Amsterdam Ad Blog

Euro sign of the times

August 5, 2014
Wouter Boon

Two girls, one dog

There was a bit of a stir the past weeks over the Radio 538 ads; two girls licking a German wiener. I am guessing that many people found it shocking because they imagined it to be a human wiener – especially when seeing the pixelated one. Before I got wind of the public outrage, I passed the ads several times on my bicycle. I shrugged my shoulders and thought: typically Radio 538. Target group: teens and tweens, probably. Brand essence: bad taste. Although at 538 they probably call it ‘playfully provocative’ or something. I didn’t see the harm and was surprised that everyone was talking about it. Especially since I very well remember the 538 ad with the guy breakdancing on his dick. Nobody was talking about that. It makes this one look rather corny. More…

July 31, 2014
Maaike Schutten


Imagine you’re looking for a gift for your dad. Your dad being a typical dad, this is quite the task. He already has a pen, a room full of books and about 200 ties. As you stroll though the city, examining socks, unpractical gadgets and shower gels, your mood degrades from cheerful to desperate. You end up in a DYI store, gazing at a lawn mower, mumbling to yourself: this is ridiculous; he doesn’t even have a lawn. Let’s just get the man another tie.

However, as you cycle back to the clothing store for men of a certain age, the lawn mower is everywhere. It’s standing at the crossroads, waving at you. It’s in the dadwear store, pushing itself next to the ties, lamely joking: ‘IT’S A TIE!’ Back home you switch on the tv. There it is again, blocking your view, only leaving after counting from twenty to one. More…

July 23, 2014
Maarten Boer


I learned that foreigners are less important than Dutch people, when they die. The fatal ‘Buk’ rocket killed 298 people. More than half of these were Dutch. As a consequence, all the Dutch media kept asking about the exact number of Dutch casualties. That number took over the entire conversation. How many? Everyone at the press conference gasped in shock. Clearly, this number made the disaster much, much worse. It was pretty bad for Australia too. They came in second, with 28 dead.

Wikipedia tells me that news isn’t news unless it is relevant and unexpected. As it turns out, things that happen to people in other countries usually aren’t that interesting. (Except when Suarez sinks his teeth in someone. He makes the headlines every time). More…

July 2, 2014
Robert van der Lans

Become your own client

“Great idea, you should actually go for it and make this happen.” An advice we every now and then give when a student comes to The Oddshop with an idea in their portfolio that is worth a better future than staying in the Herschel bag where it just came from.

A lot of student portfolios contain very interesting business and product ideas. And when it’s good, we always advise them to start pursuing the dream of actually creating it. Why not? When you search for the right production partners that are willing to collaborate and are embracing the concept, it could actually work out. More…

June 6, 2014
Joanna Krolikowska

Put your right foot out

Mornings are important. The way we start a day often determines our moods. Running late can make us alert at best or make us feel like everything decided suddenly to be against us (one or several of morning tragedies can be: socks that can’t pair up, lack of coffee capsules, sour milk, flat tire etc). And with that kind of thinking all of our coming daily tasks can look like Mount Everest – too high to climb over and reach the desired goal. On the flip side, if the morning wakes us up with good news or just simply a positive feeling, we have no doubts in the truth of the statement: “Impossible is Nothing.” People for a long time have been interested in influencing the mornings to give it the colour they need the most during the day. Three possible paths to choose from are: Calming, Structuring or Energising. More…

May 23, 2014
Wouter Boon

Made in Holland

This column was presented on stage during the first edition of Dutch Digital Design

The theme of the very first edition of Dutch Digital Design is Made in Holland. This might sound as a somewhat nationalistic theme, but rest assured, the organisers of this event are quite progressive and even internationally orientated, so this event is not about xenophobia. Made in Holland is actually a first attempt to define our Dutch Digital Design.

