zondag 19 oktober 2008

Continued my old blog

This blog has stopped, but I will keep it online so everybody can still read the stories of all the creatives on this blog. I continued with my old blog: robinstam.blogspot.com.

vrijdag 4 juli 2008

Robin Stam, Duval Guillaume Brussels

Yes, once again I was too late with finding somebody for my blog. There's enough creatives coming up, but I just happened to have a lot of bad luck this week so for old times sake I'm talking about my own week again.

In the beginning of the week Yigit and I heard that we're nominated for the 'Standaard solidariteitsprijs', a prestigious advertising competition for non-profit ads in Belgium. As a result, our idea will be published and that's enough to be happy about already. I cannot show the nominated ad before it's in the newspapers, but it's the best ad we've published this year so we're glad about it.

Right now I'm on the verge of going to Holland again. Every month I'm going back for a weekend. This time I'm going to make a quick stop in Amsterdam to visit some friends at production company McGuyver (they don't know that I'm coming yet, but it'll be a surprise). A couple of minutes ago I finished a big campaign and in about 5 minutes I have to close my computer and run to the trainstation. Which is...now. Amsterdam, here I come...

woensdag 25 juni 2008

Stefan Leendertse, Duval Guillaume Antwerp

This week we have a fresh Cannes-winner as a guest blogger: Stefan Leendertse. Stefan is Dutch, but constantly seems to switch back and forth to Belgium and now he's working at Duval Guillaume Antwerp. Last week he won a prestigious silver Lion in Cannes with his DM-work for Scottex.

When Robin asked me to write some about my week it was almost the end of it. Now it’s Monday night and my time-sheet-fobia is starting to surface again. It’s the disease also known as the what-the-fuck-did-I-do-on-which-day-syndrome that seems to have quite a number of patients in the creative business.

Anyway, let’s try to start with Monday.
Monday turned out to be the big day for us (me and my creative partner in crime Carsten). On Sunday we had already received a message from Dirk, our CD and press&poster jury-member in Cannes that we had 2 shortlists in the direct jury. Because we didn’t expect to get any news about it till Tuesday we were relaxed sitting in a briefing when a colleague came in to tell us we had just won a silver Lion! This was the moment I had always dreamed off but in my dream I was always sitting on la plage in Cannes. Running into the la Méditerranée after hearing it and then ordering a bottle of le Champagne. But unfortunately I wasn’t there to order it in my terrible French (and trying to explain in even worse French why my credit card doesn’t have enough credit to pay it). Instead I was still sitting in our Antwerp office. And even in Belgium 10AM on a Monday morning is a bit to early for booze.

Tuesday started early with a presentation so we kept the getting drunk part for that night. Holland had to play the EC2008 soccer match against Romania. So we had a great opportunity to celebrate in public and misbehave in a crowd of Dutch hooligans misbehaving even more. Place of crime: De Lawine (The Avalanche), a Dutch après-ski bar in Antwerp. Nope, there’s not a single mountain in Belgium and not even something looking a hill in Holland so it is just meant to drink après-anything but skiing. So we did, and we even took two Belgian colleagues that behaved like two true Dutch swines. We were very proud :-p One was arrested, the other one is still missing.

Wednesday I even showed up at work at a reasonable time. Luckily Carsten kept the Onno Kraft van Ermel (Holland’s last rock&roll creative that passed away last year) – spirit alive arriving past 11:30h. We spend the rest of the day working on a TV campaign for Center Parcs. But wait, didn’t you guys go to Cannes to pick up your award?, I can hear you think. Sorry people, juicy stories of Carsten fist-fucking a jet-set MILF with a silver lion in his hand can not be found on this blog. The Duval-Guillaume rule is that those who win a prize in 2007 go to Cannes in 2008. And since we only started working for DG last year we have to wait till 2009. So the rest of this text will just be boring stories about me and Carsten, sitting and working in an almost empty office.

In the morning Carsten drank a black coffee. I had an ice tea. Then we worked on a new client I cannot tell you anything about. On Friday I put some new staples in my blue stapler. For lunch I had a Ciabatta Italiano…

Hey, I warned you this was going to get boring. At least for you. For us it was the best week of our working lives. Because after winning your first lion even the Uitbreidingsstraat in Antwerp Berchem looks like the Croisette!

zaterdag 14 juni 2008

Lisa Port, KNSK Hamburg

The writer of this week's article may be on the verge of winning a Cannes Lion. It's possible, because art-director Lisa Port already won loads of awards with an outdoor campaign made for Hansapark. Before working at KNSK, Lisa worked at Duval Guillaume New York. She tells us all about her not-so-average, but painfully regognizable week.

Thanks Robin, for asking me to write something for your blog.

So this was my week as a Junior Art Director at KNSK in Hamburg. Three describing words for my week would be: hard, full pressure and still in love with my job.

It’s monday morning. I am stepping into my office and I see my teampartner deadly sad on the phone. Her former schoolfriend commited suicide. One big hug and a short conversation about him and then we need to continue to finish our final document from last weeks brief. I stayed for lunch time in and got a phonecall from my mum, telling me that my lovely grand aunt died in the consequences of a stroke. Ellen, my teampartner, stepped back in our office, finding me deadly sad on the phone. One hour I am sitting still and trying to accept what happened. – 3 pm Pitchbrief. Our heads full of one big question:„Why?“. Finally the content of the brief won and made the way down to our brains. The brief and all the information is really big, but as
well interesting and a welcome variety to our daily-business.

Of course it is one of the hardest things, to find space in your head for new ideas, when you are in private troubles. But on the other hand: It’s a good method to forget private stuff easier, when you make thought of a completely different topic. And when you make deep thoughts.

So the next two and a half days I put more and more information into my brain. All the background information about the hopeful-future-client. The Account-Girl for this project is doing a great job. Without asking we get a lot of information, books, reports, whatever we need. And suddenly there it was. – A brand new wonderful idea. A shiny peak of hope. It’s big, brilliant and bright. Everything is perfectly made up in my mind how it will look, the sound, the people.

How the press is writing about it, how people will love and hate it. Everything is in my head and I try to explain it, and after all the perfectly detailed description. My teampartner, still devastated, just goes: hmmmpppfffff.

Still in love with the idea we continue continue continue until the last minute. It’s 2:59 pm Thursday afternoon. Ellen sends the document to the printer. 3.00 pm presentation of the ideas. One idea survived in the 2 ½ hour meeting. Thanks God. Unfortunately, the shiny peak died. – hmmmpppfffff.

This is one thing which always will be the most exiting thing in my job. Will I crack the brief? Will I find some new idea, or a lot, or nothing? There is no brief where I didn’t feel the pressure to not fail. Finally of course you are always finding a solution, but will you reach the creative level you want to be? This job will never get boring, because you have to prove yourself always from new. Just for yourself. And if you cannot reach the level you have to try harder next week.

