BROWN – FORMAN APPOINTS WIEDEN+ KENNEDY AS LEAD AGENCY FOR FINLANDIA VODKA

Brown-Forman has confirmed the appointment of Wieden + Kennedy as its new lead agency for the Finlandia vodka brand for Greater Europe and Africa which accounts for more than 70% of the brand’s volume.

This follows the successful pitch acquisition of the Maximus Vodka business back in February, which resulted in Wieden + Kennedy working on the new brand positioning and integrated campaign platform for the brand.Wieden + Kennedy will work alongside Story Worldwide, the digital comms planning roster agency, to develop a fully integrated campaign that will initially launch in Poland and then roll out across the complete region.

The pitch winning work aims to build upon the Finnish vodka’s premium credentials and redefine themselves so as to give Brown – Forman a flexible and exciting platform on which to build the brand.

Neil Punwani, SVP, Global Managing Director Vodkas, Brown – Forman said: “We have developed a strong working relationship with Wieden + Kennedy through their work on Maximus Vodka. We are pleased to be extending this to our global flagship vodka brand, Finlandia, across our most important markets”

Neil Christie, Managing Director of Wieden + Kennedy London commented: “Finlandia is a fascinating brand with a great heritage and huge potential. We're excited to be working on its Greater Europe and Africa relaunch with the team at Brown Forman. Kippis!”

Brown-Forman appoints W+K as lead agency for Finlandia Vodka

Brown-Forman has confirmed the appointment of Wieden + Kennedy as its new lead agency for the Finlandia vodka brand for greater Europe and Africa. This region accounts for more than 70% of the brand’s volume.

This follows our successful pitch for the Maximus Vodka business back in February, which resulted in us working on the new brand positioning and integrated campaign platform for the brand.

On Finlandia we will work alongside Story Worldwide, the digital comms planning roster agency, to develop a fully integrated campaign that will initially launch in Poland and then roll out across the complete region.

The pitch-winning work aims to build upon the Finnish vodka’s premium credentials and redefine themselves so as to give Brown – Forman a flexible and exciting platform on which to build the brand.

Neil Punwani, SVP, Global Managing Director Vodkas, Brown – Forman said: “We have developed a strong working relationship with Wieden + Kennedy through their work on Maximus Vodka. We are pleased to be extending this to our global flagship vodka brand, Finlandia, across our most important markets"

Neil Christie, Managing Director of Wieden + Kennedy London commented: "Finlandia is a fascinating brand with a great heritage and huge potential. We're excited to be working on its Greater Europe and Africa relaunch with the team at Brown Forman. Kippis!"

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W+K creative director Chris Groom prepares to toast the win.

How to manage an advertising agency

Sterling's-gold
Mad Men's Roger Sterling – perhaps not the ideal agency manager role model.

Some more words of wisdom from that book by David Ogilvy (see previous post).

Ogilvy talks about corporate culture, at a time before the need to cultivate a strong company culture was accepted wisdom in business circles. He says, “The head of one of the biggest agencies recently told me, ‘Ogilvy & Mather is the only agency in the world with a real corporate culture’…Here is how I see our culture…”

Though much of the book now seems out of date, Ogilvy’s cultural precepts still seem relevant and they bear repeating:

“Some of our people spend their entire working lives in our agency. We do our damnedest to make it a nice place to work.
We treat our people like human beings. We help them when they are in trouble – with their jobs, with illness, with alcoholism and so on.
We help them make the best of their talents, investing and awful lot of time and money in training. Our system of management is singularly democratic.
We don’t like hierarchical bureaucracy or rigid pecking orders.
We give our executives an extraordinary degree of freedom and independence.
We like people with gentle manners. Our New York office gives an annual award for ‘professionalism combined with civility’.
We like people who are honest in argument, honest with clients and, above all, honest with consumers. We admire people who work hard, who are objective and thorough. We detest office politicians, toadies, bullies and pompous asses. We abhor ruthlessness.
The way up our ladder is open to anybody… in promoting people to top jobs we are influenced as much by their character as by anything else.
The recommendations we make to our clients are the recommendations we would make if we owned their companies, without regard to our own interest.
What most clients want from us is good advertising campaigns. We put the creative function at the top of our priorities.
The line between pride in our work and neurotic obstinacy is a narrow one We do not grudge our clients the right to decide what advertising to run. It is their money.
We attach importance to discretion. Clients don’t appreciate it when agency leak their secrets…
We have an infuriating habit of divine discontent with our performance. It is an antidote to smugness.”

