RW website update

Right, we're almost done finishing up the freelance projects that we've been involved in for the past few months. Now, Robbin and I are looking for an agency to call home again and we've updated our online portfolio to start off the search. First, a short video to introduce ourselves:

Additionally to some new work (Domino's Pizza Race and Soundtracks) we reworked the About Us section to look like this:

To round it all off we designed all new business cards that turned out quite nice. We hope to have the opportunity to give a few of them next week during the Cannes Lions festival. We'll be sharing our progress on our Facebook page, check it out if you like.

Robbin Waldemar Portfolio

Together with my creative partner Robbin we've released our new portfolio this weekend:

There are still a few things that need to grow past the beta phase but the essential stuff is up. Please tell us what you think about the portfolio itself and the work featured on it. And if you're happen to look for a creative team for your agency to do an internship this spring, please get in touch at or

Rebranding the Swedish Armed Forces

Below are the results from our last module Client, Design, Strategy & Branding.
Sweden has not been in war since 1813. The focus for the army is now peacekeeping abroad. Starting 2010 the Swedish military service is no longer mandatory. So the Swedish Armed Forces want to attract talent – brain rather than muscles – to fullfill their missions abroad. Our challenge was to rebrand the Swedish Armed Forces from a traditional defensive collective into a modern employeer.

We got rid of the sword that symbolizes attack. We kept the shape of the shield, it’s made by two hands that clasp together, a metaphor for conflict resolution. The shield could also be seen as the ladder for personal development. On top we have the three crowns combined into one.

Camouflage is used for disguising yourself in the nature. We turned this around and created a new camouflage that is all about showing yourself. It reflects the diversity within the organization.

Strategy, Idea & Design by:

Advanced Interface Design

After seven weeks our fourth module is over. Daniel Ilic from North Kingdom was in charge for all the content for the advanced interface design module and his agency just released their long awaited showreel which shows the kind of work they are doing:

What is advanced interface design? According to Daniel it's about 'Creating untraditional ground breaking cutting edge user experiences in digital interfaces.' He also quoted Simon Pestridge from Nike 'We don't do advertising any more. We just do cool stuff.'

We had plenty of great lectures from places such as DDB, farfar, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, North Kingdom, Perfect Fools, Microsoft, Visual Arts and Amsterdam Worldwide. We learned about interactive storytelling, production processes, gameplay, motion graphics, 3D production, flash animation, prototype based development and much more.

Out big assignment was to create a concept for an interactive experience and we had the choice between a fashion brand and a charity. My group worked on the fashion part, Le Laboureur, a french working wear brand that wanted to appear on the map of a young and aware target audience. This is the result we created:

We decided to roll with the Jesus/worthy concept and focus on art direction and played with interactive sounds. When the Goodby, Silverstein & Partners assignment came along we shifted focus away from this assignment for two weeks so we ended rushing the production in the last few days. I hope that there will be a bit of time in the new year to iron some of the edges away that we left for now.

Being the process leader in our group I learned a lot about creative processes and how to facilitate them. We needed a slightly tighter production plan and should have been clearer on the individual roles. The biggest learning situation for me was the different goals of all team members and how to arrive on a common goal and steer towards it all together. Summed up I received a great learning outcome and I'm looking forward to the next team module so I can build on those learnings. But before that we have an individual assignment over the holiday break: Making a portfolio.

Intense Energy

Robbin & I spent the last 6 days working on a submission for the Young Guns Student competition 2009. We entered the open brief category with a digital advertising idea for the energy drink BURN this morning, just before deadline:

We want to involve users in the brand promise 'Intense Energy' of the energy drink BURN. Through a game where players and teams fight each other for energy, using their mobile phones as weapons. You point & shoot at your opponents mobile device, if you hit - his energy decreases. By scanning a BURN can the player receives an energy boost. Challengers advance in ranks and compete in leader boards.

Advice from W+K London

Hope everyone had splendid Easter days. Catching up on my RSS feed I found the a recent post on Wieden+Kennedy's blog. And it's advice for young creatives with a list of book tips from the team in charge of placements, Ben & Sophie. Here they are.

