Friday, June 29, 2007

Others in the spotlights

Padi (left) and Tim (right)

I already talk too much about myself, so let's put other people in the spotlight for a change.

Hjarald Agnes, a well known Dutch creative and founder of the hotshop Orgasms, sent me an e-mail in which he asked me to help him promoting his new online community. Now I know that there are a lot of communities and portfolio-sites already, but this one is a lot bigger and very ambitious.

On the site of Creative Buddies creatives of any discipline can upload their portfolio. There are plans to put projects online and you can also choose to commercialise the idea. This means that they're going to try to find a client for your idea. This can result in making money and/or getting your concepts actually produced. The site is going to be launched at the 4th of july, but you can already subscribe. For more information, look at:

And while I'm at it putting people in the spotlight: one of my Stockholm-teachers Tim asked me to put a photo of him and his teampartner Padi on my blog. So, here it is!

Okay, enough good deeds for today. Now I'm going to Amsterdam to drink a beer with my former art-director Peter.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Comfort: the enemy of success

On my last day in Stockholm I was talking to my art-director Andres on a terrace at the lake. While drinking a cappucino we talked about how some people live in some boring village and stay there all of their lives and never experience something new. "I can't understand what drives people to stay in such a place all of their lives", he said. I said: "I can...".

I can't imagine it, but I can understand and I told Andres about a piece made by a performance artist named Chris Burden. He's not a normal artist who makes paintings or sculptures. He confronts himself with experiences. For his performances he let someone shoot him in the arm or he crawls over a floor filled with broken glass. In one of his performances he put a bed in a museum and he stayed in it for 22 days. Somebody else fed him so he didn't have to leave his bed*.

Burden tells on the video that the first two days he hated staying in bed. But the most interesting part is that after a while he got really comfortable with his situation. Until he reached a point where he actually thought of staying in bed forever. He only got out after 22 days because he knew that someone would end his performance at some point anyway and then people around him would think he'd gone nuts.

This could be a metaphor for what happens on a bigger scale. People feel comfortable being surrounded by people that they know and living in the surrounding that they know. This is okay, but I see around me that a lot of people complain about their situation. They want more, but their relationship, possessions or surroundings are limiting them. If I ask some people why they don't just change the situation (apply for a new job, break up a bad relationship, go abroad) they come with all sorts of reasons why they shouldn't do that.

In the end it totally makes sense. It's a proven fact that your mind resists change. Your body produces stress-hormones when you even think of change. But when you actually do something different your body rewards you with dopamine and adrenaline. These work like natural drugs that give you the energy to fulfill your new challenge.

A society where everybody would constantly change, could never survive. We need people who stay in the same place and do the same job every day. That's how cities can exist. But if you want to stick out, you need to take risks. You constantly need to make decisions that turn your life upside down and constantly need to fight being satisfied. Dreams remain dreams, untill you step out of your comfortable bed.

* There's a compilation of Chris Burdens works, including the work 'bed piece' on the following link:

Monday, June 25, 2007

Crime scene Alkmaar

The main entrance to the trainstation is blocked

The police is interviewed about the shooting

Back in Alkmaar again. In this small city near Amsterdam you can find all the Dutch clichés: windmills, flowers and canals. But besides the peace and quiet, there's also an ugly side to Alkmaar. Bar fights are quite common here, especially on evenings when everybody is drinking a lot. Murder is not so common, but it happens.

My first weekend happened to be one of those weekends where everything went wrong in Alkmaar. In Stockholm I haven't seen one fight in the entire quarter. On Saturday already I saw a fight at a nearby festival and at closing time somebody almost died because of alcohol poisoning. These things don't happen every weekend, but they aren't very surprising either.

But it gets worse. Today at the trainstation, 5 minutes walking from my parents house, there was a shooting. A woman was killed on the stairs. The murderer tried to shoot himself in the head and was wounded. The entire station was barricated and trains stood still for hours. It was on the national television as well.

