McDonald's Turns Placemats Into Little Music Production Stations Connected to Your Phone

Wasn’t it fun when we were kids to doodle on restaurants’ paper placements with crayons? Well, McDonald’s has introduced a high-tech, musical version of that sort of play with McTrax—a snazzy placemat that acts like a little music production station.

TBWANeboko in the Netherlands created McTrax. The placemat, developed with This Page Amsterdam, uses conductive ink, a small battery and a thin circuit board with 26 digital touchpoints. You put you phone on it, download an app and make music with in-house produced audio loops, synths and musical effects. You can also record your own voice.

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TBWA Designs a Bike-Lock Poster From Pieces of Competitors' Broken Locks

To introduce AXA’s Victory bicycle lock, TBWANeboko scoured the streets of Amsterdam looking for other companies’ broken bike locks, and used pieces of them in this memorable poster and billboard campaign (which even has its own making-of video).

The cracked, bent bits of metal form letters that spell out AXA’s message about Victory—that it’s “The lock that should’ve been on your last bike.” A sleek, shiny new Victory lock plays a key role in this found-object alphabet, serving as the “O” in the Dutch word for “lock.”

“Holland is the country of bikes,” explains agency art director Rogier Verbeek. “Almost everyone has a bike. Or had one. Because a lot of them get stolen.” More than 300 get pinched there every day, “so if you own a bike, you probably also know the feeling of having your bike stolen,” Verbeek adds.

That made using the remains of rivals’ broken locks to create the typography a no-brainer. Often, such piece are “the only thing left when your bike is stolen,” Verbeek says. “Since Amsterdam is full of bikes—and people stealing them—they weren’t that hard to find.”

Alas, Verbeek speaks from experience, as his own bicycle—not protected by an AXA lock, he concedes—was stolen while he was working on the Victory poster.

“It got stolen from in front of the agency,” he says. “I was pretty bummed, since we were working on this campaign. It was a nice bike and my kid’s seat was on it. Hope the current owner gets himself a better lock.”

As far as Verbeek knows, no cycling enthusiasts or typography fans have stolen the poster from public display, “but it would be great if someone did.”

Client: AXA
Advertising Agency: TBWANeboko, Amsterdam
Agency: TBWANeboko
Art Director: Rogier Verbeek
Copywriter: Matthijs Schoo
Graphic Designer: Reza Harek
Photographer: Paul Theunis

VW Designed a Baby Stroller With Automatic Braking After Joking About It in an Ad

Volkswagen Netherlands aired a TV spot in April in which VW owners had great expectations for their other possessions—including one mother who couldn’t understand why baby strollers don’t have automatic braking.

The automaker posted the ad on Facebook, and the most-liked comment came from a fan who suggested that VW actually build just such a futuristic stroller.

And so, VW did.

Check out the video above, in which a joke from a commercial (by ad agency Achtung!) becomes a prototype in just a few short weeks. It includes a cameo from the Facebook fan himself, and also shows some humorous footage of the stroller in action.

Sorry, moms, it seems lazy dads will be the biggest market for this new vehicle.

McDonald's Billboard With Heat-Sensitive Paneling Doles Out McFlurries in Super Hot Weather

Heat-sick Dutchmen rejoice! McDonald’s in the Netherlands teamed up with outdoor ad company JCDecaux to create a billboard with heat-sensitive paneling that contained 100 free McFlurry cups. When it gets too hot outside, the panel opens, and people can take a cup to redeem for a free McFlurry.

Not sure how this even qualifies as a billboard, really. If anything, it’s more like a vending machine. I do love the hubris of McDonald’s challenging the sun, though (as implied in the video for this thing).

Unfortunately, the temperature has to be 101.48°F for it to open, which seems unfairly high for this kind of promotion, unless Dutch summers are more brutal than I’ve been told. I live in Maryland, where even the low 90s feels like death thanks to the crushing humidity.

If it ever got hot enough down here to trigger a free McFlurry, I wouldn’t be able to accept it because I would be a puddle of sweat and curse words by then.

This Remarkable Ad Shows Just How Science Can Improve Real People's Lives

If you think rigorous scientific research is boring or self-serving, this short film from the Netherlands just might change your mind.

Amsterdam-based agency 1Camera and director Hugo Keijzer employ some deft storytelling as they follow five scientists from different fields around the world, all working to improve people’s lives in significant ways. Running more than four minutes, the film is the cornerstone of “Science Can Change the World,” a new campaign from Royal Dutch DSM, a life and materials sciences company.

