Global Creative Agency of the Year: Wieden & Kennedy (US)

Shop sees off international competition.

W&K: memorable 2019 work includes KFC and Nike
W&K: memorable 2019 work includes KFC and Nike

In 2019, Wieden & Kennedy developed its offering from beyond advertising to become a creative partner for product innovation, customer experience, employee communications and more.

Proud of its independence, the agency's work for long-time clients Nike, Old Spice and KFC proves it can unearth fresh insights and unveil new executions. 

In 2019, this legacy helped score some big wins in Fisher-Price, Ford, HBO and McDonald’s. Estimated revenue increased by 14.1% in the US in the third quarter – before W&K’s McDonald’s win.

Its team of independent and creative-minded spirits is channelled by a stable leadership team of Neal Arthur and Karl Lieberman in New York, and Jason Bagley, Eric Baldwin and Karrelle Dixon in Portland. Overseeing global operations are co-presidents Colleen DeCourcy and Tom Blessington.

Out of all the work by W&K in 2019, KFC was particularly distinctive. The "Colonel" brand campaign switched from actors Jason Alexander to Sean Astin to Robocop, each playing the Colonel while also their signature roles.  

Outside advertising, W&K commemorated Mother’s Day, a top sales day at KFC, by creating sassy videos of the "Chickendales" dancers. Meanwhile, stories about female athletes inspired many throughout 2019 – few were more memorable than Team USA’s women’s soccer team and Nike’s campaign, which garnered more than 1.3 billion impressions.

Team USA’s winning season unfurled as if written by a W&K copywriter. It began with a moving "Dream with us" spot that connected viewers to the players and continued with "Dream further" as the matches began.

By the time the team showed up for a ticker-tape parade in New York City, the crowd was cheering on their fight for equal opportunity and pay for all women, holding signs that read "When this team wins, everyone wins" – straight out of the final "Never stop winning" ad.

W&K is a staunch supporter of industry inclusion efforts, including The 3% Movement and ADCOLOR. In 2020, a partnership with TimesUp is helping to combat sexual harassment through workshops and training.

One judge commented: "Amazing, consistently brilliant work. The way Wieden & Kennedy build brands over the long term is exceptional."

Finalists

Adam & Eve/DDB (UK)
Ogilvy Taiwan
Ogilvy Thailand
TBWA\Hakuhodo 
TBWA\Hong Kong