So my resume from this week: Try harder!

vrijdag 6 juni 2008

Alex Goulart & Joao Medeiros, Duval Guillaume New York

The definition of an international creative team: Alex Goulart and Joao Medeiros. They were both born in Rio, Brazil and grew up in the U.K. But they've worked in Belgium, Signapore and now in the U.S. where they head up the creative department of Duval Guillaume New York. Now if their career doesn't sound exciting enough already, wait till you read about the week of these two advertising mobsters.

It’s a thug’s life here in the city. The office is on 4th street, in an area called NoHo (North of Houston Street) which is the site of the violence you see in the movie ‘Gangs of New York.’

So for the last six months, since we came over from sunny Antwerp, Belgium, we’ve been trying to adjust.

Let’s see, a week in creativity…

On Monday, Joao was shot seven times in the leg after trying it on with Pappy’s girl. But not to be outdone, J managed to push the bullets around under his skin to make it say “Te amo”.

Pappy’s girl loved it.

On Tuesday, we both helped out with the drive-by in T-Dog’s hood. But to make sure we made a few extra G’s we got a disaster tourism company (you know, the kind that organize walks around Ground Zero) involved before the hit. They trailed our car with three minivans full of tourists, taking pictures. After we paid off the actors we hired to stand in the street and get hit by the rubber bullets, we still had enough money for ribs and mud pie at Hooters – and that was just the tips.

Wednesday was sick. Pappy came over really early, burst into J’s Chelsea dig, pulled him out of bed and dragged him down the stairs. He was raging – something like “Where’s the love now Juan?!” Joao explained, “It’s ‘Juan’ in Spanish, ‘John’ in English and ‘Joao’ in Portuguese, the pronunciation is a bit different.” This didn’t help. The Papster dug his thumbs down onto the bullets embedded in J’s leg and started trying to rearrange the letters (who knows what he was trying to spell). Quick thinking, Joao reached out and thrust his fingers into an electrical socket on the landing – the shock raced through his body and fried our Mexican friend like chicken. He just fell back against the wall like a sack of potatoes. It was unbelievable. Somehow, Joao must have been insulated from the electrical current cause he was completely fine. I just asked him earlier, he said he’s okay, there’s just a little scab from the original bullet wound, but nothing to write home about.

That night we collapsed into bed, exhausted.

Thursday was quiet. It was raining, so we decided to stay in and write a set of commercial messages for our Japanese client, Kagome. They make blended fruit and vegetable juices. Did you know, that in combination, fruits and vegetables work wonders for your brain?

And tomorrow – well, I wouldn’t like to call it. Let’s wait and see. Could be more commercial messages (see ‘em all at: commercialmessages.blogspot.com) or a little more of the thug’s life.

Either way, it beats the daily commute.


TE AMO Anagrams


Nope. I don’t think we’ll ever figure out what Pappy wanted to tell us, bless his soul.

donderdag 29 mei 2008

Andy Ray Wong, Publicis & Hal Riney San Francisco

New York resident Andy Ray Wong moved all the way to California to do his internship for the Miami Ad School. He used to work as a designer for Mongoose Media, Carl Fisher Music and even american football-club The New York Jets. His internship at Publicis is his first experience with working in an advertising agency.

I have finally been invited by my former housemate Robin to write on his blog. It is an honor sir. I am currently interning at Publicis & Hal Riney as an Interactive Designer in San Francisco and so far its been a rewarding experience. I've previously worked in design studios and as a designer in a marketing department but, this is my first Ad Agency experience. It has given a better idea of a designers role in advertising and its been pretty awesome. I think the environment fits me and the work is just right.

I've been working on a few clients in telecommunications, a fitness chain and an alcoholic beverage (I don't think I can name names for now). The alcohol brief was done last week and was definitely the most fun because I was able to drink and work at the same time. Although I feel the work in my agency is relatively safe, they are slowly re-establishing themselves with clever work. With the guidance of Creative Director Roger Camp and some young talent I think the agency is poised to go back to its golden era when Hal Riney was still alive. My experience here has turned me on to more interactive work as I come from a print background. The biggest challenge that I like about interactive work is to take something electronic and make it tangible. Not physically but emotionally (sorry for sounding cheesy).

This past week has relatively been a bit slow considering that it's a small agency but from the start of my internship until last week it's been pretty busy. The agency has allowed me to be more than just a "comp bitch" and I am proud of the work I have done here. The highlight of my internship came this week as we were shooting a short film for G4 TV. How often does a person get to smash a beer bottle on somebody's head while on the job?

It seems on every Quarter Away at Miami Ad School I always find the most interesting places to live. Being that I am a minimalist by circumstance (because I'm broke), I found prime real estate in the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco. I share a basement apartment with a hippie and 2 acrobats that train at the Clown Conservatory a few blocks away. I agreed to live there under the condition that the landlord doesn't know of my residence because the apartment is illegal. Since my schedule works out I have never crossed paths with him. The space use to be a sex bed factory for making custom bondage beds and is considered industrial space therefore making it illegal. That means I am illegally living in an illegal place.

donderdag 22 mei 2008

Gertjan Kuijvenhoven, Keesie Rotterdam

This extraordinary picture features one of the most promising young talents in Holland: Gertjan Kuijvenhoven. He works at agency Keesie in Rotterdam and before that he worked at XXS, for which he won a total of two silver EFFIE's (effectivity award in Holland). So Gertjan knows what effective work is about and this week he's telling us all about it.

We’re in a pitch for a really nice account and tomorrow, Thursday, we have to present our ideas. During this project I surprised myself that I could be really enthusiastic about a simple sales-promotion. No expensive photoshoot or film production, just ordinary selling. And the funny thing is: I really think this the best.

It gives you a strange feeling when strategy wins from creativity. I’ve always been a loyal supporter of creativity and argued a lot with the strategic department. They always come up with boring details and ask you to turn that pile of shit into a delicious apple-pie... But this time the creatives came up with a sales-promotion. They shouldn’t even think about these things, should they?

I think they should (did I say that?). The best creatives I worked with are very strategic. They don’t do an ad or commercial, they do a brand. They know how to strip down a brand, find the DNA and build it up with identical elements.

So this week underlined that sometimes it’s good to keep your creative mouth shut. Even if you already got the most brilliant commercial in your head that can deliver you Lions, Epica’s, One Shows and Pencils. If a sales-promotion is what will work… a sales-promotion it is.

This is not a sermon against creativity. It’s actually pro-creativity. I love creativity (watch my site www.ideaism.nl and you know that's for sure) and therefore I think that creativity should be used more efficiently. There shouldn’t be any loss. That’s why I ask all creatives to be a strategic as well and visa versa.

vrijdag 16 mei 2008

Daniel Serrano, Kolle Rebbe Hamburg

Half Equadorian, half Swiss, but living his whole life in Germany; his diverse nationalities are not the only thing that's making Daniel Serrano stand out from all other creatives. He's the type of art-director who could wake you up in the middle of the night because he wants to tell a concept and the only Miami Ad School student I know who managed to maintain a permanent relationship. 'Mister Ham' -as he was called by his fellow students- won various awards during his student time and he's still hungry for more.

