over 125 spots in new Target campaign from W+K Portland


There's a nice piece by Tim Nudd in Adweek about the new Target campaign from Wieden + Kennedy Portland. The work is fresh and charming, so thought I'd share the article here.

GENESIS: Target wanted to highlight its wide variety of products through charming slice-of-life stories about when its customers need them the most. Wieden + Kennedy went with 15-second spots instead of 30s, so it could tell more stories and have each one elegantly focused on a single product. The structure: nine seconds of plot; a one-second reveal (with a ding sound, like a lightbulb going off) when a product resolves the tension; and five seconds of outtro music, as the bull's-eye logo swipes over a pair of taglines, "Life's a moving target" and "Expect more. Pay less." The agency has done more than 125 spots since last May—a mosaic of plots, products, songs, and styles in a reductivist construct that's hard to keep fresh. "What looks like a formula is not a formula," says Will Setliff, Target's vp of marketing. "It is so not simple to come up with simplicity."

COPYWRITING: Many teams work on the scripts, seeking witty insights that feel observed, not manufactured. "It's not that hard to do a good one, but it is very hard to do an excellent one," says Wieden creative director Rob Thompson. "The trap everyone can fall into is solving the riddle: A plus B equals C, yay, I solved it." Done right, the reveal is a delightful surprise—and the viewer, having been called on to puzzle it out, feels complicit in that joy.

Two of the agency's favorite spots achieve that in different ways. In "Crying Milk," a girl dabs milk on the rim of her glass, and it falls like a tear. "Don't cry, milk. I miss them too," she says. (Ding! Oreo cookies.) In "Questions," a wife thinks she has food poisoning, but her husband, who had the same dinner, is fine. (Ding! First Response pregnancy test.)

"It can't be too obvious that you see it coming, or so cryptic that you never get it," says Wieden creative director Chris Mitton. The campaign began with several Lost tie-ins during the ABC show's series finale in May 2010, and has included a number of seasonal-specific spots, too.

ART DIRECTION: The ads stay within Target's aspirational visual language, but with enough variety that they don't get stale. "It's a more composed, more thoughtful, little bit brighter version of life. This isn't verité," says Thompson. "But we don't want it too composed and too much of a visual equation, just as we don't want it to be a joke equation."

FILMING: The agency has used eight directors so far—Wayne McClammy, Patrick Daughters, Kinga Burza, Jack Bender, Aaron Ruell, Renny Maslow, and the team of Phil Morrison and Joe Ventura—and shot in Southern California and Hawaii. The next director might shoot in New York and try handheld camerawork—which could lend an even more observed feel, as long as it maintains Target's traditionally elegant sense of composition.

TALENT: The actors play customers of all ages and demographics. They need to make an impression in seconds while playing things honestly and subtly. "It's a lean-forward kind of approach," says Mitton. "They have to really draw you in."

SOUND: The agency licensed dozens of tracks for the outtro music, many from the '80s. "That felt relevant to the target—people in their 30s and 40s, women in particular," says Thompson. "There's not just a nostalgia but a warmth there. It reminds them of their high school days in a cute, funny, irreverent way." The agency hopes to introduce more unknown current artists in future spots.

MEDIA: The spots run on national broadcast and cable, then online. Where possible, two spots run in the same pod, ideally bookending it. Setliff says all the metrics are up, and viewers are engaging sooner with each new spot. "They know there's a story to come," he says. "It's become a page-turning mentality. What's the next story? What's the next page?"

Visit Wales – We Want Piers Bramhall

Visit Wales has launched a brand new campaign ‘We Want Piers Bramhall’ – the next step in its unique and interactive communications to encourage people to take their holidays in Wales.  The campaign has been created by W+K London, with direct and digital elements created by Kitcatt Nohr Digitas.

Visit Wales believes that the few days of holiday we have each year should be spent having real, involving experiences with lasting memories, as opposed to another identikit trip with hotels and attractions the same the world over.  They believe that fun should be spontaneous rather than organised; that countries should be explored and experienced rather than ignored from a lilo.

