Wieden+Kennedy London has been appointed lead creative agency for UK charity Action for Children. Action for Children was founded in 1869 by Methodist minister Thomas Bowman Stephenson. For more than 145 years, Action for Children has worked in local communities to protect and support the young and vulnerable as they grow up. The charity makes children’s lives better through its 650 services, including children’s centres, intensive family support, fostering and adoption services and assistance for disabled children and their families.
Sheona Michie, Head of Brand and Marketing, Action for Children, says of the appointment “Wieden+Kennedy have a formidable track record for unleashing the potential in the brands they work with. We look forward to developing a successful partnership that will help us reach out to more children across the UK.”
Kim Papworth, Senior Creative Director, Wieden+Kennedy London comments, “Action for Children continue to make an enormous contribution to helping children in thiscountry. To be asked to work with them is a real honour.
About Action for Children:
For more than 145 years, Action for Children has never been afraid to push for the best for children. We work in local communities across the UK to make children’s lives better: now, tomorrow and every day. We take action at the earliest opportunity to help children as they grow up. We care about each child and every family. We support and protect the most vulnerable. We never give up. Today, we directly help more than 300,000 children, young people, parents and carers across the UK.
We have some very exciting news to share on this sunny Tuesday afternoon: we've welcomed the brilliant UK charity Action for Children to our family of brands.
We're delighted to have been appointed Action for Children's lead creative agency, and we're already cracking on with some work. They make an enormous contribution to helping children in this country, and we're honoured to have been asked to work with them.
Action for Children was founded in 1869 by Methodist minister Thomas Bowman Stephenson. For more than 145 years, Action for Children has worked in local communities to protect and support the young and vulnerable as they grow up. The charity makes children’s lives better through its 650 services, including children’s centres, intensive family support, fostering and adoption services and assistance for disabled children and their families.
Stay tuned for some new work from us and Action for Children soon!
Read on for a Friday update from W+Ker Andy on his latest educational adventures in Cannes:
Today I saw Colleen, one of of our global ECDs, take part in a panel discussion around the subject of 'gender diversity' and what it's like to be a woman in advertising. Hearing them speak it seemed that, luckily, we appear to be an industry that is actually pretty good in this area comparatively, even though we all need to do more to level the playing field. Whilst some of the panel talked about certain issues that they've faced along the way, on the whole things seemed pretty positive. Now, as I am a man, clearly this is not something I have faced and so maybe I am not best qualified to comment, but equally I am thankful for working in an agency where I think gender quality isn't really an issue, and one that is actively trying to make sure it isn't one. What I do know is that when I go to our head of department meetings, I am the only man in the room. That must be a good sign.
I also went a to talk given by the three women (see what I did there?) behind the 'podcast phenomenon' Serial. It was brilliant. I was left in awe of the creative thinking, skill and vision behind something that is, in their own words, '10 hours of journalism about the American justice system.' They spoke about the difficulty of real-time production and wanting to make it feel real in every way, which is why they left in all the bits around presenter Sarah Koenig's uncertainty about what was happening and how she felt day to day.
When it comes to the art of 'storytelling,' their POV was clear: 'we should not be running away from details and moments in stories that reflect the way life is actually led. Don't mimc it, or create it in the way you think it should be told. Telling stories in a real way is artistry and what makes it emotionally meaningful.' I think this might be one of the best things I've heard all week, and it reminded me of how we often say to prospective clients in new business meetings that at W+K, we don't really do the 'advertising bullshit thing,' but that we always look for human, brand and product truths and then try to articulate them in new, creative and engaging ways. Try.
Then to wrap up the week of talks, I saw the 'Cannes debate' with Martin Sorrell and Al Gore. Martin was as smooth as you would expect any £50M+-a-year CEO to be. Al was as smooth as you would expect any ex– Vice President, friend of Steve Jobs and Google and Apple board member to be.
In fact, they were so smooth, so powerful and so rich they actually glowed gold on stage. A true wonder to behold:
Our man Andy' is still in Cannes. He spent yesterday trying to dodge the celebs and take in some of the more legit industry stuff instead. He writes:
Ok, so I'll admit my last post was pretty low brow. So I've tried to take it up a notch this time.
I saw Richard Curtis (sorry, still dropping names) and John Hegarty talk about the launch of the UN's 'Global goals', a series of ambitious targets to end extreme poverty and tackle climate change for everyone by 2030. They got very excited about an ad they've written, which will run as the 'first ever global cinema ad campaign'.
All well and good, but what they were really asking was for us in the audience to use our 'media power' to tell people about it. So that's what I'm doing. And now you can tell everyone you know about it, and so on…
We received some great news from Cannes last night; Honda 'The Other Side' won two gold awards in the Cyber Lions category! One for Storytelling and one for Interactive Video. Here's Iain nonchalantly collecting one of the awards in his shorts.
