Wednesday, January 31, 2007

In the busy workflow again

If you studied at a school where you're working every spare second of your time, it's kind of strange to be in an agency that is completely empty at 20.00. Ccompared to the Miami Ad School the workflow here has been peanuts for us. We used the extra time to put even more effort in our assignments, and it seems to pay off now. This week one of our concepts has been presented to a big client and there's a good chance it's going to be made.

We still aren't under as much pressure as in school, but this week it has become busier and busier. Tomorrow I have three reviews and Daniël has an assignment, for which he has to get up at 7 o'clock in the morning, take the train to Paris and immediately go back.

In the meanwhile I have my hands full on a new job for Energize. Just at the moment I was running out of money, they contacted me for a small assignment. Some problems just solve themselves.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Work hard, party harder

My money is running out. And that's a big problem for me because I have a really expensive hobby: partying. Actually it's more than a hobby, it's a must. My Rumanian co-student Dan, who is also in Brussels now, said to me this weekend: "I have to go out, because if I don't go out in the weekend it looks like you're working seven days a week". I can't describe the feeling better. For me, partying is not a waste of time, it's therapy. It keeps me relaxed during the week. When you've had a useful, but busy working week there's nothing more rewarding than standing in a club with a bottle of beer and dancing with a nice girl.

But I have to limit my spendings on partying. In Hamburg I never had any problems. That was because I still worked for a Dutch agency called Energize. Besides, Hamburg was really cheap to go out. Yesterday I went to a really cool, but expensive club in Brussels called Dirty Dancing. I managed to party the whole night with just 25 euro, which was difficult for me.

It's only a practice for next quarter, because there's a pretty good chance I go to Stockholm, Sweden. It's a city where everybody runs out of money because a beer in a club costs 5 euro. Next week I think I'm going to find some cheap ass underground clubs in Brussels. A club like the Pudel Club in Hamburg, where music is great, people are crazy and beer is cheap. If you haven't got money, you have to be creative and usually you end up at the best places.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

My history of reorganisations

From the time that I started working in offices instead of restaurant kitchens and warehouse storages, I´ve seen some strange reorganisations. It started during my study. I worked at a datatypist at a helpdesk section of OgilvyOne. The way they brought the bad news was classic. First they offered us a free lunch. During which the manager told us they lost a client and almost all of the 100 employees are fired.

I hated that job anyway, so for me it was a good reason to go on. A couple of jobs later I worked for McCann-Erickson Holland. After a while they hired a slave master from South Africa whose only assignment seemed to have been to cut as much costs as possible. To reach this goal he showed no mercy at all. In fact, he first fired the older employees who could never find another job somewhere else and the people who suffered from a terminal illness. After a while it was time for loud mouths who are too stubborn to make bad work, which meant me and my art director could go.

The saddest thing is a reorganisation that is forced by circumstances, because you can't blame anybody for it. This week Duval Guillaume lost one of their biggest clients. I knew it since Monday, but of course I couldn't talk about it until it was in the news. A drastic reorganisation is the result. The whole week there has been a grim atmosphere in the company. To experience this in the first weeks of my internship is kind of strange. It's sad to see collegues who I just got to know a little bit already leaving. I hope every one of them gets a new job really soon.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The rage

Everybody probably has his ups and downs. Nothing new. I sometimes can have downs for no reason at all. Some weeks it can even feel like something's eating me from the inside. I feel miserable and I'm insecure. I react to that by being shy to people I don't know very well or by taking it out on people who I'm working with or who are really close to me.

The last few days I felt like that. There's no reason for it. I had a great weekend in Antwerpen and all the reviews at the agency went really good. The only thing that bothered me was that this month I spent more money than I expected. Well, I've been through worse before. Anyway, at moments like these some rage takes over. I feel like a boiling watercooker where the steam can't come out. In the past I had these moments more often, but fortunately they get less and less.

