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Wieden & Kennedy

W+K Brings LeBron, Cleveland ‘Together’ for Nike

W+K has a new ad for Nike, promoting the launch of its new LEBRON 12 sneaker today with a celebration of LeBron James’ return to Cleveland directed by the Malloy Brothers.

Yes, that’s right: another LeBron James ad about the star’s return to Cleveland. This follows on the heels of Translation’s spot for Sprite (which we wrote about yesterday) and R/GA’s “Re-Established 2014″ for Beats, which deal with the exact same subject, as well as the recent Kia spot from David&Goliath, also starring James. Nike’s new spot will run tonight during the Cavs first home game, when it’s theoretically possible that ads featuring James will run back-to-back-to-back.

So there’s a bit of an oversaturation issue with this message, to put it mildly. But how does W+K’s version compare to the others we’ve seen? It might actually be the most melodramatic of the bunch. It opens on James giving a pep talk to his team about giving their all for the city of Cleveland. Soon the entire city is in a huddle, chanting, “Forward! Together!” It’s well-shot, in black and white, but the message comes across as a bit over-the-top, all the more so given the story’s overexposure. The spot will continue to run through November.

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W+K, Sofia Coppola Craft Holiday Efforts for Gap

Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation) is the latest marquee Hollywood director enlisted for Wieden+Kennedy’s “Dress Normal” campaign for Gap, following David Fincher‘s efforts in August and taking the reigns of four holiday  spots — a pair each for broadcast and online.

The ads spin the “Dress Normal” tagline by showing some abnormal (and often cringe-inducing) family holiday moments. But then what’s more normal than pondering the family you’ll never understand? Each spot ends with the message “You don’t have to get them to give them Gap” preceding the tagline. It’s an interesting approach, positioning Gap as a gift for those family members you have no idea what to give to, but it sits well with the “Dress Normal” tagline and Coppola and company do a good job of making it work in most of the ads.

In perhaps the most successful of the spots, “Gauntlet” a girl returns home to her large, boisterous, and often odd family. Perfectly set to the Johnny Cash song “I Got Stripes,” she makes her way through the house greeting her relatives with an awkward expression on her face that says a lot about the effort she’s putting in to deal with these people. It feels like a telling glance into the lives of a particular family, which is the approach taken throughout these efforts and, along with some great song selections, what makes them charming. The other broadcast spot, “Mistletoe,” documents a particularly cringe-worthy moment under the mistletoe at a holiday party. It’s almost hard to watch, but then that makes it fit the “You don’t have to get them to give them Gap” all the more.

In addition to the two online ads — “Crooner” and “Pinball” — the campaign is supported by print and OOH elements, as well as digital banner ads launching on Gap’s social media channels and GapGiftGuide.com on November 3rd. Read more

W+K New York and Jordan Go West Looking for Sketch Comedy

Here’s some new work from Wieden+Kennedy New York for a client listed as “Jordan” (note the lack of “Air” there).

The story: Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, both of whom happen to play for the LA Clippers and both of whom happen to be launching new shoes around the same time, have scored a couple of sketch comedy shorts on Adult Swim. Developed with the co-creator of the much-missed Chappelle Show, the project “BGCP3TV in HD” is a promotion for Jordans and “a shout out to the city of Los Angeles.”

The first episode aired several hours before our dog rudely woke us up this morning:

So they can’t even operate without their shoes. Since these episodes aren’t technically ads, do we call them “branded content” or “sponsored content?”

Promos and credits below.

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W+K Offers Cute Take on Modern Romance for Facebook

W+K crafted a cute little 30-second broadcast spot for Facebook taking on the subject of modern romance in a promotion of Facebook Messenger.

Entitled “Say Love You Better,” the spot shows a young couple attempting to bridge a long distance to communicate their love for each other. Beginning with a simple “I miss u” message, the spot uses the couple trying to find better ways to say “I love you” as a means to demonstrate the different ways Messenger lets you communicate: audio, photos, video, various emoji, etc. The couple, initially separated on opposite ends of the screen, fly towards each other and embrace, symbolizing how Messenger helped bring them together, ending with the “Say love you better” tagline. It’s an effective way to deliver the message, and perhaps rebuild the reputation of Facebook’s often-maligned mobile service (without addressing any of the criticism).

The campaign will also include OOH elements, a first for Facebook, with billboards in Los Angeles and Chicago rolling out next month.

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W+K Portland Goes Gatsby for Dodge

The Dodge company, founded by the brothers Dodge as an auto parts supplier around the turn of the (last) century, first began making its own cars almost exactly 100 years ago.

