Robbin Waldemar in Amsterdam

A week ago Robbin and I made our way to the Netherlands for the very first time. The main reason for the trip was a visit to the Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam office. There we met up with creative director Alvaro Sotomayor who also introduced us to the ECD Mark Bernath. They have a fabulous office by the canal and the place seemed full of energy so we were very happy to get the possibility to show them our work. To use our time in Amsterdam to the fullest we also got ourselves tickets to Portfolio Night which was happening the same week. 


The event was hosted by AKQA and they made sure for everyone to have a good time. First we presented our work to another ECD of W+K, Eric Quennoy which rounded off our Wieden experience in Amsterdam rather well. We then went on to meet Richard Gorodecky (ECD of Amsterdam Worldwide), Nick Bailey (ECD of AKQA) and Christian Bunyan (CD of Kessels Kramer). The evening was a perfect testing ground for our new concepts (Domino's Pizza Race and Mini Soundtracks) and helped us to get a first impression of the creative industry in Amsterdam. It was also the first time we showed our work on an iPad – and I gotta say it's a brilliant tool for a creative portfolio – better than a laptop and way superior to a printed portfolio.

Altogether we enjoyed the city of Amsterdam a lot and made many new friends. The industry creatives that we were lucky enough to meet all liked our work so we have our fingers crossed to visit this interesting place again soon.



W+K & Cruz

Hello from London, both Robbin and I are currently here. We're busy helping out on a project for the W+K Tokyo office but took a few hours today to visit the London office of Wieden+Kennedy.

We had a great chat about our work with Andy Cameron the interactive creative director, and senior team / creative director team Sidney Bosley and Rob Perkins. On top of that we ran into our Tokyo friend Eric Cruz. He had lots to share with us over a coffee, always a great pleasure to learn from him and his experience, thanks Eric.

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.

LURPAK banners

We just received the files for the Lurpak campaign we worked on during our placement at Wieden+Kennedy. The banners are to be found on various food sites like delia online and uktvfood, although the pages need a bit of refreshing to stumble across them. They are supporting the print and TV campaign that is running at the moment. We've uploaded some of the banners here.

Say hello to good

In spite the summer's not really jazzing, everything's good. Things are sinking in and we are having a couple of days off. Jai is working part time at the airport and I'm doing some freelance packaging design, great fun.

Today made us especially happy. First we discovered a post on the W+K London blog about us. The Welcome to Optimism blog was the first one I started reading regularly, it introduced me to blogging and was one of the reasons I started a blog myself – so we're pretty chuffed to appear on there – a small dream comes true.

And if that's not enough to sweeten up the day, there's another one of our goals reached. We received an email from D&AD, we've made it onto the Advertising Workshop which will kick off next week. It's gonna be good. Every Wednesday, new creative people, drinks and food for our portfolio. Yummy! We might have even been smart enough to make copies of the work we've sent in. So if I'll find them I'll post the campaigns, the brief was WHSmith.

We hope your day was as good as ours, we all need some goodness nowadays to go with that boring weather – let's all say hello to good and it'll keep coming back.

After W+K

Five weeks go by fast. Too fast. Wieden+Kennedy was a fantastic place to be. We’ve got some good work produced and met some really friendly people on the way. Before we started we had heard how committed and positive WKers were supposed to be towards their work, it was true. In fact most the rumors we had heard were true – Amazing amazing amazing office. Friendly people. All about the work. Long hours. More Nike than at Nike Town. Pushing for work simply for the sake that it hasn’t been done before. No glass walls or closed doors.

One we’d like to add is the enormous amount of all staffers that are sent, approximately one every 10mins we’d say. ‘can I borrow a Nokia charger pretty please?’, ‘come get, brownies at reception’, ‘anyone remember the name of that guy on bbc1 last night, you know, white hair, big ears, kinda funny, probably cute when he was younger?’. We even got one from Dan Wieden (Jai is gonna nail this one on his wall).

A place we’d love to be but it’s not our time yet, however it’s not a dream we’ll be giving up anytime soon. All we can do is say a big thanks to W+K. What's next? We'll see. For now you can find us on the streets in various cafés around town, working on our book and other stuff.

Creative Direction

Today we had an hour and half sit down with Tony Davidson, we talked about work, W+K and random things that popped into our heads. Boy does that guy knows his stuff, we walked away from it with our heads spinning.

Full of insight, he talked about where things are going, how he thinks brands should be engaging with people, stuff he likes to do, where he goes looking for ideas and how he wants his agency to evolve. The guy is a motivated genius and wanted to genuinely give us his time and help us. If we’re honest, we probably learnt more over that short casual chat than we have done over our entire month here.

It wasn’t like most reviews where we talked about the ads and strategies. Today we sat there and talked about issues, people, problems, emotions and solutions; very few of them being ads. It was eye opening and inspiring. Cheers Tony.