Today it's wednesday, day number three of my week, and three more days until there they are: my first holidays since I'm working at Kolle-Rebbe in Hamburg. But already those three days showed pretty much what my "creative week" and even the first six months looked like.

Monday: Changing a photo briefing
Tuesday: Spending the whole day on the shoot.
Today: Meetings with an other photographer, drawingsome corrections into proofs, choosing locations for the next shooting, writing briefings for the after next shooting, and… taking a look on the material from Tuesday.

Being an art director at Kolle-Rebbe means producing a lot. Day by day. Always in a hurry, but – fair enough– no work on weekends and I most often leave the office when there is still daylight left.

Sorry… I've been a bit lazy. Two days have passed since I wrote the last lines. Too much work and the rest of the day I've spent with my girlfriend and her two kids. We live together as a family and I am happy that I have time to spend with them. Not every agency in Hamburg gives you the possibility to have a family life when you're not a creative director of CEO. Which
doesn't mean that it's not an uncreative agency. Three weeks ago I've won my first official nail at the german ADC for a viral that I did for YouTube Germany (one of our clients). It won in the category virals and got honored in the category cinema. That's a great start! But it's not Horst Schlämmer :(

This all makes me think of my think of my ex team partner Andy Tran who works as an AD for JvM in Hamburg. We've had a great time together at school and made some good stuff, but we've always been totally different personalities and now it's even the same with the job. He might spend about 90% of his time (that's just guessing) working on SOE-ideas (search of excellence) and maybe 10% daily business. I'm spending 95% of my time with daily business, but I am still so hungry for some award winning shit :)

But for now it's enough. It's the first day of my holidays now and I am looking forward to see great ads in Miami where you might find me at the beach tanning my brown belly.

zaterdag 10 mei 2008

Aarthi Gunnupuri, a TV Network* Mumbai

What happens if your dream job doesn't turn out to be your best job? Indian copywriter Aarthi Gunnupuri used to work for Leo Burnett and recently changed to work for a smaller agency owned by a big TV network. The agency is less known than Leo Burnett, but 90% of the time she spends on writing TV-commercials. Between all her strict deadlines she still managed to write an entertaining article of more than 1000 words.

I had landed a job I thought I would love. The big agency, big accounts, big job. But all I did at my dream job was sit in a corner, surf the net all day and get paid for it (I had three CD’s quit on me, one after the other for better career prospects). “Perfect arrangement,” I thought most of the times, but a tiny bit of me actually liked working. And it’s amazing how an atom-sized, motivated self that exists within me can defeat the 5 feet and 8 inches slacker that I am.

So I’ve moved from my dream job to a job that pays very well. A creative agency-cum- production house owned by a largish TV network, where I am just another cog in the wheel. But a very, very busy cog. Juggling 5-8 briefs a day. That’s a super-sized dollop of unpleasant reality for someone who spent all her time on tabloidwhore and pagesix.com for one whole year (I followed all the Acts of “The Disintegration of Britney Spears” up until last month, when I started this damn job).

And this is my week:

Monday Morning. I am the archetypical Monday-Morning-Blues sufferer and “Manic Monday” by Bangles is my anthem! Making matters worse was my aching back. I had spent all of Sunday in front of the computer, putting together some research for my NCD. Okay, I know what you’re thinking, I am not sucking up. I just happen to like research work ;)

Monday turns out to be the longest day of my week. A slim ray of happiness lights up my day when my CD appreciates a film that I have written (early Monday morning). But I am happier because after a long time I like what I’ve done too!!! Nobody’s opinion matters more than my own. I am like that only (A common Indian English phrase which roughly translates to “That’s the way I am”, but it loses its essence when put like that).

On Monday I also have a fight with my best friend (best friend???? Yes, I am 6 years old), that too on chat. There are only two places I hang out with my friends now-a-days, online or on the phone. And I feel drained out at the end of the day.

Tuesday Morning….errr…Noon. I wake up at 12:45 p.m. to a text from my best friend. She says she’s okay with the way I am and that she will stand by me…I should be super happy and reply instantly. Instead I go into a bizarre, manic mode. I am connecting my phone to my laptop, I had a deadline for 1 p.m. I overslept, it’s too late to get to work, so may be I can work on the brief and mail it from home in the next, uhhh, 15 minutes!!!

An hour later I am heading to work. So, did I manage to finish it? Well, let’s just say
from now on, I am not cocky enough to think that I can actually crack a TV Commercial in 15 minutes, script it out and send it across… while brushing my teeth, making coffee and battling a dismal internet connection!

After “facing the music” for my missed deadline, I am punished further with a long list of briefs. I panic, I wonder where I am headed in life, what I am doing with it. I can’t see clearly through this fog of briefs, deadlines, bosses and colleagues…. I want to write about love and friendships and cities and people and LIFE…not a promo for a Life Insurance. My intercom’s buzzing, it’s my boss…. “Aarthi, where’s the Life Insurance script…” And that’s the only bit of introspection I end up doing all week.

Wednesday, however, ends on a grand note. It’s my friend’s Birthday, we have to meet for dinner at 9:30 and at 8 p.m. I am still stuck with an idea I’ve been trying to crack for two days. I have a real crap idea…. but I don’t care, I just want to meet my friend. So I cross my fingers and I tell my CD the crap idea. She rejects it, as expected. “Okay,” I think, frustrated, “I am not going to be able to do this. Either I slink out of here and make it to dinner or cancel.” Just then something happens….an idea! I bounce it off my CD who says “yeah” excitedly….and I am smiling again.

I have 20 minutes to make it to dinner and am not stuck with a brief anymore. Yaaay! However, 20 minutes later, I find myself stuck in the infamous Bombay traffic.

Finally I meet my friend and we talk about advertising and life and how post-25 is not a good age to be a single woman in India. She’s an Art Director at ONM, Mumbai – a big, bitchy agency that’s NOT for the faint hearted. You are expected to produce brilliant work, spend about 22 hours a day in the agency while get paid about ¼ of what you would get anywhere else. But that way, they weed out anybody who’s not there for the love of advertising….I guess. There has to be a reason why they win more awards locally and internationally than all the other big agencies put together.

The whole of Thursday I slack off at work, I have 4 briefs, which I have the luxury to procrastinate on. So I do just that, surfing the net, pfaffing, drinking coffee in the canteen…ah bliss!

Friday is a little busy, with the pending briefs from the previous day. In the evening, I talk to my friends in Melbourne who’ve moved to agencies there, from Bombay. We talk about our jobs how it’s the same anywhere in the world… briefs, deadlines, ideas, rejections … and in some twisted sort of way…happiness!