To celebrate that centennial, W+K Portland has a new spot paying tribute to the Dodge brothers and the styles of their age and introducing the Dodge Challenger, a model designed to recall the spirit that led their business in its early years.

The spot, titled “Ballroom — They Dreamed Big”, adds a nostalgic sheen to the era of Fitzgerald’s Gatsby; the release calls it “an imaginary tale of John (Tyler Bryan) and Horace (Joe Coffery) Dodge celebrating their success with friends 100 years ago.”

Looks like quite the pre-Prohibition shindig.

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W+K Chases the Horizon for Citizen Watches

Today the Tokyo and Amsterdam offices of Wieden+Kennedy debuted the first international campaign for client Citizen Watch, which is not a neighborhood safety group but a producer of premium timepieces.

The five-minute spot, which stars photographer Simon Roberts and ex-NATO pilot Jonathan Nicol in an attempt to literally “chase the sunset across the Earth’s time zones”, justifies use of the phrase “short film”:

The team appears to have succeeded in “steal[ing] one night from the planet” and taking a series of sunset images fit to rival anything on your friends’ Instagram accounts (unless they happen to live at the Arctic Circle).

Credits and visuals below.

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We Hear: Hill Holliday, W+K Discussing Merger?

“We hear” may not be the most appropriate category for this post; “we see, on Twitter” would be more accurate.

But it certainly looks like Karen Kaplan, CEO and chairman of Boston’s Hill Holliday, met with Wieden+Kennedy managing director Tom Blessington at Fenway Park to say goodbye to Derek Jeter this weekend.

Hill Holliday Merger

As to whether Kaplan’s merger mention is serious or not, it would make sense given the Cadillac account’s recent move from HH to Lowe Campbell Ewald and the subsequent disbanding of IPG’s Rogue unit.

It would also be particularly interesting because W+K remains independent while HH, as part of the IPG conglomerate, is a publicly traded entity.

W+K Portland Launches ‘Never Finished’ for Nike, Starring Richard Sherman

W+K Portland got Richard Sherman to star in its new spot “Never Finished” for Nike, following on the heels of Sherman’s recent appearances for Neff earlier this month and Campbell’s in August.

The new spot deals with the hype train surrounding Sherman, as he is constantly bombarded with media discussions of whether or not he is “the best.” “Never Finished” does a good job at finding humor in the situation, aided by a believably exasperated Sherman. The highlight is probably the made for TV biopic, starring Damon Wayans Jr.

Sherman’s roles in ads so far have mostly seen the Seahawks star not taking himself seriously and playing with his public persona. That definitely continues with “Never Finished,” but the schtick is much less over the top than some of his past roles, and the more nuanced characterization fits Sherman well as the spot, more than anything, mocks the media hype that surrounds star players. It makes for an entertaining ad, and Sherman’s most enjoyable performance by far.

The campaign, which runs until October 9th, also includes five additional videos, with special cameos from Johnny Manziel, Victor Cruz, Ndamukong Suh and Ken Griffey Jr.
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W+K NY Utilizes Voice of Donald Sutherland in ‘No Bag Left Behind’ for Delta

W+K New York enlisted the voice acting services of Donald Sutherland in their latest effort for Delta Airline’s “Keep Climbing” campaign.

Cleverly titled “No Bag Left Behind,” the spot derives from the insight that Delta flies more people than any other airline. Positioning this insight in an emotional context, the 60-second broadcast spot breaks from the more rational, documentary-style tone “Keep Climbing” has taken in the past, also employing the use of color for the first time in the campaign.

Directed by Noam Murro, the ad follows the bear-shaped bag of a small girl as it is cared for by Delta employees ensuring its safe delivery. Sutherland’s voice provides the perfect calm cadence to narrate the spot, concluding with the line, “…but when you’ve got an entire company who knows that the fewest cancellations and the most on-time flights are nothing if we can’t get your things there too, it’s no wonder more people choose Delta than any other airline,” delivered as the very relieved girl picks up her bag. The spot, which launched yesterday, will run until the end of November. Read more

W+K and Drew Brees Interview a Robot for Old Spice

Here’s a long and unusual one from Wieden+Kennedy to promote client Old Spice.

The agency first introduced its “Mandroid” character in a couple of spots this summer, and he plays an even larger role in this one, which is ostensibly an “interview” on a retro sports talk show:

It’s nothing if not awkward; we do like the New Orleans-appropriate “jazz breakdown” that happens around the 4:00 mark.

The finale is also amusing, though you may note that Brees’ pass doesn’t quite hit its target.

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