The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Got Your Hooks In You …

In 2016, I started the inaugural Kennedys at Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai.

9 strangers – only united by a love and talent for creativity – spent 9 months having to deal with me pushing, challenging and giving them a safe place for creative danger and stupidity.

We did a lot over that time.

From bleaching hair to making an arcade game from scratch to filming a movie about Romeo and Juliet featuring bananas and apples as the lead characters to name but a few.

In fact, over that 9 months, they graduated having made over 140 pieces of wonderfully bonkers creativity … which you can read/see and learn more about it here.

In many ways it was one of the most special times of my life, let alone at Wieden.

To think I only ended up agreeing to start/run it because I didn’t like/trust the person they were going to ask if I said no to it, blows my mind – especially as it had a major impact on what my ambitions and plans for the future were.

I think a lot of you know I thought I was going to do something with MIT who were incredibly generous to me in terms of letting me ‘train’ while still working at Wieden. But after seeing how much I loved guiding the chaos of pure creativity, I realised that journey was not for me … which ultimately led me to things I never imagined could ever have happened, from Metallica and Billionaire street fashion owners to Colenso and NZ.

Anyway, a while back, I received this …

That pic features 5 of the guys from The Kennedys who still live in Shanghai.

Quentin, Felix, Meng, Wenshu and the amazing Juni, who not only humoured my stupid ideas for assignments, but found ways to make them happen and not get anyone arrested.

They met up for dinner and I have to say, it made me so happy.

Not just because I miss them and it was great to see their faces, but because they went through an experience that few could ever imagine or hope for … so to see it result in bonds that last – despite them going on all manner of creative tension rollercoasters – is especially pleasing, as that was one of my unspoken hopes for the program.

Contrary to what a lot of people may think, while you meet and work with a lot of people in the industry – you don’t always make deep bonds.

A lot can be quite transitory so when you do find it, you really treasure it.

I’m fortunate I have that with quite a few people I’ve worked with.

Bonds built on respect, experience and working together to get out of the tightest corner in the most provocative, creative, interesting of ways.

It’s why so many of those people are folks I worked in China with.

Because you found yourself in very strange situations there.

All. The. Time.

And while it was stressful and mad, it was also exciting, infectious and utterly amazing and I hope that’s part of the reason why the guys at The Kennedys have that.

The Kennedys is a very special thing.

If you have the chance to apply, especially in Amsterdam or London, you should.

It’ll change your life.

It definitely changed mine.

12 Comments so far
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its a victim of campbell therapy group.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m surprised there’s not hundreds there then.

Comment by DH

Hahahaha … cheeky bastard.

Comment by Rob

Your post shows how much you loved running the Kennedys. But why are you suggesting doing the London and Amsterdam courses? Did you break Shanghai?

Comment by Pete

Definitely broke Shanghai.

Comment by DH

They stopped doing it once I left. But then they only did it because I was there. So kind of makes sense.

Hence London or Amsterdam. Though Portland now has started it too [previously it was a course called 12] … but if I had my choice of any, I’d probably go with Amsterdam as they were the originators.

Comment by Rob

Is it because you never did any work so you had time on your hands?

Comment by Bazza


Comment by DH

Your colleagues wanted to keep you tormenting nine strangers so that you wouldn’t have as much time to torment them?

Comment by John

i like the 2 at the front. they cant even be fucked to fake a smile.

Comment by andy@cynic

Hahahaha … yes, I noticed that.

Juni – on the right – is the one that probably has the most right to not be happy as she was charged with finding ways to make my stupid ideas actually happen.

Comment by Rob

I hope you realise you were the reason these people connected and collided. That is something you should feel very proud about doing.

Comment by Lee Hill

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