Nice results for our clients in 2015 YouTube Leaderboard

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.54.43 PM

The YouTube UK leaderboard for 2015 was just published. They said
“Check out the top 10 most viewed ads that have been enjoyed by millions and millions of people around the world thanks to the truly brilliant marketing minds of our age. From the heartwarming to the daring, these are the ads that moved viewers in 2015.” 
We are the only UK agency with two ads in YouTube’s 2015 top five: Three Make It Right at #3 and Honda Ignition at #4. Nice.

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.54.29 PM

(This is a repeat performance for Three as ‘Sing it Kitty’ also made the YouTube top ten last year, at #6.)

Here are those ads again, in all their glory.

“The secretaries like the art directors…”

Davidson Pearce agency Christmas party 1969

Screen shot 2010-12-18 at 21.20.07
'Money spent on a set of eyelashes will always pay dividends in the office beauty stakes."

This post from five years ago is worth a seasonal revival. For all those missing Mad Men, here's the real thing.

On Adam Curtis's The Medium and the Message blog, there is an absolutely fascinating record of the real life world of UK advertising, filmed roughly around the time that the last series of Mad Men was set. It's quite astonishingly strange. The boundaries between the sexes, between 'management' and 'staff' and between young and old seem so much more pronounced than they are today, and yet the essentials of human nature haven't changed at all. The idea that an ad agency party in the so-called swinging sixties would be planned to finish at 6.30 pm seems hilarious. At one point we hear what I think is John Lennon's Cold Turkey on the soundtrack. It sounds like a transmission from the future but was released in 1969 so it could actually have been played at the party.

Screen shot 2010-12-18 at 21.17.35
Davidson Pearce was still going when I started in advertising. It was acquired by BMP in 1988, which was then itself acquired by DDB, creating BMP DDB Needham, now just known as DDB London. (Update: since this post was originally written, DDB London has changed name again, to become Adam & Eve DDB.)

I can't figure out how to embed the video on this blog, but it's well worth watching on Mr Curtis's site here.

Screen shot 2010-12-18 at 21.10.19

"It's a wig, actually." Really?

Using technology to make people care about your brand


Our Director of Experience Architecture, Rob Meldrum, features in The Drum with his perspective on Technology, Data and why 'always on' isn't necessarily a good idea…

Here's what he says:

Is your brand ‘always on’? Well, it shouldn’t be. Truth is, even the most interesting brands in the world are not actually that interesting to real people, most of the time. And although as an industry I feel we’ve started to realise that brand love doesn’t come easy, there’s still a reality check needed for the way brands talk to consumers.

If we start with the assumption that your audience isn’t really your audience, and they’re not particularly interested in what you have to say, how do you get them to listen? Let alone buy something?

I think there’s a valuable but often neglected way of making our audience care: just be there when they have a reason to be. Identify the brief moments when your brand (or more specifically the service or product it offers) actually could be useful, maybe even essential.

On the sliding scale of ‘brand/user engagement’, your audience could quickly go from ‘I literally couldn’t care less’ to ‘I’m considering this now’ or perhaps even ‘this is all I can think about’. Take energy suppliers for example – most of the year no one is really interested or engaged with their energy supplier, but if a huge bill drops through the letterbox, or they’re suddenly sitting there in the dark, rest assured it’ll be the only thing on their mind.

So how do we identify these moments, and in turn make sure our brand is there to offer help before they’ve even thought they needed us?

Luckily, the answer is simple. (Unfortunately, the actual implementation of that answer less so). We use a healthy mix of technology, data and our brains. There’s an array of tech/services/people out there using data to better understand consumers. Take Google Now for example, kindly predicting what time I’m traveling home just so it can give me traffic and weather warnings.

We’re also connecting our fridges, washing machines and security systems together in order to make life at home more intelligent and, erm, connected. Then there’s programmatic media buying that, by using multiple behavioural data sets, can help make our ads more pointed and relevant (annoyingly including those banners that follow you around, reminding you of that shirt you’ve just bought).

While data is a powerful tool, there’s a fine line between it being helpful and just downright creepy. So how do we make sure to stay on the right side of that line? The best way, in my opinion, is to be so useful and so clever that it transcends creepy altogether. In theory, broadcasting your exact location at 3am on a Sunday morning to Prius drivers across London is creepy – but the fact they can come and pick you up, take you home, all without worrying if you’ve got enough cash, is magic.

