As the agency launches its sixth music video for the Grammy-winning rockers, LBB’s Addison Capper finds out more about their relationship with the Portland agency
“Being advertising creatives who sit in dark offices all day, we tend to be pretty jealous of good looking, talented rock stars who tour the world to adoring fans,” explains Wieden+Kennedy art director Helen Rhodes about the agency's music video for Portugal. The Man's 'Tidal Wave'. “So when we were asked to create the music video for Portugal. The Man’s ‘Tidal Wave’ track we thought, let’s make them into hideous mutant creations of their former selves."
Enlisted to create said mutant creations was renowned British animator Lee Hardcastle, a man known for his "claymation that's not for children" and described by Helen as "a one man claymation band of delightful craziness". And it's hard to argue with her sentiment. The disturbingly weird nature of these claymation creatures teamed with the relatively jovial track is equal parts unsettling and endearing.
"When we stumbled on his work we knew we'd found the right person for the job," says Helen. "We loved his personal work and other projects he'd done, so although he was based nearly 5,000 miles away it was a no brainer. He has a very unique mind, and the attention to detail as well as the number of man hours he put in was off the scale."
This project isn’t the first promo that Wieden+Kennedy has made for Portugal. The Man. In fact, it's the sixth as part of an intriguing and uncommon relationship between advertising agency and band, and one that was borne out of a chance meeting at a music festival. "I became friends with [bandmembers] John [Gourley] and Zach [Carothers] when we met at the Sasquatch Festival four or five years ago," Wieden+Kennedy's creative director of entertainment and editorial Jason Kreher tells us. "They asked me to help write on a few songs for their album Woodstock, which was polite of them, but the relationship with Wieden didn’t start until we collaborated on the Feel It Still video in early 2017."
But what's the benefit of an agency working with musicians in a creative way like this? The first thing that springs to mind is the opportunity for creatives to get their teeth into something with less restrictions. But does it make sense? "We're not sure if it makes sense yet; we're still figuring that out," says Jason. "But we as an agency love working with talented people, and they like the work we do. The music industry is as much in flux as the advertising industry, and it’s been illuminating to see just how much of a creative business opportunity exists to change up the way music and brands and agencies can work together."
As well as the six music videos, Wieden+Kennedy and Portugal. The Man are working together in an array of other creative ways. "These guys are up for just about anything, so anytime some fool idea comes into our heads or theirs we’re just off to the races," says Jason.
They worked with a local Oregon pot farm to develop a custom strain of weed that would heighten the experience of listening to their music. They even called up Beavis and Butthead creator Mike Judge to see if his seminal animated duo would be keen to make fun of the band's videos. That then ended up being the opening sequence of their set at Coachella.
"Plus, these guys do so much amazing work with kids and music, anti-gun initiatives and Native American rights campaigns. Anything we can do to help amplify their music and their message, we’re in."
Check out some more of Wieden's work for Portugal. The Man below.