Saturday, April 28, 2007


As I said before, the creative director of Saatchi teached us that the only sure way to make outstanding work is: quantity. I totally agree on that. So on Friday we took 11 campaigns for Lego and some small ambient ideas to the agency. A total of three campaigns survived and one of them was considered brilliant.

One brilliant idea is all you need (when it's executed to the max). Make one ad like 'The Fly' done by former MAS student Menno Kluin and you get fame and job offers all over the world. I've made some good work so far, but only time will tell if they are good enough for an award. Until now my work hasn't done anything at the student competitions. And fellow students from my year already start to win prizes. In a way that's kind of frustrating.

On the other hand: I have a better portfolio now than I ever had before. Even the work that won prizes in Holland fade away by the work I've made at the Miami Ad School. And I have the luck that my very best work is really produced or is going to be produced. Which means it's not in the running for student competitions but for the advertising festival in Cannes. I guess I just have to be patient and in the meanwhile make even better work.

UPDATE: No awards yet, but I just heard that one of my ads has become the work of the month on portfolio-site I must be doing something right ;-)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What is a good idea?

An idea is not good unless somebody else thinks it´s good. That´s what I always say and it proved to be right when we all could present already 2 of our 50 campaigns at King. When Andres and I presented the first idea in small, rough scribbles I could see already at the looks on the faces of my classmates that it was indeed a good idea. Our teachers Patrick and Tim confirmed that it was indeed a good idea.

But then campaign number two. We thought it was simple and original. But all I got was confused looks. Okay, it didn´t pass the first test. I looked to the right, where Patrick and Tim were sitting... Nope, we got the same confused looks. After we explained the concept, they got it. But at the meantime they said we have to work on it.

It´s not even a surprise for me anymore. You think you have a brilliant, award winning idea. You show it to someone else and it doesn´t get the reaction you expect. Then you can do two things: walk through the whole agency until you find someone, ANYONE, who does like your campaign so you can say: "hey, but so-and-so said it he kind of liked it". Or you can just spend your time to make advertising that everybody likes.

That doesn't mean that you shouldn't fight for your ideas. But it helps if you can counter an attack on your campaign with: "Well, everybody else in the agency thinks it's brilliant. So maybe they all have gone nuts?".

Monday, April 23, 2007

100 campaigns

Andres shows off our 100 campaigns. On the right Armando is working

The classes at Frankenstein last Thursday were indeed as cool as the name of the owner (Pontus Frankenstein). I immediately felt welcome there. The agency is more idea driven than advertising driven. Whether it's product design, advertising, interior design or architecture, they find the right people to work on projects. As a result this multi-disciplined agency puts itself in a unique position in the Stockholm agency world.

Saatchi Stockholm, where we had a class the next day, seems like the opposite of Frankenstein. It's big and it's really clear what they do: advertising. The creative director Adam Kerj has a view on working that I agree with. "I want to see quantity in this class", he said, "If you have 20 ideas you have a pretty good chance that there's something we can use". We had to do brainstorm-sessions of 20 minutes and in that little amount of time we had to come up with as much campaigns as possible.

As you might have read in earlier posts, I believe in quantity and hard work as well. In the end it's the only way you can truly excel in making advertising. So two weeks ago when we got the assignment at the agency King to make 50 campaigns, my teampartner Andres and I said: let's go for 100 campaigns. And because a campaign consists of three advertisements we had to come up with 300 scribbles of ads.

This evening we put 100 sheets with small scribbles of ads on the floor of the living room. Then we had to slaughter half of the ideas. It seems like a hard thing to do, but luckily we made a lot of crap. So we were quite happy to throw away our 'weaker children'. Now we have 50 waterproof campaigns to show at the agency. Our teachers at King, Patrick and Tim, are going to look through all the ideas and make a selection of campaigns we have to execute. If you thought making 100 campaigns is hard work, imagine having to judge a total of (4 groups x 50 campaigns =200 x 3 ads=) 600 ads (!). Good luck, fellows!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Neo spam

Nowadays there are tons of websites on which you can upload your profile and create a network of friends or collegues. I'm on Hyves to stay in contact with people in Holland and on OpenBC to stay connected to my business-contacts. I think that's enough. Before you know it you're registered at so many sites that you don't know anymore where you're registered.

Recently I get a loads of e-mails from a site called There's a name of a friend of mine and you have to choose whether this person is a friend or not. It also says: please anwser or (name friend) might think you said no. Now that's a bad way to start promoting your site to me. When I looked further I saw that they actually ask the password to your e-mail server. This way they can send their neo spam to everybody in your adress book. And if you don't register, they keep on sending you e-mails. For me these sites send out spam in sheepsclothes. It's even worse than spam, because the spamfilter can't intercept the messages. Unlike integre sites such as OpenBC, Hyves or MySpace. People on these sites subscribed because they wanted to and not because they don't want to dissapoint a friend.