* Name of the agency has been removed on request of the author.

zaterdag 3 mei 2008

Klaas Weima, Energize Utrecht

Building an online marketing agency succesfully is a creative profession as well. That's why this week Klaas Weima, managing director and founder of online marketing agency Energize, is in the picture. Klaas leads a team of 18 creative professionals in his office at the canals of Utrecht. The online campaigns made by Energize have lead to great results for top clients in Holland. Read about his week and you get a pretty good idea why he missed this week's deadline.

Yes. I failed. I know. I’ve let Robin down. Normally, I always make my deadlines. Impossible. How could this happen? Well, it has been a very short week. Short, but party-heavy, not much sleep and very intense. From celebrating Queens Day in Amsterdam to running 10 k’s straight near the canals in Utrecht (which as a result caused me to have a very sore back). Let’s give an overview.

Monday morning, 04:30 am. My girlfriend Esther got up in our hotel room in Zwolle and took a shower. Auch, that’s nasty early. She went to the distribution center of BroodjesExpress.com for our latest cross media campaign for investment banker BlackRock (see the site here). Over night, 1,600 sandwiches (in Dutch: “broodjes”) needed to be made and delivered to 1,600 stock advisors all over Holland. The sandwiches were ordered in a virtual boulangerie which we developed. The shop was online for only three days and resulted in over 80,000 pageviews by 2,200 targeted advisors (who received a sandwich bag on their desk with a unique code to order). 05.30 am. I turned on my MacBook and finished my article about my China Innovation Trip for The Dutch Journal of Marketing. Showed up in the office around 10.30 and worked until 23.00 (what a great night to plan our monthly management meeting!).

Tuesday, MarketingTribune (marketing periodical) called if I was interested in an interview about the BlackRock campaign. Sure. First, called the client to verify if they wanted to cooperate and, even better, have the interview planned the same day. Second, confirmed the interview to the reporter. Third, received a call from BlackRock explaining they could not cooperate, due to international PR policies. Fourth, called the reporter and explained. Fifth, called the PR agency and shared my frustration. Sixth, received an explanation and got a go-ahead for the interview. Seventh, called the reporter again and went to see her that afternoon. Nice.

That evening it was VrijMarkt (official kick-start of Queens Day) in Utrecht, means people dive in their cellars and lofts to check if they can find any old stuff to sell on the market. So did we. It was raining, but the beer and tunes from my SoundDock were prevailing. Within five hours we sold much of everything and went in to a pub for a beer. The next day, we took a train to Amsterdam to celebrate in the Jordaan. What a mad-house must Amsterdam look like if you never heard of Queens Day and arrive as a tourist. Open Bars, the canals full of beat boats and a lot of orange. That night we decided to live life and stayed at the Five Star Barbizon Palace Hotel. Frankly, quite handy that Esther used to work here.

On Ascension day, I visited the sky box of FC Utrecht for the soccer play-offs. I was invited by the Rabobank and had a great time in the stadium. I was surprised to see that all the billboards were still old-fashioned, using a roll-over technique for the different ads. Where are all the interactive and digital screens I’ve seen in Madison Square Garden and in Shanghai?

Friday, the agency was closed again but I decided to do some work. And received Robin’s mail reminding me on my obligation to write a post. Which I did.

vrijdag 25 april 2008

Robin Stam, Duval Guillaume Brussels

Whoever thinks a blog where other people write for you is easier than writing for a blog yourself, is wrong. Of course other people do the writing. But every week I have to e-mail people, give instructions, remember them of the deadlines (and taking into account that in some countries the reminder mail arrives when everybody's still asleep), writing an introduction, correcting the spelling mistakes (especially the texts of art-directors) and putting everything online. Sometimes it's difficult to reach somebody and for a couple of weeks in a row I could always find somebody who -after some begging- was willing to write an article within one day.

But this week I failed in that. For the first time. So what is my solution? I'm going to write something about me, myself and I again. Which is not too bad, except for the fact that the only time I can do this is now, on a Friday night, while Edwin -a Dutch friend of mine who just came from Berlin- is watching television on my couch.

During my work I had no time at all. Yigit and I had to arrange a photoshoot for Monday. From the time I entered the agency I was crushed by an avalanche of work. Calling the photographer, solving mail problems because the casting pictures didn't arrive, looking at the casting pictures with Yigit when they arrived, calling the creative directors cause they were both out of the agency, choosing locations, choosing the styling, choosing the style of light the photographer has to use. And in between we did a voice over recording in the sound studio for another project.

When I picked up Edwin from the airport I was still on the phone with Yigit. A couple of phonecalls later it was finally weekend. After a day like this, when you're running like a steamtrain on dynamite, it's actually the work that keeps you going. So when I was in the train from Brussels to Antwerp, it was like somebody put me in off-mode. As soon as I sat down in the train my body collapsed and my hands were still shaking as if they don't know what to do when the work is done.

All the briefings we neglected today are still haunting me this weekend. I love my work and I'm totally dedicated to making the best advertising possible. But in my opinion, part of doing your job well is knowing when to stop. So this weekend I'm going party a lot to get some 'mental rest'. Work hard, party harder.

vrijdag 18 april 2008

Ratko Cindric & Thomas Kuhn, Saatchi & Saatchi Moskow

Last week Kanak was on the blog, this week it's the turn of the other half of the team that interned at Duval Guillaume: Ratko Cindric. The Croatian Ratko used to work as an operator of a machine that's cutting steel. So it's only logical that he became an art-director ;-). Read about his experiences at his new internship in cold cold Moskow.

Almost two weeks are already gone, time is running and life is fast here. Sometimes you think death is even faster especially when you arrive at the airport and jump in a cab to drive to the flat. 120 km/h in the city is not unusual and when there is a traffic jam an 8 lane street suddenly turns into a 12 lane street. Everyone is driving like crazy. Maybe that’s because you can buy your drivers license here on the black market. We never have seen that much expensive cars -like Maybach’s, S-classes, Hummer’s and Porsche's- in one place. They are parking everywhere, especially on crosswalks or sidewalks in front of restaurants. Moscow is a pretty expensive city which has its own charm.. Our flat is about 35 square meters and costs about $1500 a month. The good thing is that Saatchi pays for it. Food in general is expensive too. Fortunately McDonald’s is cheaper than in Germany! The people here on the street aren’t smiling much and look cold for us, but if you get to know some Russians, you will see that they are usually friendly and cooperative. That is what we experienced from the people here at Saatchi. Everyone here speaks English so we have not that language problem like on the streets or in shops. As for now we are working on four different Briefs and have enough to do. Yesterday everyone sang, “Enjoy the Silence” from Depeche Mode for an online video and we got a task to run zigzag over the red square with a camera. Well now start wondering if that is creative or a typical job for interns? We don’t know either... The agency is pretty small. It just has 68 employees, overall 3-4 creative teams and space for 60 people. Every Friday evening there are free drinks and snacks at Saatchi so we have to leave now and catch a drink!

p.s. When you see horses riding on the sidewalks of Moskow on Friday night it doesn’t necessarily means that you drank or smoked too much.

woensdag 9 april 2008

Kanak Mehra, DDB Budapest

Coming from India, went to Miami Ad School Hamburg, and after spending some time in Duval Guillaume Brussels Kanak Mehra decided to go to Hungary for his second quarter away. Could his first week in Budapest be the start of a literary bestseller? Read it and find out for yourself.

