2007 Global AOY: Wieden + Kennedy


Additionally, New York won Cole Haan and Revolution Places. And led by London, but involving all offices, Wieden will represent Visa in Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) projects, starting with the Women's World Cup in China this year. London also led the global Nokia win—the first global win not directed by the Portland shop—including its flagship stores, bringing the network $120 million in billings, $30 million in revenue.

"[Wieden]'s track record demonstrated strength in creative thinking and the potential to be a strong strategic and business marketing advisor," says Jo Harlow, svp of marketing, Nokia, London.

Among Wieden's strengths is its ability to rebound. Portland lost Nike+ and Nike Running in the U.S. in 2007, a blow less to the wallet than the ego, but the network was awarded Nike's Converse media buying and planning. Amsterdam lost Carlsberg, but Portland capped the year with $100 million in Heineken work. Additionally, while it may have lost global duties on Procter & Gamble's Eukanuba dog food, it won the company's Graham Webb hair care products, and Portland added P&G's Old Spice interactive business to the lead creative account.

The agency's 2007 broadcast highlights included "Videogame" for Coke—an homage to "Grand Theft Auto"—and "I Feel Pretty," a musical starring Maria Sharapova for Nike. Also, its work for Old Spice was one of the year's most entertaining. It included "Painted Experience," in which Bruce Campbell, in a double-breasted blazer, cryptically explains "experience" while walking in front of a ridiculously long nautical mural, and "Manly," in which a hairy-chested spokesman in a locker room touts the manliness of "basketball, recon and Frenching."

The year's nontraditional Nike work also made a splash, including the "Battle of the Nike Gates" experiential marketing work for a basketball tournament, Battle of Nine Gates. It centered on the Nine Gates of Beijing's old city, and melded traditional basketball and Chinese iconography for print, TV and online ads. For the non-print work, China's most popular DJ, MC Webber, produced and performed original music.

In Amsterdam, a guerrilla marketing attack to introduce the Nike T90 Laser includes an ad in which a soccer player is so accurate due to his cleats that he can kick a ball into a wall and have the marks it leaves spell out "R.I.P." as a warning to rivals. And in Japan, the agency designed 130 Nike billboards, each with a different message and visual. Each was strategically placed, says Jay, "in a different sweet spot where young people gather or play sports or in a location of influence for young people."

The strategy no matter the location is for each office to develop its own character, while receiving input from Wieden himself.

"I still stay pretty involved, especially with major new clients and with major campaigns for existing clients," Wieden says. "I pride myself on having hired smart, creative folks who can manage these brands ... but I can't help myself from poking my nose in once in awhile."

Chinese-American Jay—who Wieden asked to act as Nike's global emissary in Hong Kong before he even officially joined the company—says Wieden takes pride not in being an international brand name, but in being accepted in each local market.

"Our strategy is not just to be a mailbox or a house of adaptation," Jay explains. "Our real skill is taking ... the brand essence—the voice of that client, the principles of the brand—and helping to find local relevance." This, he adds, precludes the agency from becoming "top down, where Portland calls all the shots."

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