KesselsKramer

Founded by Erik Kessels and Johan Kramer in 1996, this is one of the most creative agencies in Amsterdam – and Europe, for that matter. The agency, based in a church, is famous for not liking advertising awards and for its many very creative, non-commercial side projects. Given the broad interest of its founders, it is no surprise that Johan Kramer left the agency in 2005 to become fulltime film director. And though Kessels is still working full time for the agency, his photography related projects draw a lot of media attention. KesselsKramer’s best work was for Hans Brinker – it very effectively promoted the budget hotel as the greatest shit hole in Amsterdam. Other work was published in 2005 in a book called 2 Kilo of KesselsKramer.

Recent posts about KesselsKramer

A finger… In Almost Every Picture #13

We’ve often written about Erik Kessels’ accidental photography books, because we love the casual everydayness of them. Here’s a new one, from the series In Almost Every Picture. It’s book #13 already, and this time his photos feature a finger in front of the lens. The press release: “Over the course of this book, the… More.

Inspiration

A colourful collection

Following on from the appointment of KesselsKramer as the new European Brand Communications agency for C&A, we just found out that PostPanic is also part of the repositioning of the global brand. C&A Summer is the second in a series of retail films created by the PanicProgram (PostPanic’s special program nurturing young, emerging directional talent), in… More.

Review

C&A appoints KesselsKramer for European Brand Communication

C&A, one of Europe’s leading ‘fashion retailers’ (with a rather low cost image and ‘young at heart’ women as target group), held a pitch to develop the creative strategy for their European Brand Communications. In February 2013 Tribal & DDB Amsterdam won an international pitch amongst agencies from the UK, The Netherlands and Germany. And… More.

News

Opel Mantra

This time KesselsKramer didn’t make the world’s shortest commercial or smallest commercial, but the world’s longest teaser. Opel Mantra (no typo) is the first solo album by Awanto3, to be launched on April 4th at Trouw. The teaser, starring Awanto3 himself, shows the mantra of the Opel Manta; it won’t start. The trailer started on February… More.

Review

The Standard Calendar

We love this – a worthy piece for this blog to end 2013. KesselsKramer helped The Standard Hotel to make their 2014 calendar. To show the hotel is always aiming for perfection, it took the feedback from its guests as input for the yearly calendar. But, as the hotel likes to things with twist, it used… More.

Review

Hans Brinker gets an upgrade

After having proudly claimed to be the “worst hotel in the world” for years, the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel has decided to move up in the world; it has executed a series of upgrades. The hotel keeps customer service satisfaction in mind with its sweet wrappers on pillows, fancy “Out of order” signs, and the… More.

Review

The world’s smallest commercial

The 1% club is a club of people that donates 1% of their income, time, and knowledge to developing countries. The club asked The very small office of Johan Kramer to promote its cause and the agency came up with a commercial that only uses 1% of your screen. We’ve already seen the world’s shortest… More.

Review

KesselsKramer opens office in LA

Robert Fagan, David Charles and Eric Barrett, outside their KesselsKramer LA office Since this summer KesselsKramer has opened a new office in LA. KKLA, situated in a former communist bookstore in LA’s Chinatown, already employs 16 people, working for three different clients; Ubisoft, Museum of Comtemporary Art, and a liquor brand. KKLA is led by MD Eric… More.

News

Week of Children Books

To promote the Week of Children Books (‘Kinderboekenweek’) KesselsKramer and freelance art director and photographer Simon Wald-Lasowski craftfully created this character from real books. There’s also an animation – not adding much to these posters, for that matter.

Review

Museum Minutes

As you can imagine, the average museum visitor doesn’t spend much time studying the different works in the museum – apparently as little as nine seconds per work.
 Combine this with the fact that people spend much more time watching TV while using a treadmill – an average of twenty minutes – and 
you have… More.

Review

Floriade Almere 2022

The Floriade is an international horticultural expo that is held once every 10 years somewhere in the Netherlands. Next time, in 2022, it will be held in Almere. Togther with MVRDV architects (for the urban plan) and KesselsKramer (for the communication) Almere pitched and won the event presenting the province as a place where building… More.

Review

Album Beauty

At the moment Amsterdam photo museum Foam is exhibiting an ode to the vanishing era of the photo album told through the extensive collection of Erik Kessels, founder of KesselsKramer. The press release reads: “Once commonplace in every home, the photo album has been replaced by images that live online and on hard drives. Photo… More.

News

The new Ben is coming

Weird, but pleasantly weird. That was our first thought when we saw this commercial for telco provider Ben, created by Kumpany and directed by Hein Mevissen. The story roughly combines the tradition of Sinterklaas (the Dutch St. Nick) with the style of a Spaghetti Western. The protagonist is wearing Ben’s corporate colour and needs to… More.

