’ as deadlines
approach and the team works late nights and weekends to get it done.
There's no question sometimes clients need us to turn things around very fast and that sometimes our own
mismanagement of resource means we waste some of the time we have. But I also wonder ( I may be treading on thin ice here) whether it’s in the nature of some creative people not to
plan their time and prioritise their tasks.

Just to be clear – I'm not suggesting that the work pressures we are under, the long hours and the stress are all the fault of ill-disciplined creatives.

I'm just thinking that there are people who
methodically assign time to jobs to ensure that work is completed
within deadline (the kind of people who
planned their revision schedule in advance for the school term so they didn’t need
to pull all-nighters when the exams arrived) but those people tend to
become account managers and producers, not creatives. Maybe the
psychological make-up of the folks who can think laterally and make
crazy, intuitive leaps is just fundamentally at odds with the
imposition of structure and process. Some of our most brilliant
creatives are the ones who are worst at managing deadlines. Of course maybe they know they're doing it, and do it mischievously to drive us anal manager-types crazy.

whatever systems are put in place, there will always be a tension
between the managers who try to schedule work and the creatives who
resist process and reject structure. And of course creative perfectionists will never have enough time to finish the work to the standard they would ideally like. (I can remember Paul Belford working nights in the studio at TBWA continuing to craft and polish layouts for a print campaign that had not only already been approved and supplied but had already finished.)

I’m no psychologist, so this theory could be rubbish. What do readers think?

Are most creative people resistant to structure and reluctant to organise and prioritise their work, meaning that they're finally forced to deliver when the gun of the client's deadline is at their head?

If you're a creative reading this, do you disagree with my generalisation about your approach to deadlines?

Is last-minute binge-working inevitable in the ad business or can we avoid it with better management?

Should ad agencies pay for overtime? (Or would that just encourage people to crunch-work and reward them for it?)

pocket lint ‘gifts for geeks’ recommends wieden’s musical ruler


From Pocket Lint's 'Ten perfect christmas presents for music geeks'.

Musical Ruler

Yes, you read right. The Musical Ruler. Naturally, there's a certain amount of novelty factor to this one but at £6.95 it would make an excellent stocking filler.
The idea is that you put this 30cm device flat down over the edge of a
table and ping the overhanging end to make a note. The ruler has
markings on it for the eight whole tones in a complete octave meaning
that you can basically play any tune.

It comes with a step by
step guide from ruler playing master Dan Wieden and includes tips on
solos, Rock 'n Roll, Folk, Jazz and special effects. Possibly the
silliest present you'll see all year but, when you grow tired of the
fun, it'll still work as a gadget for measuring short distances and
making pens and pencils run straight.

Take Pocket Lint's advice and fill the stocking of the music buff in your life with Dan Wieden's Musical Ruler, available to purchase here.

wieden + kennedy plot jewellery in ES magazine

ES Magazine 27 November - whole page

Today's ES magazine (the mag for the London Evening Standard) features our Plot jewellery.

Lisa Prince, one of our strategists, sat in many meetings
staring at data. Sometimes her mind would wander. She started to notice
that by squinting a little the data began to transform into something
quite beautiful. Proof that interesting ideas can arise, even in boring meetings.

When strategist Lisa met art director, Nicholla, x met y and they
had the idea to transform data into beautiful pieces of wearable art.

PLOT pulls together a collaborative creative team of strategist,
writer, graphic designer, art director and jeweller. The Jewellery
Plot, the first collection of art pieces, is an elegant range of
hand-crafted necklaces. You can buy the jewellery range at Luna & Curious, Beyond the Valley or at our own on-line store

The perfect Christmas gift for the planner, data analyst or commodities trader in your life.

spherical minced beef balls

Andy and Stu

Andy Kay (above left) and Stu Harkness have fun with Dutch snacks.

