Alex loses her hack virginity @(H)activate

(H)activate hack weekend with Nokia produces apps for social change

(H)activate hack weekend with Nokia produces apps for social change

Last week saw the Nokia UK Developer Engagement team put on a hack weekend with Rewired State, our friends at the Guardian and BlueVia (O2 to us UK folks). (H)activate tied into the broader Guardian 'Tech for Social Change' conference, Activate, held on Wednesday.

It was the first time I had fully experienced a full two day hack: 70 developers in a room,  1 task (Develop web and mobile apps to change the world) and under 2 days to deliver. My first learning was you need to come with a fairly developed idea, otherwise you spend the first three hours panicking about what to do and what data there is available. Second learning is when a developer has a red bug on his computer you can't disturb him, he's in the coding zone. Third learning is that sweets and SodaStream keep the geeks coding like mad. Fourth learning is that sleep goes out the window in the quest for a fully functioning prototype – one bloke didn't sleep all weekend, he just hung out all night programming in Kings Cross station. 

So were the hacks any good after just 36 hours work? Yes, I was massively impressed with the 18 hacks, most of which were functioning and not just concepts. The overall winner was SafeTrip, a web & SMS solution aimed at human trafficking. The Nokia prize went to Interact(Your Opinon Matters), a great SMS voting framework that can be used for government polling (think the Census or a referendum) and just as easily for TV voting on X Factor style quizes. If you want to check out all the hacks pop over to the Rewired State blog.


TouchyPeely App: Uniting veggie detritus with hungry compost heaps to reduce waste & produce soil

Hactivate Twitter paper

(H)activate newspaper of all the hackers courtesy of Newspaper Club


PS Alex Rogers has asked me to point out she has nothing to do with this post. Twas written by Alex Franklin.


Wieden + Kennedy at Cannes Lions 2011 – indie agency of the year + results

So, the leathery old lags and hopeful young turks of the world's advertising industry have finished drowning themselves in a vat of overpriced rose wine and, as they nurse their hangovers, the results of the Cannes Advertising Festival are in. We did OK, maybe slightly better than we did last year.

Cannes independent agency of the year, for most awards accumulated across all categories – Wieden + Kennedy Portland.

And for the trainspotters, stat freaks and mothers of those who work at W+K, here are the individual awards for Wieden + Kennedy work. (I think I've got the full list here, but I may have missed one or two.)


Grand Prix – Nike ‘Write the Future’

Gold – Heineken ‘The Entrance’, Chrysler ‘Born of Fire’

Silver – Old Spice ‘Questions’, Nike ‘Rise’

Bronze – Cravendale ‘Cats with Thumbs’, Heineken ‘Date’, Heineken ‘The Entrance’, Nike ‘Throwdown’


Grand Prix – Old Spice ‘Response’

Gold – Nike ‘Write the Future’, Old Spice x2 (for writing and for viral)

Bronze – Nike ‘Black Mamba’, Nokia ‘Dot’, Nokia ‘Own Voice’


Gold – Old Spice ‘The man your man could smell like’


Gold – Old Spice ‘The man your man could smell like’

Silver – Nike ‘Write the Future’,  Levi’s ‘Ready to Work’ 


Gold – Chrysler ‘Born of Fire’ (x3, for direction, script and music), Nike ‘Write the Future’ (x2, for editing and script), Heineken ‘The Entrance’ (direction)

Silver – Nike ‘Write the Future’ (x2, for production design and sound design), Lurpak – ‘Kitchen Odyssey’ (cinematography), Levi’s ‘Ready to Work’ (x2 for script and cinematography), Heineken ‘The Entrance’ (Music)

Bronze – Levi’s ‘Ready to Work’ (direction), Nokia ‘Dot’ (production design), Chrysler – ‘Born of Fire’ (editing), Nike ‘Black Mamba’ (editing), Nike ‘Write the Future’ (special effects).


Grand Prix – 2

Gold – 13

Silver -10

Bronze – 12

Big congrats to all the winners and their mums.

Kaiser Chiefs’ fans challenge W+K designers

W+K creates data viz to celebrate Kaiser Chiefs’ fan artworks

W+K creates data viz to celebrate Kaiser Chiefs’ fan artworks

Since the launch of the Kaiser Chiefs' bespoke album creation tool we've been massively impressed by the creativity and beauty of some of the designs. So we've worked with the band to create a data viz of the fan album. As you scan the designs the album covers flip over like record sleeves to reveal the user name of the fan who created the design. If you click on the cover it takes you through to the fan page where you can buy that fan's version of 'The Future is Medieval'.