Uploading your profile on portfolio sites is of course always a good thing to do. On some sites you can just place any garbage that you've made. The good portfolio sites make a preselection of the work. Recently I put my work on, a site that makes such a selection and thereby protect overenthusiastic creatives from showing work that they shouldn't show at all. From now on you can find it in the link section below this site.

There you can also find some links to the Stockholm agencies where we have classes/internships. These are King, Saatchi and Mama Design. Today I have class from a freelance creative named Pontus Frankenstein (that's actually his real name, no kidding). He doesn't seem to have a website. But if his classes are as cool as his name, it will probably be an inspiring afternoon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Italy has rules, but nobody cares about them. Holland has rules, but to a certain extend breaking them is tolerated. Germany has a lot of rules and everybody lives up to them. That's why everybody thinks Germany is a 'rules-country'.

Well, think again. Sweden has much more rules. Official rules, but also decency rules. Here you have to draw a number to buy a train ticket or to change money. Or everybody stands on the right side of the escalator to let the people that are in a hurry pass. Landlords have very strict rules varying from keeping the house spic and spam to not talking after 22.00 (that's really true, it's a rule in an appartment of one of my classmates!). It's really decent here.

It's getting warmer in Stockholm and that means everybody is going outside to party. There was a big barbecue-party in a park this Saturday. Groups of young people danced, ate, drank beer and listened to 90's style rave music. Unfortunately, the police stopped the music at 22.00 sharp. Afterwards you aren't allowed to walk on the street with beer and drinking in the subway is even worse: you get a fine of 80 euro.

Sweden is one of the safest countries in the world. If you look at the countries with the less homocide rates, Sweden ranks number 3. Could it be that these rules helped making Sweden such a safe country? Or is it the peaceful nature of the Swedes that makes it so safe?

Really, they take no risk whatsoever. Yesterday, I was looking outside of the window when I was working at the house of Andres. A group of schoolkids walked by. They actually wore reflective safety jackets. In broad daylight! What's next: schoolkids wearing lifebelts? But even though a lot of rules look a bit exaggerated to me, I have to be honest: concerning safety they do something really good here in Sweden. I'd suggest that whoever is in charge of public safety in Brussels takes a really good look here.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Staying at home

It's my job to surprise people. But sometimes I also surprise people around me. Today, I surprised a lot of my classmates by going home before the partying actually got started. The reason was that I have to draw a line with spending money on partying. Last weekend I went way over that line, which is not so difficult in Stockholm.

Therefore, I need to have a more quiet weekend now. It's kind of hard to stay home while everybody is having fun, but in the end it's all for the best. Because after a couple of beers I don't have the discipline anymore to go home early and I end up spending all my money.

It kind of sucked in the beginning to go home so early, but now I feel good about it. Tomorrow I'll be fresh to go to my first lesson of Vale Tudo, a Brazillian combat sport that combines ground techniques with normal fighting. Since I went to Holland I didn't do any sport anymore and I really need to do some exercise.

And now for something completely different: my former teammate Dominik is now interning in Amsterdam at Springer & Jacoby. Together with his teammate Alex he made a weblog. Check out for this funny written weblog. You can also find it in the link section of this website.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Soft core

It's snowing in Stockholm

Hermanno (left) and Massimo (right) in front of club The Rocks

The first five days I had all the time to discover the nightlife Stockholm, and already some things were really surprising.

I was at Stureplan on Friday, which is known as the posh-neighborhood of Stockholm. A good thing to do to test whether a club is good is to see if you're able to get in wearing the wrong kind of clothes. Luckily, some classmates wore sneakers and one of them wore jeans with holes in it. So after standing in line for 5 minutes the bouncer made clear this wasn't our kind of club. He did that by asking us whether we were on the guest list, which of course we weren't. When we passed I heard that they played boring top-40 R 'n B inside so I was very happy that we weren't allowed in.

The next club did pass our outfit tolerance-test and we had a great time dancing on Berlin-style electro. Close to the Stureplan-area there's an area with more alternative/rock clubs. I expected clubs to look more trashy there, but even the most alternative clubs seem to look like trendy design bars.

Another difference: people at rock clubs don't do 'moshing'. For who don't know what it is: moshing is a dance usually practiced at rock/metal/punk concerts where people push each other of bump into each other. If you end up in the epicentre of moshing, called the 'mosh-pit', it's not uncommon to end up with blue marks on your body. Some people in the Stockholm rock clubs even get annoyed when you accidently step on their little toe. What a difference with some bars in punk city Hamburg, where even the furniture isn't safe because of the moshing-violence. That must look like a warzone to some of the people here.