Before I lost my heart to advertising, I thought of becoming a journalist. The curiousity for sensation and news that is still left in me made me run directly to the trainstation to make photographs at the crime scene. As I said before, an event like murder is not so common. Alkmaar is a safe city, but sometimes things can get a little extreme. Well, so far for the peacefulness of Stockholm, I'm back in little Sin City.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Shortlist in Cannes

Text on label: 'Good night herbal tea. Kneipp'

I'm sorry for my jealous hate-commenter, but I'm going to 'jerk off to myself' again (as he put it). This time I've got a good reason: I just found out that I got a nomination at the advertising festival in Cannes for the Kneipp ad I made for Jung von Matt.

I didn't win a Cannes Lion, but shortlist is already good. For those who don't work in advertising: a Cannes Lion is like the Oscar for advertising. You can't get higher than winning this award. Just to compare: all the agencies in my homecountry Holland only got two nominations in my category, press advertising.

If I'm really honest, I didn't think this ad was worth a Cannes Lion. Of course I hoped for it, but if I look at the excellent work that did win, I think this one doesn't really fit in there. It's not a campaign and the work is too traditional. But that's also why I'm totally in love with this ad. It's like a little pearl in my portfolio. I like to thank everybody who believed in this idea and helped to perfectionize it, especially Philipp Barth, my teacher from Jung von Matt.

And congratulations to Menno Kluin, the Dutch creative who won so many Lions for Saatchi NY this year that I can't count them anymore. If I even come close to be as good as he is, I'd be happy already. I'm sure I'm going to learn a lot from him and his creative directors at my next internship.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tack så mycket, Sverige

The street where I used to live in Stockholm.

My time in Stockholm is finished for this quarter. I'm really sad to leave, but I'm also glad that I see my family and friends in Holland again. I'm waiting for Andres to pick up the jiu jutsu gi that I borrowed from him and after that I go to the airport.

As many of you already know, it has been a great pleasure to go here. In the beginning all my Italian friends made my life in Stockholm a little easier by bringing some noise in it. After they left it was more quiet, but by that time Andres and I were up till our necks in the work anyway. So we were not distracted by parties with pasta, wine and loud music anymore and we worked like hell to make new work for our portfolio (not even half of the work is on this site). I want to thank our teachers Tim and Padi, Adam Kerj, Pontus Frankenstein and Marcus and Mats for pushing us further than ever.

After a while I had a small culture shock because of the silence here. But after a while I started to get used to it. And then I only saw the advantages: no dirt on the streets, no criminality and really polite people.

There is a big cultural difference though. But that's not so strange. Stockholm is as far away from Amsterdam as from Amsterdam to the far end of Spain. Some things that are considered normal in Holland (like kicking the shit out of a vending machine when your bag of chips doesn't come out) is considered really rude here. But in the end it's okay, because Swedish people also don't seem to have the urge to say something about your behaviour (Dutch people are the total opposite, they interfere with others too much ;-).

Stockholm is a beautiful city and I met a lot of interesting people here. As you can read in earlier posts, the reason to go here was based more on intuition than common sense and I can't imagine having made a better choice. And for a reason that I keep to myself, I might even go back in the break after my internship in New York.

Monday, June 18, 2007

New work: Knirps water cycle

Text starts with Defacation and ends with the Knirps umbrella

Text starts with Ritual ash deposit and ends with the Knirps umbrella

Remember the 50 campaigns that Andres and I made in the last class of King? I'm glad we did that, because one of the scribbles was the campaign above. It's one of my favorites. It's funny and it reveals a truth about rain that we'd rather not know about. Reason enough to buy a good umbrella. If somebody disagrees or has suggestions to improve this campaign, please leave a comment.

I could never have made this campaign without Andres. The concept as well as the execution was perfect teamwork. When I first started working with Andres I already expected him to be good, but he proved to be even more disciplined, hard working and full of good ideas than I expected. I won't be surprised if he's going to do really good at his internship in Prague.

These are my last days in Stockholm. I'm truly sad to leave this place, but I have to go on. New York is my next quarter away destination. And I'm looking forward to be back with my friends and family in Holland again. Tuesday night I'm taking the plane back to Holland.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

New work: Red Bull stunt helicopter

Ambient poster for the Red Bull Stunt helicopter show

One thing that was still missing in my portfolio were some good ambient ideas. The Shelter campaign is a good example of using existing media in a new way. But until now I didn't have anything that combines communication with something in the environment.