Nevertheless, I took it out on my teampartner this week. By being even more stubbard than usual and by being as irritable as a pitbull with rabies. I deeply apologized for being a total abnoxious person and I promised that I will calm down from now on. And I promised myself I will calm down as well. Because no matter how much pain I do to somebody else, I always end up hurting myself the most.

Monday, January 22, 2007

City of sirens

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I still don´t really know what to think of Brussels. Duval Guillaume is still great and I´m there most of the time anyway. But when I step outside of the walls of my agency there´s a world of opposites. Brussels has both positive and negative sides.

To start with a negative side: everywhere in the city you hear sirens. Day and night. I thought I might get used to the sound, but it still drives me crazy. Whether it's the police, ambulance or the firemen, everybody abuses its right to turn on the siren. They seem to use it as a claxon for anything that gets in their way. Even if there's a fly in front of the window they turn on their howling megaphones. You hear so much sirens, one might think Brussels is a complete warzone.

Luckily there's not so much criminality as the sirens make you believe. That's probably an advantage of Brussels. I haven't had any trouble with people yet. On the other hand, a lot seems to be demolished. I mean, I'm used to be in Amsterdam, which is not the safest city in the world. But the destruction I've seen in two weeks Brussels is about the same as you see in Amsterdam in two months. A telephone booth is smashed, the glass of a bus shelter is smashed, there's a burst in the window of Duval. So far pretty normal stuff, now comes the bizarre stuff. I wanted to get money, but the cash machine has been demolished. Another thing: I heard that a car crashed into the upper half of a traffic light (how did he do that? Flying?) and broke the pole in half. And last week I saw that the escalator of a subway station was destroyed. It seems that somebody actually drove with his car into the subway station(!).

The buildings here are really dirty. But there's also a part of Brussels where it's beautiful and where they take good care of the buildings. It's the most touristic place of Brussels and it's a really beautiful place. I would recommend everybody to see it once. In fact, it's the only place in Brussels I would recommend. There are small, cozy streets with a lot of restaurants and warm lights on the side. And on the 'Grand Place' (or: the big square) there are two magnificent buildings full of statues. Whatever could escape the eye of the tourist seems to be totally neglected. There are even buildings that are clean at the front, but when you walk around it you see that the sides are totally dirty.

The strangest thing here is the languages. In Brussels they speak two languages: French and Dutch. So everything you see, from street signs to the wrapping of a chewing gum package, is in two languages. The problem is that you never know who speaks French and who speaks Dutch. Sometimes I order a beer in French, after which I clearly hear that the barman speaks Dutch. And whenever I start talking Dutch I most of the time get bewildered looks, so I know I have to try to speak French again. And some French-talking Belgians have problems with the Dutch-talking Belgians. So when you're not good in French, they think you're Flemish and they're offended.

It's not that I dislike Brussels. It's just that I don't understand Brussels. This city is strange. But that's funny in a way. Maybe I have a different opinion about it in a couple of weeks. Maybe I even learn to enjoy the sirens.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Missing in action

Yesterday, we had a review of the work we've made, which was shifted to today, which we didn't have today because it's shifted to tomorrow. No matter how good an agency is, meetings that are cancelled are inevitable. Even in a structured agency like Duval Guillaume. I'd better get used to that. Luckily, we've created a lot of work for ourselves so we don't have to get bored between the cancelled reviews.

Today I finally had contact with my former art director Alex, who is now on an internship in Bejing. Due to an earthquake in Thailand the entire Chinese internet is down. So I haven't heard of him since I was in Brussels. I started to get concerned whether Alex is still alive or not, but I found a sign of life on Skype today. You can follow follow their adventures in Bejing on their weblog, which is ironically called 'Missing in action'.