These still seem like excellent principles for any agency to try to live up to. Ogilvy goes on to discuss what he believes is important for an agency manager:

“In the advertising industry to be successful you must, of necessity, accumulate a group of creative people. This probably means a fairly high percentage of high strung, brilliant, eccentric non-conformists. Like most doctors, you are on call day and night, seven days a week. This constant pressure on every advertising executive must take a considerable physical and psychological toll…
I admire people who work hard, who bite the bullet. I dislike passengers who don’t pull their weight in the boat. It is more fun to be overworked than to be underworked.
I admire people who work with gusto. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing I beg you to find another job. Remember the Scottish proverb, ‘Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead’.
I admire people who hire subordinates who are good enough to succeed them.
I admire well-organised people who deliver their work on time. The Duke of Wellington never went home until he had finished all the work on his desk.
It is sad that the majority of men who are responsible for advertising today, both the agents and the clients, are so conventional. The business community wants remarkable advertising but turns a cold shoulder to the kind of people who can produce it. That is why most advertisements are so infernally dull… Our business needs massive transfusions of talent. And talent, I believe, is most likely to be found among nonconformists, dissenters and rebels.”

Wise words.

can YouTube hate be good?

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Look under most YouTube videos, and you'll see comments.
And while a few may be nice, there is a reason why people refer to YouTube as an "engine of hate".

But today, Wieden + Kennedy Portland's tech posse unveiled an experimental art piece called #commenthaiku. #Commenthaiku grabs sentences out of the comments under your favorite YouTube videos and turns them into haiku. It's 'Satori-made-simple': Try it here.

Hattips to Grant Thomas + Nilesh Ashra (backend), Josh Perez + Steven Skoczen (frontend), Josh Boston (design), AND – as with most interactive things – the heap of other people who helped hammer it into shape and make it fun – and had to train a computer on what makes for a decent poem. Seriously. But you be the judge!

#commenthaiku joins W+K'er Jarod Higgins's recent "Ode to the Underbelly" (a book of poems handbuilt from YouTube comments) in the W+K fight to turn hate into art! And of course, there was that Honda campaign we did about the power of hate being used for good…

Give #commenthaiku a try!

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new Nike campaign: find your greatness

Nike’s co-founder Bill Bowerman famously said ‘if you have a body, you’re an athlete’. It is this mantra that still lies at the heart of the Nike brand and is brought to life in the ‘Greatness Anywhere’ work that launched globally over the weekend.

Greatness_Hero_01 jpeg

At a moment when all of the world’s eyes are on a select number of elite athletes, in a small corner of the world, Nike is shining the spotlight on all athletes, wherever they are.  

In a film created by W+K Portland, Nike calls on all athletes to find their greatness. Dispelling the perception that greatness is reserved for the chosen few, Nike reminds us that greatness is in all of us, it’s just a matter of trying.

Our friends from Portland had the hard task of travelling the globe, finding greatness in Londons across the world, including South Africa, London Towers in Shanghai and Little London, Jamaica. Tough work.

Here's the main film:

Run on

We were all gutted for Paula yesterday when she announced that despite every ounce of her being wanting to run the biggest race of her life, she just couldn’t.

We know first-hand how much effort she has put into her world record breaking career, and have been inspired by her incredible ambition and motivation.

Paula Radcliffe, we salute you.

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[legends run for ever]

should advertising be abolished?

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I’m on holiday in France at the moment, staying in an old house in the countryside. It was a rainy day today and on a dusty shelf I found a copy of David Ogilvy’s 1963 book Confessions of an Advertising Man. The book is a fascinating artifact of its time, a contemporary account of the reality of the world dramatised in Mad Men, containing rules for how to construct effective direct response ads and opinions on things like How to Rise to the Top of the Tree (“Do not make the common mistake of regarding your clients as hostile boobs”).

In the final chapter, which has the title that heads up this post, Ogilvy mounts a defence of the worth of advertising and includes a couple of quotes.

