The Dutch Railways (NS) probably has the worst brand reputation in the Netherlands. The most important reason is that their trains can’t stand bad weather and their fast trains can’t handle speed – typically they recently changed “NS Hispeed” into “NS International.” Even in commercials by other brands the NS is being mocked. And that’s quite sad, since traveling by train is actually pretty comfortable; you don’t have to be at the station 2 hours in advance, you have free wifi on board, you can carry around a bottle of water without it being treated as a bomb and it’s pretty spacious. So turning NS into a love brand through advertising is actually quite doable. Especially when using the feel good song Piano Man. It makes you spontaneously want to travel to London to see a Billy Joel imitator perform in ‘Ricky’s Piano Bar.’ With the theme “Where are you going today?” agency N=5 will most likely give the train some of its charm back. If only NS (and Prorail, responsible for the train tracks) can keep the trains going (on time), we predict better times for the NS. Directed by Willem Gerritsen (CZAR), shot by Marcel Zyskind, post produced by Glassworks and the sound was done by Massive Music.
Tag Archive: N=5
KPN, the Dutch former national telco provider, last year chose its new agency N=5 after a lengthy agency orientation/pitch process. Before that KPN worked with TBWA since 2006 – in that year launching the theme “Let’s connect” (‘Sluit je aan’). This new campaign launched on Monday is to both introduce the new brand theme “Voel je vrij” (‘Feel Free’) and tell the Dutch that KPN has 4G – all over the Netherlands. Ironically KPN’s daughter Hi (using KPN’s network) already told us so extensively. So it’s no news, really. Nevertheless, the song Feeling Good (made famous by Nina Simone), together with the smooth film does indeed communicate a new dawn. Directed by Michael Wrong and shot by Mark Bliss.
Yesterday, at the ADCN clubhouse, the light bulb (or ‘lamp’ in Dutch) nominations were announced. The big winners were DDB & Tribal with 35 nominations, TBWA with 29, and N=5 with 22 nominations. Especially for N=5 this is quite an accomplishment, since it is by far the smallest agency of the three. The most successful (digital) production agency was MediaMonks with 23 nominations. On the client side KLM is the big winner with 14 nominations. It is what happens when you ask every agency in town to create some sort of activation. Or rather, that’s what happens when you write inspiring briefings and choose the right agencies to work for you. Sweetie, created by Lemz for Terres des Hommes, won three nominations – a concept that is so BIG that it will probably win at every award show around the world. Two important things have changed this year; all ADCN members are allowed to vote and the ADCN has introduced a bronze light bulb, to decrease the gap between a nomination and an actual award. We can imagine that this is a tempting thing to do, handing out more light bulbs, but it will only cause inflation – that’s not us being critical, but simply how economics work. Then again, we live in the age of (digital) democratization, so maybe it’s just a natural course. The accessibility of the awards is probably also why this year, for the first time, we are allowed to leave our black ties at home when the definite winners are announced in Paradiso on 31 March. You can find the complete list of nominations here.
Mercedes Vitos are built for hard working men – yes, we’re sorry, you never see women drive a Mercedes Vito. According to Mercedes, especially the hardest working men deserve a discount. Hence this activation – “Heavy Labour Discount” – that determines your discount after having scanned your hand through your webcam. The more calluses, grooves, etc., the more discount – up to €9,000. Must be an ingenious piece of software that can measure those subtle things through a webcam. If your webcam works, of course – the app couldn’t find ours. Fortunately, we have manicured hands; we wouldn’t have gotten a discount anyway. Created by N=5 and built by MediaMonks.
We don’t come across commercials very often that we find really funny – read: use our kind of humour. But here is one. To support the pay-off that “Holland is getting smarter and smarter” (LOI offers educations in all kinds of fields) the trainee assumes the finance, legal, and technical roles within his company – after being asked: “Are you guys still there?” It’s not just a nice concept (that actually reminds us of a similar Tempo Team concept – a temp running a DIY store on his own) but especially the execution makes it spot on; the mini scenes, acting, interaction between foreground and background, and the perfect timing. Kudos for director Bart Timmer (Czar). Created by N=5, shot by Lennert Hillige, and post produced by Crabsalad.
This game links your mobile to your desktop and makes you experience what it’s like to Tweet, chat, and Like while driving. Sounds like a convincing concept. It was created by N=5 (concept and commercial) and Media Monks (game and sound) for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environmental affairs. But don’t play this in your car, cause it’s quite complicated to get it working. First we had to visit this URL on our mobile, then we had to fill out a special code, then we had to send a text message to our opponent (which was a random opponent, since we didn’t want to bother our Facebook friends), then we had to connect to Facebook on our mobile with our password, and then… ‘wrong password.’ So we gave up. But the film more or less conveys what the game is like, so we got the picture anyway.
Update: MediaMonks urged us to play the game anyway. After looking up our Facebook password, we did. We have to admit it does let you experience what it’s like to combine driving with mobile/social activities. MediaMonks is now working on a desktop-only version. But if you want to experience the real thing, try it in combination with your mobile
Even if you don’t speak a word of Dutch, you get the picture in this beautiful commercial for Burgernet (‘civic-net’). When you submit your mobile number to this government service, you get an alert when there’s someone or something that requires attention in your neighborhood. Created by N=5, directed by Lernert & Sander.
N=5 has beaten both DDB (NS’ previous agency) and TBWA\Neboko in winning the Dutch Railways (NS) account – earlier Publicis, FHV BBDO, and JWT left the train. What was dubbed the ‘pitch of the summer’ has thus come to an end after 3 months of pitching. According to the NS they were fully satisfied with DDB’s previous campaign “Ga mee” (“come along”), featuring Nick and Simon (a very Dutch singing duo) but had to officially launch a pitch because it has been working with DDB for already 6 years. If the NS was really satisfied with DDB, they could have chosen them. But they didn’t. In any case, hopefully this means that N=5 created something better than Wendy van Dijk showing her tits to Nick and Simon (WTF?!).
“For nature it’s vital that we switch to clean motors. That’s why we introduced the Euro 6 motor for trucks. Who could better persuade you to switch than nature itself?” O.k. we instantly get the picture and like the idea of having nature create a poster. But when the creatives realized this idea couldn’t be executed, because nature can’t be caught in the size of a poster, they needed to make a casefilm to communicate the concept. And we’re not too fond of casefilms, because casefilms never speak the truth and make us feel like morons. As if these animals really sponatenously crossed this poster – “wow! [shaky camera] a snail jumped on the poster!” Then again, maybe we’re too critical. If animals could talk they might have concurred that in this case the end justifies the means. And even if these animals wouldn’t, the Mercedes dealers (read: the target audience) probably will. Created by N=5.
We’re getting a bit tired of all the European Championship tie-ins. Especially because 90% of it is crap. This one – that might have been inspired by Bavaria’s ad property, the Dutch dress that was introduced 2 years ago – made us smile though. Mercedes Benz comes with a “charme offensief,” because they realize that selling German vans during Euro 2012 is a tough one – most Dutch are not too fond of the German Mannschaft. So with “die Frauschaft” – the female equivalent of ‘die Mannschaft’ – Mercedes hopes to please the Dutch. Your company can win “the best Germany has to offer” through the dedicated Frauschaft website; a big screen to watch one of the matches, together with these girls grilling ‘bratwurst’ and drawing beers. And if you still doubt the attractiveness of these girls, you should watch this video in which they sing ’Hup Holland Hup.’ This “reconcilement” was created by N=5.