Ben and Sophie’s top 11 book tips.

We decided to write a list of things we’ve learned along the way. This is just what we think, somebody else’s tips might be completely different.

1. Keep it quick. Creatives looking at your book have limited time so make the most of the opportunity. Keep storyboards and radio short and sweet.

2. A balanced book tends to have between 7-9 ad campaigns and a few other creative ideas.

3. Get to the bottom of a brand. Try to find out what makes them different to everyone else and what’s at the heart of their product and their company.

4. Demonstrate different tones of voice. How does this brand talk to people? What’s their personality?

5. Find different ways of talking to people. You don’t always need to conform to the conventional. Logos don’t have to sit in corners. Photos don’t have to be funny. And long copy is not scary.

6. Do more than just press ads. There are many other interesting ways of exploring an idea. What are the appropriate media for your idea? What medium is right for your audience? What will draw people in and surprise them? (TV, press, radio, online, viral, ambient, talking dogs…)

8. Expand at least one of your ideas into a big campaign and prove it’s not just a one off poster or TV ad.

9. We like to find out about you as well as seeing your book. Show us your matchbox collection, the short film that you’re making on the side or your greatest baking success. We see tons of ads, but sometimes it’s these little funny things that sums up who you are.

7. Listen and take notes too. You’d be surprised how many people don’t! Which is annoying to creatives who’ve given up their time to see you.

10. The advertising world is small so don’t piss people off or others might get to hear about it.

11. If you like a particular team, try to go back to them again with more work. Try to build a relationship. This will help you make more contacts, they may recommend you to their advertising friends and colleagues.

And here's link to the whole post.

D&AD at M&C

Last week we made our way to M&C Saatchi, where we had Tom and his partner Uche reviewing all of our D&AD advertising workshop work. We had five campaigns in ours but the guys didn't really dig most of them. Blimey.

The stuff they did like though we're accord with as well. So we're currently working with these strategies, to turn them into great campaigns for more suitable brands. And yes, we're quite excited with the outcome we have on our hands so far.

Overall we liked the advertising workshops, the briefs were not very ideal for a portfolio, as they are either charity brands (NSPCC) or very niche products (Rexel eco stationary, D&AD workshops). Nether less it was good practice. And we've met lots of nice people on the way. Thanks D&AD.

It's all about the book

OK, I've been around for some time, and things have changed. I think the portfolio of a young creative team is more important then ever. A year ago when I was doing the rounds with my former partner it seemed the book was a key to a placement. You just need it to get in and then it's up to you to crack the agency briefs and show you are hard working and can do something no one else does in the department to get hire.

But getting a placement isn't enough anymore. We had a chat with a great talent hunter this week and we came to the conclusion that it is really hard to find a place that hires at the moment. Most places are filled with placement teams that have been around and are cracking one brief after another. So finding an agency without a 'placement history' is hardly possible, and if you find one, it's going to be one that's not particularly good.

You need a Rock n'Roll book. One that flashes hard. Before starting the placement you need to appear as the hottest team since Tefal's thermo spot. Making a list of agencies that are likely to hire is a waste of time. You need to have a portfolio that gets people dripping. Fuck the credit crunch, if you are good you will get hired, if not, you will be placementing around. It's all about the book, more than ever. But then again, it always was all about the work, no matter the right place at the right time, no matter if you have a blog or not, if you're good – then you will rock.

Crack a Bank

Abbey – Open Minded Banking. We've been tearing our hair off over this one. We think there's something in there, although we realize we're 'not there yet'. But as some asked to see more our work, here are three posters as they are now in our book, we'll see for how long.

A fabulous weekend to everyone.

The List

We got our hands on a nice little List. It contains the best strategies, young creatives used in their portfolios. Some might recall it, as it's been around for some time now. John & Chris, now a creative team at Fallon, collated this List back in the day, when they used to teach D&AD and Miami Ad School classes. Some of these ideas are pretty fucking great. There's hardly need to see the executions, you get it immediately – and feel the envy. As John & Chris say, all of the guys who made it on the List have jobs now.

