Friday, October 27, 2006

Competition winner

Text: Missing. Cat named Diabolix. Last seen in the new Alessi store. Can open bottles with his mouth. Posted by Picasa

Text: Missing. Cat with bowls. Last seen in the new Alessi store. Often seen feeding milk to other cats. Posted by Picasa

Text: Missing. Dog. Listens to the name of Canaglia. Last seen in the new Alessi store. Only eats fingernails! Posted by Picasa

Stef and Yona aren't the only one who have something to celebrate this week. I haven't won a golden saw (see last post), but I just heard that I've won an international Alessi competition in the category ambient. Because of that, me and my art-director Julien get $ 500 worth of Alessi products for free!

We made spoofs of missing animal posters. Not excactly a new idea to do something with that, but we put the actual products of Alessi in the posters. Alessi makes household products ranging from nail clippers to vacuum cleaners. The products are all really well designed and some of them actually look like animals. The aim of the briefing was to get people to the new Alessi store. With this ultra low budget ambient campaign passers-by get to know the products and they can rip off the adress of the new store immediately.

I wanted to win this competition really badly. That's why me and Julien spent extra days after the face to face week to work on it. I remembered that we declared ourselves crazy that we were still working in school until 23.00 while other students were relaxing at home and recovering from the busy weeks that were ahead. I think winning this competition makes us a little less crazy.

Tonight is an exiting evening, because also the winners of the Junior ADC are known. I sent in four campaigns for it. I don't know if I hear anything about it tonight because the award show is in München, but I have other things on my mind. My sister Elina and her boyfriend are coming over so after eight o'clock I'm going to spend the whole weekend with them. But whether I hear something or not, I'm glad that I already have something to celebrate.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The struggle for ideas

I kind of got used to the uncertainity that you´ll experience while making campaigns. You should be uncertain in this business, because only that pushes you to make even better work. If you know excactly what to do and you can just scribble one campaign after the other, you´ve become a professional. To me that means the same as not making any exciting, new work anymore.

If you want to make good work, you´ve got to accept the stress to make it. But sometimes it's difficult. Right now I´m working on a brief for the D&AD. For the Assignments class we have to work on a briefing for Eurostar to make an integrated campaign. Even though I'm working together with two good art-directors, I'm really struggling with this brief. Tons of ideas have already been killed. This week I sent an e-mail with ideas to the teacher twice. And finally after hours and hours of brainstorming there's one idea we can go further with.

Talking about ideas: there's some new work on the weblog of Stef and Yona, two young creatives who study at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Check out: Also Torke, an agency in Portugal, just made some cool work for the martial arts week. Look at their inspiring blog at Some ideas seem easy to make. But remember that behind an excellent idea there are always hundreds of ideas that are not good enough.

UPDATE: Stef & Yona just won the 'Golden Saw' award, a prize for the best young talent in Holland. Because they were in New York at the time they made this small film to show how happy they are:

Saturday, October 21, 2006


There are some weeks where nothing happens and I haven´t got a clue what to write (although those weeks are rare in this school). This week a lot happened.

First of all, I have to move. There was a chance that I could stay in my appartment in St. Pauli a little while longer. Unfortunately, two days ago I got an e-mail that I have to move out at the end of the month. I already saw it coming so it isn't much of a shock to me. But I had the luck that my classmate Gunnar wanted to move out of his appartment. So the same day I heard the bad news it was confirmed that I take Gunnars place as the new flatmate of my good friend Salvatore. Of all Hamburg that's probably the best place for me to stay my last few months.

The second newsflash. At the end of the month my contract for Energize comes to an end. And recently I heard they don't want to continue working with me. I've been writing for the online marketing agency in Utrecht since two months before I went to the Miami Ad School and after I left to Hamburg I could work with them via internet.

It seems that -for both sides- it's too difficult to work online only. You can't communicate directly with your collegues and there's a lot of misunderstanding. Even though webcams and Skype makes distances smaller, it's still very complicated to be able to work on a regular basis. Especially when you work beside a study like this.

To be honest, I think they made the right decision. I really admire that Energize had the courage to work with me over such a big distance. Furthermore, the income I got from working for them was a real financial aid to me. It's sad that I can't work for them anymore, but at least I can focus on my internships for 100%.

Talking about internships, here's the third news. I had a conversation with Niklas, the director of the school, about my Quarter Away. He advised me to do an internship at Duvall Guilliaume in Belgium. For those who don't know the agency: it's probably the best agency in Belgium and a well known for winning numerous awards in Cannes. In other words, it's probably the easiest big decision I had to make in this school. It's not 100% final yet and I still have to see who I'm going to work with. But soon I might hear if I go there or not.