He was still digesting tandoori chicken when a loud thud woke him up. The captain’s voice announced they had safely landed in Budapest. Baggage claimed, money changed, the exit wasn’t that hard to find. “God this feels like watching Saving Private Ryan”, he said to himself, driving from the airport to his new apartment. The cabbie found the humour in the comment funny, although not many are ticklish around him.

He was devouring tandoori chicken in New Delhi, twenty four hours ago. Meeting friends, spending time with family. Being in Budapest felt somewhat lonely. Like he really was single. He was and still is. He missed his mom. The apartment was just like in the pictures. Huge. The next morning was ponderous. As Sundays have the knack of being. Trains of thought left on a never ending journey on tracks he had laid out over the twenty seven years of his existence. Still, the cappuccino tasted good. Monday came as if somebody had changed the channel.

A very warm welcome awaited on the first day of work. It would be one of many first days, he realized. He said his name so many times to so many people, that it started to sound funny in his head. It was by accident that he stumbled upon a particular passage while researching guns, it hit him like facing an already firing, firing squad. It made him realize that nobody was perfect, that we were all human. And we do regrettable things, but further realized that regret is nothing but realizing the difference between right and wrong.

The British in WWI established a ‘secret’ War Propaganda Bureau. It employed some of the most prolific writers of the time; Conan Doyle, Arnold Bennett, John Masefield, Ford Madox Ford, William Archer, G. K. Chesterton, Sir Henry Newbolt, John Galsworthy, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, Gilbert Parker, G. M. Trevelyan and H. G. Wells. These great writers wrote pamphlets and books promoting the government’s view of the war prompting thousands of men to join the British Army. Large numbers of these men were killed, including Conan Doyle’s son, Kingsley Conan Doyle. Rudyard Kipling also lost his only son as a result of this propaganda. His response was:

Common Form (1918)
If any question why we died.
Tell them, because our fathers lied.

He had plans to have a kid. He’d call him Jethro. Jethro’s father would be a writer, not quite the same league as Kipling, but a writer none the less. A writer that is a part of propaganda as well, writing pamphlets about how it is the ‘shit’ to spend thousands on plastic, when a hundred will feed a family for a month, including sending the little one to school. Sometimes he wonders, what difference would he make to the world. Yes, he would have worked on Amnesty International, lit a candle on HYPERLINK "http://www.lightamillioncandles.com" www.lightamillioncandles.com, supported animal rights movements, have his share of free postcards, worked day in and night out to find a message that will make the world stop global warming, quit smoking, feed all of Africa and half of Asia, free Guantanamo Bay prisoners and maybe eat once a day. That’s a selfless contribution right there.

Unless he has the keys to the cellblocks, he can’t do a thing and by the way no one is going to quit smoking either. He can’t change the world, but he can sell to it. And sell he bloody will. Make it a friggin’ artform. Go to school, study it, make it matter of life and death. Write until the ground shifts from under his CD’s feet. Fight over pencils at twenty seven. search for the internet a.k.a inspiration, lose complete touch with reality, look at billboards instead of the Taj Mahal. In other words, prove Oscar Wilde absolutely right, while totally losing sight of the message he wants to convey. Communication it seemed was not his cup of tea. Today might now have been his day. Tomorrow the sun would rise again, and if he is lucky shine a bit too.

Maybe when Jethro grows up, he will realize, his father wasn’t lying, he was only selling.

vrijdag 4 april 2008

Rhea Hanges, McGarry Bowen New York

Art director Rhea Hanges is a real award collector. During her study at the Miami Ad School in Florida she won a total of five Addy awards and got a nomination for the Young Guns and the D&AD. After her graduation she started at McGarry Bowen in the Big Apple. Rhea is a creative that not only thinks different but truly does things different. That's why her article about her week isn't an article, but -how typical for Rhea- an illustration. For a high resolution version, click on the illustration to go to Flickr and click on 'all sizes'.

vrijdag 28 maart 2008

Ron Cheong, Mindshare Guangzhou (China)

Combining your private life with working isn't easy in China, where working overtime is considered "all in a day's job". The Malaysian Ron Cheong is combining her advertising career with playing basketball competitions on top level. After her study in Advertising and Marketing Communication she freelanced as a designer in Malaysia. Then she travelled to China to become a designer/assistent art-director at Mindshare. It's just a matter of time before she'll make a leap forward in her career and become a junior art-director. Ron proves that when you have a busy life, it's passion that truly keeps you going.

It's been a rainy week. My last weekend was supposed to hang up, watching people walking all over the street for inspiration, getting ideas, etc. I ended up watching DVD at home. From comedy to violent types of movies. This is what I must do when I have free time. I can't stop to explore things that have to do with visuals, design execution, ideas. This is the homework for when I have to face my work. Visuals and ideas come from things that surround you in everyday life. And all these things kept me going every week over and over again. Because all these little things happening around you change every minute. This is also why I can overcome different task given to me by my CD and my Art Director.

Every piece of art work is improving week after week. At all time, I'm quite satisfied with the work I did the week before but when I recall my work from a week back it's just so-so or I don't think it's good enough. I have this feeling, that this happens to all creatives. Correct me if I am wrong!!

Well, advertising really makes me going crazy. Advertising is taking an important part of my life. When I'm enjoying advertising, I'm enjoying my life.

In every weekend, once I am out, I made a lot of friends. I love talking and I love to make someone else talk. They're usually quite curious about me and say I am lovable, open minded and the last thing they will ask is... what I do! I said I do Advertising proudly. Communication plays an important role in advertising. You want to know someone or you want to be known? It's just like you are being creative and letting people know your products.

donderdag 20 maart 2008

Yigit Unan, Duval Guillaume Brussels

Nobody can tell whether Yigit Unan is in fact a copywriter or an art-director. Yes, he worked as an editor for a music/urban lifestyle magazine after his study. But he is also a skilled illustrator and art-director who makes layouts as detailed as a technical drawing (which probably has something to do with his study environmental engineering). After the Miami Ad School he started to work as copywriter/art-director at Duval Guillaume Brussels.

Allright... Seems like this is going to be more difficult than I thought it would be. I am in fact writing for the blog of my team-partner and any moment now, this might turn into some sort of confession of a husband to his wife (considering the rather sophisticated sense of humor of the readers of this blog I feel comfortable by choosing this analogy. I hope I'm doing the right thing).

