Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One off

Before the weekend I was talking with my colleague Matthijs how nice it would be to get a small assigment to make a one-off for a change. Monday Luiz and I came to work and we immediately got a briefing to make one ad. No integrated, innovative, elaborated, complicated campaigns for a change. Just a heading for an ad that will appear next week in all the big newspapers.

We just had one day to make it, but in every assigment there's a chance. So we did our very best. After writing about a hundred headlines, our CD's chose four of them to present to the client. Today the client chose an idea and I had to make a few changes in the bodycopy. This ad won't be portfolio work, but it's a nice ad that works very well. Just a regular job. That doesn't take months to execute. Nice for a change. Now back to developing this meaningful, cross-branded, cross-media campaign that was approved yesterday.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Let's heal

The presentation of the book, by Mark Woerde

As a copywriter, I've always admired people who've written a book. I mean, during more than 5 years that I'm writing for this blog I've already written enough content for two books. But to actually get your writings published, that's a whole different ballgame.

My former boss Guillaume van der Stichelen has succeeded in doing that. And now my current boss Mark Woerde wrote a book. It's about a theory that's as contemporary as it's interesting, and it asks the question: what if brands (and advertising) would provide meaningfulness for others. I'm not talking about meaningfulness in the sense of 'making people feel good' or 'giving the ultimate cooking experience' but actually helping people. This means, using advertising to create a better world.

Now this last thing sounds a bit Michael Jackson and the combination with advertising sounds like one big paradox. But at Lemz we're already making campaigns based on this principle. Some might think see connecting your brand to a good cause as an excuse to sell your product. But this book explains why it's actually a good thing. And how you can be truly meaningful instead of just telling that you're supporting a good cause.

He ends his book by challenging brands to win the Nobel Prize for Peace. Okay, it's a bit ambitious. But to say with the words of Leo Burnett: 'when you reach for the stars, you might not quite get one, but you won't come up with a handful of mud either."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy reunion

Salvatore, Karime and I

Broken beerbottles on the street, totally packed bar dancings where they play German electropunk; I'm back in Hamburg again and I'm glad to see that nothing has changed here. The anarchistic attitude of people here gives you a feeling of freedom.

Yesterday I went to the Kiez, the Reeperbahn area where all the clubs and pubs are, to party with my former classmate and good friend Salvatore. Next to a lot of JvM creatives, I met a lot of people I know from the Miami Ad School. I saw Rhea Hanges again, whom I know from my quarter away in New York. And it seems that wherever in the world I am, my former classmate Karime Gonzales always pops up. She moves to different places all over the world so fast, I suspect that she has a teleportation machine.

And when we were on our way home, we met another former classmate Gunnar Gerhardt on the street. Despite that his crazy rattling was a bit overwhelming at 5.00 in the morning, it was great to see this fool again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Urban buddhist

Sometimes you have a weekend in which you experience so many interesting things, that it's impossible to devote just one post to it. So let's go back in time to Brussels again. When checking out of the Pantone hotel, I went to the Iris festival with my girlfriend, where there was a lot of theatre, events and DJ's.

After that, I went into the train, which had a defect so it took almost 4 hours to get to Amsterdam. Normally that would piss me off, but that trainride I met an asian man, who is a business lawler and owns a cocktail bar in Antwerp. I had a very interesting, 4 hour talk with him about all kinds of things. And during that long conversation, I noticed more and more that our business ethics and philosophy on life were very alike.

He told me that he tries to live a life as a buddhist, but to live completely according to these rules is just not realistic in our stressful, materialistic western society. Now I always thought the same. I think the buddhist philosophy not only provides a lot of useful wisdom, but is very down to earth at the same time (well, maybe if you leave out the reincarnation part). But in order to cope with problems in this society, you need to be flexible. You cannot always trust everybody or be serene in every situation. In business, you need a bit of stress in order to push yourself. And materialism and having possessions is not necessarily a bad thing. As long as you realize that more material is not necessarily making you happy. And losing things isn't necessarily the end of the world.

It's a flexible, more modern way of dealing with a philosophy that is ages old. During that train-ride I even thought of a name for it: urban buddhism. To end this post with some Tao-wisdom: sometimes the trip is more important than the destination.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Pantone hotel Brussels

The outside of the Pantone Hotel

The interior, with the Pantone color samples in the back

If you're an advertising geek, and you need a place to stay in Brussels, where do you go? Of course: the Pantone hotel! Already the name made me curious about this place and when I saw the beautiful pictures on the website it made me want to book already. So when I visited my Bruxelloise girlfriend this weekend, I decided see if the place is as designy as the name leads you to think.

I wasn't disappointed. Already at the entrance there are cups, storage cases, chairs and bicycles in Pantone colors. Including the matching Pantone number. At the entrance the bellboy asked me which color room has my preference. I chose the red one. The rooms are crispy clean. Everything is white, except for the few things that are in the chosen colour. Even the toilet paper has a colour.

This wasn't the most luxurious hotel I've ever slept in, but it's definitely the coolest one.