Archive for the ‘W+K’ Category

the obstacles to superproductivity amongst high-performing professionals are usually very human

March 18, 2009

Last week I had the pleasure of spending three days in Finland with some of our Nokia clients and a few folks from fellow agency RG/A. After spending Wednesday night in Helsinki – via spending €6 on some mineral water, €12 on a salami sandwich and enjoying some reindeer for breakfast – we headed off from Nokia House to Vanajanlinna, a building that is officially (but maybe inaccurately) described as a castle (what constitutes a castle anyway?) located a couple of hours north of the capital.

Billed as a ‘team building’ event I was naturally cautious (in really rather British way), mainly as we had been forwarned that our facilitator  was Finnish philosopher Esa Saarinen, famed across the country for his regular TV appearances and noted “for his colourful style and personal approach”. (He lived up to his billing too, sporting an interesting leopard-skin print jacket and tie for the entire two-day event).

It quickly transpired that Esa’s modus operandi was basically to lecture solidly – with brief interludes of hugging and ‘power discussing’ – for not insignificant lengths of time, meandering around dramatic personal anecdotes to deliver points of view around positivity, systems intelligence, and collaboration. Not quite the snowmobiling and saunaing that I’d been expecting. And yet, against all odds, it was actually really rather good.

Lessons were learned, bonds were formed, beers were drunk and tears were shed (seriously – Esa’s a man not afraid to publicly air his emotions), but ultimately I came away with a real sense of positivity and feeling generally inspired about how we can change the world. Perhaps. And for a cynic like me, that’s pretty damn good going.

And just to prove it, here’s a pic of myself (right of picture), Esa and Richard Summers (fellow W+K planning type) living the positive one-team dream:


Mad. In a very good way.

The big question is: what can brands learn from it all?


birthdays, pitches and colman

February 17, 2009

It’s a bit busy at the moment. Douglas Jnr. was one on Saturday (my, how time flies), our Nike 5 campaign commenced on Friday (it’s awesome) and I had to head to Leeds on Sunday night in advance of a pitch presentation yesterday (it seemed to go well).  And in between all of this I’ve had to fit in three listenings of Moz’s latest long-player.

Meanwhile, in the office, amazing things continue to happen daily. Today, industry leading planner and blog lord Paul Colman stuck two fingers up at the recession by enjoying a delicious egg and cress sandwich from Tesco. This is, apparently, how he rolls. 


Doesn’t he look like a chap without a storage-based concern in the world?

welcome to optimism

February 10, 2009


Pic credit David Stevens, w+k planner and photoman

Well. It’s all a bit different here.

Maybe it’s just me, or perhaps it’s simply the sweet sweet air of Spitalfields, but everyone here seems to have a bit more of a spring in their step. Sure, there are the occasional finishes at stupid o’clock (the most stupid being 3am), the odd weekend in the office, and the fact that we have one toilet per fifty people (roughly), but when you’re enjoying what you’re doing these trivialities don’t really matter that much (as long as the loos remain clean, of course – a dirty bathroom frankly ruins everything). Everyone seems to be passionate, motivated – and, well, very good.

I’m loving being closer to ‘the work’. Working in a media agency, no matter where or on what, you always feel one step removed from where the action really is. Rightly or wrongly, but it’s true. It’s a great feeling being able to go to the client with an idea, have it approved in hours then work closely with the creative teams to bring it to life. That is, really bring it to life – not commit it to powerpoint and farm it out somewhere for someone else to realise. And I’m pretty sure this is why I got into the industry in the first place.

I left a great job, in a good agency, with a team that I loved. Luckily it appears the new role is even more awesome, the agency is as exactly as it’s brand would have you believe, and the people equally great. We’ve even started a soup club, which as I write seems awfully twee. But it’s not. Honest. And as if to ensure it didn’t become so, ‘blog lord’ Paul Colman complained that the inaugural soup – a wonderful tomato and basil effort crafted by Ms. Sophie Piper – was too ‘tomatoey’. He was wrong, but everyone’s entitled to their opinion.

I’m only six weeks in. There’s plenty of time for everything to change. But at a time when we’re all grateful to simply have a job, to have one that’s so dynamic, stimulating and motivating in such an amazing environment makes me feel very fortunate indeed.

Is that all too sickly?

see you on the other side…

October 2, 2008
Picnicked from

I should have done this a while ago really.

On the very remote chance that is still read via a rogue feed somewhere in cyberspace, I’ve got a bit of news. As of today, planning for fun is no more. Frankly it’s been moribund for a quite a while (some may say since the first post) so I thought it was about time I put it out of its misery. Who would have thought that something so small could have stopped such clearly vital discourse?

But, dear reader, fret not. For with this bad news also comes good (although clearly that statement hinges on your own point of view).

Last month, I was lucky enough to be offered a job at Wieden + Kennedy as Strategy Director, which of course I accepted. Aside from a rather tedious entirely reasonable four month notice period (of which I’m a meagre six weeks in) I’m obviously very excited and just want to get started. And with this, will come a new blog. I guess it’s kind of expected. Out with the old and in with the new and that. Except it won’t be on this platform, it’ll be a wordpress or typepad jobby. I haven’t decided yet. I’ll pop a link up on twitter when it’s sorted.

Until then, friends, adieu. See you on the other side.

November 08 edit: this post is imported from my old blog