First I definitely have to fire away few sentences about the company I am working for together with Robin: Duval Guillaume Brussels. I seriously think that this place is one of the most amazing shops one could land in in europe. It's like, how should i put it, perfect. We might not have a PS3 attached to a wall projector and a 30.000 Watts of stereo output but we have a cellar that have rooms with sharks, an African national park, an old school speedboat ride, a kicker table, several hundred bottles of soft drinks and a car ramp. Physically, the company is a hollow tower with floors consisting of corridors which look up into the endless opening in the center. It's ideal for sniping purposes and verbal intercourse between different floors at once. The creative directors are simply amazing. They have more clients per CD compared to many other companies but are determined not to conduct the huge amount pressure they are under to their subordinates and still manage to be great at what they do. This is something one should appreciate. In the short amount of time is spent here, they already become the advertising people I want to become in 3 to 5 years.

Ok, back to the real question! This was a hell of a week which involved many sorts of excitement and mixed feelings. My favorite roommate -who, with 1m57 was the tiniest european girl I met during my 3 years of experience with the continent- moved out of our flat to get herself a new life in her hometown Paris. I am sad but, go Marion! Creative reflection of this event: none. Physical reflection: significant raise in the length of arms and fingers due to countless trips made between the flat and the van waiting outside while carrying furniture and clothes of a fashion designer girl.

I had a birthday on Monday. I threw a lightning-fast "cake eating and excessive drinking" party. Number of people I invited: about fifteen. Number of people who really showed up: three (out of which one I didn't even know but was glad he came). Creative reflection: huge motivation to work on self promoting. Physical reflection: dehydration, headache, massive raise in sugar level to be stored as body fat from the next day on.

My girlfriend traveled about 2800 km to pay me a visit. Creative reflection: tremendous temporary improvement in art direction skills to make from a regular plate of pasta a 200-dollar dinner in Hilton's Restaurant. Physical reflection: complete chaos in all vital systems following the suspension of most brain functions and a near-meltdown in hormonal system.

In the meantime I had to work on several ongoing projects, because I am very well aware of the catastrophic global results of failure in job. Advertising is a mechanism of chain reactions which can bring salvation to humanity or lead it to its doom. Absolute doom. So this awareness was the motivation behind the spectacular TV billboards we created for the bottled water client we had. Same for the campaign we are going to make for our car client and the radio station. We do this, so the World can circle around its axis for another 24 hours in safety and happily (Hmm, I read too much comics, don't I?).

As a last word for this week, I would like to thank capitalism for giving birth to consumerism, brands and advertising. Whenever I am in despair, I imagine myself trying to make an ad in a communist system for a bakery: choose bakery 48, it's so much closer to your house than bakery 42! Hurray!

donderdag 13 maart 2008

Zee Germans, BBDO New York

And whoever said New York wasn't safe?

Meet Zee Germans, Art Director Tim Zastera and Copywriter Patrick Herold. This creative "über-team" was one of the most awarded student teams in 2005 according to the Gunn-report. Since their graduation from Miami Ad School Europe, they worked for KING Stockholm where they shot over 35 commercials. They also found time to teach Miami Ad School classes for over a year, helping their students to win big in the student competitions. They have recently started their new job as Associate Creative Directors at BBDO New York. Do believe Zee Hype.

When you arrive at JFK airport, America shows its ugly face, immigration services. Being hoarded into long queues like cattle, your fingerprints are scanned and a photo is taken. Questions are asked, dirty looks given. First thing that goes through your mind, 'shit there goes my illustrious career in crime'.

But then everything just seems to fall into place. You get a taxi into town at a standard rate of $45. Well, I got an illegal cab which is less money and more fun. They have better conversation, but also far worse cars. I didn't realize that his rear window was smashed until I got in and we drove off. But he said that I could smoke inside the car, so I was sold.

I started getting a bit uncomfortable, wind blowing in my face, but then his mum called bugging him about buying a new fridge. At that point I knew he wasn't gonna rob me.

Enough self indulgence, let's hear more about ZEE infamous GERMANS.

Well, Tim and I left Sweden after a successful two year stint to find richer and greener pastures (not a money reference!). And the only place we could agree on was BBDO New York. I originally wanted to go to Tibet and join a group of monks that brew their own beer. Tim had offers to be Euroboy's stunt double in the next ten Turbonegro videos. Unfortunately I found out that the invitation email the monks had sent me was spam. There goes the 500 dollar participation fee (Can I get those back Robin?). Meanwhile, Tim found out that he was afraid of heights, fire, water and broken glass. Not really that ideal for a stuntman.

So we thought "Screw the World!" and became Associate Creative Directors at BBDO. Wow they have a title, well...it's America...everybody does. I guess it's better than "underwater ceramics technician"-Dishwasher.

The Agency is located in Midtown. Within the Agency we are located in a brown office. I guess they thought Germans like that kind of insurance brown. We asked someone if we could get an artist to paint the German Alps on our walls. The answer was quite simple: "Eh no, I don't think so!". Never mind we thought and ordered wallpaper showing a tiger jumping through a burning hoop, had second thoughts about it, and ordered the pandas eating bamboo. Just the right amount of gay.

Since we started here in January, we have been working on a multi billion dollar account for one of America's largest telecommunication companies. I am telling you it's quite a change of pace. They want a lot and they want it fast.

Which means long hours, no weekends, crappy take away orders, decline in health, incline in fat tissue, fights over silly things, make-up sex (just kidding), expensed cab rides, dusty PS3's, empty fridges, rusty ping-pong backhands, mid-day vodka shots, afternoon hangovers, no time for friends, loss of friends, no time for casual sex henceforth genitalia becomes redundant,...but selling something to the client will make all these things disappear or even reverse them:

Going out partying, hanging out with John Rambo at the viper room, death defying hangovers, everyday a weekend, michelin star restaurants, still decline in health, enough time for a personal trainer (fat chance! excuse the pun.), no more fights, casual sex with Porn Stars, ping pong battles a la "Balls of Fury", Friends (plus a few new enemies), ALL IN ALL A BIG FAT SLAP ON THE BACK.

That is the Zeitgeist from Zee Germans.

Find out more at www.zeegermans.com

woensdag 5 maart 2008

Svenja Sund, freelancer El Puerto de Santa Maria

Svenja Sund worked in New York for three years after doing university. So before going to the Miami Ad School, this German designer already knows what living abroad is all about. After working at Landor Associates in Hamburg she decided to go to Spain and become a freelancer.

Hola. It’s great to be here. Thanks for inviting me to write about my working week in El Puerto de Santa Maria / Cádiz in Spain. Yes, Spain! Olé! My name is Svenja Sund and after graduating from Miami Ad School and spending a few months at the design office of Landor Associates in Hamburg, I decided it’s time to leave the rain and clouds behind and move to the South of Spain. Having been here for almost 10 months and having assimilated to the Spanish life style and work ethics, it’s quite surprising this text made it onto Robin’s blog this quickly – or even at all.

