Back to the 1920s

Last Thursday was that time of the year again…Wieden+Kennedy's Founders' Day, the day when we all get together to celebrate the founding of the agency and to get even more creative.

Like every year, the day's itinerary was shrouded in mystery and this year was no different, apart from the strong hint that there would be a 1920s movie glamour theme, which we deciphered from the posters around the office, an invitation entitled 'Wieden+Kennedy Makes the Movies' and the 1920's short film we were shown featuring certain famous faces from around the agency!

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We all gathered at the office first thing, and after a hearty breakfast, discovered that our day would be spent in teams, filming our very own 1920s silent movie. Props and all. 

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The result was 15 short, rather peculiar and hilarious silent movies that, dare we say it, were pretty impressive! We even had a silent rap video/horror movie mashup titled "Jack the Rapper". Turns out we're not too shabby at this thing. 

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We ended the day with a glitzy, Great Gatsby-esque dinner and party (minus the prohibition act) in Bloomsbury, dressed in our vintage finery. Just imagine lots of flappers and dapper gents, and an awful lot of feather boas. The fantastic entertainment included a live band, a burlesque dancer and a giant Martini glass. The highlight of the evening was of course a mass screening of our hard day's work and a few awards. 

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We had a great day all in all, and the best part was getting the chance to step outside of our usual roles and get creative whilst spending time with other W+Kers we don't always have the chance to work with.

W+Kult island – Founders’ Day 2014

Every year, we celebrate the day two guys dived head first into the world of independent advertising, asking themselves "what's the worst that could happen?" That day was April 1st 1982, the day Wieden+Kennedy was founded. Was it a coincidence the agency was started on April Fool's Day? Who knows. But what we do know is that our annual Founders' Day celebrations are a chance for the whole agency to get away from the office, be together, get inspired and be creative.

Wieden & Kennedy O'Sea Island 2014-541

Our organising committee meets under the cover of darkness (the padded cell) and schemes up an event to remember. This year, all we were told in advance was: don't wear a skirt and bring wellies. So no kilts for Mr Christie then. 

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After a couple of hours in a bus with our hooded guides, we found ourselves on Osea Island in Essex.

Wieden & Kennedy O'Sea Island 2014-85

It's only reachable for a few hours a day when the tide is out, and the island's history includes and World War I military base and a treatment facility. This was our home for 36 hours. This year's theme was 'W+Kult', because from the outside, well… here's what original W+Kult leader Dan Wieden, beamed in from Portland on the day, had to say to us:

 

And so we zipped up our Kult-issued boiler suits, and after a spot of wellie-clad yoga on the beach, got stuck into the brief: form a cult. 

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These were our spiritual guides on the day:

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 Who made us eat worms:

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 And put on masks:

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And compose our own mantras:

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After a (not so) gruelling day of creativity, fun and games, the whole thing culminates in a party. This year, we celebrated with with a hog roast and fire dancers. 

A big thank you to our W+K Founders' Day organising crew: Paulo Salomao, Laura McGauran, Mike Waywell, Ronny Harmes, Nicola Yurman, Laura Barker and Lara Wahab, and to Wonderland Events, for putting so much work into giving us all a day to remember. We bow down to you all. 

Wieden & Kennedy O'Sea Island 2014-802

Check out photos of our Kults after the jump.

Every year, we celebrate the day two guys dived head first into the world of independent advertising, asking themselves "what's the worst that could happen?" That day was April 1st 1982, the day Wieden+Kennedy was founded. Was it a coincidence the agency was started on April Fool's Day? Who knows. But what we do know is that our annual Founders' Day celebrations are a chance for the whole agency to get away from the office, be together, get inspired and be creative.

Wieden & Kennedy O'Sea Island 2014-541

Our organising committee meets under the cover of darkness (the padded cell) and schemes up an event to remember. This year, all we were told in advance was: don't wear a skirt and bring wellies. So no kilts for Mr Christie then. 

Wieden & Kennedy O'Sea Island 2014-591

After a couple of hours in a bus with our hooded guides, we found ourselves on Osea Island in Essex.

Wieden & Kennedy O'Sea Island 2014-85

It's only reachable for a few hours a day when the tide is out, and the island's history includes and World War I military base and a treatment facility. This was our home for 36 hours. This year's theme was 'W+Kult', because from the outside, well… here's what original W+Kult leader Dan Wieden, beamed in from Portland on the day, had to say to us:

 

And so we zipped up our Kult-issued boiler suits, and after a spot of wellie-clad yoga on the beach, got stuck into the brief: form a cult. 

Wieden & Kennedy O'Sea Island 2014-221

These were our spiritual guides on the day:

Wieden & Kennedy O'Sea Island 2014-265

 Who made us eat worms:

Wieden & Kennedy O'Sea Island 2014-370

 And put on masks:

Wieden & Kennedy O'Sea Island 2014-457

And compose our own mantras:

Wieden & Kennedy O'Sea Island 2014-385

After a (not so) gruelling day of creativity, fun and games, the whole thing culminates in a party. This year, we celebrated with with a hog roast and fire dancers. 

A big thank you to our W+K Founders' Day organising crew: Paulo Salomao, Laura McGauran, Mike Waywell, Ronny Harmes, Nicola Yurman, Laura Barker and Lara Wahab, and to Wonderland Events, for putting so much work into giving us all a day to remember. We bow down to you all. 

