At W+K, we work hard and play harder, especially we take our pies very, very seriously. Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the W+K Pie Contest and we had a great turnout: 80+ pies entered (consider only 6 entered in the first year). And as a 10th anniversary special, we presented the most anticipated event of the year…The Pie Toss Auction for Charity. People bid to throw pies in the faces of a select group of 10 different W+K celebrities, instigators, pirates and pains in the ass. In the end, we raised $6,834 in auction sale for the Portland Rescue Mission, plus the W+K Charity Fund will match the amount!
Now let's give a round of applause for the ones who have sacrificed themselves for the greater good and begin the show.
Bakers placing their pies:
7 categories this year: Straight up apple, Specialty apple, Pumpkin/nut, Chocolate, Meringue/cream, Cheesecake and Berry/fruit:
Our lovely bakers:
Our ridiculously funny host – Danny:
Judges busy tasting the pies:
Shortly after, winners in each category are announced:
But before Dan Wieden picks the Pie of the Year, we have to toss some first. Who wants to do the honor? Come on, people, start bidding, it's for charity!
And of course, we have exciting videos:
Finally, Dan picks the Pie of the Year from the winners in all categories.
And the award goes to …(drumroll….) Michelle's Banoffee Pie:
The final tasting for everybody. Sugar rush fuels the creative and hungry minds:
I'm a car person. I love cars. To look at them, read about them, build and mod them, race and rebuild them. I love to talk about automotive culture and history – sometimes ad nauseam. Having so far owned almost 100 cars – American, Japanese, German, British, and Italian – and having driven many hundreds more – from econobox rentals to temperamental supercars – I have lots of opinions.
Most of all, I simply love to drive, often just for the sake of driving.
Maybe this explains why I'm the community manager and digital strategist for Dodge at Wieden+Kennedy. I'm a car geek, so how could I pass up working with a company that has been such an influential part of car culture?
It definitely explains why, when the opportunity came up to drive a car that isn't for sale yet across the country, I didn't just say "Yeah," I said "Hell, yeah."
I'm a car person. However, I'm not an SUV person. My worry in driving the Durango across the country was that it would be one of two things: 1. a big, bouncy, soft, sluggish, gas-guzzling (read: typical) SUV with lots of body roll and zero personality, or 2. an emasculated, underpowered wannabe, a lifted economy car with zero personality. I've driven my fair share of SUVs, and that's what I've come to expect from all but the most exclusive of them.
The Durango is neither of those. It's powerful, well-balanced, refined. It corners and handles like a car – like a much smaller vehicle than it is. It's made to drive. Flat out on straightaways, aggressively on winding roads, assuredly up and down mountains, solidly on dirt and gravel. It's smooth, efficient, stylish and fast. With the rear-wheel drive 5.7 liter Hemi V8, I got over 20mpg, and I don’t drive very… slow. I’d like to see what the new Pentastar V6 can do.
I drove through all types of conditions: cities, mountains, and deserts, through ice, frost, snow, sleet, hail, rain, wind, sun, twenty degrees to eighty, sea level to 8,000 feet.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. The Durango was in Detroit and needed to get to Portland. Someone had to drive it. I've never turned down an opportunity for a road trip, and I did a little quick routing in my head. I could drive pretty much straight to Portland, or I could spend some time with the car, visit some people I hadn't visited in a long time, see some things I'd never seen before, go to a few states I'd never gone to. Other than that, there was no time to plan anything. I set up Twitter and FourSquare accounts for the 2011 Durango and got on the road.
If you stick to the main roads, you miss a lot of America. I took state highways, local roads, even dirt and gravel where possible. I stopped in small towns, checked out historical markers, took pictures of unusual things, beautiful vistas. I ate Thai food in Wyoming, crossed the Mississippi River on the Dodge Bridge, drove the "Road to Oz" in Kansas. I saw Dodgeville, Wisconsin and stayed at the Dodge House Hotel in Dodge City, Kansas. I stopped and saw a friend in Michigan I hadn't seen since I last worked with him in Los Angeles 13 years ago, another friend I've only known online for 3 years, some of my cousins in Colorado. I ticked off three more states I'd never been to: Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Kansas. I went to Hell, Michigan.
