Wieden+Kennedy’s Installation Proves Advertising Is More Than Just Ads

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During the weekend there was a moment where I had to sit through a monologue about how negative the advertising industry is and how cruel the people are who work within it… Much to my dismay, this is a sentiment I hear often. To me, this is common opinion of the misinformed, and in my experience, it’s wrong. Let me tell you a “little secret” about the ad biz: all we want to do is create cool shit. Wieden+Kennedy’s (W+K) project, a Real Life Agency at Work, created in collaboration with Emily Forgot and Laurie D, is a great example of aforementioned “cool shit.”

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Over August, employees of W+K’s London office will take turns working in the pop-up space. Pedestrians are encouraged to take a peek, where as web-dwellers can tune-in via live stream. It’s fun and engaging, but to me, strikes a home run in design. Emily Forgot (Emily Alston) is the artist, who worked together with Laurie D to bring her vision from mind to matter. Alston says the aesthetic was inspired by Lichtenstein and George Sowden, which you can see in the bold strokes, patterns, and overarching monochrome.  It all comes together brilliantly, I find myself constantly reaffirming that “yes, this is indeed a real space.”

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The project was commissioned as a part of W+K’s Hello Neighbour initiative, which aims at entertaining the public with local artists. You might have seen their previous piece, a Wooden Union Jack, that was created for the Queen’s Jubilee. Let’s not forget that Hello Neighbour is the product of an ad agency. The very same people who can’t wait to shove products in your face and stuff more money into their pockets, right? Wrong. Here we find W+K “selling” a fun public-involving experience, a spotlight on local talent, and interesting interior design. How dare they!

Of course, this is my opinion, and unlike an advertisement, I’m not going to thrust it upon you. But before you’re quick to dismiss (especially ads), take a page from fictional ad-star Don Draper’s book and think that “the universe is indifferent.” Quit wasting time on trivialities and strive to take experiences at face value, appreciate when appreciation is due, and (perhaps most importantly) let your opinions form naturally. Otherwise you risk missing out on fantastic projects like W+K’s Agency at Work.

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Nick Partyka

August 14, 2013 / By

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