Go Drink Yourself

Have you seen the new, re-imagined SouthernComfort.com? Our brethren at W+K New York designed and built it. It’s a platform for drinkers to show how they like to drink their Southern Comfort. An open source website where any of you with a computer, tablet or smartphone can create your drink and share it with your friends, just the way you like it.

You just go to the site to make your own drinks, get recipes from other drinkers, and even learn about Southern Comfort’s history. Drinks are customised from start to finish. Pick a container, fill it up with your pick of ingredients, add a garnish, name your drink, and share away. Your custom drink recipe will live forever on the site for everyone to enjoy.

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In every nook and cranny of the site Southern Comfort’s ‘Whatever’s Comfortable’ spirit is present. Even the 404 page shares the tonality of the brand.

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And it doesn’t end there. There’s even incentive to get involved with the site:

We invite you to Go Drink Yourself. Make a delicious drink recipe of your own on SouthernComfort.com, enter it into the Go Drink Yourself contest, and then share it with everyone you know to get as many MMM’s as possible. (Yup, an MMM is indeed a Southern Comfort like!) Winners will be chosen from the best of the best drinks. And winners win a hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind mug featuring their face.

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Ten lucky UK Southern Comfort drinkers will win a mug. So you know what to do – GO DRINK YOURSELF, people.

gold and silver arrows

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We know we're not supposed to care about awards here at W+K, but we do love it when the people who worked so hard to help us bring moonwalking ponies to life and tell seamless stories of engineering wizardry get a shiny, arrow-shaped high five for their crafty brilliance. 

Last night at the BTAAs (aka British Arrows Craft Awards), a few of the aforementioned arrows had our mucky W+K fingerprints of them.

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[our producer James with Nexus legend Tracey Cooper, with quite possibly the shiniest award ever for Honda 'Hands']

Here's the rundown:

  • Best Animation – Gold – Nexus for Honda 'Hands'
  • Best Cinematography – Gold – John Mathieson for Lurpak 'Weave Your Magic'
  • Best CGI Gold + Best VFX – Gold – Jame Mengers + Carsten Keller at MPC for Three 'The Pony'
  • Best Recorded Music – Gold – Jack Sedgwick at Wave for Three 'The Pony'
  • Best Editing – Silver – Art Jones for Lurpak 'Weave Your Magic'
  • Best Sound Design – Silver – Anthony Moore at Factory for Honda 'Hands'

Our pals in Gotham, W+K NYC, bagged the following:

  • Best Crafted Commercial – Biscuit for SoCo 'Whatever's Comfortable / Beach'
  • Best Director – Silver – Tim Godsall for SoCo 'Whatever's Comfortable / Beach'
  • Best Casting – Gold – Maya Kvetny for SoCo 'Whatever's Comfortable / Beach'

Big thank you to all the exceptionally talented people who lent their souls skills to making some truly brilliant work. And as the saying goes, 'when it rains, it pours' – it turns out Honda 'Hands' also won an Epica award for Best Animation yesterday. Lovely. 

2013 so far at W+K London

Easter weekend is a natural point at which
to scoff buns and chocolate, yes, but also to pause and consider how the year
2013 is going for us so far at Wieden + Kennedy London.

Winning new business was a key goal for us
in 2012. We succeeded in bringing in a number of new clients, including
Schweppes, Finlandia, Maximus, Southern Comfort, FUZE tea and arguably the win
of the year, the UK’s largest retailer, Tesco. We landed the Tesco account in
September
and at that point we shut up shop for new business so as to focus on
existing clients and make sure we were not so busy that the quality of our work
suffered.

Christmas 2012 and the first few months of
2013 have seen the fruits of that focus, with new work breaking for Honda,
Lurpak, Tesco, Three, Visit Wales and more.  Here are a few recent highlights at W+K London:

– We were delighted that Tesco was able to
report its best Christmas sales results for three years, which led to a 3% rise
in share price.
Our Tesco Christmas campaign was described by Retail Week as
‘top ranking’ of all supermarkets’ efforts
in terms of popularity on social
media; they credited it with giving Tesco a ‘significant boost’. The results
were certainly an encouraging start to our work with Tesco.

– In February the One Club teamed up with the American International Auto Show in Detroit to name its list
of the ten greatest car ads of the last 25 years. Our work for Honda took the
first and second places. And we helped Honda to launch the new Civic across
Europe with a campaign that transcended language, despite/because of being
based around a palindrome.

Civic

– Our new work for Visit Wales launched and
seemed to go down well. It was described in Campaign as, “A great piece of thinking… clever stuff…charming… well executed…”


As Britain grumbled its way through recession and winter, we launched a
new campaign for Lurpak celebrating the power of “good, proper food” to put
fire in the nation’s bellies.

