By James Briggs
Does creativity end when you step out of the office? We follow a creative collective as they work 'out of hours'.
Commercial creative work is tough. Brilliant ideas, tweaked. Side projects you never have time for, benched. So how do you satisfy those creative urges? If you’re Felix Heyes, you form a band of merry men and call yourselves King Zog. They’re here to blow their minds, and yours.
‘Isn’t it time you had the time to do the things you want to do’, is the headline for a back pain advert. It's also the mantra of Felix and three other guys who met at Kingston University. They've already found the time to tickle the public with an installation made from a thousand rubber gloves at Secret Garden Party, published a book containing every word in the dictionary represented by its first Google image, and made a poster that can only be read when someone has a wee on it. Are they taking the pee?
Well, no, they're just doing creative work without constraint. So when D&AD briefed them to encourage student entries for its New Blood competition, we hopped aboard Zog's regal shoulders and followed their ‘out of hours’ creative process.
Felix explains, "A usual working day at King Zog takes place in the kitchen and it begins at around 8:00 in the evening. After a chat and a nice dinner, we'll drink and talk until something hilarious happens. Then do drawings, or write, or Photoshop, or squirt toothpaste around, or whatever’s taken our fancy that day. Finally, we read the brief..."
"There is definitely such a thing as being too clever, and we much prefer to use charm or humour. In fact we'll be deliberately stupid for as many briefs as we can. So long as we're stupid in an original way we think it makes the work better and more accessible."
First out of the mental minefield; students get aroused by D&AD’s influence in the industry and because students are so god damn horny, let’s titillate them with sexual innuendos.
Or, how about a D&AD twitter feed that's a maelstrom of authoritarian belittling vitriol, which uses reverses psychology so students fight back and stick it to the man with their creative drive and talent?
When the dicks didn’t swing it with D&AD bigwigs, this simple, less sweary, idea showing how a yellow pencil makes graduate winners stand out from the crowd to potential employees, did.
So a good core idea. But the Kings weren't happy. Felix explains, 'Where's Wally was a bit tame. We wanted to take this further. Having once been grubby students ourselves we thought why not depict them as rotters, performing despicable acts, with one winner holding a pencil?"
Sadly, D&AD didn't want to depict their target audience as messy pups. Now what?
Ring Ring, hold the phone. Ants are calling. Out of nowhere crawled this little insight. We thought "Students are like ants - hard working, numerous, difficult to tell apart. Then came the avalanche of brain connections, What if we used real ants? What if they actually carried a tiny yellow pencil? Let’s make a tiny pencil and get an ant to carry it!"
And so King Zog made tiny D&AD New Blood sets and released hundreds of ants onto them. They made an even tinier yellow pencil and let nature take its course. Sure as ants is ants, one picked it up, carrying it around in a lap of honour as the Zoggers took beautiful macro shots for a print campaign.
So, ‘Isn’t it time you had the time to do the things you want to do’?