Thursday, July 24, 2008

So What, Wieden+Kennedy New York?

So what goes on at Wieden+Kennedy New York? I've heard this question numerous times since working here. In fact, one of my highly viewed posts is the one announcing my start. I know I asked Whudafxup with W+KNY way before I ever interviewed at this place. Sure, we get that one line in the AdAge Agency Report Card every year that reads something like "Lastly, the NY office continues to pump out entertaining work for ESPN." Which, of course, is better than nothing or hate-hate-hating. But when you've got your one other U.S. office, the global HQ in Portland, doing its thing for years and for clients like Nike, Coke, Old Spice, Heineken, Target, CareerBuilder, EA Sports, Starbucks and who knows what else; and you've got London winning Nokia, bringing it for Honda and killing it with their blog; and other global offices opening or coming strong, to put it simply: Pimpin' Ain't Easy.

So what did I do when I got here? Nothing at first, except absorb and understand the culture of this office. I identified a couple of opportunities to better our internal collaboration and our external brand. I set objectives, I drew on past experiences, and I started experimenting with solutions. Along the way, I certainly faced some challenges...and I know I'd be a fool to believe it's smooth sailing from here.

So what am I actually talking about? The creation of Wieden+Kennedy New York's blog.

I guess the idea was considered way back when I was a prospective employee, working out at Fallon Minneapolis and ready to move back to my home, NYC. The agencies on my radar were the ones people were talking about. They were the ones getting written up. They were part of the conversation, and thus, my consideration set. Wieden was always a favorite agency...too bad they were in Portland.

Yet it wasn't until shortly after I arrived that John Jay came through our office on his "we're AdWeek's Global Agency of the Year" tour that I totally believed in the importance of developing our office's unique culture and voice. The benefits that could be gained from sharing within our walls, across our network, within the industry and international creative community far outweighed the risks. I really believe this. And I have already seen how much more involved people become once someone takes the very little time to teach them (about the platform or a post).

So, I got people smarter than me to help create it. I enlisted people more interesting than me to populate it with content.

Now doesn't come the statement, "This is not an agency blog!" Of course, it is. Are we going to be different that some of the others? I sure hope so. And that's not a comment on agency blogs stinking - there are some fantastic ones that serve as inspiration to me at the very least. We obviously hope to be different because there's no need for the same content to be regurgitated.

On a related note, while it is an agency blog, it is not a planning blog. Nothing against them. I still read a bunch and enjoy each! But as of now, I'm the only person with that title with a login. We have a design, media director, copywriter, cultural curator (yes, sick title), search director and project manager all set up with logins (though not all have posted). And yes, past experience has shown the heavy lifting will likely be done by me and a couple of others.

So what do we hope to bring to the blogosphere? A window into the world of Wieden+Kennedy New York and New York culture through the lens of our people. So you won't get someone like me who's still listening to FutureSex/LoveSounds hollering about the underground music scene. You'll get a music-junkie. You won't have me and my Johnston & Murphy zip-up boots poppin' off about the latest kicks. You'll get a sneaker-head. And so on. Plus, you'll get way less alliteration and rhyming!)

This blog is supposed to interesting. It is supposed to be fun. It is only supposed to be self-serving in that we benefit the same way that any blogger does - from engaging in the conversation, learning by doing and learning from others. Hopefully you'll find it entertaining and every once in a while inspiring. As you'll see from the archives, we've been working on being interesting and honing our collective voice since February - and we're still a work in progress. (Yes, always in beta - but I'm sick of that phrase.)

So that's all for now. Come visit and say hi. But don't leave me...I couldn't bear it.


Adrian said...


"as of now, I'm the only person with that title with a login"

good thing too, would want earl arthur anywhere near a blog

Paul McEnany said...

Whatever. Blogs are so last year. Where's your twitter stream? :)

Just kiddin. Congrats on getting it set up. It's in the reader!

El Gaffney said...

amen to that adrian. though i think his title has officially changed to the mayor.
thanks paul. only so much power will be given to a guy with a mustached icon at one time. @wiedenkennedy exists and operates out of portland by the way.

noah brier said...

nice job dude.

El Gaffney said...

muchas gracias, noah.

Age said...

hey man, has been a while since i popped in but this is great. I'll def be adding both the WKNYC (love typing that) blog and yours to my daily morning culture trip.

peace from Melbs Australia!

El Gaffney said...

age, that's awesome. welcome back. and i'm heading back to In My Atmosphere as well.