Review

ADCN’s expat night; don’t take Amsterdam for granted

Last Wednesday the ADCN (Art Director’s Club Nederland) hosted a session in ‘De Kring’ on the Rembrandtplein dubbed ‘XXX Expat’ (XXX is part of the city’s shield), with the noble aim of bringing two parts of the Amsterdam ad industry together; the Dutch and the expats. Some would say these two groups are surely two… More.

Event

Budget hotel crowdsources budget advertising

Last time we judged KesselsKramer’s work for Hans Brinker more of the same. Well, here is something new. And we like it. This dedicated YouTube channel invites people to create some advertising for the Hans Brinker hotel – “the most discouraging hotel of Amsterdam”. The reason that Hans Brinker asks the crowd to help out,… More.

Review

fairly complicated

A very nice stop-motion film for Fair Trade created by KesselsKramer and directed by André Maat (hazazaH). The copy basically comes down to the fact that when you buy Fair Trade you are “fairbezig” (literally ‘fair busy’). It is clear that the commercial tries to persuade us to buy Fair Trade, but to know why… More.

Review

SORRY once again

In the series of tongue in cheek messages conveying the unattractiveness of the Hans Brinker hotel in the Kerkstraat, KesselsKramer this time conceived these freshly designed posters apologizing for the bad service. Let us be clear about one thing: the concept of positioning Hans Brinker as the crappiest hotel in Amsterdam is rock solid. It… More.

Review

Yoga, the new weapon of mass world peace

The good thing about working as an ad agency for small clients (with small budgets) is that your creative playground gets much more spacious. Big brands often don’t dare to stick their neck out, let alone go political – the consumer might turn against them! Not Lotte Yoga School; she hasn’t got much to lose.… More.

Review

Hans Brinker’s virtual receptionist

In the past decade KesselsKramer has made some great advertising for Hans Brinker; always convincingly underselling the Amsterdam budget hotel with a good sense of humour – making it very attractive for shoestring travelers. If it comes to underselling, this “High Tech” virtual receptionist with a constantly changing mood, does the job. It is a… More.

Review

Dance with Bashir

This film for Ben promotes a website that allows you to dance with Bashir. The webcam application that recognizes your dance movements was built by SuperHeroes and based on the commercial ‘Ben & Bashir’ by KesselsKramer – directed by Mijke de Jong. In the KK commercial Bashir throws his mobile phone away. When it comes… More.

Review

A love story in words, images, and scent

This week it is the national Book Week, an initiative of the ‘Collective Propaganda for the Dutch Book’ (CPNB). For this occasion CPNB asked Erik Kessels (KesselsKramer) and writer Christine Otten, to create an essay around this year’s theme ‘Written Portraits’. The result is Good Luck, a story based on a found photograph album of… More.

Review

Ben reconstructs user generated content

This is the concept of a new campaign by KesselsKramer for mobile phone provider Ben in a nutshell: if you are stuck to an extensive mobile phone contract and you can’t get rid off it, you might have an interesting story why you want to get rid of it. Tell your story through your webcam… More.

Review

The liberated mobile phone provider

Since a while now, Ben is the mobile phone provider that gives you freedom – via pre-paid services or flexible contracts. The female voice-over tells us that she doesn’t want to be stuck. Not to Holland, not to a boyfriend, not to anything. She wants to have the freedom to go wherever. “I am Ben.… More.

Review

Want to enlight someone with your mobile?

An online thingy for mobile provider Ben, created by KesselsKramer and (technically) realised by We Are Just. With the light on your mobile and a webcam the site berichtinhetdonker.nl (message in the dark) helps you to write an appropriate message to your friends in these dark days before Christmas. It isn’t easy we have to… More.

Review

Sinterklaas pops up in London

Who would have ever thought ‘Sinterklaas’ could pop up in London. Thanks to KK Outlet (KesselsKramers’ London office) he will. Sinterklaas is basically Santa Claus’ grandpa. The tradition originates from the 15th century when the poor could leave their shoe in church to collect alms. This event evolved into a shoe (or stocking in anglo-saxon… More.

Event

Holland screams for culture

With one of the most right-wing and conservative governments in Dutch history, ‘culture’ hasn’t got much priority anymore. This means shrinking budgets for “left-wing hobbyism”, as islam basher Geert Wilders from the Party For Freedom (PVV) calls it. As a result the cultural sector will be receiving 20% less from The Hague in the future.… More.

Review

The smallest shortest film

TNT postal service asked KesselsKramer to create a new innovation for stamps. The result is the ‘smallest shortest films’, a one second film that was cut in 30 stills to show as a set of stamps. The film, launched during the 30th anniversary of the Dutch Film Festival in September, was directed by Anton Corbijn,… More.

Review

Ben is as free as KesselsKramer

This 10 second commercial, called ‘Line dance’, shows that with Ben you are free, cause you never spend more than your prepaid fee.  In total KesselsKramer created 11 different commercials, appearing in series of three per commercial break. More precisely, the short films were created by third year Film Academy student Alain Friedrichs and photographer… More.

