culture

W+K Shanghai Celebrates It's 15th Birthday

+SHNovember 30th 2020

Fifteen years ago, Dan Wieden extended his dream to create “a place where people can make the best work of their lives” to China, the world’s most populous country. Since 2005, the Shanghai office has been filled with phenomenal local and global talent working together guiding the office to where it is today. We now call this spirit of working together “Hotpot Culture”*, which is Wieden+Kennedy’s Shanghai’s unique blend of east-meets-west diversity that we believe brings out the best in everyone.

For our 15th birthday, we made awesome things in sets of 15 to celebrate our people, their talent and the culture.

A “hot pot” is an Asian style of cooking where delicious ingredients are combined in a boiling pot and every unique addition makes the broth better. The more different things you add, the better it gets.

15 GHOST STORIES

Where there are people, there are ghosts. This spooky set of posters exposes 15 supernatural phenomena like the Fickle DJ (who plays hip music all day until the bosses leave then immediately switches to melancholic Cantonese pop ballads), Sleepister (who guides our employees to sleep after lunch), and The Liftette (who squeezes everyone to the corners of the elevator so that no one may ever occupy the center), and many (12) more.

15 FASHIONISTAS

It is no secret that W+K Shanghai is home to some seriously fashionable weirdos. So we picked 15 colleagues with the most distinct styles to represent our unparalleled high-style culture.

These natural-born fashionistas pick up references everywhere: from the thin red plastic bag commonly used in the wet market to the traditional gold-obsessed dragon patterns. Even random Chinese puns can inspire new t-shirts. No matter what the current trend is, mashup and mess-up remain their ever-green fashion philosophy.

15 STORIES / 15 ALUMNI

W+K Shanghai is truly the sum of the extraordinary people that passed through our doors. So we looked to our past and choose 15 individuals that represent important moments in our history and culture, and made wild 3D portraits of them to accompany their stories. We’ve selected a passage from John Jay’s (founding partner of WKSH) inspiring vision for the office and the future of the agency.

What was your vision when you set up this office?

I am very proud that I helped to lead the way for the office to be the first in the agency’s history to open without a client. It was in late 2005 that I began thinking about the idea of bringing our creative culture and discipline to the great city of Shanghai and the culture of China.

I knew that the 2008 Beijing Olympics would be a watershed moment for the people of China and its future, much like how the 1964 Olympics propelled Tokyo forward. I said to Dan Wieden when we were together in China, “See that passing by our windows? That is not traffic…that is history and we cannot allow it to pass us by.

Admittedly, I am a big dreamer and this being China, with my own Chinese heritage, I wanted to dream big. I wanted to make a significant impact for the good of China. I promised to make a charter for the office that included an important goal… ”Do Good Things for China”. I wanted us to be a strong contributor to China’s society, creative culture, local economy and social good. I keep reminding myself that W+K Shanghai would not be just another satellite ad agency, but becoming a place of social connection with the most interesting and creative-minded talents from China was an important step to present ourselves as anything but one of those typical multi-nationals. Become the most interesting cultural hub in the city and have the most influential young talent see W+K Shanghai as a place to create.

What would you like to say to W+K?

I have a favorite poem that I read to my great mentor, the former Chairman of Bloomingdales, Marvin S. Traub upon his retirement in 1992. Now I want to share it with you:

“Come to the edge,” he said. “We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded. “Come to the edge,” he said. “We will fall!” they responded. “Come to the edge,” he said. And so they came. And he pushed them. And they flew.

—Christopher Logue

I now work for one of the most successful brands in China, I will watch with great interest as you grow and evolve. With W+K Shanghai, you have the extraordinary opportunity to take your creativity and ambitions to the very edge.

Here, you can fly.

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