We also heard that we live in the most criminal area of Stockholm. Which probably means that you have to put a lock on your bicycle, because I haven't felt unsafe once. Even my street looks like a bungalow park.

Some people who know me really well, must think it's quite a shock to me to be in such a quiet place. Well, for me there's a difference between bad hardcore and good hardcore. The bad kind is being in a situation you didn't chose, like ending up in a fight you didn't ask for or when your phone gets stolen. The good kind comes from enthusiasm of people who just want to have fun and explore their limits. After being in Brussels I really like Stockholm because there's no bad vibe at all and you can safely walk on the streets. And even though the Swedes that I've met are really civilized, they do know how to party!

This weekend a lot of Miami Ad School students came to Hamburg. It was like a big reunion again. And what's even better: one of my Italian schoolmates Armando also lives in my apartment now. Tomorrow our first class starts at five. Which means the biggest partytime is over and we seriously have to do some hardcore working.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Stockholm: small houses, big prizes

It's the fourth day in Sweden and I still enjoy every minute of it. The travelling on Wednesday didn't run very smoothly, but it could have been worse. When I arrived at the airport in Stockholm I couldn't find my passport anymore. When I searched for it in the train I found it again. Andres, my new teammate waited for me at the central station. I thought he'd never find me, but the station seem to have only one track and one exit. I've been a lot of many main stations and some of them are as big as a small village, so this is by far the easiest station to find somebody who arrives. So far so good. But then Andres put me on the wrong subway. So I had to search, with two heavy suitcases and one Turkish bag full of stuff, for the right track while my landlord Raffe was waiting for me at the station. After having slept so little the night before it was pretty exhausting.

So I was dead tired when I finally arrived. There was a guy I didn't know smoking on the balcony of my new apartment. Raffe was surprised because he didn't know him either. "Are you Italian?", I asked him in Italian. He anwsered "si" and it suddenly made sense to me. My good friend and new flatmate Hermanno is living there. Now one thing you can be sure of with Italians is that they never come alone. So it must have been one of his friends that came over. Hermanno was really glad that I arrived and introduced me to his friend: Massimo.

Although I was dead tired, I can always find some energy to celebrate my first day in Stockholm. So in the evening I went with Andres, Massimo and Hermanno to a university party. Here the beer is cheap, which means it's comparable to the prizes in a normal bar in Holland.

The next days all the prizes were big dissapointments. The food in the supermarkets is almost double the prize of that in Holland. The average beer prize is 6 euro, but for that prize you do get 0,4 litre. Now that is not too bad, but yesterday I was at Stureplan, the neighborhood with the fancy clubs. Everywhere you go they seem to have found a way to get money out of your pockets. Hanging up your jacket costs about 3,5 euro and the average entry fee is 12 euro. So if you're low on money I can't suggest going from one bar to another.

But I knew about these prizes already before I went there. It's a good thing that I regularily work for Energize again, or this city would make me bankrupt in the two and a half months that I'm here. I guess it just takes good budget planning here.

The good thing about Stockholm: everything is really really quiet here. My neighborhood looks like a bungalowpark. There are a lot of trees and small houses. I once described Holland as a country designed by a toy manufacturer. Well, the buildings here seem to have come straight from the toy factory. And even if there are a lot of people on the street, everybody is really quiet. Quite a relief after having lived in noisy Brussels. And if you're curious about the women here: when some of my classmates told me that the women here are "the most beautiful creatures living on planet earth" I thought they exaggerated a little. Well, they didn't.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Ready to go

Normally I'm really on track whenever I go abroad again. Tomorrow I'm leavin for Stockholm and I had no time at all. I was packing my bags, rushing to buy some things I needed and making phonecalls to everybody I still had to call. So I'm sorry if this is a small and shitty written post, but I just had to write something.

The reason was that a lot of unexpected things happened today. I have to go by plane and that means you must reduce whatever you take with you by 50%. I can carry a lot of luggage, but now it has to be under 20 kilograms. So I had to take out a lot of clothes, a lot of towels, a bottle of vodka and a bottle of rum. And still my luggage weights too much. Well, then I guess the 1,5 kilograms of liquorice is the first that I have to get out of my luggage tomorrow when the weight of my luggage is not allowed.

Anyway, I still have 6 hours of sleep left so it's time for me to stop typing and turn off the computer. In Stockholm I probably have more interesting stories to tell than this one. I'm just going to check this post for spelling mistakes. Check...done...I'm going to sleep. Next post will be from Sweden. Hej då!