Wieden & Kennedy O'Sea Island 2014-802

Check out photos of our Kults after the jump.

The Kult of Crouton:

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The Kult of Theo (our planner…awkward):

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 The Kult of Skol:

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The Kult of Whitney Jackson:

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Children of the Tongue:

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The Kult of Pamela Anderson:

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The Kult of Sandra:

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The Kult of Helen's puppies:

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The Kult of Donkey:

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The Kult of Kanye:

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Founder’s Day XXX

It’s taken a while to write this, but then, it’s taken a while to recover. Sunday 1st April saw our annual Founder's Day.  Normally this is a day of group activity shenanigans followed by a booze-up. But this year was different.  This year was Wieden + Kennedy’s 30th anniversary, and although booze was still involved (natch) the order of the day was something a little bit more inspirational.

Hands

As we passed through the doors you couldn’t help but feel that something was amiss.  The walk in stupid man was in a silver sweatsuit, the library was a sea of white and bean bags.  Everywhere looked…tidy. It could only mean one thing: we had somehow travelled forward 30 years into the future to the W+K Centre 2042.

After a feast that was resolutely planted in the present, the rest of the day was spent looking at where we might be in the next 30 years with the help of super-curator, Beatrice Galilee. Matt Jones from BERG kicked off the day by blasting us into the future (sorry about the un-futuristic projector, Matt).

Brunch 2

And what a day. We smelt the moon with We Colonised the Moon, learnt arduino with Technology Will Save Us (Tony D was pretty pleased with his Lumiphone), tasted the future with food artist Caroline Hobkinson and explored new territories with the Unknown Fields Division. Finally, Sam Bompas from Bompas & Parr came in with the Experimental Cocktail Company and blew our brains out by drinking futuristic cocktails and sniffing something lethal from an apron. Don’t ask.

All of which set us up perfectly for walking back out of W+K Centre 2042 and going back to the past, way, way back to 1982 at the CuckooClub, Mayfair.  Drinks flowed freely, faces were painted, shapes were thrown.  The highlight was Boy George was on the wheels of steel closely followed by a magician.  Some thought him better than Paul Daniels. Yes, he was that good.

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we rock

Becky_and_pat

Last night’s Founders’ Day party climaxed in rock karaoke with a live band. There were some inspired performances. The Paul McCartney lookalike was booed off before he could even start his song. Above: Pat McKay goes Iggy; Becky tries not to get his sweat on herself.

Below: oblivious to abuse from audience, Christie hogs the mic to sing yet another number.

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WK 25 – climax and aftermath

Burning_wheels

Perhaps combining fire and copious quantities of alcohol was never going to be a good idea. Whatever, things got a little out of hand for one or two people at the climactic final founders’ day 25th anniversary party.

Mild mannered Matt Gooden went from this…

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To this…

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And then there was the letting off of fire extinguishers, the raiding of the bar and the ultimate, unfortunate Torching of The ‘Burning Dan’ effigy. This had been strictly forbidden but the revellers were not to be denied their pagan ritual. A fracas ensued but I’m happy to say we had no hospitalisations or incarcerations.

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Things were a lot more subdued the next morning as we prepared for the return home to London.

Departure 

Tired but happy…

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More WK 25

On day 2 we had a number of short presentations from a diverse and eclectic list of speakers. They included environmental thinker and statistician Professor Bjorn Lomborg, speaking about climate change, strategist and blogger Russell Davies talking about the stuff that surrounds us, artist Bob Van Dijk talking about making clothing for flies on bikes, Andrew Shoben of Greyworld talking about art in public spaces, a dominatrix, a guy who talked about rabbit genitalia and sex with dolphins, and many more whose names I can’t remember just now, but they were great, too.

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Then it was off to the seaside for yet more brutally punishing drinking. We had a rather scary Wicker Man-style effigy of Dan that had been constructed outside the bar:

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‘Burning Dan’ you see – geddit?

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Bar_scene

Entertainment for the evening was provided by Reggie Watts

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And Lemon Jelly. It was a bit of a big night.

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WK 25 (2)

Globes

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The building had been dressed specially for the event. The courtyard was like a scene from The Prisoner, with clouds of huge, floating white globes, the ground studded with dozens of paper lanterns illuminated by candles. The bar/dining area was all in white with sand on the floor and had a kind of bond villain hideout vibe. The floor which we used for most of the speeches and presentations had been entirely carpeted with real grass.  (Large quantities of grass being just what you expect in Amsterdam.)

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WK 25 – part one

Dan_effigy

On Wednesday last week, everyone from Wieden + Kennedy London got on a plane to meet up with everyone from the Amsterdam office for two days of talk, games, events and, er, booze to celebrate and commemmorate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the agency. It’ll take me at least a couple of posts to cover this, so bear with me.

Checkin

We had our own personalised check-in counter at Heathrow. Just the thing for a bunch of wanderers and stragglers. Danny Wallace in ‘Brits on tour’ mode, below:

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Main venue for the two days was W+K Amsterdam’s new building, which is still empty and yet to be fitted out. Our lot don’t move in permanently for a few months. This meant we could fit it out specially for founders’ day.

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Starting point was to review the long, strange trip of the last 25 years of Wieden + Kennedy. Founder Dan Wieden, together with Dave Luhr and John Jay, said a few words and answered questions about how it’s going so far. Example:

Q: Dan, what kept you going for 25 years?

A: Scotch, for most of it.

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