The new campaign launched on Saturday 6th August when an unsuspecting Englishman, Piers Bramhall, was woken at 8am and was invited personally by Joanna Page (of Gavin & Stacy fame) and an entourage of over 50 Welsh male choristers to take a holiday in Wales, all part of Visit Wales’ initiative to get the nation to holiday there.  Piers was then treated, together with his girlfriend Emma and some of their friends, to a brunch cooked in his own kitchen by Welsh chef Bryn Williams.  They then spent the afternoon at Twickenham to see the England v Wales match, where they enjoyed a champagne lunch and the company of some other familiar Welsh faces including Stereophonics front man, Kelly Jones, newsreader Rachael Hodges and footballer Ian Rush.

Visit Wales will be hosting Piers and Emma from 5th – 11th September for a special holiday in Wales. The duo will have a busy itinerary ahead of them – and can expect to see some more familiar Welsh faces entertaining them throughout their trip – experiences that will be shared: follow Piers’ adventures on Visit Wales’ Facebook page.

The stunt was arranged by Wieden + Kennedy following a casting of over 300 real-life women who were fed up with their men opting for the same summer holiday each year, and who were keen to catapult them from their all-inclusive sun-lounger. Piers’ girlfriend Emma Foley was chosen, unbeknown to her better-half, following further investigation into their holiday experiences, their personalities and their chemistry together to see how suited they’d be for the campaign.

Joanna Page, known for her strong Welsh patriotism, was keen to get behind the campaign: “Wales is such a beautiful country and there’s so much to do. Whether you want to take in the breath-taking scenery, have a laugh with the locals or try your hand at some out-door activities, our nation has it all! I just hope we’ve managed to demonstrate to Piers why he should come!”

Kelly Jones said: “What better way to show an Englishman how great Wales is than showcasing some of our key attributes – great singing, great rugby, great food and great people, with built in sarcasm, passion and grace. It’s God’s little green acre. If all else fails, try Wales!”

Hannah James, spokesperson for Visit Wales said of Piers’ invite: “We’re so excited the cat is finally out of the bag, and can’t wait to show Piers just how fantastic Wales is. Watch this space for more exciting developments – we have an excellent trip in store for Piers.”

W+K Creative Director Ray Shaughnessy said, ‘We are very excited to be doing something so different for Visit Wales. It gives us a chance to challenge people's entrenched perception of Wales by working with them to create such an integrated campaign. The invite day is just the start of it.’

W+K has created a series of online films that feature real businesses in Wales, from hotels to restaurants to outdoor activity specialists, all encouraging Piers to come to visit them on their holiday www.facebook.com/visitwales.  Anyone can now film and upload their own invitations citing reasons why Piers should come to Wales and take advantage of all it has to offer.

Six 10” TVCs will break nationally on 25th August amplifying further what Piers will get up to on his holiday, together will other through the line media.

Kitcatt Nohr Digitas was responsible for the direct and digital elements of the campaign, including the creation of the Facebook hub, two direct mail pieces, inserts, rich media and standard banners and emails to the Visit Wales database.  Media was planned by M4C, and bought by Arena BLM.

The campaign will climax in January 2012 with a 40” TVC that will encapsulate Piers Bramhall’s Welsh holiday experience.

W+K MD bricks it at prospect of further trouble on streets

Neil and his bricks[3]

A big load of bricks was helpfully delivered to our corner of Hanbury Street this morning. The situation on the streets of east London is still a bit uncertain at the moment. So as not to provide handy ammo for possible looters right next to our big glass windows, W+K pitched in to shift the bricks. Unfortunately we don't have an agency forklift so we had to use sheer muscle.

MD Neil (above) struggles with his first real work in a long time. Some members of staff found this display of raw strength surprising, but as he pointed out, "I've been carrying this place for years."

Wales Wants Piers Bramhall

Screen shot 2011-08-08 at 21.35.44
Ray writes:

This is a strange job. And we’ve had some strange moments. But yesterday tops it off. Because I don’t think we’ve ever actually orchestrated strangeness like we have on the latest Visit Wales campaign. And I sincerely mean strange in a good way. Because this weekend we put the weight of one country, behind inviting just one unsuspecting man, on a proper holiday. One man called Piers Bramhall.