The question I would like to answer in this column is: What makes our digital work distinctively Dutch? More…

May 21, 2014
Joris Kang'eri

Hate what you love

I remember my first assignment at my first job. A moment filled with that wondrous mixture of trepidation and bravado that only a rookie could possess. This first foray saw me try all the tricks at my disposal. Inevitably I went through a phase of being pissed-off at myself for not being able to crack the problem in the first two hours before finally reaching the review table hoping that what I had was it. In retrospect, jumping in at the deep end, not knowing where I would end up yet making it out successfully – that made each day a thrill. More…

May 7, 2014
Maaike Schutten

Well deserved?

‘t is the season to be jolly and gather some awards, during the hundreds of festivals and ceremonies around the world. Awards for the best commercials, virals, interactive campaigns, innovations, print ads and [add your favourite category here].

Every year, these awards are claimed by far more people than have been officially credited. Partly, this makes sense, as sometimes agencies ‘forget’ to mention freelancers who worked on the project. Being a freelancer myself, I know the feeling. Lennon/McCartney shine brightly, but you know the song wouldn’t have worked without your inner George. Of course most creatives quickly correct this error by proudly updating their portfolio. More…

April 2, 2014
Robert van der Lans

Your portfolio is f*cking amazing!

A few weeks ago my mom started cleaning up boxes and bags stuffed with bits and pieces from my life in college. When I started sorting them out I ran into a pile of folders filled with research about the ad agencies and creative directors that appealed to me back then. Like a true detective I mapped out all the inspiring agencies; who was working where and who made that stunning new ad I loved so much. I kept track of the folders for years during college. All because I was keen on getting a spot next to a creative director who could teach me all the ins and outs about getting the best creative work out of any brief. More…

March 27, 2014
Axel van Weel

Euro sign of the times

I bought a Bitcoin. In fact, I bought two. For those of you having lived on the moon for the last couple of months: Bitcoin is a digital currency that isn’t regulated by any government, pretty much untraceable and therefore used primarily by bad people for buying guns, drugs and other shady merchandise. Have I descended into a crooked life of corruption, without morals or principles? Yes, but that was when I landed my first advertising job back in 2000. But it’s not the reason why I have bought Bitcoins last month. They also happen to be a very lucrative commodity. More…

March 25, 2014
Wouter Boon

Unlike Facebook

As editor-in-chief of Amsterdam Ad Blog I was recently wondering why the traffic on our website has slightly decreased compared to half a year ago. My first thought; our content is deteriorating. My second thought; there’s an increasing amount of competitive titles sharing interesting content. Both possible. But this couldn’t (just) be the case my intuition told me. After all, the amount of contributors and content on this platform is constantly growing, just as the amount of Facebook and Twitter followers. You would guess that a steady growth of content and ‘social friends’ can only convert into a growth of website traffic. Not so. More…

March 13, 2014
Astrid Groenewegen

The one minute remedy to boredom

I get bored. I get bored very easily. And I get distracted. I get distracted even more easily. In typing this one sentence only, I got up and got something to snack and browsed to Soundcloud to put on some Andreas Henneberg. And I wandered off some more. Thinking I should actually better eat something more healthy, thinking I should put some of the Henneberg/The Glitz mixes on my iPhone, thinking I should really do some running while listening to those mixes. But luckily I am not alone. There is a name for what I am. I am a consumer. A consumer of a lot of things. That’s is why I want to hold a plea for the Perfect Pitch as the one and only remedy to reach people like me and make us notice you and your brand. More…

February 26, 2014
Robert van der Lans

Let’s turn orange into Titanium

Yes, our king cheered like a 14-year-old skate hooligan. Our Olympic outfits looked like a fashion academy graduation project that went terribly wrong. And yeah, some of our men speed skaters have hair that makes them look like Slipknot fans that got stuck in puberty – they actually believe it made them more aerodynamic.