In honour of Stu's (Stu is CD on Nike at W+K London) visit to Amsterdam, Andy (ex of W+KLondon, now working on Coke at W_+K Amsterdam) dug out his best
t-shirt and made sure that it was enjoyed with some of Amsterdam's
finest 'Bitterballenen'.

Described on Wikipedia as Bitterballen (plural
of 'bitterbal') [are] a savoury Dutch meat-based snack, typically
containing a mixture of beef (minced or chopped), beef broth, flour and
butter for thickening, parsley, salt and pepper. Or as we Brits know them, a
spherical minced beef Findus crispy pancake.


Freddie P was seen last stumbling towards the red light district.

Dan Wieden, the prototypical COO

Smiling wieden

Adweek has published an excerpt from Grant McCracken's forthcoming book 'Chief Culture Officer' that touches on Dan Wieden (above) and wieden + kennedy's work for Nike. Here's a wee bit of it:

By the mid-1980s, the running boom was giving way to a fitness craze
and Phil Knight, founder of Nike, wanted his company to take part.
Knight didn't much believe in advertising, but competition with Reebok
was fierce, and he had begun to work with a small shop in Portland,
Ore., called Wieden & Kennedy. Dan Wieden, Portland native and
second-generation ad man, proved an essential asset.

It was Wieden who coined the slogan "Just do it" in 1988. Most slogans
are about the brand ("Coke is it"). They may make a promise ("You can
do it. We can help"), or they evoke a mood ("Bilbao, now more than
ever."). Rarely do they tell the consumer what to do. But "Just do it"
was imperative, impatient, presumptuous, and, well, a little rude. This
was not the sort of thing consumers had heard before.

Acting as unofficial CCO, Dan Wieden had looked into the life of the
consumer. He saw someone struggling to get off the couch and into
fitness, someone suffering aches and pains, someone tempted by excuses.
In "Just do it," Wieden found the three words that allowed Nike to
intervene. Acting as unofficial CCO, Wieden had found a way to help
Nike ride the fitness wave.

Wieden is the author of a 2001 Nike ad called "Tag." This TV spot
features a young man on his way to work in a big city. It could be
Chicago, New York or San Francisco. (It is, in fact, Toronto.) All of a
sudden, he feels a hand on his shoulder. He's been tagged. He's it.
Pedestrians scatter. Plazas empty. The chase is on. He almost tags one
woman as she enters a bus. He almost tags another but she dives into
her car. He almost tags a policeman as he pulls away in his cruiser.
Our hero is a wildebeest, charging wildly, hoping for contact. Finally
he comes upon a hapless guy in the subway, the only man in the city who
doesn't know the game is on. Tag. Now he's it.
Frame for frame, "Tag" is probably the most exciting ad ever made. It
had the drama of the chase scene in "The French Connection." It won the
admiration of the industry and a Cannes Lion Grand Prix.

But it's an odd ad. It takes 20 seconds before we understand
what's happening. For a while it's just people running around on a
plaza, forcing us to puzzle things out on our own. Advertising is
famous for its simplicity, repetition and sometimes sheer stupidity
("But wait! There's more! Act now!"). In the world of advertising, 20
seconds is a client-provoking eternity. Wieden dared to tinker with the

For all that, "Tag" is a straightforward piece of advertising.
It is playful. It makes Nike the friend of spontaneity and urban
athleticism. It brings the viewer off the couch to the edge of his
seat, the very point of the Nike proposition. Every commuter would love
to see the tedium of travel exploded this way. Certainly, every athlete
(and Nike is filled with athletes) would love to see the city as a
competitive space. 

You can read the full article here.

Comms planning genius required to create the best work of their life

Wieden + Kennedy London is hiring. We’re looking for a smart, talented and interesting mid-weight Comms Planner to join our band of strategists. Full job spec (although that really might be overstating the formality of it) can be found below.

(No headhunters please. It’s nothing personal, we promise).

Download W+K London Comms Planning Job Spec