Wieden + Kennedy, one of the top advertising agencies in the world, took down its website Thursday evening and replaced it with a full page black screen with text devoted to #BlackLivesMatter. The unprecedented gesture by the agency that has produced ads for Nike, Old Spice, Chrysler, and Procter & Gamble, among others, was still accessible as of the end of the business day on Friday.
On a simple black screen, the company had posted the following:
Why your black co-worker seems especially bitter today…
Why your black co-worker seems especially sad today…
Why your black co-worker seems especially quiet today…
We are processing.
We are asking ourselves what to do.
We are hurt because it feels like watching our own selves get gunned down.
We are telling ourselves, “do not let this make you live in fear. do not let this make you hate.”
But we’re scared for our lives, our family’s lives, our friend’s lives.
We’re mad that the protests aren’t working. Why the video recordings aren’t working.
We’re conflicted, in a place between crippling empathy contempt at a world that seems not to care enough.
We are disgusted at police but telling ourselves, “you can’t hate all police.”
We are wondering the point of a moment of silence.
We are wondering if we ourselves will make it back home today.
We are wondering what to do, what to do, what to do.
Just an FYI, not for sympathy. Just acknowledging this because it should be acknowledged.
Adweek magazine reported that company representatives refused to comment on why it had chosen to post the statement, but the magazine cited company sources who said that employees of had begun a dialogue on Wednesday morning, after the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and executives with the company wanted to help black employees in their efforts at dialogue with their colleagues.
Wieden + Kennedy are known for its groundbreaking advertisements, and have won multiple awards since being founded by Dan Wieden and David Kennedy in 1982. In 2008, the company’s ad for Coca Cola, “It’s Mine,” which aired during Super Bowl XLII, was named “Best Super Bowl Ad of the Decade” by Adweek magazine.
Among the company’s other ads are the “Bo Knows” ads for Nike that featured athlete Bo Jackson; the “Together” ad for Nike which welcomed LeBron James back to Cleveland; and an Emmy-award winning ad, “The Morning After,” which imagined life on January 1, 2000 where Y2K had come to pass. Several of the ads can be seen below.
“The Morning After”