So if you want to know how cheap a sixpack Corona is in China, how bad their internet exactly is and what the hell they're doing in a place so far away you almost fall off the earth, you should visit As they are both art-directors, they would like to express themselves with photographs. Unfortunately that's not possible because of the failing internet. But I'm sure it's worth it to check regularily. Because until there are placements on the Southpole, Alex and Caro probably have the most unique quarter away of the entire Miami Ad School.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

(New) work

Text on label: Good night herbal tea.

I haven't got a lot of big news after the last post (except that the appartment of my co-students is now under water). A perfect opportunity to show some new work.

This ad for Good Night tea, a herbal tea that helps you getting into sleep, was already made last quarter so it's not excactly new. The ad still had to be published at that moment, so I decided not to make it public yet. I'm always really careful with making my work public. Co-creatives Stef and Yona from Holland just put an entry for a competition on their blog and a week later some Germany agency made excactly the same idea for real. Could be a coincidence, but you just cannot take any risks in this dog eat dog world called advertising.

What's so wonderful about this ad is that I don't have to explain a lot about it. There's a rule that the message should come across in two seconds. The average time people have to think about this ad is one second. And the coolest thing is that it's actually made and published for real, thanks to my teacher Philipp from Jung von Matt who had so much confidence in this idea that he sold it to the client. I usually hate to put one-offs in my portfolio, but this little pearl gets a prominent place in the front.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Chaos at the other MAS-students

Me in the appartment of the other students

Work in progress for Dirk, Yigit and Dan

Not every Miami Ad School student is as lucky to en up in a good, fully furnished appartment on their quarter away. This last weekend other three students from my school arrived: Dirk (from Holland), Yigit (from Turkey) and Dan (from Rumania). At Saturday we asked Dirk and Yigit to go partying, but they were too exhausted.

Here's why. The day they arrived they found their appartment totally unfurnished. There weren't even beds. The person in charge for arranging all of it appeared to be on vacation. Yigit had to make a bed of newspapers to sleep on. He was totally devastated because of this unwelcome surprise.

Luckily, the agency provided them with furniture very soon. But when I got the chance to visit them, they were still building the furniture. Only one table was standing and the rest of the furniture was still in packages. Even the beds had to be built yet. I'm sure that whenever everything is furnished they'll have a nice appartment as well.

This week I also went sporting for the first time. I've started mixfight. This sport (also know as ultimate fight) is a combination between thaiboxing and wrestling and has hardly any rules. I used to do a sport like that about six years ago.

Now you'd probably expect some really mindless brawlers at such a sport and I had to walk through one of the most dangerous parts of Brussels to get to the gym. But to my surprise the people at this club are all well educated, including the teachers. They all know excactly what they are doing and take this sport really seriously. What was also surprising: the group was very international. There was a German, a Bulgarian, a Frenchman and a couple of Belgians. It looks like the Miami Ad School, but with fighting. I'm glad to have found a club like this.

I'm also still glad to be at Duval Guillaume. We got some really good coaching this week from Peter, the person in charge of helping the interns. He took more than an hour to discuss the ideas that we have (that's more coaching than an average agency gives in a month!). Next week we have a lot of reviews and we're working hard to make even more ideas. This weekend Daniel is going to his girlfriend in Cologne. Luckily, my fellow schoolmates in the empty appartment will probably be ready to party. I hope they're not too exhausted from building their furniture.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Walking through Brussels

In every city you come there´s always something new to discover. I´m not talking about the typical tourist attractions. I haven´t seen the atomium or the world famous pissing statue yet. Maybe I will, but seeing something that every visitor of Brussels already has seen is not first on the list of my priorities.

No, I´d rather meet the people. Go to places where a tourist doesn´t go. I always did that. I was once for a day in London. Instead of going to the Big Ben, my former art-director Peter and I went to the local pub.

My first weekend in Brussels was also my first weekend off. I mainly spend my time walking. First I wanted to find a sports club that I want to join. I walked half an hour only to find out that I made a mistake looking up the adress. So I walked half an hour back again. Well, at least I got to know Brussels a little bit more.

