Sunday, July 22, 2007


Sorry for reporting back on this so late but the weather has been to good to be inside – right.

This AHA! was great, lots of people, different people, more people than last time, thanks everyone for coming around! Thanks to my dear friends from creativistan namely Reinhard, Christos, Sara and Oksana for organizing this together with me!

Besides mingling, chatting and drinking we tried this time to find the ultimate answer on how make life more meaningful. We asked everyone to tell us their secret wisdom of life on an AHA! fortune cookie paper. They did. While people were reflecting heavily about their contributions to what is now know as the 'AHA! way of life', sadly, someone nicked Charles' bag and Lauren's iPod. Have a look at the pieces of wisdom they sacrificed to write:
  • 'It's all about the people' Renee
  • 'Don't scream at a deaf person' Camilla
  • 'The path is hard, but the butterflies are flying' Julien
  • 'Star today what you've planned for tomorrow' Christos
  • 'Stand on the steeple and piss on the people' A.J.
  • 'Always try to remember peoples names, it's just polite, sadly I remember no ones!' Damien Knowles The Kiwi
  • 'Going down every little helps' Juliana
  • 'Don't get caught in the shower when a fire alarm goes off...' Ann
  • 'You are going to have lot of sex, but no tonight!' Anonymous
  • 'Don't shit where you sleep!' Agatha
  • 'Your shoes will watch your shadow so polish them,
    otherwise you will lose your shadow.'
  • 'Arts Lunga – Vita Brevis. If you can't do the best why even bother with the rest?' Oksana
  • 'A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.' Ray
  • 'Peace still works.' Nina
  • 'The yellow snow is the tastiest. Don't listen to the rest.' Peter Brown
  • ' A Jelly Baby walks into a bar – bar keeper says what's that smell?
    Jelly Baby says 'Oh Fucking all sorts!'
  • 'To thine own self be true.' Lauren
  • 'An idea is like a leaf that needs rescue from the wind' T.C. Jeeves Basu
  • 'You can't always get what you want.' Charles
  • 'Don't take yourself to serious! Seriously.' Marco Warstat
  • 'Pigeon, oiseau à la grise robe, Dans l'enfer des villes, à ma vue tu te dérobes.
    Tu es vraiment le plus agile'
  • 'What if OK isn't OK? If this was true, no-one would ever be happy.
    Strive for everything, but there is value in being content'
  • 'The Picture has a moustache. It's how you perceive it.' Matt
  • 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.' Tam
  • 'A book tightly shut is nothing but a block of paper' Ray
  • 'The path is long indeed, but the door at the end is not Blue.' Wal
Enlightened? We hope so. We can't wait for the next one! See flickr (or facebook) for more pictures. And come along to the one in august. AHA!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Feedback on the Hummer strategy

A month ago Jai and I submitted our entry for the Advertising Planning School of the Web, a strategy for Hummer. Now we've received feedback saying:

'What I find interesting in this is that just like Seb, you’ve identified a bunch of really interesting ideas and then went for the most ‘creatively pragmatic’ direction which is basically a “FUCK YOU” to people who think HUMMERS are for gas-guzzling, gun-toting wankers.

I am all for pragmatism and boldness in creativity but at the heart of your idea is an advertising concept rather than something that would achieve motivation regardless of communication - and whilst it would generate tons of PR, awards and talkability, it would not necessarily translate into sales.

Saying that, you are the only ones who really took on an ANTI-ENVIRONMENTAL approach … and while that would probably work VERY well in some countries/cities [Texas?] in alot of other markets, we felt the social-pressure to be ‘responsible’ may actually minimise sales rather than increase them...'

Very good constructive feedback, we fixed some parts of the strategy and maybe there will be a campaign for my book out of it. Thanks Rob and the judges for the thoughts and I'm waiting for the next assignment! You can read the whole feedback here on Rob's blog.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


A dear reader told me that today's campaign magazine (13th July, 2007, page 5) published a snippet out of the 'Street Creative' post about creative teaming. First time in campaign, yay.

It shows two things. First, someone is actually reading my blog and not only looking at the pictures and second, the creative team of today (or the future) is a rather interesting topic. While I wrote about only two factors (art director + copywriter) imagine how tempting it would be to debate what other ingredients (planner, digital expert) you could throw in to spice things up. I think the idea is everything, almost. Without the necessary skills (art + copy) it won't stand out in today's clutter. But real ad world (is there something like this?) is different from my situation. If you're trying to get a placement and the first job, execution doesn't matter that much. At least that's what they say. Great execution is a good bonus, but without the 'big idea' it doesn't matter. Imagine how crappy a Sony balls three frame storyboard would look like drawn in a student book...

What I've learned so far is that agencies expect young creatives to have lots great strategies in their book. Maybe I should try teaming with a planner?

By the way: If you look at page five, it says 2006, all other pages in this magazine say 2007. Spooky, friday the 13th stuff.