Pff, that was a brief update of my chaotic life here in Hamburg. I'm now going to the Reeperbahn to drink beer.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Campaign weight watchers

Txt: losing weight doesn't have to be a punishment Posted by Picasa

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Sometimes I make a campaign that totally reflects my sense of humour. The blood donation campaign of last quarter (see earlier post) was one of them. The Weight Watchers campaign is another one.

This campaign is actually on the exhibition. Which means I managed again to get the most tasteless campaign of the school to the exhibition hall downstairs. I made it with my teammate Gunnar for a class called Heads and Tags. We originally developed it for Optiwell. But after speaking with some creative directors about it, we figured that it might be clearer when we put a different client under it. One that immediately reminds you of dieting. As a student you can make your own rules with whatever you put in your portfolio, so we simply put the logo of another client under it. In advertising agencies they do the same thing and they even sell it to another client, so why not? Anyway, some ads get boring after a while. But somehow this campaign never fails to bring a smile on my face.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The sunken ship of The Buccaneers

In advertising sometimes you meet the right people and sometimes you meet the wrong ones. In this post you'll read an example of a wrong one. Keep in mind that this is only my side of the story. It's a story about a man that, in my opinion, chose the wrong path and -against his will- drags other people with him in his misery and failure.

As some Dutch readers might know, right before I went to the Miami Ad School, I worked at a starting advertising agency called The Buccaneers. The owner of that company was Herbert van Hoogdalem, a man whom I respected a lot for the international prizewinning work that he's made. He decided to give me and my teammate Wouter a chance to work in his agency and I was very happy about it. In the meantime I already applied for the Miami Ad School. I even visited the school for an interview (afterwards I'm really glad I did that). I hoped that I could make really creative work at The Buccaneers and stay there. So I postponed going to Hamburg.

When Wouter and I worked for the fresh agency we brainstormed at fancy restaurants because the office wasn't open yet. Herbert paid for all the drinks. He said the office would be opened soon. There was office space already, it was located in a chique building where renters could also use a pool and a fitness centre. Unfortunately the Buccaneers office in the corner stayed empty. After a couple of weeks he said he couldn't afford it anymore to pay our drinks so I worked with Wouter in the small room where he lived. In the meantime I negociated with him to finally give us contracts, because we were running out of money. He agreed on giving us contracts, but we never got them. And whenever we tried to reach Herbert, he was gone.

Suddenly, from a very reliable source I heard that Herbert lost all of his clients, that he was in panic and a couple of days later I heard from that same source that I was fired. I said: "I can't be fired, because I didn't even get a contract". Anyway, I wanted to hear it from Herbert himself. When I finally reached him, he agreed to meet me. Then he explained that he's got no money and no clients anymore. He looked like a soldier who fought, but just lost the battle. A beaten man. In other words: he had nothing to offer me. That's when I knew I had to leave the sunken ship of the Buccaneers and that my destiny is in the Miami Ad School. In those ten minutes I made a decision that would turn my life upside down.

Herbert also promised me to give the salary he owed me for the two months. I never got it. At first I was still hopeful about the money, then I was angry because I haven't got it yet, but recently I found out he really isn't able to pay me. On the following link you can read his status so far (it's in Dutch): He seems to have lost another battle. It's kind of sad that a man like that has a dream and drags a lot of people with him to fulfill his dream. Because when he fails, everybody else fails too. On his site he says that there's going to be a reorganisation and that some 'heads will roll', so that says enough for me.

Some people reacted very fierce on his post. They called van Hoogdalem (anonymously) a conman, a failure and all other sorts of bad things. I can imagine these reactions, but I think those fierce judgements do him short. I've put an honest reaction on his blog to tell him that he might not be such a good enterpreneur after all, and that it's probably better for him to work at an agency again. Don't get me wrong: I believe in people who, despite failure after failure, keep on fighting to fulfill their dreams. I'm that person myself too. But if you have to dissapoint other people after every failure, it might be a good idea to do things differently.

By now, he's erased all the negative reactions on his post (including mine). He can erase the negative reactions, but with that the long list of people he once dissapointed aren't erased. I hope he understands that. And I truly hope that whatever he does in the future, he will be happy with what he's doing. As long as it's not on the expense of others.

Friday, October 13, 2006

VV/M in Pudel

My life is not only about advertising. (Although it looks like that when you're reading my blog). From the beginning of this school I promised myself: I'm going out at least once a week, even if it's really busy. Some students here spend so many time in school that they lose touch with the world that surrounds them. Wars, disasters, terrorists attacks, we hear everything a couple of days later because nobody takes time to read the news.