The film, “Unsung Heroes of Sciences,” will be shown at more than 50 events throughout the year, and has been seeded to blogs and uploaded to DSM’s digital channels. The target audience is the scientific community, governments, NGOs and, perhaps most importantly, the general public.

“People often think that science is there for the sake of science,” says DSM global brand, digital and communications director Jos van Haastrecht. “We really would like to shift the perception to science for a societal purpose.”

To achieve that aim, the five scientists—selected from a list of 100 candidates—are shown in a mix of documentary footage and vignettes in which they recreate episodes based on their actually experience. Richard Little and Robert Irving of New Zealand design bionic legs for those who have lost limbs, while in Tanzania, Bart Knols develops an affordable way to fight malaria. Saumil Shah grows algae on Thailand rooftops as he strives to eradicate hunger, while San Francisco’s Molly Morse converts methane gas into biodegradable plastics.

Knols nails the overarching message when he says at one point, “This is not about research. This is about the lives of real people.” Indeed, science isn’t placed on some grand pedestal. Instead, we see complex, driven folks using their intellectual gifts to help others, and we gain insight into their motivations and the personal and professional hardships they strive to overcome.

“Showing the real scientists in the film makes it all the more powerful, but also somewhat challenging since they had no acting experience,” says 1Camera partner J.P. de Pont. “So getting these non-actors to act in their own story was a concern. However, because the struggles are such an everyday reality for these and most scientists, the emotion was already in them. And with the help of supporting actors, director Hugo and producer Ellen to make them feel comfortable, they performed great—at times, so great that it’s easy to forget that they are not actors.”

Some of the scenes are hugely compelling, notably the segment where Amanda, a paraplegic, tries on Little and Irving’s bionic legs and says, “It just felt like I got to reclaim a bit of me that’s been lost.” De Pont recalls, “When she stood up for the first time, the whole room, including the crew members, were fighting back their tears because of the sheer emotional impact.” The crew knew they had captured “a beautiful moment that gave the most tangible proof that science can in fact change the world.”

One fictionalized scene, where Morse gets turned down for funding and tells a roomful of suits that “people like you are the reason our planet is going to hell!” veers into TV-movie territory. But it still works, because, for whatever reason, you don’t expect a dedicated scientist to express frustration so strongly from the heart.

Overall, we’re treated to crisply edited, heartfelt filmmaking, with just enough dramatic tension to keep viewers involved and entertained.

At times, the film resembles commercials from sneaker companies that show athletes going through their painstaking routines (running for miles at dawn, pumping iron, etc.) as they overcome adversity and emerge as winners.

“We were inspired by the perseverance that scientists show in facing endless challenges, much like top athletes,” says 1Camera creative director Jasper Claus. “But unlike top athletes, you’ll probably never hear about these scientists, even though their work affects our daily lives and actually changes the world for the better.”

Thanks to this film, we’re hearing about five of them now.

This Dutch Insurance Ad Has a Hilariously Skeptical Take on Smart Homes

A high-tech house proves to be far from a “smart home” when two burglars arrive in “Welcome,” the latest amusing spot from Tribal DDB in Amsterdam for insurance company Centraal Beheer. The long-running comic campaign is tagged “Just call Apeldoorn,” the Dutch city where the client is located.

This minute-long ad is more subtle than previous installments like “Speedboat” and “Self-Driving Car,” which relied heavily on slapstick and noisy effects to deliver the message. Still, one key theme—technophobia—is carried over from past work, and once again viewers are promised a nasty future shock if we don’t take proper precautions (like buying insurance from Centraal Beheer).

The humor is pleasantly subdued, and the perfectly paced build-up leaves us slightly off balance until the satisfying payoff (not payout, however, unless you have Centraal Beheer).

You’ve gotta love those final scenes, with a cocksure, sweaty Silicon Valley-type hyping his home-control gizmo in a packed auditorium. Good luck with that IPO, Einstein!

Here's What Happens When Stoners Try Actual Coffee at an Amsterdam Coffee Shop

Amsterdam is known for its famous “coffee shops,” but coffee is not the main attraction. Amsterdam-based coffee brand Moyee hopes to change that—and make the city better known for coffee as well. But it can’t avoid the pervasive influence of that other mind-altering substance entirely.

So, with help from 180 Amsterdam, it orchestrated a special taste test. Cannabis is said to heighten one’s senses of taste and smell, so it had real people (not actors) try its coffee—while under the influence.

