W links up with Vision Artists and calls for "braver" approach to artist collaboration

The founder of W has called for agencies to be "braver in giving carte blanche" to musicians as his agency hooks up with Vision Artists to launch a new division.

Charlie XCX: Has worked with Vision Artists
Charlie XCX: Has worked with Vision Artists

W has set up a music division called WVA by joining forces with the talent and brand partnership specialist.

The department will be led by W’s Kim Machray and VA’s Ronnie Traynor, with the aim of serving brands seeking to engage consumers through music.

W founder Warren Johnson pointed to the £100 million spent by brands in endorsements and tie-ins with musicians last year as indicative of a growing market, with record labels "seeking to make up for the lost golden days of CD sales".

He said that work would focus on "turning on its head" the practice of "involving an artist at the eleventh hour after an idea has been created".

"This is about ensuring brands and musicians have a more equal partnership so that they are really involved in the creation stage," he added.

"A lot of agencies don’t understand the need to be brave and give carte blanche to such talent within the creative process."

As well as looking for new clients, WVA will look to develop the two agencies’ existing relationships with clients already in the music space, including W Hotels, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and Nando’s.

Recent work by W has involved a collaboration between Annie Mac and W Hotels, while Vision Artists has worked with musicians including Plan B,  Rita Ora, and Charlie XCX.

Traynor said: "Instead of brands creating ideas and then trying to get artists to fit into them, they should be working together to find ways in which they can help each other. Talent must be integrated at the inception of a campaign idea, rather than the last people to be called on as part of the execution."

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