And here he is again, clearly over the moon with the award.
W+K Head of Account Handling, Andy Kay, is camped out in Cannes this week, immersing himself in a punishing schedule of industry talks, workshops and panel sessions at the Palais, and defending himself from the equally punishing side effects of rosé immersion (in the name of mingling with great creative minds, etc). He's already found time to rub shoulders with Monica Lewinsky and to stalk a few celebs. He writes:
I was advised to not just go to the big talks whilst here, and I have tried to follow that advice. But I have also done a fair bit of starfucking too. Warning, this post includes some shameful name dropping…
[yes, that's Monica Lewinsky]
Pharrell Williams – Creating constellations: Unleashing creativity through collaboration
Long, long queues to get in, 3000 people in the hall at 10am, and billed by the host as "an unstoppable one man pop culture machine," he had a lot to live up to. I thought he seemed like a genuinely humble, nice bloke who spoke lucidly around his creative process and attitude to collaboration. Amazingly, he's also 42 and looks about 24. He says;
He only does collaborations with people he thinks are better than him, so he can learn.
If he's stumped it's because he's not inspired.
You need to consider the 'energy in the room.' So whilst FaceTime and conference calls are great, there's really like nothing like getting together in one room. As someone who works on a lot of international business, I know what he means.
Bad responses from 'call outs' (record label speak for focus groups) don't mean anything to him as it's likely to be because people are being asked to comment on something they've never heard before. 'It's like going up to a man who's only ever eaten hamburgers and asking him to try some sushi. What's he likely to say?' I'm dropping Pharrell on my next MWB results call.
If the label won't pay for the artwork, guess what? The thing's probably gonna fail.
His main point though, which he kept coming back to, was around what he called 'intention.' For something to stand out, be it music, ads, painting, cooking whatever, he says it needs to have 'been created with intention.' I kind of agree. If you don't give a shit about what you're doing how can you expect anyone else to? He also said that anything created needs to have a 'tactile kinaesthetic quality to it' which reminded me of a certain Dan Wieden quote… 'just move me dude'.
Jamie Oliver – Innovation: When new just isn't enough
Me and Jamie go right back to the ‘Naked Chef’ days. He has a pretty slick digital presence from Instagram to his FoodTube channels and I thought he may give some insight into all of this. Actually, he spent most of his time talking about education and healthy eating. But, I suppose that's fair enough. He's not a marketer so what did I expect? And he makes some very valid and very important points. He also ended on a fact about how most Greek old men can still have sex 'successfully.' I think it was going to be an anecdote around diet but he was dragged off stage before he could finish. No pun intended.
Kim Kardashian West – Hollywood and trends in Digital Storytelling
I actually stumbled into this one as it was after another talk I went to. She was really nice and her iOS game, which they were there to talk about, seems to be something a lot of young girls (and from the ooh and ahhs in the audience, some older ones too) like to play and it was genuinely interesting to hear about how it mirrors her life in real time and provides genuine interaction chances with her. But it was also all a little weird and tense. At the start, we were all warned to make the host proud, to not try and make a name for ourselves and to keep the questions professional. Um, ok…??? Oh, and her mum was there too. That seemed to excite a lot of people as well.
Stay tuned for more dispatches from A-List Andy as the week rolls on.
A couple of recent documentaries are worth a look for anyone interested in getting an insight into the creative process in industries different from advertising and marketing.
Jodorowsky's Dune tells the story of Chilean artist and director Alejandro Jodorowsky's unmade movie of Dune. He assembled an amazing group of collaborators, including French comics creator Moebius, Swiss artist of the gothic and bizarre HR Giger, Pink Floyd and special effects man Dan O'Bannon. He apparently signed up an amazing cast including David Carradine, Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, Udo Kier and Salvador Dali. And he developed a complete script and storyboard, scene by scene, for the entire movie. But the project was too ambitious and Jodorowsky apparently too crazed and uncompromising for any Hollywood studio to back him and his film. The fact that David Lynch was picked as the 'safe' option to direct Dune, in preference to Jodorowsky, gives some indication of just how far out there the Jodorowsky Dune would have been. The documentary is an entertaining watch, not just for the glimpses of the unmade epic, but also for the intensity that Jodorowsky brings to telling the story. You can see that this intensity (combined with his reputation for having previously made bonkers but visionary films like El Topo and the Magic Mountain) is what must have persuaded his collaborators to follow his call to, "Sell everything you own and move to Paris to work on something that will change the world." But you can also see why that same creative passion could have scared off the Hollywood money men. (There's a frankly alarming sequence where he likens adapting Frank Herbert's book to 'raping a bride'.) There are some parallels here with our business – the tension between the creative vision and the conservative client. But Jodorowsky makes it clear that he sees himself as an artist, not a commercial entertainer. He doesn't want a box office hit, he wants to blow our minds. In our work, we can't start believing that we are purely artists – our creativity is always in service of commercial objectives.