The ideal scenario for us, representing those low interest brands and trying to interrupt someone’s day, is to be there at the moment that it might actually matter. We can use technology platforms, with all of the data available to us (individual user details, user profiling and behavioural data), to provide a relevant message/offer/service that can deliver on a need right there and then. What if, for example, an energy company could be there just as the huge bill lands – providing an alternative solution, a better way?

In theory, we have the data and the technology available to us to do this, so what’s the hold up? Why aren’t we helping brands be more relevant and useful all of the time? Well for one, it’s difficult to weave this into the creative process. We can’t just bolt on personalised executions once the TV script is nailed. It needs to be baked into the idea, right from the start. But at what point does the ‘programmatic media’ chat come up in the creative brainstorm? To be honest, I’m not sure. (I’ve tried – blank stares.)

For me, the best way to start identifying these moments that matter, and subsequently crafting creative solutions around them, is to first understand our audience. By using data and technology at our disposal, we can gain access to their mindsets, experiences, interests, wants, needs and desires, and everything in-between. And If we can do this, we can start to make our ideas feel more clever, targeted and personalised.

Approaching creativity in this way in order to get to new and interesting insights and ideas might seem scary, but it’s definitely worth embracing. Lean on new services and techniques to break the creative process, twist it around, and you might just get to somewhere you’d never considered.

Finally, let’s not forget to be humble enough to admit that people aren’t interested in our brands most of the time, but also to be ready when they just might be. So maybe it’s time to shift the focus from the ‘always on’ approach and instead work on being really, really useful at just the right time. Perhaps then, your audience might just find your brand quite interesting. Or at the very least not creepy.

Rob Meldrum is director of experience architecture at Wieden+Kennedy and member of the IPA's Brand Tech Group which provides an industry view on the impact technology is having on brands, consumers and agencies

Wieden+Kennedy tops YouTube Creative Agency leaderboard – again

To celebrate the creative agencies that produced the best online video content of the year, YouTube compiles an annual Creative Agency Leaderboard, based on the agencies that landed the most ads on their monthly lists of the world's most viewed and shared ads.

In the ranking just published for 2015, Wieden+Kennedy comes number one in the world, with eight ads on the list.Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 10.25.54 AM 

Top spot of the year was FIFA 16 'Play Beautiful' by Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam.

Awesome result! And it continues a winning run for Wieden+Kennedy of YouTube hits on the annual rankings.

In 2014 four out of the world's top ten – including the top two – were by W+K, and W+K again was #1 on the creative agency rankings.

In 2013 three out of the UK's top ten were by W+K. 

And back in 2012 “One agency showed its endless ability to make viewing gold – Wieden + Kennedy had seven ads on the list including the top spot,”  said Business Insider.


Johnny, Brad and the fruitless search for meaning in life and in perfume ads

What is it about perfume ads featuring Hollywood A-listers? There really is nothing to touch them for pompous, pretentious bollocks. As soon as they sign the megastar, everyone seems to lose their minds and think it's a great idea to have the star spout some  grandiloquent nonsense.

The latest example is Johnny Depp for Dior.

Johnny pretends to play guitar, then drives into the desert to spend an afternoon digging holes. But that's just a symbol. He's actually searching for his MOJO.

"I've gotta get out of here. Which way? I don't know. What am I looking for? Something I can't see." It's no surprise he can't spot his Mojo, he hasn't even noticed that someone's put a wolf on top of his car. Perhaps he can't see it because he's got so much eyeliner in his eyes.

It's a brilliantly ludicrous performance by Johnny Depp but, ridiculous though this ad is, it doesn't come close to touching the classic of the genre – Brad Pitt for Chanel. 

"It's not a journey. Every journey ends but we go on…. Plans disappear, dreams take over…But wherever I go, there you are. My luck, my fate my fortune. Chanel number 5. Inevitable."

Brad and Johnny both seem to be lost in lives without purpose. Why are they so sad? Where is the buffalo going? Why does the world turn? What does it all mean? Buy some of our perfume and you too can feel lost.