This work also went down well at Campaign. “This, surely is why we are all in the
business. A brilliant idea when it launched and one that just gets better with
time and development. This latest execution is beautifully crafted, with the
same perfect tone of voice we’ve come to expect from Wieden + Kennedy.”

AdWeek described it as “visually astonishing… another sensory masterpiece”.

Strength

Another execution from the Lurpak campaign.

Around the same time, one of our earlier
Lurpak posters was inducted into the Outdoor Hall of Fame. (It’s a bit like the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but with posters.)

– We created a psychedelically colourful
London Transport campaign for Lactofree
to encourage grumpy commuters to say
yes to breakfast.

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– Our
plucky little wonder pony launched for Three at the beginning of March and quickly
moon-walked his way to the status of full-on internet sensation.

Gazillions of
views, umpteen shares, a million remixes, Fleetwood Mac back in the charts –
Socks the pony smashed Twitter, topped the world’s viral video charts and
appeared on national news from the USA to Japan. The Mail wrote: As the government's
austerity programme rolls on, and the UK tightens its belt, Britain is a nation
in need of something to smile about. And it seems a Shetland pony moon-walking
to the strains of an '80s pop tune could be just the thing. An advert for
mobile internet firm 3, which sees a pony tapping its hooves to Everywhere by
Fleetwood Mac, has been lauded as 'the best thing ever' by fans on Twitter.
 

Moreaboutadvertising.com asked “Is W+K London’s ‘little pony’ ad for Three
the most successful UK campaign ever?”

And
went on to say: Agency Wieden+Kennedy London is sometimes criticised for trying to
be original and different with
everything (often a rather painstaking process). But who else would be so
brave?”
 *agency
accepts criticism, blushes collectively at praise*

– Our print campaign for Tesco setting out their
response to the horsemeat scandal was described as “poetry” by the Standard and
compared to a Shakespearean sonnet by the BBC
, who said the copy had "an incantatory quality, in the way it repeats certain
phrases, trying to cast a spell on the reader with words
”.

– We helped launch a new initiative for
Tesco – the Price Promise
. Here’s how it works: when you shop at Tesco, online
or in store, they will compare your basket against the prices at Asda,
Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. If your shopping would have been cheaper there,
Tesco will give you a voucher for the difference for up to £10. The Price
Promise campaign has rolled out nationally on TV, posters, press, online and in-store. Price Promise has been described as a potential ‘game changer’ by Retail Week.

The art direction on the print work, meanwhile, has been described as "Exquisite. Crafted. Considered. Clever"

Pp1
Pp2
Pp3

And in between making adverts, we survived
explosions in the street outside our office, attended the Vodka Cup in Finland,
reported back from TED and SXSW, picked up a couple of gold arrows at the
British Telly Advertising Awards, got an ‘excellent’ school report from
Campaign, hired some great new people, and created an online Easter egg hunt
for virtual eggs with real prizes.

No wonder the first quarter of the year
seems to have passed so quickly – we’ve been busy.

2013 is shaping up to be another tough year
for the advertising industry. I’m not particularly positive about prospects
for the business in general (though UK ad spend is forecast by some experts to
grow, I don’t necessarily see this translating into increased agency revenue),
or the UK economy – forecasts seem to be generally gloomy – but, based on the
first quarter of the year, with more hard work, continued focus on our people
and the quality of what we do, and the support of some amazing clients, I am
very optimistic, with custard on, about the outlook for Wieden + Kennedy London.

Optimism

OK, back to the buns and choccy eggs. Till
Tuesday.
Happy Easter.

W+K in marketing week best campaigns of the year

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Marketing Week has run a piece on its favourite campaigns of 2012. It includes two from Wieden + Kennedy. Here's what they said:

P&G – Proud Sponsor of Mums (W+K Portland)

Procter & Gamble’s global ad campaign for the Olympics would have melted even the coldest heart. Its Thank You Mum activity took a simple, if sickly sweet, premise and made it work as a corporate slogan and for its individual brands. Even with its blatant gender bias it managed to speak to every demographic in every nation by identifying a common insight.

This campaign earns its spot among the top campaigns of the year list purely for its seductive technique.

Southern Comfort – Whatever's Comfortable (W+K New York)

Southern Comfort marked its refreshed marketing activity this year with the launch of this “Whatever’s Comfortable” campaign.

Slow, deliberate and methodical, the 90 second ad slot, with no voiceover and little narrative, doesn’t even feature the product until its closing scenes in a creative execution that disrupts otherwise predictable ad air time.

The suspension of the product placement and overt brand messaging doesn’t adhere to viewer expectations letting the accompanying backing track, folk singer Odetta’s “Hit or Miss”, carry the viewer through.

In the creative, Southern Comfort’s pot-bellied, loincloth-wearing protagonist is clearly “comfortable” with himself as he saunters his way through crowds of ‘beautiful people’ on a sun-soaked beach.