This poster campaign for Red Bull is a good example of using a well known object (the fan) to bring more life in a simple poster. The photographs for the presentation were shot in Wayne's coffee, a favourite hangout for many Miami Ad School students in Stockholm.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

New work: Sonic Bomb!

Small text: Sonic Bomb. 113 db Alarm clock

After the face to face there´s always a feeling of relief. Finally you get your well deserved vacation. Finally there´s nothing to do. But the fact that there´s nothing to do is also a problem.

So to fill the time I´m partying as much as I can with my small budget. During the day I sit with a hangover in front of the computer to update my online portfolio and to put new work on other websites. I put all work on all website simultaneously to prevent stealing (i'm not being paranoia, people actually steal work from students).

The campaign above is for an alarm clock that´s 113 decibel (to compare: a jackhammer is about 100 decibel). You can see the product here).

I don't have the school's exhibition anymore to 'test' my campaigns so I'm dependent on comments from others. So if you have any comments, good or bad, please click below.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ze award

I've won another best-of-the-quarter award. It's called 'ze award' ('ze' means 'the' but spoken with a German accent) and it's for the best work made in the Stockholm quarter. Like the Top Dog, it's not an award that anybody knows of but it's good to get recognition. We got it after our face to face (work evaluation) for King. Our teachers Padi and Tim hung up the best work of everybody and all the students had to vote. The majority liked our work the best so we won. Unfortunately, I can't show the work yet because we still saw possible improvements.

Andres and I made the best work for our classes at King. And we've got a lot to thank to our teachers Padi and Tim. The funny thing is: I underestimated them when they first walked in at the beginning of the quarter. They are younger than the average student at Miami Ad School. Padi looks like he's still in university and Tim is a tall alternative/rock type with half long hair. Are these the guys that are going to teach us? I knew they've won a lot of prizes and I heard good things about them, so I thought: well, let's see.

Later on, Padi and Tim proved to be really good teachers. Not only did they push everybody to make more and more concepts every week, but they were also ruthless when it came down to judging the concepts. An already famous quote from Tim when judging the execution of an idea: "Oh, no...this execution gives me eye-cancer!". And what's important they never failed to keep the fun in the class. It didn't only work for Andres and I. The rest of the class also made really good work. Padi and Tim are the living prove that you should never judge a bood by its cover. I wish them a lot of succes and good work in the future. I'm sure they'll end up being creative directors at a good agency.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

D&AD in-book nomination

One of the nominated billboards

The results for the D&AD student awards are finally official. And I'm happy to announce that I'm in the book with the Shelter campaign. The D&AD is probably one of the most difficult student competitions in the world. Only a few students in school are nominated. In-book means that I don't have a chance anymore to win the award. Which is a pity, but at least I'm finally off the school's loser list now ;-) * Congratulations to the other students from MAS Hamburg who got in the book and good luck to those who still make a chance on the prestigious awards!

* The loser-list comment is meant as self-mockery and refers in a sarcastic way to the pressure that the Hamburg school puts on its students to win awards. But it's meant funny. There is no loser-list, all MAS-students graduate as winners and awards actually motivates a lot of students.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Face to face-week

Working harder, make it better
Do it faster, makes us stronger
More than ever hour after
hour work is never over

(Text from: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Daft Punk)

This text from Daft Punk probably describes the intensity of the face to face week the best. The Miami Ad School's infamous evaluation week starts next week and that means we have to execute all our ideas. Right now it's 27 degrees Celcius in Stockholm and for the Sweden that's bloody hot. But I''m sitting inside behind my computer to work.

Along with the face to face week comes the 'executing madness', an interesting phenomenon that's unique for the Miami Ad School which I described in an earlier posts before. Around the Hamburg school people probably dress up, make strange constructions with stones and decorate the photo studio to make photographs for their campaigns.

Wednesday we made a Jewish star for an ambient campaign for a holocaust exhibition. Due to lack of time, we had to make the star in store where we bought the fabric. It must have raised a few eyebrows of customers, but at that moment you don't think of that. You just do it.