But I have to say the Dutch team rocked at the Sochi games. They were on fire. It’s almost like they were on some new kind of dope and it is called cheese. With only 41 participants they have managed to take in the fifth place in de overall medal race. An achievement noticed around the world. And of course there are always yellow bellies that ridicule speed skating in general, but it’s Olympic and that’s what counts. More…

February 20, 2014
Joris Kang'eri

Big ideas are dead… Long live BIG ideas

Clients (and ad people of a certain generation) love bandying around the phrase ‘big idea’. Often, it’s a way to not commit to a proposal that, ironically, might actually be amazing: “it’s the right insight…but I can’t see the big idea.”

Typically it’ll mean that you tick all the boxes on the media list from the media agency. TVC? Check. Print ads that look like the TVC? Check. A digital execution of some sort (“Can we make sure the TVC is in there?”). Check. In-store, OOH and banners that look like the previous three? Check. See? 500 different format executions. Big idea. Done. More…

February 18, 2014
Joanna Krolikowska

Learn to lose

For the last two weeks we have been hearing repeatedly the famous message from the Olympic charter:

The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play

Google, as well as many other sources were using it to ignite the spirit of equality, human rights and uniting power of sport events. I could not agree more with the premise of this statement watching my countrymen and women in their struggle to perform at their best’s.  More…

February 3, 2014
Joris Dommels

The silence of the phones

And then, with a deafening silence, the phone stops ringing. It happens to every freelancer. One minute you’re working your ass off, the next minute the phone stops ringing and you find yourself without work. Nothing. Niente. Nada. Zip, zilch, zero.

To most people with steady employment, an empty agenda sounds like heaven. Depending on your life phase you can either spend more time with your kids and actually get to know them by name, or have mescaline infused sweat hut sessions with fellow psychonauts on an otherwise boring Wednesday night. Like I said: heaven. But not for the freelancer. Oh no. More…

January 27, 2014
Maarten Boer

Why I Love Advertising

I Hate Advertising

So many brands interfering with the things I love to do. I love music, and I detest anything interrupting it. Especially commercials. Have you ever really listened to a radio commercial? Ever noticed how scary the tone of voice is? Wow. It’s either a used car salesman, a prostitute or a psychopath shouting in your ear. Seriously, if a stranger came up to you and started talking like a radio ad, you would either panic and run, or tase him and put him in a straightjacket. Some actually yell and scream at you. It’s ridiculous. More…

January 16, 2014
Marleen Wiedhaup

Amsterdam for dummies

Recently I received a PM on Facebook from this American trooper who was planning on moving to Amsterdam to pursue his dream-career in advertising here. Realizing that all Dutch sites on the Dutch are in Dutch, and the English ones are in Comic Sans, I decided to help the dude out. And by sharing the resulting dialogue I intent to support all disoriented expats as well as other minorities.

Dear Marleen,
I just finished reading your column on AAB and because your profile picture makes you look very willingly to please, I thought I’d email you.
Here’s the thing;
In 3 weeks from now I will be moving to Amsterdam to work at [xxxxxxxx] as a copywriter for at least a year. More…

January 6, 2014
Niels Vrijhoeven

Call Center Prank

Readers of my Amsterdam Ad Blog columns know that I am a strong advocate of what has become known in our industry as humanizing brands: the process of reversing the lack of trust in brands, by getting rid of brand mythology and showing the outside world what really goes down behind the shiny logo and dito TV commercials instead. Logically, the fact that the people of Amsterdam agency Pool Worldwide persuaded Dutch insurance company Centraal Beheer into a humanizing brand project filled me with joy. Hats off to both! More…

December 12, 2013
Astrid Groenewegen

Dicks will come

‘Dicks will come’ is a wisdom I want to give to you for a rock start in 2014. OK, but what the hell does it mean? Will there be an invasion of persons called Dick? To be honest, this question is build in to give the prude at heart some hope my title is actually decent. But no, I am sorry I have to disappoint you. No shred of decency here. I am actually talking about proper dicks – the physical kind. But stick with me, because it is important for making great creative work to get to the bottom of this wisdom. And it is not just about me trying to be a pervert or turn you into one. More…