Some good news, we’ve been extended a week to finish up some work we’re having produced.

WKStatus

Woo, Wednesday, middle of the week. The last couple of weeks have gone by way too quick. It's our fourth week here at Wieden+Kennedy. In our time here we've worked on Nike & Lurpak. The latter bought our idea for a digital campaign which is going into production soon if all goes smoothly.

This week's been pretty quiet for us, although we constantly keep bugging traffic and everyone else there are no briefs on our table. So we're spending our time making a short movie, an assignment every placement team gets here. It has to include a horses head.

Come Friday we'll have a review with Tony D, so all is good and exciting.

Music Almighty

Just a quick one, Nokia's new Music Almighty ads broke a couple of days ago. They were done by Fabian and Ida, really nice work, must have been great fun to make.

It's 4th of July nutty at W+K at the moment, old Americana tunes being pumped through the agency tannoy. Yeehaa.



Food for thought

It's our second week at Wieden+Kennedy London and things are going good, optimism on every corner. After the first five days were all about Nike the next few we'll be working on two Lurpak briefs. A great occasion to continue work after work at home in the kitchen, messing about with potatoes and other simple ingredients that go smoothly with slightly salty butter.

There's another brief on our desk, one that finds its way to every placement team here – to make a short movie. So time in between butter and sneakers is spent on a film with no restrictions. Quite a healthy creative diet we think.

Who to cheer for?

Being Russian I am a huge fan of the national football team. I am very proud of their games in the EC2008 tournament so far. For me their will to win reflects the comeback of a whole nation. But as I also lived in Germany for many years, I cannot deny an affinity towards their team, especially as I am watching every match with German friends. I've been waiting all week for tonight's game, I couldn't wait to cheer for the Russians kicking some Spanish butt.

However this has now changed. We are working on Nike, as they are sponsoring Fabregas who plays in the Spanish team, and if we're lucky we might get some work through. That is – if Spain wins and the client doesn't change their mind. Inner struggle.

Door to stupidity

Back in the day when we used to visit W+K with our portfolio we never managed to open the door on the first attempt, consequently we felt a bit stupid. I mean it’s only a glass door with a plus-shaped handle and a buzzer on the right side which once rung informs Holly who then opens you the door to their Shangri-La. Now, normally you would push the door open because that's how doors are opened, but not this one.

As far as we know Wieden+Kennedy has the one single door in the industry that opens the other way.

You have to pull it, sounds simple but it's quite unnatural. Honestly said it was a bit annoying as we looked like a pair of idiots rigorously trying to push a door open when all it needed was a little pull.

Perhaps it’s just us and we’re a bit slow, but we’d like to believe it fits with their motto of walking in stupid every morning.

It’s our third day and we’ve just about got used to it. Now we thought wouldn't it be great if the door had a shuffle mechanism that would always change the direction the door has to be opened? That would be so stupidly great.

Just after the first day

It finally arrived, after months of anticipation our first W+K day – so far so good! The people have been super friendly - big smiles and warm handshakes. Our work desks are 10 feet from the kitchen so lots of tea, toast and orange squash. And the office looks and feels really fun, busy and vibrant. As expected we were given a brief on the first day and it's a Nike one at that, how cool! We are reviewing tomorrow morning, so we'll keep this one short. Happy monday evening.

Just before the first day

It's our first day of work. We'll have to be there at 9.30, Jai is travelling all the way in from Osterley while I can snooze a bit longer, living in Aldgate East. Ten minutes walking time to W+K – one of the reasons I moved east in the first place.

We have been wearing big smiles for days. We are curious, excited and hungry for a challenge. So good morning everyone, it's time to go.

Honda Ad *Live*

Yesterday evening at 8.10pm Honda and Channel4 broad casted a live advert. We understand it's not the first live commercial in TV history, but it's bloody great. It fits very well in the rest of the Honda Accord campaign Difficult is Worth Doing. The 'real' advert, also about skydiving formations, will break this Sunday. We're curious what W+K has up their sleeves.

London's good

Remember young Wal thinking about going to Qatar to make awards ads? Back then young Jai told him it would be a great opportunity, they thought of going together. In the end, they stayed in London. Now the agency in question, Promoseven Doha has released the first bunch of ‘award’ work for the Dubai Lynx 2008 Award. Our favourite campaign, which scooped the Grand Prix is for the video game Medal of Honor. We like it a lot, it's a really nice way to look at a war game.

We’re very happy we’ve stayed, doing what we do here in London. Our placement here at Leo Burnett is coming to an end, time to move on. We’re looking forward to a couple of weeks off, working on our book and doing stupid things before we start our next, let it be the last, placement at our favourite agency in town - probably all towns - Wieden+Kennedy.