For us, it makes a great test. Reduce the campaigns in our book to one line and see, which of them could make it on the List. A relentless way to judge an idea. See for yourselves – could you make it on the List?

Jai & Wal at Portfolio Night London

Free drinks, lots to chat about, old friends and some new ones, a sprinkle of creative directors and six book crits. Blimey, that was a lot to fit into one evening but the guys from pulled it off beautifully. And not just in London, but in 21 other cities around the world on the same night. A global creative orgy. A big hats off to them.

At the beginning we were told to follow a fine tuned system for speed dating with CDs, and were asked to move to the table on your right after every crit. Sorry guys, we weren’t about to follow that – in fact we don’t think anyone did. We went in with a plan of who our book was going to be seen by and nothing was going to get in our way.

Luckily for us the friendly, smiley undertones of 'look at our work' paid off and our night went really well, seeing six creative directors. Quite fantastic. Lots of advice, lots of opinions, lots to take in, lots of contacts and all was lots of fun. We had 15 minutes with each CD to show our stuff, make an impression and try to seal the deal.

The registration was handled by a bunch of first years from St. Martins, good work

The event was hosted by JWT in Knightsbridge

Reunion time in the garden, Rob, Jai, Chris, Wal, Ray and Bernd

The high temperature allured everyone into the garden to drink the nerves away

Don't know 'em, but they're cool

Rob, that's no way to impress Renee

Lusea Arabella Karenza Warner and Tom

Ready for creative torture

Say hello to our new friends Dave, Andy and Jose

Ade and Mike, good luck to them at Lowe

Drop your drinks and gather

While last year was small and cozy, this year was epic

Brian trying to be funny, excuse him he's Canadian

The creative directors waiting for the first wave of fresh blood

The most organized part of the evening

Who do you want to see? You better be quick.

Maybe if we didn't take so many damn pictures we could have got more crits?

The Creative Directors we were lucky enough to see

Laurence Quinn from JWT

Brian Campbell Creative Director at AMV/BBDO

Paul Silburn, Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi

Will Awdry, Creative Partner Ogilvy London

Chris Clarke, Creative Director Digitas

Iain Tait, Founder of Poke, brain behind

Last minute crits in the lounge

After too many critiques Jai's having problems controlling his facial expressions

Now don’t ask how, but we somehow managed to score three placement offers, result! So not only was it a jolly but in the end it turned out to be quite productive and not just for us but a load of our mates too. Well done to everyone.

You can take our word for it being the most useful event in our calendar so far this year. Hopefully we’ll never have to go to another one ever ever again.

Fuck Green

In june we wrote a paper for the account planning school of the web on HUMMER. The strategy we drew out of it was 'Fuck Green' which we made into a poster campaign. Here we go.

We thought about reworking it for quite some time, and found a different route on the same strategy. We're deciding which one to pick up, to refine and expand. Opinions?

Portfolio Night 2008 is doing it again. Portfolio Night 6 is coming up in a couple of months. On the 8th of may young creatives will have the chance to put their books in front of local & international creative directors in at least 17 cities around the world (face-to-face as well as online response after uploading your book). It’s the second time in London and Wal participated last year with Kristin, it was awesome and we can recommend it to everyone looking for adivice, jobs or placements. A review about the last one is to be found here. The tickets will be around 20 quid and will be available from the 21st of march.

Now why should you pay for a bookcrit you ask? It will save you the (sometimes impossible) trouble of getting in touch with great creative directors and putting your book in front of them.

Last year we’ve waited to see the list of CD’s ( here is last year's list) before getting the tickets, this time we won’t as we’re pretty sure about a great turn up. The London night is hosted by JWT and will take place at their Knightsbridge office. And there's free beer...

L'eau de vie

A work in progress idea for our book. We've been turning it around in our heads and on paper for the past couple of days. We'd appreciate your comments on it. What are your initial thoughts? What do you get out of it? etc…


For All Aspiring Creatives

A couple of weeks ago we went to see Matt with our work and he gave us some great advice on how to move things on with our book. Matt was then nice enough to send us a short help sheet after our chat.