 The last holiday he had with his fabulous girlfriend Emma Foley was an all-inclusive job. A sitting by the pool and stuck to the sun lounger affair. Nothing wrong with that. Piers is a decent hardworking bloke who just fancied a bit of a rest. But we wanted to give Piers and Emma the chance to have a holiday together away from the lilo, and experience a proper holiday, courtesy of Wales.

This campaign is still about Wales standing for Proper Holidays. But we wanted to push even harder to help shift entrenched perceptions of Wales by acting in a different, more progressive way. This campaign will also see us opening up the conversation about Wales by giving the people of Wales and lovers of Wales a platform to talk about the stuff that they do or love best.

That’s the background. Here’s the mentalness of the day. A day that started in a park in Ealing at 7am with a Welsh choir limbering up their handsome vocal chords. Then the lovely Joanna Page joined us. And her lovely husband. And her equally lovely parents. Trust me. They’re lovely.

All 60 of us then tip-toed our way round to Piers’ house ready to make our grand invite. Then an IKEA van showed up so all 60 of us had to quickly tip-toe back again. Finally the choir assembled and sonorously belted out their version of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Wikipedia it). My goodness. Have you heard a Welsh choir? One that’s in front of you and not on the telly. It fills up your chest. It makes you stand a bit taller. It brings on goose bumps even if you don’t want goose bumps, damn it. These big voices flooded the street and sure enough brought Piers and Emma outside. I can’t explain the rest from here. No point. Just look.

Do you see what I mean? About the bonkerness? The choir. Twickenham. The newspaper. Ian Rush. IAN RUSH! Kelly Jones. Kelly Jones’ mum and dad. Kelly Jones’ mum and dad chatting to Joanna Page’s mum and dad. Enough already. You get it.

We really hope that Piers and Emma enjoy this trip. They are a brilliant couple who deserve a brilliant experience. You can see how it all unfolds here.

Follow the campaign on Facebook! www.facebook.com/visitwales

And on twitter! @wewantpiers

some examples of our recent work for Nokia

Last week we announced the decision to part company with Nokia after four years of working together. Here’s a small selection from the work we’ve done for them recently – these examples are all from the work done to support the launch of the Nokia N8 smartphone.

The world’s smallest stop frame animation:

The world’s largest stop frame animation:

Chromeo make the world’s shortest album to promote our ‘Own Voice ‘ app for Nokia.

The Own Voice app itself.

Gary Waite, a blind photographer, explores Blackpool with a Nokia N8 in this spot for Nokia UK.

Poodle Loop is a film we made to promote the Nokia ‘Loop’ music app we developed.

And here’s a demo of how the app works:

And this case history video summarises the whole N8 campaign.

sleep y’self fitter

Sleep like a pro

You get some strange ads in American in-flight magazines. It sometimes seems as if they are filled with ads for nothing but cosmetic dentistry and elite executive dating services for busy professionals.

But the ad above introduces a whole new concept: ‘performance bed sheets’. Yes, with ‘sleep-fit technology’ it is now possible to become an athlete without all that training and exercise, but purely by sleeping. Why go to the gym when you can just go to bed?

It may just be me, but there’s also a distracting message conveyed by the association of the words ‘sleep’ and ‘pro’. Easy to misread that headline as ‘Sleep with a pro’. Not helped by images of pillow-hugging men captioned as ‘wide receiver’.

how we made the world’s largest stop motion animation


'Making of' videos are all the rage at the moment and, as Adam Buxton points out in his ‘Ro.Me Behind the Scenes’ parody, they can be a little over the top. 

On the other hand, they can really add to an experience and give the viewer an idea of how much effort and craft it takes to make an idea become a reality. This is the case with Gulp, the word’s largest stop motion animation, which was shot entirely on a Nokia N8.

‘Gulp, the making of’ shows how much hard work went into shooting an 11,000sq ft. animation on a mobile phone, away from the controlled environment of the studio. No small feat.

A massive thanks goes to Nokia, Aardman, Sumo Science, Sand In Your Eye, Nico and Wrack @ W+K and all the volunteers who helped out. We hope you’re as proud of Gulp as we are.

Gulp. The making of. from Nokia HD on Vimeo.