There were a million things that I missed that I would have liked to visit: Mt. Rushmore, Crater Lake, Durango, Colorado, The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite. It was raining at the Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway so I couldn't drive out on it, and the playas of the Black Rock Desert were swampy and covered in snow. But I couldn't go everywhere in one trip. That's an excellent excuse for the next trip, though, isn't it?
Things happen when you don't plan where you're going. Here are some of them:
- A series of snowstorms shuts down the highway and you have to sleep in the car. - You're driving on a snow-covered dirt road through the Nevada desert and happen upon a head-on injury accident 4 hours from the closest working cell tower. You end up taking one of the drivers back into the snowstorm to a gold mine to get rescue vehicles. - You stop for gas in Colorado and a classic car show springs up in a parking lot right next to you. The MOPAR enthusiasts are excited to see a new Dodge and barrage you with questions. - The California Highway Patrol pulls you over and says "You might want to wash this car because I can't see the license plate or taillights. Oh, by the way, what *IS* this thing?"
While in California, on the last leg of my journey, I had time to chat with Dodge CEO Ralph Gilles, show him my photos, and relate some of my stories. As design chief on the 2011 Durango, he had a lot of questions.
"Did you feel a connection with the Durango?" was one of them.
I didn't have a good response at the time. I had been through quite a bit with the car in a short period of time, but it wasn't something I'd thought about. It wasn't until the last leg of the drive from the Bay Area to Portland that I really considered it. I've driven California to Oregon so many times that it's become second nature. The weather was horrible, I battled semi-trucks who cut into the left lane at the last moment, family trucksters who flashed their turn signals to nowhere, converted school buses who struggled up mountain passes.
By then, I already thought of the Durango as my car. I trusted it. I'd spent more hours and miles in it than anyone else. I didn't have to think about what it might do in a situation because I already knew. I felt confident I could do anything I needed to in any situation. So, yes, I felt a connection. A connection with the roads I traveled and the people I met, with the Durango and with the varied and stunning beauty of America. It was hard to turn the car over to the rest of the Dodge crew at W+K and walk away from that.
But, in the end, it's that sense of connection I take away from this trip. If you've never taken a road trip – for no reason at all – I highly recommend it. Even if you've taken a hundred road trips, there's always something else to see. It makes me want to get back in the driver's seat and keep going. To experience more.
W+K Gay club’s first event was a real barn-burner of awkward hilarity yesterday, brought to you by Target favorite and Comedians of Comedy star Maria Bamford. Almost the entire building showed up for her 45 minute set on such side-splitting subjects as suicide, poverty, racism, mensturation and christ’s carrot-like genatalia (Note: if you haven't experienced the comedic genius that is Maria Bamford, educate yourselves immediately—you've been missing out). We were also given a sneak preview of our upcoming 2010 Target holiday campaign featuring Ms. Bamford and I can guarantee you will not want to fast forward through the commercial breaks on your Tivo'd recording of 30 Rock. Stay tuned for those.Thanks to W+K Gay Club for setting it up and four hundred thousand thanks to the lovely and gracious Ms. Bamford.
In celebration of Dan’s recent induction into their Hall of Fame, The Art Director's Club recently hosted a conversation with Dan, Dave, Jeff Goodby and a few hundred other advertising enthusiasts. Goody played the role of moderator and talked with our famous duo about life, advertising and the future.
Dan and Dave delighted the packed house with stories from the humble beginning of W+K. They shared juicy tidbits about the first time they met to the origin of "Just Do It." They also talked about the philosophy behind allowing people to fail, the significance of independence as an agency, and their personal passion projects—for Dan, his commitment to Caldera, and for Dave, his work with the American Indian College Fund.
It was a great night. Congratulations Dan.
But wait, Dave doesn't seem to be very happy about this: