February was a vintage month for London creative agencies. For the first time we had four scores of nine: Wieden+Kennedy for the new Honda Civic, FCB Inferno for the second iteration of Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can,’ McCann for L’Oreal and the Prince’s Trust and, most interestingly perhaps, Droga5 London’s blockbuster global campaign for Uniqlo.
All these came in the last week or so so we won’t go through them all again (they’re all referenced below) but they offer a pleasing sign that clients might be returning to big TV campaigns with a touch of theatre – literally in the case of Helen Mirren and L’Oreal. In the recent past most such efforts have been confined to Christmas. All show craft skills and production values of the highest order demonstrating, once again, that not spending the money can be the most expensive mistake of all. We could be back in 1999 – well, almost.
Why highlight Droga5 from this distinguished bunch? The agency has struggled to establish itself as the European outpost of its celebrated US parent, undergoing painful management changes and an almost complete lack of the kind of account any agency needs to show its mettle. Uniqlo, though, is the perfect canvas and D5 didn’t let us down with this (one of three in the campaign).
Sharp and sassy, just what Dr Droga (and client John Jay, formerly of Wieden+Kennedy) ordered. Did NYC help out? They broke the first Uniqlo campaign so they obviously had an influence. But that’s the point of a network, even a network of two.