We then asked if it was ok to share it on our blog as we get quite a few people reading who are in a similar situation to us. Matt was nice enough to agree and also offered to write up some of his own hints for the blog. We jumped at the chance so here they are for everyone.

But before we get to it here’s a little on Matt, he came over from Sydney where he had his own agency but then decided to work in London. Matt’s been at Fallon for four years now, CDs some projects and works solo on others, and on top of that he takes care of juniors and placements.

A big thanks to Matt for all his efforts, cheers!

Hints on how to put a book together.

I know there are a lot of opinions floating around offline and online about advice to juniors or placements. Some of it is really great advice, some of it isn’t. But that really doesn’t matter at this point. What matters is finding pieces of information that may help build your book or improve it.

So that is going to be the main theme here in so much as you should never settle on anything and you should try and create something that is reflective of you.

So congratulations, you’re half way there.

The little ‘Feel free to ignore’ I sent to Jai and Wal was given to me years ago by a very good CD and is still relevant today. For me, at that time, it was kind of helpful, not always right, but helpful to get me to focus. And that’s usually what these little things are for, to focus and inspire you. The following advice is combined wisdom from many people, not just me, so it may be familiar. In fact it isn't really advice it's more about trying to be helpful and to try and tell you what we look for and what people have told me. And that’s about it. As we all know, this is a subjective business, and everyone has very different opinions about what’s right and what’s wrong. So don’t look at this looking for things you disagree with. Simply take the things you think make sense and leave the rest.

Let me first start off by saying that I don’t know anyone who really wanted a job in this industry that didn’t get one. I'm talking about those that really wanted it. It may have taken them a while but they got a job. So if you work hard and have a good attitude that’s half the battle. Work hard, have the right attitude. I cannot say this enough. Work hard have the right attitude. If you are arrogant or think people owe you a job, forget it. You will not walk into a job, so don’t expect to. That is my experience. That’s my opinion.

Okay, firstly you’re competing against other books with the same 10 campaigns in it. Think about that. The same or similar formats and style. It’s great you have done that and have studied and worked hard but you are following a formula and sometimes it’s good to break it as you are only presenting different versions of the same formula to the same people. You’ve learnt the rules in college, you’ve done your 100 strategies, it’s now time to put that to one side and start to think ‘What kind of book do I want to have? What do I want to be hired for?’ You’ve learnt the basic skills, it’s now about presenting them in a fresher way and challenging yourselves even harder.

Just be aware that there are a number of formulas that have been around for a long time and lots of people use them. Do I like them? Not really. Have I done them? Yep. I have. But I try to avoid them all the time. Generally these are:
  • Before and after ads.
  • Something that is photographed to look like something else.
  • Visual collisions/puns
  • ‘Because’…ads
  • There’s a better/easier/new way to…
  • Lots of white space with tiny visual
  • The (insert long truth about something or someone) filofax/life plan/product.
Just be aware that there are lot floating around and they are easy to do. That’s all. If you’ve got a killer one you love put it in, but just be aware because I don’t believe every ad should or has to feel the same as the rest (or feel like an ad at all). You should try and make your ideas feel like I am not looking at an ad, then you’ll get more of my attention.

I read a comment somewhere that it took 5 months to see Tony Davidson at WK. The implication was that this was slightly annoying/unfair. But I think it’s right. I don’t even think you should be seeing ECD’s, let alone making comments about how hard it is to see them. The difficulty at seeing an ECD IS THE POINT. These guys are busy all the time. They are busy building and shaping their departments. They are not obliged to see you and nor do you have the right to get upset if they can’t. The way to do it is to find a senior team you like/trust/respect and keep seeing them. Keep producing ideas. You are a factory and you need to be working all the time. Only then will you get good. When they think your book is ready, the senior team will get it to the ECD because you have a relationship with them. If you want to try and see an ECD and get only one chance to show your stuff, then keep trying, but I suggest you are silly to do so early on. I would suggest limiting your agency exposure to four agencies with teams within those agencies. If it means they have slightly different styles then so be it. Shape your book/s accordingly.

When you have worked on your book (and it is ALWAYS a work in progress) you also need a bit of luck. That is why developing relationships with teams is crucial. You need to have the right book at the right time in the right place. Those three things. And a lot of that is timing and luck.

A lot of people give advice to juniors to write strategies. I agree this is a good way to get you to think. And a great way to get you to think of ideas for brands. But I also don’t think these are all you should do and I question as to what benefit it really serves you (if that’s all you do) when you still have to create an ad or an idea. Because half the strategies I see are one or two lines and I think strategies (the really good ones) can and should be more than that. So my advice is have about three of these types of ‘strategy ads’ in your book then do no more. If you want to write lots of them then do so as it’s great training, but I would encourage you to make them more interesting.

Examples of strategies that are more than strategies:

Crispin are great at thinking of creative ideas (you can call them strategies) that are not turned into endlines. Molson beer is one. They placed ads in women’s magazine showing men holding kittens and drinking Molson. Then they ran ads in men’s magazines telling men that ‘thousands of women had been pre programmed’ to think men that drink Molson are more sensitive (

Personally I think that’s great thinking (and proof that all great work is interactive). It’s a strategy and idea and execution that marries well.

Another example is The Truth campaign where the print ads were facts about cigarettes (Like “Every Cigarette Contains Cyanide”). But the genius in the idea is that they asked people to leave the magazine open at that page then put it back on the Newsagent stand or coffee table so they became mini billboards. That is a brilliant idea. That is a strategy written in a paragraph.

Again, I think strategies are excellent to train your brain, but don’t settle and see if you can make them more interesting. Failing that if you really love writing strategies become a planner. People will love you for actually doing your job.

Be critical of your campaigns and ideas. Do they show a depth of thinking? By that I mean are they just one or two levels of thought or are they deeper than that? Because the deeper the thought the better the reward for the person viewing the work. Why? Because the people you are showing your work to are smart, clever and have jobs. They can ‘get somewhere’ in their head very quickly. And as soon as they see the brand they would have already thought of three or four possible ways in. But if you have depth of thought then you surprise them and you make them think of something they didn’t. Do I mean lateral thinking, yes I do. Examples? The best is the Beware Of Things Made In October. There is depth of thought.

Okay, we see a lot of these random ideas for anything or everything or products. Whilst this is great and brilliant, it’s also sometimes (sometimes) a really transparent way to try and show you are more clever than we think. And the thing is everyone has them. And if given a day to think of anything, anyone can do it. So for that reason I would not present a book or a series of ‘other thoughts along the way’. It doesn’t make you more interesting, it makes you seem more desperate to prove that you can think. And sorry, but I believe that’s what your book is for. If you want to prove thinking in this area then think of an idea for a brand or service that makes business sense. Commercial sense. Then do the ads for that new idea. Examples (and these are examples only so don’t go judging them on their own):

Edible Lego. Lego has lost relevance to kids. A whole generation of kids have grown up without it. Edible Lego maybe a good idea. Kids can build creations then eat them. Good idea, then I want to see the idea that advertise this, and again, they may not be print ads or a TV ad, but I want to see how you tell people about this. And that solution should be amazing, different, inspiring.

Instruction manuals. Companies spend millions of pounds each year printing instruction manuals. Why not put them online? Okay not a brilliant idea, but kind of interesting. But what is even more interesting is how are you going to tell people about this? What is the campaign to launch this?

Turn your other ideas into sensible campaigns that can live in the real world.

Be hard on yourself. Don’t put extra things at the back of your book. If they are good enough they should be in your book, if you are unsure and are gambling then it will come across that way. Have faith and belief in yourself. Get rid of the rubbish at the back of the book. Do it now.

I personally don’t like it. It feels like pollution. Have I done it? Yes. Do I do it now? I try not to. The trend is over. Unless it is amazing don’t put ambient stuff in your book. Mainly because everyone has the same or similar versions of the same thing (Escalator panels, poster on lifts, missing posters, building wraps, etc, seen it all before). If it lives up to this type of thinking (meaningful, relevant, with a purpose) put it in, if not take it out. (

Print and long copy are not dead. There is no argument to say it is. But I never see it anymore. Personally I think that’s a shame. Why? Because currently a lot of briefs still require headlines and people just can’t write them. And you still, yes still, are asked to write copy from almost every client. So if you like the idea, put a headline campaign in. Write great headlines. Just one campaign won’t hurt. And if you don’t like them, then write something else. A piece of copy for something, some brand. And if you don’t like that either, then tell me why. But put it in writing.