Face to face week in stockholm doesn't seem as intense as in the Hamburg school. From now on, the school is probably open 24 hours a day and students are working there. I wish all the MAS-students (wherever in the world they are) good luck with their face to face week. Whatever you do, don't panic. Just accept the suffering and enjoy the madness.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Andres goes to Prague!

In the Miami Ad School not every internship is up for grabs. Students who fail to get good grades aren't even allowed to do an internship. They can choose to follow school abroad but to work in an agency is not an option.

Some of the internships are really popular and you need a good portfolio to get inside. That's what my teampartner Andres found out a while ago. His portfolio site was not up-to-date and his request for a prestigious internship in Prague was refused. After that he replaced more than half of his portfolio with work that we made together in Stockholm. They gave it a second look and he was accepted!

For me it's the first sign that we made good work this quarter and it's a big relief for me. Because contrary to what people believe, most advertising creatives are not always sure about their talents. Actually, they're constantly hopping between insecurity and arrogance. That's why some creatives brag about winning an award the first week and want to kill themselves the week after for having failed at a review.

No matter what our work is going to do at the award shows, it has already proven to open doors to a great agency. And in the end that's what's the most important. Next week, after the face-to-face meetings are over, I'll put some of the work I've made this quarter on my site.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

RE: Anonymous hate-commenter

You know that you must be doing something right when you get your first hate-comments on your blog. My post about the bad things in Brussels (City of Sirens) got a lot of comments on other blogs, but they weren't hateful. But now, after 1,5 years of writing this blog and 30 visitors per day I finally got a hate-comment. Here's what an anonymous hater said as a comment on my last post:

please can somebody stop this blog!
yerk off to your self ugly man

Now that's not very nice, is it? Let's analyse this piece of copy. I think the writer doesn't know me personally, I can see that at the text 'ugly man', which is quite a neutral way of adressing somebody. He (let's say it's a man)is for sure NOT a copywriter, or at least not a good one. I can see that first of all by the spelling mistakes he manages to make in only two sentences. 'your self' should be one word: 'yourself', and 'yerk' should be written with a 'j'.

But the main problem is that the text has no arguments at all. After 'please can somebody stop this blog' there should be an argument why somebody should stop my blog. Instead of doing that he uses swear words. But he's got a point, I do tend to draw a lot of attention to myself. I don't consider myself really ugly, but that's a matter of taste.

Let's see how he could have written this better. Mr. anynymous could have written for example the following:

Come on, this is the second time you brag about making so much campaigns.
If you're so good, where's your award?

Ouch! With a line like this the anonymous writer could have shown that he actually did some research. He would also have found a weakness of mine which is the fact that I didn't won any awards in the 1,5 year I'm in the Miami Ad School. The only thing I could say about that is that I'm working on it. Another version could be:

This blog should be called: journey of a self-wanker
He probably left his modesty in Hamburg when he went to Stockholm

Again, the research part. But the strenght of this sentence is in the sarcasm. It says the same as the old sentence, but in a wittier and sharper way. This way you can convince the people who already thought I was talking too much about myself (there must be a lot of them ;-). Let's have another go at slaughtering me verbally:

You used to write with so much passion about your work. And all I read lately is: 'look, I made another 50 campaigns' and 'look at me I'm going to New York'. You have changed, but not in a positive way.

This one works double. It could not only convince a lot of readers, but it will also set me to think. Because this would actually be a reader of my weblog who knows all about me. And if he says something, maybe a lot of other people think I've become arrogant as well. I would have questioned myself and the way I'm writing. Which is a blow right between the eyes with much more impact than when somebody says I'm ugly.

Anyway, I know that I never hestitate to scream it out loud when I think I did something good. Call it arrogance if you want. I call it self-esteem. In my opinion modesty is the first sign that somebody is arrogant. For example, people who say: "yeah I have success, but success is only relative" most of the time say that to draw extra attention to what they've achieved. If you do things that you're proud of, show it to the world! Don't let yourself hold back by a couple of jealous people who think you've become arrogant. Even worse than people who are arrogant are people who want to destroy other people's self esteem out of frustration or to feel better themselves. As for Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous: if you don't like my blog, maybe you should stop reading it. And next time put your full name under the comments, it forces you to think about what you're writing.