There's a part near the end where AJ says something like, "The movie didn't die. It lives on in people's minds as a dream. And a dream can still change the world." The power of dreams, no?
You can't watch the unmade Dune, but you can see its influence in other movies, from Alien to Bladerunner. And, if you're a fan of visionary cinema but haven't seen any of Jodorowsky's work, then you should try to track down the extraordinary and unforgettable Santa Sangre or The Dance of Reality.
Another recent documentary about a creative working in a particular field is Dior and I, which follows designer Raf Simons as he takes over as creative director of the Dior fashion house.
To the outsider the world of haute couture can seem like the Emperor's New Clothes brought to life: the unspeakable in pursuit of the unwearable. But even if you're not into fashion, this is an interesting story. Simons seems a reluctant guru, shy and somewhat intimidated by the legacy of Dior's founder, but quietly determined to reinvent the brand without losing touch with its essence.
The house of Dior is presented as an intriguing contrast: seeking to be at the cutting edge of fashion, but enabled by an atelier of middle-aged seamstresses, the craftspeople who turn the CD's concepts into real physical garments. Simons doesn't even sketch out his ideas – he uses clippings and moodboards and reference stimulus to suggest what he wants. Much of this reminded me of the way that some advertising creatives work: like magpies, picking up shiny things from the gutter of culture and assembling them in (hopefully) new and relevant ways.
Like an agency working towards a big pitch, the tension at Dior mounts as the day of the big runway show approaches. The pressure is on and time and money are running out. Simons persuades his boss to go wildly over-budget for a dramatic presentation that involves covering a mansion in fresh flowers, and after late nights, tears and tantrums, it all comes good with a triumphant launch of the new collection.
The striking thing, comparing the two films, are the similarities and differences between Jodorowsky and Simons. Neither can execute their vision themselves. Each has a team of highly talented collaborators from whom they need to elicit excellent work, in order to realise that personal vision. But while Jodorowsky assumes the role of the crazed visionary, the manic street preacher, Simons is thoughtful, subdued and even withdrawn. Both approaches seem to work pretty well.
If you're interested, you can find both these films in the iTunes store. Jodorowsky's movies are available on DVD.
Last month, our whole agency ventured out into the spring sunshine for our annual walk in memory of lovely W+Ker Cheryl Rogers, raising funds to help St Joseph's Hospice in Hackney do the amazing work they do. Every year, they help look after over 1,500 patients as well as offering much needed support to family, friends and the wider community surrounding the hospice.
It was a wonderful day and we highly recommend getting out and exploring the neighbourhood in the name of a great cause.
Inspired to do something similar? You're in luck: our friends at the hospice are organising the brilliant 2015 Great East End Walk, which takes walkers on a 10- or 15-mile route through the area, from the vibrant East End parks to scenic canal paths.
A couple of weeks ago, we shipped one of our Nike account directors, Ollie, over to our Tokyo office to help out on some work over there. Between learning how to bow properly and belting out karaoke numbers, he wrote a bit about his first impressions:
For the next three months I'll be working at W+K Tokyo, helping to run a new Nike campaign. The work is actually for South Korea, but we're operating out of the Tokyo office. It's awesome for me, since I've never been to Asia before this, let alone Japan.
Arriving at W+K's home in the hipster hangout of Nakameguro, it was like I'd never left 16 Hanbury Street. The same medley of random, bonkers stuff adorns the place. Rubber chickens, Kinder Egg toys, baseball gloves etc.
Two standout things among everything are the Nike shoebox speaker (I think it actually works) and the W+K button sign. My bowing attempt was subsequently ridiculed. Great sign though.
Almost all Nike meetings are run in English. For the occasional meetings that aren't, a translator will be on hand to whisper the English to you via a headset. Proper Nathan Barley stuff. Love it.
In no particular order, these are some things I've learned since arriving less than a week ago:
The W+K Tokyo bunch are awesome. They're passionate about their work. They're passionate about their beer. It's a great combo. I already feel very at home here.
Birthdays are taken seriously. Very seriously.
The food is spectacular. Particularly the fish. Also, no one really cooks – you either eat out or buy pre-made food from the local convenience store. Well, at least that's what I do.
Lots of people sleep on the underground. I haven't worked out if the Tokyo locals are expert power-nappers or if they've all been on a massive tear-up. Possibly both.
Karaoke is a way of life here. I thought I'd hate it, but actually it's magnificent. If you ever find yourself in Tokyo and think you're too sophisticated for karaoke, think again. Have drinks, dinner, some more drinks and then hit the karaoke booths. You'll most probably leave at 4am, hoarse, after the night of your life.
'What about the work?' I hear Neil cry. Don't worry, Neil, it's all in hand.