The drinks manufacturer stepped up its marketing drive this year by  reputedly doubling its media spend from 2011 plus this execution also marks its first campaign with new agency Wieden+Kennedy New York.

Clearly, the creatives were given full license to ‘wow’ the new client and the viewing public

Southern Comfort and the birth of masculinism

Publishing legend James Brown has written a great piece in Sabotage Times about the new Southern Comfort campaign by our compadres at W+K New York. He cites the ad as the cultural spark for a new men's movement celebrating comfort in girth. I'll drink to that!

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Not only is the new Southern Comfort commercial the best on television right now it also applies an aspect of feminism for barrel chested beer bellied sex gods.

So have you seen it yet? The advert some are the calling the best ever made? Certainly the funniest around right now. It was made by Weiden + Kennedy New York  for Southern Comfort and stars Mike from The Cuban Brothers but all of that is all by the by, it’s the resulting work we are focusing on right now.

A fat guy in the tight brown trunks, shoes, and shades trudging purposely down the beach. His bare naked bulk glistening in the sun. A man undisturbed by the beach life around him, ploughs through the sand, stylish, confident, sexy and packing hard fat beer belly and barrel chest. “I gotta be me” is the line sung by Odetta over and over again.

This is a man at ease with himself, bathing in the power of his own self confidence, he veers off camera and reappears immediately with a drink in his hand, and then continues on and out away from the camera, dropping his shoulder nonchalantly as some tanned beach babe slides by.

If you haven’t seen the ad then it’s here below, but if you want to track feedback just click Southern Comfort on Twitter and you’ll see a week’s worth of discovery and delight. “This must have been made by the Coen Brothers” reads one, “Pity it’s for Southern Comfort says another” and then there are endless superlatives “brilliant”, “hilarious” and repeatedly “genius”.

On Tuesday this week I was enthusing about it with three Sabotage types @deadbloke, @davelee1968, @profanityswan, and many other gentleman of Twitter who are unlikely  to ever trouble a size 30″ waistband again and it struck me that the reason we love it isn’t just because of star Mike Cuban’s majestic stroll but also because it’s not only how many of us are but also how we can be. It’s feminism for fat blokes, defying the preferred male body politic to show a man at ease with himself.

To this end I’ll claim The Comfort Man is probably the first ever Masculinist commercial. If Reebok’s superbly terrifying play on the big balloon in The Prisoner, ‘Belly’s Gonna Get Ya’ played on the fears of lardy guts with rolls of doughy stomach flesh The Comfort Man’s feminist play on a male physique, is positively Maculinist. This is about acceptance indeed pride in how you look.

For all the Men’s Health covers, the Beckham physiques, the Gosling shirt removal scenes there’s an army of men who just go ‘as if’ and know that for those guys it’s a job. There’s certainly constant commercial pressure to look a certain way, maybe not as much as women experience but it’s there all the same. Compare posh young metrosexual Hugo on I’m A Celebrity to the The Comfort Man and despite Hugo’s good looks and ambition The Comfort Man has more, he oozes experience. He’s saying if you’ve experienced life, you’ll probably be like this.

He’s driving a big Masculinist truck through the Gym To Stay Slim outlook. Staying classy doesn’t require gym work, you’ve either got that archetypal Gillette physique or you have to work at it, but Comfort man says ‘Fuck that. I’m big bad and proud and you love me as I am.”

The Comfort Man positions Fat Man as flash man, Romanesque in stature not profile, like a battleship crashing through the sea, a Chess castle controlling the flanks, it’s Jan Molby, Mel Sterland, Tony Soprano, Barry White. Who’s going to argue withe men who could tip a car over with one hump.

Why is he a heavyweight? Because he can afford to be? Size equals power. These are the messages. Why go twig when you can be the trunk?

This is not only a funny advert, an effective ad… but it strikes a new pose for men. This is the birth of Masculinism.

we won the Southern Comfort UK account!

Southern Comfort has announced the appointment of W+K London as its new lead creative and strategic agency for the UK which will include above the line and digital.

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The win comes off the back of Wieden +Kennedy’s New York agency, who were selected in August as the brand’s new agency of record for Southern Comfort’s global marketing and communication services across all traditional, digital and emerging media channels. 

W+K London will be implementing the new creative strategy “Whatever’s Comfortable” which follows W+K New York’s first work for the brand that launched last month. The first television spot celebrates the awesomeness of being comfortable in your own skin.

The Soco success is a continuation of W+K’s relationship with the Brown–Forman Group,which includes Finlandia and Maximus – the vodka brands we won earlier this year.

Wieden + Kennedy’s Neil Christie says “We're delighted to add Southern Comfort to the WK London drinks trolley. It's a truly iconic brand and we look forward to working on it with the Brown Forman team”

W+K also took over all of Southern Comfort’s UK community management from September 21st.