For a while, it seemed like Wieden + Kennedy's Caleb Jensen was leading a double life. His copywriter credit appeared alongside stellar work out of the Portland office, like Nike's "Back to the Future" tie-up to launch its limited edition shoe and Creativity's top commercial of 2012, "Jogger," from the brand's "Find Your Greatness" Olympics ambush.
Yet also during that time, Mr. Jensen was producing work out of the agency's Tokyo office, where he's now based and oversees creative output as ECD. There, he has already led stunning, daring moves for Nike Japan. Among those include the recent "Vapor Trail" spot, a Tokyo/Portland co-production that depicted carnage on the soccer field within a fine-art reminiscent tableaux, as well as the statement-making "Pledge," in which a baseball player stands up and asserts his individuality --a bold move in the face of the country's team-focused culture.
Outside of spots, he's been involved in a number of innovative, digitally-inclined efforts, like Nike's "Free Face," which invited users online to contort a Nike shoe -- by moving their faces, and "Building Twist," which let them morph a building -- by controlling a sneaker. "It's sort of the theory that we can be a concept car, trying ideas that are harder for Nike to pull off elsewhere," he said of the agency's tech-minded exploits. "Most of our briefs call for digital and innovative thinking, so we've embraced that. Japan offers the chance to be experimental and weird, which is a good thing."Mr. Jensen is living proof of Wieden + Kennedy's devotion to nurturing its talent -- he's a grad of the agency's WK12 program. And while Mr. Jensen described the "Jogger" experience as "the best I've ever felt on this job," Japan opens up intriguing opportunities. On the horizon are an "experimental" project for Nike as well as a new product collaboration with a Japanese eyewear manufacturer. Yet no matter what the assignment, his approach remains the same. "I think it's just about remembering how many times someone is sold to everyday, and trying to empathize with that," he said.