Posts Tagged ‘W+K’

dirty cash

March 24, 2009

Spotted on the desk of the boss today. No idea where he got it. But I’ve got a funny feeling its appearance it won’t help us hit our profit targets this year.


I wonder what brands can learn from Robert ‘utter cretin’ Mugabe’s approach to fiscal management and Zimbabwe’s resultant hyper-inflation problems?


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?

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?