If I were starting life over again, I am inclined to think that I would go into the  advertising business in preference to almost any other…The general raising of the standards of modern civilization among all groups of people during the last half century would have been impossible without the spreading of the knowledge of higher standards by means of advertising.

President Franklin Roosevelt

Advertising nourishes the consuming power of men. It sets up before a man the goal of a better home, better clothing, better food for himself and his family. It spurs individual exertion and greater production.

Winston Churchill

On the other hand, Ogilvy reports that Professor Galbraith of Harvard holds that “advertising tempts people to squander money on ‘un-needed’ possessions when they ought to be spending it on public works”.

Similar views are still expressed today, for example by George Monbiot in The Guardian (as previously noted here) who wrote, To keep their markets growing, companies must keep persuading us that we have unmet needs. In other words, they must encourage us to become dissatisfied with what we have. To be sexy, beautiful, happy, relaxed, we must buy their products. They shove us on to the hedonic treadmill, on which we must run ever faster to escape a growing sense of inadequacy.”

Interestingly, though writing 50 years apart, from very different perspectives, David and George are agreed on one thing. Monbiot says:

“I detest this poison, but I also recognise that I am becoming more dependent on it. As sales of print editions decline, newspapers lean even more heavily on advertising.”

Ogilvy writes:

“You would have to pay a fortune for the Sunday New York Times if it carried no advertising. And just think how dull it would be.”

Ogilvy’s book concludes with a diatribe against the then-recent advent of “impossible-to-escape” TV advertising. He is “angered to the point of violence by the commercial interruption of programs” and says, “It is television advertising that has made Madison Avenue the arch-symbol of tasteless materialism. If governments do not soon set up machinery for the regulation of television, I fear that the majority of thoughtful men will come to agree with Toynbee that ‘the destiny of our Western civilization turns on the issue of our struggle with all that Madison Avenue stands for’… The vast majority of thought-leaders now believe that advertising promotes values that are too materialistic. The danger to my bread and butter arises out of the fact that what thought-leaders think today, the majority of voters are likely to think tomorrow… Advertising should not be abolished. But it must be reformed.”

Since Ogilvy wrote his book there have been successive waves of advertising regulation – in TV and other media. Advertising has been reformed and continues to be further regulated. But our celebrity-obsessed society is probably more materialistic than ever before. Maybe advertising is a symptom rather than the cause. Which is not to say that today's advertising, still mostly tasteless and crass, is not still in need of reform. Vive la revolution! As they say in these parts.

99% of people will not notice this…

Last night we immersed ourselves in our creative and cultural surroundings on the 'Alternative London’ tour. Operating a 'pay-what-you-like' fee system, we love the fact that the tour was born out of proper passion for street art rather than for making money.

Working in Shoreditch we see a massive amount of street art on a daily basis (including the giant Conor Harrington piece right outside our front door) but how much of it goes unnoticed? Well, quite a lot as it turns out!

Conor Harrington

We arranged to meet our guide by the Goat statue in Spitalfields Market and we have to admit that, with Summer finally here, we were all feeling a bit hot and sticky and wondered if we should have opted for an ice cold beer instead. However, that all changed as soon as our guide arrived. Rocking a massive smile and wearing the exact same T-Shirt AND luminous pink Nike trainers as our "stunning" office manager Ronny (his words not mine) it wasn’t long before we knew we were in safe hands (and feet) with Gary (pictured left, below).

Gary 1

Generally there is a misconception that street art is just about graffiti, however, Gary pretty much dispelled that myth straight away. The tour included variations of street art such as brass statues, miniature statues, 3D art, stencils, paste ups and murals chiseled out of concrete. And as well as learning about the artists we also learnt about local history, people and culture. In fact, our very first stop on the tour was a bollard where Gary pointed out that half of us were standing in the City and half of us were standing in the East End (City bollards are the ones painted red, white and black).

By the time the tour had finished we had seen works by David Walker, Dscreet, Vhils, Pablo Delgado, Phlegm, C215, Citizen Kane, Banksy and ROA to name but a few.

Stetson

We’re loving our street tours here at the moment and Gary informed us he’s just started up a new bike tour so watch out London…