Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Working for some clients is doomed from the start. I mean, any reasonable client hires a creative agency to actually make creative work. But after being in an agency for a while you start to notice which clients are not so reasonable.

This week Marton and I have worked on a doomed-from-the-start-client. "Well, every brief is another chance", the optimists would say. I agree on that, but in two years this particular client has killed all the ideas that are smarter than using a stock picture of a happy family and a headline with a special offer. Let's face it...not a chance.

How do Marton and I deal with such a client? Stubborn as we are, we force ourselves to make only good, creative work for them. So tomorrow 6 foamboards with perfectly comped, low-budget, but creative ambient ideas go to the client. We believe we can make outstanding work for this client. But we don't believe we can ever produce such work for them.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bank bankrupt

I'm living in Belgium for almost two years now. I've never been the homesick type so I'm already getting well adjusted to the Belgian culture. I have a girlfriend here, a group of friends and I can't avoid picking up a bit of a Flemish accent (which is always good for a laugh when I'm back in Holland). Only in the morning I have the habit of watching the news program from Holland. I don't know why but somehow it feels trusted to hear the dialect of the country where I was born. After all, I've lived there for 29 years. 

Lately the news in Holland hasn't been very positive. Half of the news program is filled with the bankruptcy of a really big investment bank called DSB. For some reason the Dutch economy suffers more from the recession than in any other country and this bankruptcy comes on top of that. I've heard that the impact on the total economy is not that big, but still... over 1300 employees are on the street and a lot of investors can forget about their money. Which is very sad to say the least.

It seems that Belgium is already stabilizing from the recession. At the moment I'm working with Marton on a campaign for a new financial product. This weekend I'll go back to Alkmaar again. And although I'm not homesick, I do miss the little city in the North of Holland so I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Killing deadlines

Okay, last week I wanted to make an easy start, but that didn't quite work out. It's no secret anymore that the crisis also hit my my agency and that a lot of people have left. Now there seems to be too much work that has to be made by too few people and deadlines are getting tighter and tighter. And not only the creatives, but the entire staff is affected by the rising workload.

So every day when I left the agency at a reasonable time, there was always somebody who called me for some last-minute assignment. And because every assignment is another chance to make something good, I accept the challenge and start to think of ideas in the train and at home. This evening I started scribbling in my sketchbook while I was drying my laundry in the laundromat.

It's a bit like keeping your balance on a rope and I'm getting more and more luggage every time. I'm still standing, but I'm afraid that at any moment something can go wrong. Maybe sometimes it's better to take things a little bit less seriously, like in this educational video.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Finish in time

It's hard to judge an art-director by his first few days, but until now it's been really good to work with Marton. He works hard and he has a good no-nonsense mentality. The way things are going now, it would be a lot of bad luck if we don't produce any good work this quarter.

After my vacation I've decided to take it a little bit easier with working in the evening. It is no use to work yourself to death because people simply cannot be creative 24/7. It's impossible. If you're lucky you have a total of three really bright, creative hours a day. The rest of the time is spent photoshopping, reviewing, waiting for people to show up at the review, trying to think, looking for inspiration on the internet and banging your head against the wall because a deadline is near and you don't have anything.

I believe that working hard is paying off in the end, but my strategy is to work hard within the office hours. Although our deadlines doesn't make it easy for us to leave before seven. Today I'm still in the office until late, but that's because for some strange reason I don't have internet at home anymore. Trying to solve it means that I have to plough trough the 'callcentre-puzzle'. If you type in the right options, you can speak to an actual human. I'm afraid it will take a while before I have internet again. Internet providers don't have deadlines.

Monday, October 05, 2009


My vacation is over and my new teammate, a Hungarian MAS-student called Marton Jedlicska, hasn't arrived yet so my first working week has started really easy-going. This gives me a good opportunity to finally see all the ads on Ads of the World that I've missed and to look on inspiring websites such as this one and this one.

Talking about inspiration, the week after Italy I finally had some time to see movies, go to the theatre, do some sports, go to a market and spend time with my friends and my girlfriend. In other words: I had time to enjoy a normal life. The importance of this is often forgotten when you spend an average of 12 hours a day in the agency.

One of the most impressive things I've seen last week was a standup comedian/vocal artist called Michael Winslow. He played the cop who mimics sounds in the Police Academy movies. His standup comedy show was so good it's scary. Here you can see him doing an impersonation of Jimi Hendrix, both the guitar and the singing (!).

Also very impressive, but less cheerful is the movie Antichrist. The opinions about this movie vary, but I think the movie is a masterpiece. Danish director Lars von Trier has made what is called by some journalists 'the most shocking movie in the history of the Cannes film festival'. I've seen more shocking movies. But the dark art-direction, the suspenseful sounddesign, and the psychologically engaging script combined with some disturbing scenes that won't leave your mind for days will guarantee to get you out of the cinema with a pale face. The feeling you get from this movie is truly unique but I can imagine that not everybody will enjoy this trip through the dark side of the human mind. The faint-hearted and people who don't feel to well mentally should avoid seeing this movie.