Friday, July 31, 2009

Goodbye Tom

Last week I've asked for more briefings and this week we got what we wanted. As a result, Hannah and I are working on a total of seven briefs. Talking about briefing overkill. Today we had a very successful review on the first four of them (they were four small ones, but's easy to confuse them with another). In fact, I haven't had a single bad review since I'm working with Hannah, not even a moderate one, so that says enough about working with my new teampartner.

This week proved that not everybody is leaving an agency because he/she is forced to. Out of his own free will, one of my colleagues Tom Theys is going to switch jobs. Tom is one of the best planners I've ever worked with. He actually won 2 bronze Cannes Lions this year (and no, not because he was part of the 'team', he was the creative on that idea). I want to wish him a lot of success with his new job at Publicis.

A goodbye-drink was organised for Tom in a restaurant in the centre of Brussels. A lot of colleagues were dressed in green T-shirts that were especially made for the occasion. We sang songs, cursed at Tom for leaving the agency and Hannah and I got pretty drunk because we realized too late that Duvel beer has an alcohol percentage of 8,5%.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sfinks festival

Cambodjan actrobats at the Sfinks festival

Belgium is a funny little country. In the winter there's absolutely nothing to do. But in the summer there seems to be an explosion of festivals, events, activities and exhibitions. There's so much to do that I can go to a festival every day if I want. But of course that would be impossible to combine with a more than full time job in advertising.

So I have to make a choice. Last weekend I went to the Dour festival. This weekend I went to the Sfinks festival in Boechhout, a world music festival. My girlfriend asked me if I'd like to work as a volunteer there. I first doubted a bit because I'm not a real big fan of world music. But then I thought: why not? It's always good to experience something different.

And different it was. I've never seen so much rastafari, treehuggers, shamen, new agers, new wavers, hippies, buddhists, children, bongo drummers, flute players, potheads, nomads, artists and wannabe witches together. But there was also quite a number of people who didn't fit the cliché world music profile and who just came there out of curiousity. Anyway, if the concerts weren't interesting enough, the people certainly were. Because I had to do volunteer work I didn't see a lot of music, but I loved the closing act Peter Nalitch and friends.

It was great, but I'm done with festivals for the moment. Next weekend I'll stay in Antwerp for the first time this month.

Friday, July 24, 2009


It's been more than a week since my last post. And the reason is that I had a long weekend. Not exactly a long weekend to get a rest, but a long weekend at the Dour festival. It was one of the best festivals I've ever been to. Great music, crazy people and you didn't have to wait hours to order a beer. The biggest surprises of the festival were: Caravan Palace, a French band that mixes 30's boogie woogie style jazz with electro, and... the Pet Shop Boys, whose catchy songs combined with excellent dance acts and video-art were good for a memorable performance.

But after the festival the recovery phase begins. And as I grow older, it takes longer and longer to recover from crazy days of festival madness. My hangover lasted until Thursday. And on Wednesday I already had to work. Thank god there's a coffee machine upstairs.

After my short break I was really motivated to work on new briefs again, but unfortunately there's not a lot of work at the moment. And there are not a lot of people around in the Duval building. There are more empty desks than ever. Of course the ongoing reorganisation has something to do with that, but there are also a lot of people on holiday. And when you ask for more work to the traffic planner, it turns out he's on vacation as well. So it's back to the pro-active stuff again; making a lot of free work for existing and non-existing clients. When my creative directors come back from vacation there's a big pile of scribbles waiting for them.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A lot to Dour

I'm going to the Dour-festival tomorrow. That means I'm going to see the legendary Richard D. James a.k.a. Aphex Twin performing again. Also, a lot of 'must-sees that I somehow never saw' will perform there: DAT Politics, Venetian Snares, Richard Devine. This group of producers is a guarantee for a lot of excitement or a lot of horrible noise, depending on how you feel about experimental electronic music.

But before I'm going I still have to do a lot of work in the agency. Because a few days off at Duval Guillaume actually means that you have to do all the work of these days in advance. So I'm writing copy, scribbling ideas and preparing presentations like a madman. It's non-stop working the whole day, but I'm sure it's all worth it for a festival with such a great line-up.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

How to buy a new phone

Last weekend my phone was stolen. So I had to buy a new one very fast. Because just buying something on good luck proved to be a disappointment (even with products from good brands) I decided to at least look up some reviews on the internet before buying something.

I didn't have a lot of time and I needed a new phone fast, so I just visited 2 stores in Brussels. A first look gave disappointing results for my initial choices, so I'm glad I looked it up. So then I looked up which of the phones from that brand (Nokia) had good reviews. There was one phone that you can flip open and it proved to be a really good one. I decided to go for that one.

The next day other arguments came to mind. I wore very thin pants to work and I thought: technically the flip open-phone was the best choice, but it would make your pockets really big. Then I thought of a phone that had average results, but which was thin and had a good design: the Nokia 5000. It was also advertised in abribus posters as a special offer. In the end I decided to go for that one. It confirmed something that I already knew: although consumers can look up any specification/review/price-comparison, in the end the emotional reasons are the ones that draw them over the line. At least for me that was clearly the case. And it works for me because after having the phone a couple of days I'm still happy with it.

This weekend I'm back in Holland again. I wanted to buy a laptop there. The laptop I have now, which is 5 years old and which I dragged all over the world when I was on the Miami Ad School, is in a terminal state. So I tried to do the same research with the laptops. But that proved to be more difficult than I thought. It takes a long time to find sites where there are actual consumer reviews. I guess it won't hurt to wait until I'm back in Holland before I buy something that big. And my good old laptop will probably survive another month.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

New teampartner

Hannah Ziegler standing in the entrance hall of Duval Guillaume

Saturday was quite a busy day. I first went to the airport to pick up my new Miami Ad School teampartner Hannah Ziegler. Afterwards I went to a swimming pool in Brussels and afterwards I went back to Antwerp. With the swimming pool water still in my ears I went to a party in a club called Magic Places.

Afterwards, after a long walk home, my phone got stolen. Well, that's the risk of living next to a prostitution zone. A lot of people there are on the lookout to pick the pockets of party people on their way home and apparently I was drunk enough to be their victim. I'm not very sad about it because I needed a new phone anyway. I bought a new phone yesterday, and I still have my old number. Now I just have to fill my address book again.

On Monday I immediately started working with Hannah on a new brief for a car brand. Hannah is from Hamburg, Germany and before this internship she did her quarter away programs in Paris and New York. It's very refreshing to work with such a young and enthusiastic talent. Her internship lasts 10 weeks, so there's enough time to find out if the combination is good enough to make award winning work.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Spa outdoor campaign

It's very rewarding to see a big outdoor campaign of you everywhere. In all the bus shelters and billboard frames in Belgium you can see my latest introduction campaign for the Spa sportsbottle. It has an improved shape so you have better grip on it while doing sports.

Although this is not the most creative campaign I've ever made, it works very well for the introduction of this bottle. And when I see it in the street, the simplicity of the layouts make the campaign really stand out. The photography, done by the genius Jean-Francois de Witte, is just perfect.

The concept of this campaign is all mine, but Victor Vegh was a great help doing the art-direction during his internship at Duval Guillaume. Talking about internships, on Saturday my new Miami Ad School art-director will arrive: Hannah Ziegler. I hope to make a lot of outstanding work together with her.

P.S. Feel free to make any comments about the campaign.