Respect! That’s what we thought when we saw an advertisement in Holland’s leading Financial Newspaper FD, featuring a letter by Reinier Steures (strategist at Delight and co-founder of RA*W) and Rik Eysink Smeets (retail consultant), explaining their new concept Café De Zaak (‘Bar Business’). The letter starts with: “Don’t worry, we don’t want to sell you anything.” On the contrary, these guys give away free advice to small enterprises. In a bar, for one hour per client. The advertisement was paid for by BNR (Business News Radio – who will make a program out of it) and the beer by Heineken. Simple as that. “Why?” everybody asks them – including ourselves. Well, first of all because they like to gain experience in giving business advice, which, according to Steures, is so much more practical than giving advertising advice. Steures: “We’re not going to give them a slogan, but try to find the core of their problem.” Secondly, because they want to help the economy recover by getting small businesses back on track. Wait, we hear you think, that sounds like Buutvrij, working for free this summer. “A little,” says Steures, “but we started this project already a year ago. Besides, we’re not looking for new clients. It is really about the experience.” Well, an experience it will be; the ad already created a waiting list.
Amsterdam based jeans brand Denham regularly invites members of its creative network to join their House Guest Artist program and create a twist to their brand. Since Denham likes to cut jeans, they invite friends to take their scissors logo and ‘cut’ it into something new. This season’s collaboration came to live by chance: creative marketing agency Pirate gave Denham founder, and friend, Jason Denham a framed artwork combining the agency’s space-invader styled pirate and Denham’s distinctive scissor logo. “As soon as I opened it, I knew exactly what to do” says Denham, “Our team converted the artwork into a bold black-and-white T-shirt, and sent it off for sampling.” Then other goodies were designed in the t-shirt’s slipstream. The release of the scissor-pirate was celebrated at the Denham store on Prinsengracht last Thursday, and was also used as an opportunity to celebrate nearly 20 years of friendship between the brand and the agency. There is however a gentlemen’s agreement to avoid working together, says Denham, “because going to the pub would be much less fun…but we love the work that the Pirate boys do, so this is the perfect opportunity for us to come together to celebrate a longstanding union of creation and recreation!” The cherry on top of this campaign are the wide range of world class celebs wearing the t-shirt - with such a catchy logo, you would almost believe they do.
There are some activities that are still frowned upon; like going the movies alone, having a drink on your own or eating alone in public. Dutch social-design agency Marina van Goor and branding agency Vandejong joined together to break at least one of these social taboos by launching Eenmaal (in Dutch meaning both “one meal” and “one time”): the first one-person restaurant in the world, located on Bos en Lommerweg 361. The pop-up restaurant is essentially a normal restaurant, except for only seating one person per table. At Eenmaal “you are your own company.” Hopefully the place will not attract only singles, cause then, before you know it, people start moving chairs and tables and the concept falls apart. Vandejong developed this concept to give people “food for thought“, as Pjotr de Jong, creative director at Vandejong puts it: ”Eenmaal is a brand that is at the heart of today’s society – we wanted to demonstrate that eating in solitude can be a good thing”. The restaurant will only be open to the public on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th of June, so be quick to reserve! Though at least you don’t have to synchronize your agenda with your mates’.
We’ve seen fair coffee, fair chocolate, and, of course, fair trade in general. But we haven’t seen a fair phone yet. The reason is that to produce consumer electronics you need lots of resources and knowhow. What’s more, the mobile phone supply chain is so complicated and intransparent that making this commodity ‘fair’ is quite an ordeal. Dutchman Bas van Abel has bravely taken up the challenge. Together with an international team, Van Abel is now developing the Fairphone, a phone made with fair wages, conflict free tin and tantalum, and a replaceable battery – among other things. To succeed financially, the brand will only start production after having pre-sold 5,000 pieces. The quality of the phone is ensured by the many external parties supporting it; a technology startup investor, several NGO’s, and even parties like Vodafone and KPN. Though you don’t exactly know when you’ll actually receive your phone, it only costs €325, and comes with buckets full of karma. Reasons enough to help Fairphone take ‘fair’ to a whole new level. The commercial was created by Dawn - maybe Fairphone should ask Dawn to also design a professional logo.
Mercedes Benz together with FHV BBDO (idea), Pixplicity (technical), and Momkai (design) developed an app for your phone that centrally manages your energy usage, thus extending your battery life. Quite a nice brand utility, spreading the intelligence of Mercedes’ Blue Efficiency. On the other hand, to us it feels a little superfluous. We know how to extend the battery life of our phones – e.g. by turning off the data exchange. And 20% doesn’t make a world of difference. If you’re the kind of person that is often low on battery, you’d be better off buying an extra battery. Anyway, the app is only available for Android – probably because Apple doesn’t allow apps to mess with their settings.
What a perfect idea. A ‘KINGsize’ peppermint roll specially made for the coronation of Prince Willem Alexander. Instead of the usual brand name King (a Dutch brand that exists since 1922), it reads: “His majesty King Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands, Prince of Oranje-Nassau” – three new titles for the Prince becoming King. 1000 copies of this limited edition roll, measuring 1 meter in length and containing 189 peppermints, will be handed out to the public during Queensday – or actually Kingsday, as from tomorrow. The idea was conceived by Being There.
During carnival – which ends more or less today – it’s hard to make yourself understood. Not just because your speech might slur a little, but also because of the noise and the bartender being too far away. So, a device that helps you to write down your order over and over again – you can swipe the message clean, doesn’t need a mobile connection, and even carries your drinks, seems a soberly smart solution. Since Bavaria is based in Lieshout, in the heart of the carnival action, the ‘praatplaat’ makes an excellent marketing premium coming with two six-packs of Bavaria. Created by Natwerk.
A few weeks ago Natwerk started an indiegogo project to raise $25K for the UpperCup – what a great name! After getting too many serious reactions, Natwerk feared that people didn’t quite catch the agency’s sense of humour. A post from a Japanese blog, for example, mentioned that the UpperCup was a little too thick. So, they created a second film, featuring some improvements they made upon the crowd’s feedback. After having seen this second film, it should be quite clear that this project is a sympathetic hoax.
Agencies creating their own products is becoming a trend. Here’s another one. JWT Amsterdam created the packaging for a paraffin block to light your fireplace; The Greatest Fires in History – “Now in your living room” – depicting five different cityscapes on fire; Rome, Tokyo, Chicago, London, and San Francisco. The press release: “Though back in the year 66 AD, Rome burned for 6 long van days, you can now have it burned to ashes in just 3 hours. Whilst enjoying a good book and a fine glass of wine.” Ha!
We like agencies that make their own stuff. That is, not for a client, but directly for the consumer. That’s what brand new agency Sue Amsterdam did with Salon Désir, a webshop (or “e-commerce platform”) for luxurious lingerie. According to Astrid Groenewegen, partner at Sue – and as columnist on AAB a big advocate for design for excitement, executed ideas, and the importance of porn – the agency is now practicing what it preaches. Sue is all about adding brands to the world that actually make a difference for the consumer. To do just that the platform will even inspire its consumers – “almost like a magazine.” It should also proof that the agency understands the digital age, and it will accordingly deploy a conversion driven strategy that uses all the available analytics – monitored by the other partner Tom de Bruyne – and by constantly adapting the platform to its customers’ needs. Salon Désir should thus be the proof of the pudding for Sue’s raison d’être – to stay in the French mood a little.