What other people influenced the making of The Cog and how so?

24 Nov

I found a juicy piece of research material while following up on where a particular statement was referenced and I found an interview with Matt Gooden and Ben Walker! It answers allot of the questions I wanted to raise. The article was not so well written as it is from a website called www.Adforum.com but I replaced the abbreviations he was using for the names to make it more understandable. I think this could be very useful to me when I am writing the rest of my blog and I see how it will make me have to modify some of my posts to incorporate the data. This is to be viewed as primary research material because it is an interview and it does cover many questions that are relevant to my investigation. Hence instead of quoting bits and pieces and commenting on it I will just quote the whole article and reference back to it with my other posts.

Here is the article: [15]

“Adforum.com speaks with the creators of “Cog”, Wieden+Kennedy’s

Matt Gooden and Ben Walker.

By Christopher Wynne, Adforum.com
May 28th, 2004

I caught up with the creators of the much applauded and equally controversial COG to discuss the work, what inspired it and some of the controversy that has resulted. My first surprise upon walking into Wieden + Kennedy’s London office was the absolute lack of anything COG or award show related. No Clio on the desk, no Cannes Lion on the shelf, no framed articles on the wall. If you didn’t know it walking in, there was nothing there that would tip you off to the fact that this office was the birthplace of the ad that won just about every major advertising award under the sun since last June’s Cannes Lion. My second surprise was how modest and down to earth the ad’s art director (Matt Gooden) and copywriter (Ben Walker) were. If I was expecting the creative minds behind the year’s most talked about work to be a bit full of themselves and their accomplishments, I was quickly disappointed.
Christopher Wynne: Where did the inspiration for COG come from? Who came up with the idea?
Matt Gooden: That’s me. [laughing]
Ben Walker: Mousetrap was clearly in our minds. The brief focused on engineering and the beauty of design. We thought it would be cool to do something with a chain reaction. We researched hundreds of them. Of course we also viewed the movie (Fischli and Weiss’ “The Way Things Go”) that everyone talks about us taking the idea from.
Christopher Wynne: Have you been surprised or taken aback by the controversy?
Ben Walker: There was some media and industry people saying not great things but the majority of the response has been very positive.
Christopher Wynne: Is there any truth to the fact that Cog is a rip off Fischli and Weiss’ work?
Ben Walker: We looked at every piece of work that we could find that had anything to do with a chain reaction. We got ideas from all of them. I do regret the section with the tires. That was the one part that was a direct lift from the movie. We did get a letter from the artist but they knew there was no basis for a lawsuit. There was also a pretty big piece written up in the press about Wieden + Kennedy being sued, but it wasn’t true.
Christopher Wynne: Are you surprised by all of the buzz and talk Cog has created?
Ben Walker: I was really surprised. Not as much from the industry but by all of the media coverage and the interest from everyday consumers. I didn’t think ads could really be that powerful to the general public.
Christopher Wynne: When did you know that Cog would be something special?
Ben Walker: When we wrote the script.
Christopher Wynne: Okay, how did you get started considering how daunting the task must have seemed?
Matt Gooden: By taking apart the car.
Ben Walker: The engineers and special effects guys played with parts for over a month. To get a really good director we had to sketch it out pretty far to show that we were serious about doing something really big and different.
Christopher Wynne: Were there any great ideas that you guys just couldn’t pull off?
Matt Gooden: We wanted to do something with the airbag [see the sketches]. We were thinking about the front end hitting into the rear end but we were only given 5 sections of the car so we couldn’t risk it. The car itself wasn’t really built yet so everything was still right out of the design areas. Nothing was in production. We also were thinking about doing something with a Garfield doll, but we didn’t [laughing].
Christopher Wynne: What was Honda’s reaction when you pitched them the concept?
Ben Walker: They were pretty encouraging. I think they saw the potential pretty quickly. They’re a very forward thinking company. They always want to talk about the future, not their past accomplishments or work.
Christopher Wynne: Do you think it helped Honda sell more cars?
Ben Walker: Definitely. Their website broke records the day after it aired. Their site became the second largest automotive site overnight.
Christopher Wynne: Other than all of the awards its won, has Cog been a success for W+K? Have you brought in new clients as a result?
Ben Walker: Yes and no. We’re probably not the right people to ask that question. I think maybe there have been more inquiries but in the end most marketing directors at big advertisers don’t know who’s created specific ads.
Christopher Wynne: Unless they go to AdForum.com, of course. Do you think you’ve raised the bar for yourself and other agencies? Are advertisers now asking for their own Cog?
Ben Walker: We heard something from some insiders that Nissans was asking TBWA about it. Nothing confirmed of course. I think every client just wants to have a brilliant ad. Whether it be a Cog or something else.
Matt Gooden: One friend that’s at another agency said to me ‘If I have to hear that one more time..’
Christopher Wynne: Does winning so many awards and over such a long period of time signify that creative ideas have slowed or is Cog just that good?
Matt Gooden: It is that good.
Ben Walker: I saw that there were some people on AdForum.com commenting on it. I’m going to have to go on there and give my two cents.
Christopher Wynne: How do you top this?
Ben Walker: You just have to constantly raise your standards. I think before we were pretty happy when we came up with a good idea. Now we’re always thinking about how we’re going to make a good idea better”



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