I should also read the news a little more. But luckily I always find time to go out. Yesterday I went to the Pudel club. A famous underground producer named James Kirby (also known as VV/M) had a live act there. VV/M makes breakcore/electronic noise. For who don't know what it is: it's probably the only type of music left that's so hard that it's guaranteed to annoy your parents. I even have records of the guy, so I really had to see it.

The act was not what I expected, but nevertheless really cool. He sat the whole live act on a wheelchair, he wore a dress and he had a mask of Elton John. All the electronic freaks that know his music probably expected explosive sounds out of the boxes. But instead, he put on distorted versions of music of Elton John and he started to playback on it. After the song he played his usual noise for about one minute and then he played another Elton John song. This weirdness went on for a couple of hours. I loved it! If you have little spare time to go out, you have to pick out the experiences that last for a long time. And this certainly was one of those.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Work: Hamburg campaign

Campaign to promote Hamburg Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

- Posted by Picasa

This was certainly a remarkable campaign. I made it during Heads and Tags, a class in which we learned how to think of concepts in a textual way. Every week we got an assignment and we just had to bring 30 to 40 possible headings or pay offs to class.

The heading of the first ad is probably one of the strangest I've ever come up with. I never expected it to win a silver star, because it's kind of absurd. It refers to the fact that Hamburg has a lot of canals, but with this heading it doesn't really communicate anything but the absurd joke itself. And that's also why I had to laugh about it when I first thought of it with my teammate Gunnar. It probably made the jury laugh as well.

When you've got a heading like that it's difficult to come up with a second and third one that's just as good. In this case the second and the third aren't the level of absurdness of the first. Which makes them weaker. The second ad refers to the fact that the Reeperbahn is similar to Amsterdam and the third ad makes a joke about the amount of rain in Hamburg (although Hamburg is anything but Lourdes ;-).

It's funny. This learned me once again that there are no real guidelines for making advertising. Just make people laugh and o's a small benefit of the product. Sometimes advertising can be really simple.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Work: Ariel stain sticker

Text on sticker: It's this easy to get a stain. It's this easy to get it off Posted by Picasa

Normally I put my work on my blog right after the face to face week. This quarter I didn't do that yet because I was too busy preparing to go to Italy. I only put some photo's on my site to brag that I won stars.

So here's the work that won a small silver star. I'm glad an ambient promotion won a star, because I still have too few ambient in my portfolio. It's a promotion for Ariel pocket, a pen that easily removes stains wherever you are. This was a real assignment from the agency of my teacher Gerrit Kleinfeld and it's presented to the client.

After a little research I found out that people get 70% of the stains when they're on their way in public transport or when they're in a restaurant. On the places where people can sit we put this sticker. We put the stickers there with the adhesive side up. So when you sit on it, the sticker sticks to your bottom. When you take the sticker off, you can read the text: 'It's this easy to get a stain. It's this easy to get it off'.

This coming weeks I'm going to put some more work on the site so check my blog regularily.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Holland has to wait

I said in earlier posts that I'll come to Holland again this weekend. Well, I'm still planning to come for a weekend, but not this weekend. And looking at the rising working pressure in school, I will have to do it soon, so I'm probably coming in two weeks.

This morning I had my first lesson of Assignments and tomorrow we're going to have Concept Class at Jung von Matt. I just had my first brainstorm with my new teampartner for an assignment that turned out to be a real braincracker. I'm still a little dizzy from thinking, but that will pass.

Of course I'm not the only Dutchman who studies advertising abroad. Stef & Yona, two young creatives who used to participate in the Young Dogs competitions, study in New York at the School of Visual Arts (the strongest competitor of the Miami Ad School). I just got their weblog. You can read their stories and see their work at

Monday, October 02, 2006

Looking back on Italy

"Salute!" Me with Gerard in the pub of Caposele Posted by Picasa

Every time we went into Caposele, there was this nice soldier greeting us ;-) Posted by Picasa

Alfredo (left), Salvatore (middle) and Hernanno (right) Posted by Picasa

There are too many things to mention if I´d give a full description of my vacation in Italy. I´ve seen ancient buildings in Napoli, Salerno and Caposele. I´ve tasted the excellent cuisine of Italy. I ate more than ever. But what struck me most were the people. The nice, colorful and charismatic inhabitants of Italy are the most important to see if you're in Italy.

Sometimes they say that 80% of communication is non verbal. In Italy it's probably 95%. They actually talk with their hands here. And talking is very important here. If you ask in Caposele where somebody is, they're not just going to say: in the school. No, you get a whole description of how to get to the school, where to go inside and who's there as well. Even if you already know.

Every time you eat you'll hear: "here, try some of this". And at everything you do Italians ask if you like it. Whether it's about food, the landscape or the women, I told about a hundred times that I like it. And I did like it. I learned a lot of Italian during these two weeks and today I went to school totally reloaded. Ready to get started again!