AHA! July 2007

AHA! the sequel. Unlike in hollywood, a good one. We're inviting all kind of creatives from different industries to share ideas. Come along, meet interesting people, have a drink, have a chat. Bring friends.

Wednesday, 18th of July 2007 in Commercial Tavern (upstairs) E16NU London. From 19.00 on. Looking forward to see your there!

Have a look at flickr for pictures from June's AHA!

Thanks a lot to Sara for the invitation design

Art Car Boot Fair

I enjoyed a whole lot of Brick Lane on Sunday. My quest – to gather inspiration. After checking out Nike's brilliant exhibition / brand experience Made for Skate and a graduate show about Transportation design I visited the Art Car Boot Fair – 'a day of art and frivolity'. It was east London at its best. Besides having lots of cars (seriously retro-pimped) on the Truman brewery backyard there were dozens of small art projects going on everywhere.

Vauxhall did a great job sponsoring this event and appeared as a rather brave car brand turning some cars into great art pieces.

Most of the stuff selling at from car trunks was crap. In a good way. If you visit Brick Lane often you might got the idea that Crap is Cool. It's the new Black. (for more advertising cliches join here).

The whole crap thing shows a great deal about the current materialized lifestyle of people. We want more things, just to have things, we're even ready to buy crap. The only thing missing on these Pooh Cakes is a flashy Brand mark!

After they sold London to you last year, an art group were selling the world. For just three pounds per country. Sadly, I was too late to buy Kazakhstan, my home country and free it from Nazarbayev. Still, I've get my hands on Ukraine. Odessa could be a nice retreat during summer time. I will give this country as a present to my girl. Muah!

Carbon Footprint anyone? An indication that people finally start taking the whole green issue seriously.

For the loners, you missed the chance too buy real love. In bottles. I wonder how 'love potion no.9' is different from no.2. Platonic love?

Action Figures for adults, GI Joe taking care of Guantanamo bay – Great stuff.

There was a huge amount of stands selling drinks (the fun ones). Personally I thought 'The End of the World is nigh' is quite a reason to have one at 2.00 pm on a Sunday – Cheers.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Continue, don't stop

This is for a good friend of mine. He chased his dream, but he failed to grasp it at the last second. I hope he gets his thoughts together and won't give up. Learn from failure. I do. I had a bookcrit at W+K on Thursday, it went okay. Okay in a bad way. If you're there you don't want it to be OK, you want it to be fucking great. No one can help you with that, it's up to you, and you have to sweat for it.

Hey, Life's too good to be sad about. There are always opportunities. Everywhere. Whatever you do, it's a step forward. Only when you stop doing, that's when you move backward.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Street Creative

This topic has been covered by Scamp very good. I'd like to share my thoughts on it anyway since I'm in this situation right now.

It's tough. Choosing a new creative partner is difficult. You kind of know what you want, and what you don't. You meet a lot of diverse people, you do some trial working. Some stuff is good, some isn't. There are so many elements to it. First, it seems easy to find someone you get along with. It's much harder to find someone who you great work with. I think a good partner should be able to teach you a thing or two, and the other way round as well.

On one hand you want someone different than you, but then you need to be on the same level when it comes to liking certain ideas. Discussing and arguing is cool, when there is an agreement at some point. How different can you be? How similar should you be? It seems to be a rather difficult balance act. But to get that sweet spot right is crucial.

Having a partner who shares the same view on great advertising, is that good? Do you go with someone you do smart work with, or work that is more creative and 'different'. It all depends on where you want to end up agency wise.

Taking enough time for that process is important. Don't get me wrong, you shouldn't be sitting around for months and waiting for the perfect match to come along – always keep working. Work with as many people as possible, get the big picture. Be proactive.

Another point currently discussed with many of my friends, does the old formula or art director + copywriter still work? What about two art directors? Isn't that very helpful if you're going above the line where execution has to stand out and not much writing is necessary? Can art directors write headlines? Yes they can. Can they do it as good as a writer? It depends. I'm very curious about opinions on that.

Frankly, once you've been working with someone for a certain time and then you're on your own, it's kind of fun. But it gets boring after a while and you see the point in having someone on your creative side again.

In the end, it's all down to your gut feeling. A person who listens to you, and you like to listen to, is very valuable. Someone who is able to inspire you, is as well. It's and endless topic. Share your thoughts if you like.

Let's see where the creative partner search takes me in the end. I'm curious. It's exciting. Change is good.


This is my 103rd blog post. StatCounter says 13.000 people visited the site so far. I very much enjoy writing and will do more of it once some stress cools off. Stress? I'm having a bookcrit at a great creative agency on Thursday, didn't have a crit for some time now so I have the jimjams – but in a good way! Still, there are things to prepare and that's very enjoyable. I'll write about it, once it happens. Also the next AHA! is coming up soon. Good things to happen.