Burger wars for peace

You may have seen the discussion yesterday about Burger King's 'McWhopper' idea. It was either a smart idea or a PR stunt by a struggling brand piggy-backing a good cause, depending on your POV. One of our people put together an appropriately cheeky return in the spirit of BK's serve. Scott Dungate writes:

Yesterday we saw Burger King offer a truce to rival burger giant MacDonald's. On Peace Day, 21 September, the two companies would put their differences aside, and in a pop-up store in Atlanta, they would make ‘The McWhopper’, a hybrid burger, using the best bits of the Whopper and the Big Mac. 


Rather than approaching McDonald's directly, they ran an ad (above) to publicise this idea. And launched a website.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 9.52.29 AM

You have to admire the cheekiness of Burger King in this proposition. It definitely put McDonald’s in an awkward position. It’s hard to work with your arch-enemy and run with their idea, but hard also to turn your back on world peace. 

As news and social media picked up on the McWhopper proposal, people waited for a response from McDonald's. And it was… (arguably) underwhelming, dull and a pretty killjoy response from the CEO. Social media suggested that those watching were disappointed at McDonald's response too (no-one likes a buzz-kill) leaving Burger King the clear victor by non-contest.

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 9.44.37 PM

But what if McDonald's had raised the stakes? Flexed their global muscles for global peace?  What if they spat the challenge back at Burger King, and asked them to SUPER-SIZE The McWhopper offer, and take it beyond one pop-up store in Atlanta, and roll it out globally, in every city where they wage ‘burger war’? Think of all the McWhoppers sold and the money raised for Peace One Day. Makes sense for two big  global brands to act globally, if you’re riding on the coat-tails of global peace.  

PS: Just for fun, here’s a freebie (totally unendorsed by either McDonald's or BK):

McWhopper Better Response

Are all supermarkets the same?

Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 18.13.00

At the cinema today there was an ad in the break for Asda (above). The ad was something to do with making the most of summer, which I was doing by sitting in the cinema on a sunny day. Asda are now using the same strapline as their Walmart parent brand does in the USA.

Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 18.17.31

Which is kind of similar to Target's positioning.

Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 18.21.29

A couple of minutes later in that cinema ad break, a Sainsbury's ad popped up. It was something to do with making the most of summer. Sainsbury's are still saying, 'Live well for less."

Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 18.12.42

Live well for less.

Save money, live better.

What's the diff? I fully expect a new Morrisons campaign to launch with the slogan, "Pay less, live more."

Ad slogans are the least of their issues, but is it any wonder UK retailers are struggling to bring meaningful differentiation to their brands?

pride of lions


The 2015 Cannes Festival of Creativity finished up yesterday. Here's a round-up of results as they relate to us at Wieden+Kennedy.

W+K Portland was runner up Independent Agency of the Year and W+K London came third in this category.

The full rundown for London is as follows:

Cyber Lions –  Honda – The Other Side; Storytelling Gold
Cyber Lions – Honda – The Other Side; Use of Music/Sound Design Silver 
Cyber Lions –  Honda – The Other Side; Interactive Video Gold
Film Craft –  Lurpak – Freestyle; Use of Original Music Shortlist
Film Lions – Honda – The Other Side; Film – Personal Screens Gold
Film Lions – Lurpak – Freestyle; Film – Savoury Foods Shortlist
Film Lions – Finish – Dishes; Film – Household Goods, Home Appliances, Furnishings Silver
Honda – The Other Side; Titanium/Integrated Shortlist
Film Craft – Honda – The Other Side; Direction Gold 
Film Craft – Honda – The Other Side; Sound Design Gold
Lurpak – Freestyle; Sound Design Shortlist
Film Craft – Lurpak – Freestyle; Cinematography Bronze 
Film Craft –  Lurpak – Freestyle; Direction Bronze
Film Craft – Lurpak – Freestyle; Editing Silver 
Media Lions – UKTV – The Most Ridiculously Honest Social Media Campaign Ever; Digital & Social – Use of Social Platform Shortlist 

Total awards at Cannes for the eight offices in the W+K network were: one grand prix, nine gold, 9 silver, 19 bronze and 41 shortlisted.

Creativepool interviews Neil Christie in a cab

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 11.06.41 AM

Neil Christie, Managing Director at Wieden + Kennedy London, talks to Creativepool about management, advertising, pitching to new clients and how to apply for jobs. 

(For the purposes of the format – interview in a black cab – we pretended that we were on our way to some high-powered meeting. But in fact, I had a morning in the office that day, so the cab just picked me up from W+K, drove around Shoreditch for a bit, and then dropped me off back at W+K.)