About a week ago Robin contacted me via E-mail and normally this is what would have happened:
Robin: to email me and ask if I would like to write about a week out of my life as a designer in Spain.
Me: to send an enthusiastic reply about how great this is and how wonderfully I would write something and send it out within a few days.
Robin: reminding me a few days later that there’s a deadline and he would love to see the text by Wednesday.
Me: no answer.
Robin: it’s Wednesday and another e-mail to Svenja asking if it’s still going to happen.
Me: short reply, yes, yes, for sure -- sending it out right now!
-- a day later still no text from Svenja --.
Robin: ? (if he had my cell phone number he might have already called and I would have either promised to send it tomorrow, something just came up and he would have it mañana, or I would have hung up on him in the middle
of our conversation, or I would have sworn never to have received his reminders, or I would say I already sent it and be wondering why he didn’t have it, and sweettalking and promising him he would have it tomorrow).

To make a long story short, my text might have never made it onto this blog, even though I had the best intentions to write and send it. So it’s a good thing, I guess, that even under the Spanish sun some German traits such as reliability, accuracy and productivity don’t fail to come through.

Working and living in Spain, well, you just got a gist of how it can be. Apart from sun, beach, siesta and fiesta, here, as well as in other places in the world, hard work and good ideas are acknowledged and rewarded and get you ahead. Being a freelance graphic designer I have to kick myself to do what I love, and when I have done the hard part and acquired a new project, I can enjoy the ride in an environment where stress doesn’t exist – unless it’s home made of course. So without a lousy paying job in one of the ad agencies of Andalucia, I opted for doing my own thing. And it’s been good so far. Organizing your own day and setting routines like getting up at 8am and sitting down at your desk in your office with a window. Spending the morning with reading and answering e-mails, reviewing the to-do's, talking to your client in Hamburg to agree on the last changes to their logo, talking to the printer in Berlin to get a quote for a business card, sending out a bill for that dj sandbox, nyc web-design which was finally wrapped up and finished a few days ago.

Sooner than you can think the morning is gone and judging from the growl in your stomach it’s lunch time. Great! The sun is out and the next hour or two are spent outside eating and reading or sketching out ideas for a new website of an interior architect. Around 4 pm the second part of the office day starts. Back inside, the logo for Bee Designs, the interior architecture office, needs to be polished and the layouts for their website need to be further developed. Around 7 pm I am wishing I had some colleagues around for a more energetic environment to keep me going so I won’t get so distracted by online chit-chat. Ok, gotta pull myself together and put in a few more hours on Bee Designs and also evaluate an inquiry for a brochure design. Around 8:30 pm I am ready to call it quits for the day. With a previous deadline in the first half of this week where the dj sandbox website had to be finished and hours and nights were spent finding the right java scripts and getting them to run smoothly, let’s do more mañana. You know, creative work doesn’t fit in a set time frame and you gotta run with it while it flows. But then there’s also time for a break and having fun. If I had co-workers, we would go out for a few copas now. For me a beer on the terrace is good enough. Cheers and have a great creative day!

woensdag 27 februari 2008

Salvatore Russomanno, DMG Beijing

"What's it going to be, Salvatore?". After Salvatore's graduation everybody was curious where he and his German teammate Caroline Beckert were going to end up. He wasn't going to get back to Italy, his country of birth. The team wisely made a broad list of possible countries to work: Holland, Germany or Eastern Europe; the team was eager to work and willing to go anywhere. Still, it was a surprise that they would go as far as...China. Salvatore Russomanno is at the start of what might be the most adventurous possible career in advertising.

China is wild. That’s the right definition to describe the country where I am working as copywriter. Because you can take the taxi 10 times per day and pay less than 10 euros. Because the clubs are always full and the alcohol is cheap. Because you can eat great Chinese food and, if you desire it, even the exclusive chopped penis of a donkey. Because Chinese taxi drivers can drive you in very filthy areas if you forget to show them the card with your home address. Because you can work on a pitch for the national launch of a big brand, create the concept and then presenting it in front of the client. Even if it’s your first job in advertising. Because Chinese people clean up their throats making noise harder than a horse. Because the new Chinese TV-tower seems to be conceived by Escher.

Because all the web sites that allow you to create blogs, like blogspot or typepad are censored by the government, and I won’t be able to read this blog. Greetings.

dinsdag 12 februari 2008

Peter van der Helm, PH/Law Amsterdam

Businessman, art-director, managing director, designer, noisemaker: whatever Peter van der Helm is, you know for sure that he's never sitting still. After winning his first award at the age of 24, he continued to surprise people. He started his own agency from scratch and is now co-operating with the network agency of Andy Law. Two years ago, he proved all his critics wrong by winning a Cannes Lion in the category outdoor.

First let me introduce myself. Robin and me are former colleagues, we used to work together at McCann-Erickson. It was my first job as a junior art-director and his first one with me. Both very stubborn, but always having a beer at 17:00 sharp after a day of fighting. Of course Robin came to be one of the most succesfull copwriters in the world. Respect. Here we are just trying to make a living and having fun at the same time. Which usually pays off.

Eh....what happened in my week.....eh.....just came back from Brasil. Although 'just'.......a few weeks back actually, but right in the middle of producing the images for the campaign which we shot in the middle of the Amazone. So, I'm still after-enjoying. The Forest Stewardship just became our new client in the end of last year. Working extensively for both Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth has proven to be a good thing. Because of this, and because we eliminated all the other agencies in a pitch they choose us. Nice client, nice work. About the work.....it was hell getting it. After talking to 7 photographers in Brasil who all tried to convince me that digital Photography is the way forward I got a bit angry and bought a Mamiya 645 myself. Of course I love photography and worked extensively in school with it, but I do not consider myself a photographer. So my phonebill rose to immense-never-reached-before heights when giving myself a crash course photography with one of my favorite Photographers (Rik Balder) on the telephone whilst standing 20 meters above the ground in a tree on the edge of the Amazone testing the camera before the real work. All good, the pictures came out swell.

Last week we started production of the material consisting of a long-lasting campaign under which we attach several short ones to reach the public we want. The campaign consists of postering, ads, a viral idea and in-store happenings together with the partners that sell FSC certified wood (do-it yourself stores, gardening stores, etc.). We even revised their old pay-off. Can't tell you to much about it, the campaign will start in a few months. With this mail some of the pictures....bad scan but you get the idea.

Next to that we had a presentation at Group 4 Securicor which is the biggest security company in the world. We we're already working for them, and now they asked us to do their overall campaign. It took us already 6 months to revise all their problems and the results will be shown in the campaign we are tinkering with now. Security business seems boring but I can assure you it is not. My nephew works for them and after talking with him I even wanted to be a security officer! Seems I'm stuck to my desk telling everybody how great it is. But it is! Can't tell you about it yet......the concept direction and the strategy got approved and now it's on with the rest. Print is something they are in already and the internet will be playing a big part as well. Not to forget Radio and TV which we will be shooting at the same time, but first things first. Rome wasn't build in one day either. Aran, one of the sketch artists Robin knows as well is a regular face in the office so he was here last week (and weekend) sketching for G4S. The client approved everything we did the day after the presentation and now we are focusing on the next one this Friday. Expecting the campaign to launch end of March if we can run that fast.