On Saturday night I got to know the whole centre of Brussels. I went to a famous techno-club called The Fuse. I danced there until 4 o'clock but suddenly I had enough. Daniel already went home so I had to find a way to get back. I heard from the bouncers that the subways weren't riding so I guessed I had to walk. "But it's half an hour to three quarters of an hour walking!" the bouncer said. "I don't mind", I replied. The bouncers looked at me as if I was crazy. They didn't know I've had worse walking adventures after going out. Compared to driving a bicycle for an hour through rain and storm, a nice walk of half an hour is peanuts. They explained where to go and to my surprise I just had to walk straight ahead on just one big road. It couldn't be easier. Are these guys kidding me? I thought. After half an hour walking I found out they weren't kidding. I crossed the centre of Brussels walking on just one road.

Tomorrow we're going to present our ideas to the creative directors of Duval for the first time. I hope they kill 95% of our ideas because 95% is not good enough (I just don't know which 95%). Anyway, our first week as a creative team went very well and we're going to work even harder next week. They put me and Daniel together for a reason and I think it's for a good reason.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The first days

This is the view from my appartment in Brussels

The first four days of my internship have passed. It´s weekend now, and normally I would have been partying somewhere but I´m not so sure about that right now. Nobody seems to go somewhere. My art-director Daniel went to the cinema with his girlfriend and my flatmate Tim is sleeping. And my phone can't be activated, so nobody can call me. I bought a sim-card from a cheap provider called '1BE', who said they activate my new phone-number withing one working day, but I've been waiting for the bastards to activate my phone for three days now. It's the last time I buy a sim card from a cheap provider.

Okay, now here's a last update: I just called Daniel and I could actually reach him. Wow, they finally activated my phone two days too late. Great! "Welcome to the mobile world!", Daniel said.

I can look back at a good first week of working. Me and Daniel haven't made a Cannes-winning idea yet, but we're doing pretty well for a first week. If we continue like this, I'm sure we'll come up with some really good work.

I'm going to look on internet right now to see if there's anything going on in 'Bruxelles'. I might even go out on my own. I don't mind. I'll meet people anyway. The bright lights of the big city seems to be calling me. But if there isn't something really interesting coming up tonight, I draw my conclusions. Which means I'll just spend my night relaxing at home.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


The view from the balcony at Duval Guillaume

I expected this week to be a rollercoaster. And a rollercoaster it has been. From Sunday till Monday I was celebrating the new year, ending at an afterparty at somebody's house (all the clubs were already closed). I had a great time, but I had to leave earlier than the rest because I had to go to Brussels the next day.

Although I was really exhausted that day, the beautiful lights of Brussels and the high buildings didn't fail to impress me and I felt a rush of adrenaline that woke me up immediately. For the coming three months, this beautiful city was going to be my new home. There's even a carnival with a big giant wheel in the neighborhood, which reminded me of permanent carnival-neighborhood St. Pauli, Hamburg.

That night I didn't sleep very much. I was a combination of excitement for my new internship and the police sirens that go on all night here. On top of that, there was a 'Rosemary's baby' in the appartment below that cried regularily.

But the next day I woke up early, picked up my new art-director Daniel from the trainstation, and went to Duval Guillaume for my first day. We introduced ourselves to some people there and went immediately to work on an assignment for a well known non-alcoholic drinks brand.

Brussels is a unique city. It's unique in a way that everybody here speaks either Flemish (which is almost like Dutch) or French. And although I speak both languages, the first thing you have to find out is who speaks what (!). With Daniel I speak English, so I have to switch between three languages constantly. It's good to improve my French, but I have to get used to it a little.

These coming weeks I'm going to explore a lot of this beautiful city. I'm sure I'm going to have a great time here. Expect a lot of posts about the agency Duval Guillaume, where a lot of brilliant work is made and where me and Daniel are going to work very hard to keep up with the high standard.