Review

Protest: cheap, but it gets you there

Long live Google images and stingy client budgets – after all Protest is a Dutch brand. You just need an editor and a shot of a snowboarder – wearing Protest gear, of course – that makes an incredible jump. That’s it. You don’t need a big idea, you don’t need a strategy, you don’t even… More.

Review

MINI Countryman; NEED to have

Finally! We’ve been waiting for this all summer! But we don’t actually mean the new MINI Countryman. No, we are referring to a piece of advertising just being awesome. Something that is so well made that your rational brain doesn’t have time to wrap itself around it. Your limbic system simply screams: NEED to have.… More.

Review

Ben is stuck

Though these two (“Trees and Bo”) seem to be stuck in this banner, “they’re not stuck with Ben”. Because Ben doesn’t do year-contracts. Ben is the mobile phone provider (the name translates: Am – as in ‘I am’) made famous by KesselsKramer in 1999 with a very distinctive campaign; “Ik ben Ben”. After killing the… More.

Review

KesselsKramer publishes book about tattoos

Though Zack McDonald recently left KesselsKramer and moved to Sid Lee, he wanted to share his last KK project with us. Together with Christian Bunyan, designer Angela Lidderdale, and Happy Pets, he created INK. The book is about tattoos and people’s often unusual motivations for getting them. The tattoo stories are quite diverse and well… More.

Review

Hello my name is NOT Johan Kramer

Johan Kramer’s new website, Hello I am Johan Kramer, is one of the funniest ‘under construction’ websites we’ve ever seen. Instead of simply saying ‘under construction’, Johan Kramer’s uncle Bob starts by saying “Hello my name is NOT Johan Kramer”. He explains why there isn’t a website. First uncle Bob hired a Swede, than an… More.

News

Hans Brinker hotel: Pay for a bed you won’t use

The Hans Brinker budget hotel likes to tout its ‘what you pay, is what you get’ (= not a lot) business model. Like in this banner, based on  ‘research’ that showed that 47% of the visitors don’t use their bed at all – they are too busy partying. Apparently the sleeping is often done when… More.

Review

Meet all the banners of the web

KesselsKramer is known for every now and then creating stuff that is not necessarily made to sell products. It just makes its employees – and the world around them – happy. Take for example this website, called ‘All the banners of the web’. It was sent to us by Zack McDonald from KK, with a… More.

Review

Never leave the water with Protest

This commercial semi poetically explains that 4000 million years ago our ancestors lived in the water permanently. So it’s only natural that some of us never want to leave it, once they’ve found the perfect surf spot. It is part of the new activation campaign ‘Never Leave The Water’ for surf and snowboard brand Protest… More.

Review

Guide to Rudeville sells rudechalets™

It is not always easy to sell snowboard  related products. The advertising needs to have a well balanced campy-hip-casual undertone – otherwise the picky crowd doesn’t ‘buy’ it. With this guide to Rudeville – a guide that should draw attention to the well equipped snowboard chalets, called rudechalets™ – KK Outlet (KesselsKramer’s London annex) did… More.

Review

Protest against powder obstacles

Here’s one of several mini films, made by KesselsKramer (KK) for Protest Boardwear. KK asked different young and upcoming filmmakers to give their own interpretation of Protest’s brand proposition: “Every obstacle to the slopes is an enemy of Protest. Protest exists to help riders overcome these obstacles.” This kind of collaborative creativity, where agencies work… More.

Review

J&B’s hunt for 24 carats of Aroma & Taste

This arty commercial was made by KesselsKramer (KK) for J&B Spain. When the whiskey brand asked KK to develop a ‘digital event’ this summer, the Amsterdam agency chose to translate the quality of the spirit into two icons representing aroma and taste; a 24 carat golden nose and mouth, weighing both a kilo and worth… More.

Review

The new age of storytelling

Last Thursday Boards Magazine organized their first European creative ‘workshop’ in Amsterdam. The theme of the day was ‘The New Age of Storytelling’. Alex Melvin (founder of 180 Amsterdam) and Mark Aink (general manager of S-W-H) co-hosted the day and invited an interesting mix of international and Dutch speakers with different creative backgrounds and inspiring… More.

Event

Protest: drop it all!

A few weeks ago we wrote about the TV commercial for Dutch snowboard /surf brand Protest by KesselsKramer – we weren’t sure about the tone of voice. Last week though KesselsKramer introduced what seems an entirely new theme; Drop it all. Great photography – done by Christian Weber. And with this theme it seems Protest… More.

Event

Protest gets you there

Protest – the Dutch (!) snowboard brand – asked KesselsKramer to help them with a new communication strategy, corporate identity and advertising campaign. Daniel Eskils, a Swedish filmmaker, was responsible for the commercial. We like the distinctive style and the idea that Protest helps you to escape boredom. We’re not sure though if the ad… More.

Review