Screen shot 2011-06-24 at 18.03.26

A big thanks to Joao Wilbert for his uber programming skills.

think pink


Adweek's ad of the day is our Nokia N8 'Pink' extravaganza. Here's what their Emma Bazilian has to say:

Wieden + Kennedy London brought in director David Wilson to create a promo for Nokia's N8 phone, featuring dolls dancing to girl group Sugababes' song "Freedom." Wilson has had ample experience with high-concept music videos for bands like the Japanese Popstars, and it shows: The Nokia spot is a lot less Barbie than it is Lady Gaga.

As the video opens, we're introduced a harmless-looking doll with a cute blond flip. A few seconds later, the video cuts to a second doll, and things are clearly getting darker: This one is standing naked in a dilapidated room, covered in an eerily blowing white sheet. Next there's a pop-star-meets-Lady-Godiva doll reclining provocatively on a pink deer (also naked, which seems to be a theme), and then our first doll again, who suddenly snaps her head around 180 degrees, Exorcist-style, as a thumping bass begins. At this point, it's clear this isn't your typical girly-girl affair, pink phone or not. Jump cuts take us from shot to shot of giant video-monitor-covered walls, Nokia-tattooed plastic skin, and dismembered doll legs—all slightly twisted and very sexually charged*, despite (or maybe because of) the fact that these stars are really children's toys. The dance sequences, for which Wieden hired actual choreographers, could give most pop stars a run for their money. In one particularly Gaga-esque bit, a trio of gyrating dolls shoot laser beams from their bras, which happen to be made of N8 phones held together with phone cord—perhaps an homage to the Queen of Pop's own pioneering of phone-chic in her "Telephone" video. The spot might not give us anything we haven't seen in a Lady Gaga video (even the music isn't far off), but it manages to capture the same dark yet fiercely feminine aesthetic that her work conveys. And for a mobile-phone ad starring a bunch of plastic toys, that's impressive.

*'Slightly twisted and very sexually charged'. That's our team Alex and Oli for you. 

NB: Absolutely no intention on our part to do anything resembling the work of Lady Gaga or any other specific female pop star.


this is what a slovenian mineral water commercial feels like

This spot is currently running in Slovenia.

It's obviously a 'homage' to our Honda 'Choir' ad.

The agency behind the Slovenian spot is apparently called… 'Original'.

I don't think Honda 'Choir' actually ran in Slovenia – though of course it could be seen from there on Youtube – so I wonder how many Slovenian veiwers get the reference. Any Slovenian readers out there who can shed light on this?

Of course, this isn't the first spoof / tribute to 'Choir'. There have been a few.

music to our ears.

Yesterday W+K’s library played host to the amazing US artist Kina Grannis. She joined us over lunch to sing a few acoustic tracks from her new album.

You tube sensation (over 8 million views for the clip below) Kina is making huge waves in the States at the moment, so when we were offered an the opportunity to hear her play live in our office we jumped at the chance. 

Kina's voice totally blew us away and she is definitely one to watch.



Here's what she sounds like:

14 cyber lion nominations for wieden + kennedy at cannes

Wieden + Kennedy has scored 14 cyber lion shortlist nominations in the 2011 Cannes Festival.

Wieden + Kennedy has scored 14 cyber lion shortlist nominations in the 2011 Cannes Festival.


Some lions, recently.

I think I have the W+K total correct at 14 cyber lion shortlist nominations in the 2011 Cannes Festival.

According to the Cannes website, the W+K nominations are:

W+K Portland – Nike Better World, Old Spice (x4), EA Duty Calls = 6

W+K Tokyo – Nike Run fwd; Nike WTF = 2

W+K Amsterdam – Nike WTF = 1

W+K London – Nokia N8, Honda Jazz, Nokia Own Voice (x2), Nokia Dot = 5

Total = 14

Here's the little film that explains the Nokia 'Own Voice' application, a collaboration with Glue Isobar and Starcut, which has had two of those nominations:

And there are also a couple of other things in which we had a hand…

Nokia N8 'Dot' for best sound design (entered by Wave Studios)

Nokia N8 'Dot' for animation (entered by Aardman animation)

Nike Grid for game (entered by AKQA)