Also, I had a jurymeeting for the Art-Directors-Club-Netherlands this week. Last year I got so angry with the results (of the annual award show, red.) that I sent them a disappointed e-mail the day after. So if you want to get in the jury....open your mouth it seems.....Maybe my mail had a bit to do with a tragic death in my friends circle that day or it was the bottle of wine. Or maybe I was just pissed of that our Cannes winning idea didn't win local. No matter what it was, it made me send them a really long e-mail. Which was, to give an example, about not giving the 'a little less gravity' commercial or Nike from Wieden & Kennedy silver and not gold. After speaking with some people where the reply was "I can do that also with that budget". This makes me laugh because NO YOU CAN NOT DO THAT WITH THAT BUDGET and it's hardly a way to judge things on. This is exactly why they get that budget because they CAN do that. They make those kids run to the store and buy the shoes and I loved the commercial.....superb idea. I think the Dutch advertising world is much too busy with the Dutch advertising without looking what great work is done for overseas....even within our boundaries. But the jurymeeting was nice, they put me in interactive, no idea why. Good discussions and I'm looking forward on judging the actual work.

Also I had some meetings with young creatives since we are growing very fast. This took a lot of my time but I am allways willing to make time since I know how hard it was to make my first work. Besides, I consider myself to be a young creative still.....hope it never dies!

This week we had a new Designer making testruns here, her name is José Meulemans. She did some really good work on the FSC campaign and was a lifesaver in making work for Powerplate International. She was art-director ar FHM magazine so we can make dirty jokes about women all day long without her being offended. Our chief designer Jan Bol had some time of working on an album with his band Junkbeat. Came back last Monday with a strange smile on his face.....looking forward to hear the results.

Tomorrow my day will consist of FSC and going to make agreements with a radiostation. So it's pretty busy. If you want a relaxed job, don't work in advertising. If you're not able to deal with things going wrong, don't work in advertising. If you want to have a job where you get beaten, spit upon, talked about and which is personally rewarding..... do work in advertising.

donderdag 7 februari 2008

Dominik Maass, KemperTrautmann Hamburg

Before going to the Miami Ad School Dominik Maass worked with mentally handicapped people. Which is actually a good background for advertising, where people are plain crazy. After Dominik graduated the agency KemperTrautmann was smart enough to offer him a job. Read all about his first week.

I remember my enrollment at the age of seven: out of my school cone (it’s what children in Germany get on their first day in school, filled with small toys and sweets) came the head of a plushy clown doll. I found it funny.
Today I know it was the sign, that I end up in advertising.

At my first day at Kempertrautmann, my mom didn’t bring me to the agency and I even didn’t get a school cone or better: agency cone. But a nice flower which is still on my table, dying, and a guide about my new agency. It was written with positive thinking and encouraged me. I mean I was already full of animation, but this text motivated me even more. I had to pee.

A bit later then I was shown my office. To be honest, I didn’t expect to get an office. Me, the junior copywriter. A childrens room with terrific toys from clients was what I was thinking I would get. And to share it with other juniors. No, my teampartner and I got a nice office on the CD floor. That was already better than any school cone, and better than my first day in elementary school, where I had to share a room with 25 mates.

The people and the building are really nice. I didn’t have the time to talk with the building until now, but I sure will do that soon. It’s a glass house in the centre of Hamburg, near to Gucci, Prada and a shop for carnival called „Fahneneck“.

The first day passed by really good. Writing headlines for Edding was one of the jobs, followed by writing lines for Comedy Central. The next days then showed me, how real advertising daily routine looks like: one job after the other. BAM! BAM! BAM! The timetable of my second day looked like this: Comedy Central, Siemens, Comedy Central, Siemens, Siemens, Siemens.
Already at my internships I recognized, that agency life is so not always Cannes, Cannes, Cannes. At the Miami Ad School we got trained to do award advertising. Real life looks different. I’m sure you know that! BUT: we get our opportunities and are allowed to do fun and award stuff freestyling at KT. PLUS: I am getting used to daily life advertising. And eating Indian food for lunch.

As Niklas’ points for driving too fast got deleted, I think they put his points as kilos on my weight. But I am sure somewhere out there, in Hamburg Centre, there will be a salad place. I will check it out! Or ask a turtle.

woensdag 30 januari 2008

Menno Kluin, Saatchi & Saatchi New York

Fellow Dutchman Menno Kluin is one of the first graduates of the Miami Ad School Europe. And he's by far the most successful one. Since his graduation he works as an art-director at Saatchi & Saatchi New York where he won a total of 9 (!) Cannes Lions. Last year he was the most awarded art director in Creativity Magazine. Despite being really busy, Menno still made time to write about his week.

Here it is.
And it will be like my week.
Written stressed, rushed and maybe sometimes confusing.
Monday to Friday "reply all" E-mails, meetings, conference calls, presentations and lunches.
Sometimes I wonder if it's possible to forget how to be creative.
When was the last time I actually did an idea?

This week is really about getting things done. Writing more mails than humanly possible. Running up from the 18th floor to the 15th floor. (where the Saatchi studio is. Whoever thought of that should be shot) Yes there is an elevator, but it's just too slow. Comping boards for spots. Comping roughs for presentations, finding money, finding photographers, finding illustrators, finding directors and hopefully finding some time for Guitar Hero (see picture).

This week was also about pitching beer, glamourizing hair, a candy that turns your mouth blue and a portable yogurt. In a weird way the glamourizing hair was the most fun. Although the other ones seem sexier its always nice to do something on such a hardcore selling packed goods product that has been around for ages.

This week is even more chaotic than usual because Paul Schulman, our creative manager who controls the lifes of 40 teams, is on holiday and Gerry Graf is still not here yet. Tony Granger our previous CCO quit some time ago to become the worldwide creative director at Y&R. Chaos is supposed to be good for creativity, but not if creativity consists of so much management. But when Gerry gets here I am sure things will calm down again.

But I shouldn't forget to actually write about creativity. And the fact that Gerry Graf is coming made me think about the following: the next couple of months is going to be interesting because my specific type of creativity will change. Gerry is a completely different CD than Tony (big visual) and therefore it seems logical that I will have to change my style as well. At least let's hope so because his work on Combos, Skittles and Snickers is great. Would love to have a spot like that on my reel.

This week was as well about realising for the first time ever how much sugar is in things. Maybe common knowledge to the rest of the world but it still came as shock to me. Ketchup has about 60 cubes. 1 Liter coke about 50. (if my calculations are correct...)

That was it.
My week.