There is a lot of thinking/debate/argument that says you need 5 print campaigns and 3 TV campaigns, or some version of that formula. This thinking is fine if you want to only do print and TV. But the world has changed and so should your capacity to deliver ideas that extend beyond print and TV. If whoever you are seeing is insistent you just deliver ONLY great press and great TV, fine do that and get a job there. But if you are interested in more then I suggest you don’t settle on print and TV but instead use it to launch into other areas. Combine the two or three or four. Carry on your thinking don’t just settle on the 3 print campaigns and 2 TV. Extend it. Change it. Use them in different ways.

An example? Okay, the Glue Society have done a campaign advertising the satirical show “The Chaser”. What they did is buy the cheapest billboards in the world – Iraq, Estonia, Iceland and made billboards announcing the show. The purpose wasn’t for people in those countries to tune in, the purpose was to do something satirical itself. Which that is. The billboards got talked about online and there were videos of them being built in the different countries. So the billboard was used to extend the overall idea. Clever, funny and smart. Go to gluesociety and click on ‘The Chaser’.

In terms of digital etc, yes I think it is important. Very. But what I think is more important is that you do justice to your ideas. If you have spent the time and thought of something great, it should live everywhere and you should explode it and make it live in different places. But the trick is not just doing a banner ad, or a blog, or a youtube video just for the sake of saying it’s an integrated campaign. No, your digital component should be just as great as the rest. Show us the idea that is brilliant because of the idea. It will breathe life into your book. An example? Okay, I think these are two solid example that shows product in an interactive way and I would have thought so if I saw it in a book (it’s better to be right first creative second, think of the right answer then spend time making it more creative. If you go the other way you lose people and get caught in esoteric nonsense):

So you should have digital components to your campaigns or have a digital based campaign. But it doesn’t have to be boring and I don’t want to see how you turned your car ad into a banner ad. I want to see how you got people to test drive online.

If you are going to draw scamps (which is the best way) then keep everything consistent and keep all your campaigns as scamps. The idea is the important bit. If you want to go to the trouble and spend time retouching and ‘macing’ stuff up (I wouldn’t if I were you) then do it for everything. Don’t have a book that is a half way house. It’s messy, it shows no thought and it’s just harder to decipher ideas.

Just don’t forget this is your chance to show us how you think. So take pride in presenting it. Make the presentation of it just as good as the ideas. And make sure what is inside it speaks and understands who you are showing. By that remember the question – Who is your audience? CD’s, senior teams. Think about them try and have something in your book that shows you understand your audience.

Okay, creative teams get sent hundreds and hundreds of photographers reps cards every year. It’s annoying. It’s a massive, massive waste of paper. Creatives don’t really read them. They just sit on their desks or get thrown out. So what if a junior team (or a photographer himself) decided to make little recycling bins especially for those cards and put them in the offices of creative people. Then after a few months collect the bins and cards and Paper Mache them into funny sculptures and then give that sculpture back to the creative team as a reminder of them. Not brilliant but relevant and different and speaks to the audience. Or think of what poster or thing I would want to take out of your book on put on my wall. What would that be?

The last thing to say is this book should be a reflection of you and how you think of the world. You need to be able to prove you can write ads, can understand the realities of how they work and demonstrate you know what is right for one brand versus another. But then it is about trying to inject yourself into your work. That does not mean you apply your tone of voice onto every brand. No, you must listen the voice the brand already has. But what it means is your whole book should feel like you. The way you think. Because that’s what people are hiring. And your opinions do count. How you think about it counts. What if you had a campaign for something that you felt strongly about? That would be good. That would be refreshing. Just like the following example. Can a fashion brand make such statements? Well it did anyway. And it worked. Like it or hate it it had an opinion and It challenged us: