W+K does Cannes: the celebrity edition

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…

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[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'.

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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.

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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.

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Stay tuned for more dispatches from A-List Andy as the week rolls on. 

a wise tale

It's been a long time in the making. 1000 years, you could even say. And we're a hell of a lot wiser for it. 

Today, we're excited to finally launch our new global Finlandia Vodka campaign. We wanted to find a way to inspire others to bring the brand’s less ordinary philosophy into their own lives, and the new 1000 Years of Less Ordinary Wisdom campaign is the result. 

 

We teamed up with award winning director Siri Bunford to scour the world and find people who embody the ‘less ordinary’ spirit, and whose ages add up to one thousand years. From dense Finnish forests to the vibrant streets of New Orleans, we interviewed each of these extraordinary characters, distilling a millennium's worth of wisdom into a documentary-style film.

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From a drag-wrestler in New Mexico’s take on confidence, to a former double agent’s view on identity, the film’s nuggets of wisdom aren’t the usual, saccharine and predictable set of platitudes. It's the kind of life advice that can only come from those who together have truly lived ten centuries of ‘less ordinary.’

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A total of 14 characters share their wisdom in the film, including nonagenarian grande dame of fashion, Iris Apfel, kinetic sculptor Theo Jansen and Icelandic Game of Thrones actor (and world’s third strongest man), Hafthór Júlíus Björnsson. 

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We've also partnered with leading international publication The Atlantic to exhibit an exclusive set of photographs and portraits taken by photographer Todd Antony in a digital gallery, accompanied by anecdotes from his encounters with each of these incredible people. 

Todd's beautiful images will extend the characters' wisdom to social media, press and outdoor sites. And of course, this being a Finlandia campaign, cocktail recipes created by Finlandia’s expert mixologists and inspired by each character will also be released on the brand’s Facebook channel.

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We hope you'll enjoy the film, and feel inspired to bring a little bit of "less ordinary" into your own lives. Kippis! 

When stuff sucks, #makeitright

Let's be honest. The mobile industry sucks. Right? 

Well fear not, the revolution is here. Three is pledging to ‘make it right.'

The mobile network is rallying the British public to take a stand and unite against network gripes: from through-the-roof roaming fees to charging a cheeky premium for 4G. When stuff sucks, Three is pledging to #makeitright.

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Today, we're launching a new brand platform and multi-channel campaign, created with media partners Mindshare, to help Three declare its intent and shout the ‘make it right’ message from the rooftops.

The campaign will burst into British homes tonight on Channel 5 during Big Brother, with a powerful 90” TV spot directed by Daniel Wolfe through Somesuch. 

 

The film introduces the nation to a new hero, Jackson: a furry purple puppet designed and created by The Jim Henson Company, the crack team who brought us The Muppets. 

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Dejected, beaten down and damp, Jackson cuts a sorry figure in the big dark city as the story unfolds. But as he reaches his lowest ebb, he remembers an old family mantra, and is suddenly transformed. The story is set to the sounds of 90s heartthrobs and Walthamstow's finest, East 17. As their dance-pop anthem ‘It’s Alright' builds,’ Jackson resolves to make stuff right and, spurred into action, spreads the message to characters in all sorts of sticky situations.

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On Three’s website, Jackson will address the public in political press conference style, and the universal symbol of resistance will carry the message across outdoor sites around the country: a fist held high in the air. Only this time, it’s furry.

There's a lot more to come as the revolution rolls out over the coming weeks. Keep your eyes peeled. And in the meantime. When stuff sucks, #MakeItRight

 

Plentiful yogurt from Arla Skyr

Visitors have been wondering why the fridges at W+K have been full to the brim with yogurt recently. All became clear this weekend: this spring, Britain learned that Iceland’s traditional and nutritious yogurt, skyr, is set to conquer our shores.

Arla Skyr is carefully made from skimmed cows milk following traditional Icelandic methods, which results in a delicious, silky texture that is low in fat, reduced in sugar and naturally high in protein. 

We helped Arla introduce the product by creating a multichannel campaign, which launched in the UK this weekend with a 90” film, and will roll out in additional markets including Germany and the Netherlands.

 

Directed by Dougal Wilson through Blink, the TV spot is set in the 1960s and tells a story laced with Icelandic pluck and, of course, plenty of skyr. A young telephone exchange messenger goes to extraordinary lengths to keep his community connected to the world, and each other, via the only telephone in their remote village. Naturally, bowl after bowl of skyr keeps him going; whether the message he’s delivering is difficult to swallow or a little more mundane, no obstacle is too big and no news too small for the young hero.

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Outdoor executions photographed by celebrated photographer Andy Sewell will begin popping up around the country starting in June, heralding the arrival of Iceland’s super yogurt.

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Campaign activity will continue online and on social channels, with a series of three short documentary films launching later in April, featuring modern day Icelanders.

Grab yourself a bowl of skyr, and stay tuned for much more yogurty goodness from us. 

 

Happy Birthday, Nike Air Max.

The Nike Air Max turns 28 today. And as many of you know, we take birthdays pretty seriously here at W+K. 

16 Hanbury Street was filled with people commemorating the occasion by wearing their favourite pairs.
 
Many W+K'ers also attended a very special birthday party, Air Max Day at the Oxford Circus NikeTown, where shoppers' Air Maxes were buffed to perfection by the pros.
 
It was a celebratory day for all, but none so much as TV Producer Tom Dean, who took his admiration for the Swoosh a bit further than most.
 
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Thanks go to Ali at Jack the Clipper for his fine handiwork. Nice one, Tom. Phil Knight would be proud. 
 
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Calling all aspiring creatives

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If you’re a creative advertising student or graduate, this is your chance to get your portfolio in front of  creatives in the most social of settings – W+K creative Jason's house. 

Crib Crits is the third time he and his better half have opened their door to the next generation in partnership with the YCC. And they've all been super successful. So far, 10 creatives have gotten jobs after turning up to the previous events (and having awesome work, obviously). Yep, 10. 

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The next one takes place on 9th April. Agencies already confirmed to attend this one are Wieden+Kennedy, Mr President, Isobar, Grey, LBi, VCCP, BBH and more. To be in with a chance of showing off your folio in a living room, bedroom or toilet, send a link to your work to cribcrits@youngcreativecouncil.com and Jason will get back to you to let you know if you’ve been successful as soon as is humanly possible.

If you have any questions, tweet @jason_scott or @victoria_trow. Thanks and good luck.

 

A WOW afternoon

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One afternoon last week, a few of us went down to one of our favourite places in London, the Southbank Centre, to check out the annual WOW (Women of the World) festival. In its fifth year, WOW is a festival of talks, debates, music, film and comedy celebrating women and girls, held around International Women's Day. 

One afternoon each year is dedicated to women working in the creative industries. Women from all corners of the creative world – from TV commissioners and theatre directors to journalists and musicians – gathered to discuss the challenges facing women in creative roles and inspire us to create more, and better, opportunities.

Led by Jude Kelly, the Southbank Centre's own Artistic Director (read here for a great interview with her), the afternoon started with a panel of some of Britain's most accomplished women working in the arts, sharing stories of their journeys to the top and what they've learned along the way.

The rest of the day was spent in "think ins," smaller, hour-long sessions run concurrently in various sites within the Royal Festival Hall. Highlights this year included talks from women (and men!) 

We heard a thought-provoking panel on 'Changing Minds and Systems' from artist Sara Shamsavari and Science Grrl founder Anna Zecharia. We were also especially fired up by a panel on support and mentoring with Diana Osagie, head teacher of Islington Art and Music School, who told us that it was our responsibility to ensure we 'hold the door open' and create opportunities for scholars in the arts. In her own words, IAM is 'the best school in the Universe' and after her rousing talk about the school's philosophy and stories of its students, we believed her.

At the end of the day, what stood out to us is how lucky we are to work in an environment where so many of the senior roles are occupied by women, in an industry where diversity and equality still have a long way to go. But we also came away thinking that we need to do more to support women in our own field, as well the wider creative community. Not only those in education, but mid-career women looking to take their next step, whether it's upwards or sideways. 

There's a lot of great stuff happening at WOW – we thoroughly recommend a visit to the festival next year if you can. Follow the festival on Facebook for more information.

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New starters for February

We've got three new faces joining the W+K London family this month. Here's a little introduction.

Holly Baker-Cliff

This is the lovely Holly Baker-Cliff. She has joined us as an AE on Finish and UKTV. Holly was previously working with the Nike Foundation in London before moving to the more exotic climate of Rwanda, where she became involved in amazing work with the local community.

She also revealed a little secret at our agency meeting; she auditioned for S Club Juniors. We're looking forward to hearing that next time the karaoke machine gets rolled out.

George Lisanti

George Lisanti is a fresh face in the finance department, stepping into an accounts payable role.  He joins us from a WPP shared services finance department. George is a massive football fan. We hope to get him on our agency football team shortly!

Sanket Avlani

Finally, we welcome Sanket Avlani as a permanent member of the design department. He freelanced with us for a couple of weeks at the end of last year – doing great work on Nike and crafting the Book Of The Year's cover to within an inch of it's life.

Sanket joins us after moving to London from Mumbai where he was working as a Designer/Art Director, was the winner of Cannes Young Lions Design in 2012 for his logo for an NGO ‘Laadii’ and created album artwork for the guitarist of one of the biggest metal bands in India.