Diederiekje Bok grew up in The Hague, for the most part in the gallery of her mother – portrait painter Marike Bok. Regardless this inspiring background, Bok decided to choose for a relatively rigid study after secondary school; Fiscal Law. During her studies however, her genes started to itch and she subscribed for the Academy of Arts in Rotterdam – evening hours. It is this double education that taught her the importance of a balance between sense and intuition. She still uses it today. Her professional career started as a copywriter at KesselsKramer. In 2001 she founded John Doe with Hein Mevissen. A versatile couple; they create advertising, produce and direct commercials (Mevissen also directs for other agencies), and invent new products. Their first product was released in 2005: ‘Water From The Supermarket’. And most recently they very successfully introduced John’s Phone – dubbed ‘dumb phone’, since it’s the simplest mobile phone on the market.
As a kid, what were your most creative moments?
When I made a ‘nose-warmer’. It was a great invention for the long bike ride to school and an instant success, I had to make them for everybody in my class.
Which creative effort has given you the most satisfaction?
John Doe Amsterdam. From the start we have one important rule: We like to get the most out of every assignment. Big or small, we have to be proud of it.
What fascinates you?
Disgusting taste fascinates me. I am very much attracted to bad taste — it is much more exciting; it makes me long for the perfect taste.
Who is your favourite creator?
Clint Eastwood and Hein Mevissen. I like people who work hard an take their jobs seriously, but also know there’s always time and space for a good laugh. Humor is appropriate and well timed. Humor is irony, in the detail, in boring things, and in taking the piss out of yourself.
When did you decide, I want to work in advertising?
When I bought my first Nike’s. My best friend had them as well and she could run very fast. But the funny thing is that she made her own Nike’s. They were fake, but she was running so fast that I could never see her Nike’s weren’t real. It was around this time when I started to draw logos and became fascinated by advertising.
What’s your most important lesson in advertising?
Don’t be a copycat. Push yourself to be original.
What’s the most exciting ad project you ever worked on?
Our Phone: John’s Phone. It is amazing to come up with an idea, make the first drawing, finding a factory in China and then (years later) someone in Siberia, US, Australia (everywhere) is ordering our phone.
What’s your favourite place in Amsterdam?
Wherever my laptop is.
What would you like to change in Amsterdam?
Nothing. It amazes me how easy it is for things to change, how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new.