Their reactions are colorful indeed. Check out the results below.

Client: Moyee Coffee
Founder: Guido van Staveren van Dijk
Creative Director: John Weich
Agency: 180 Amsterdam
President, Chief Creative Officer: Al Moseley
Creative Director: Martin Beswick
Art Director: Stephane Lecoq
Junior Copywriter: Ben Langeveld
Junior Art Director: Ingmar Larsen
Account Team: Dan Colgan
Producer: Claire Ford
Assistant Producer: Davide Janssen
Strategy Team: Paul Chauvin, Vincent Johnson
Director: Tobias Pekelharing
Executive Producer: Daphne Story
Editor: Fiona Fuchs
Postproduction: MPC Amsterdam
Audio Postproduction: Wave Amsterdam

Homebuyers Get House Tours via Roller Coaster in This Awesome Stunt

House hunting can be an unpleasant experience. But in the Netherlands, they’ve found a way to make it much more entertaining—indeed, as fun as going to an amusement park.

The Dutch bank ABN Amro is running a promotion all through December to help home sellers advertise their properties. To advertise it, it pulled off a hilarious stunt—building a mini roller coaster inside a home, which prospective buyers can tour while riding.

Sadly, the attraction will have to come down after the place is sold. But if home buying is always a bit of a roller coaster ride, at least this literal take on it eases some of the pain.

Via Today.

Click on CC for English subtitles.

Organic Food Snobs Are Unknowingly Fed McDonald's, and They're Lovin' It

You probably have a few friends so opinionated about the sourcing and quality of their food, part of you wants to test whether they’d really know the difference between crap and cuisine.

You love those friends, but you also think they’re being snobs, and you’d just love to troll them hard. 

Well now you don’t have to, because two guys named Sacha and Cedrique did it for you. As you can see in the video below, they’re on a mission to prank organic food experts in the Netherlands. They pack their bags full of a mix of McDonald’s food and real organic food and present it to these connoisseurs of the finer things in life.

Check out this hilarious culinary experiment and skip to about the 2-minute mark if you want to see the real golden nuggets.  

Via Gizmodo. 

This Agency's Office Literally Disappears After Hours So You Can't Work Late

Employees at Amsterdam design studio Heldergroen won’t be putting in much overtime. Not in the office, at any rate.

That’s because every day at 6 p.m., their desks, tables and other work surfaces, with their computers attached, are hauled up to the ceiling by steel cables normally used to move heavy props in theatrical productions. If you leave a half-eaten tuna sandwich on your desk, you’re out of luck.

Once the chairs and other workplace paraphernalia are cleared away, the space is free for evening and weekend use as “a dance floor, yoga studio … or anything else you can think of—the floor is literally yours,” creative director Sander Veenendaal tells Fast Company.

Zecc Architects built the space, working from a concept developed by Bright Green.

The time-lapse video above shows how the idea works in practice. In a way, the office space itself is working overtime for Heldergroen, generating lots of publicity and carrying an enlightened message of career-life balance far and wide. (I’d be satisfied if AdFreak loosened my leg irons a little.)

“We think that doing activities like this makes it easier for people to work here,” says Veenendaal. “You know when it is time to relax or do something else that inspires you.”

That sounds awesome. There’s just one catch. In the morning, the desks reappear and everybody has to go back to work.

Via Adverve.

Tinder-Like App Helps Clients Find and Fall in Love With New Agencies

Relationship with your agency on the rocks? Looking for love with a new one? Just want to check out the playing field? A just-released app is like Tinder for clients seeking a connection with some of the best agencies in Amsterdam.

It’s called Pitcher. Available on iOS and Android phones, it lets you specify criteria like brand category, campaign type and pitch fee—and then you swipe through a selection of Amsterdam’s top ad agencies, each with a short profile and overview of their latest work.

Swipe left to dismiss, swipe right to select.

You can create a shortlist of up to five agencies, then call them directly or send an email inviting them to take part. No information is stored or shared with any third parties.

Pitcher was created by ad agency Woedend!, which is Dutch for “Furious!” (Maybe take its bio with a grain of salt?) The content for the app is supplied by Amsterdam Ad Blog.

“The current pitch culture [in the Netherlands] is not sustainable,” says Woedend! creative director Merien Kunst. “Brands are increasingly flirty, and agencies need to invest more time and money in smaller projects and shorter relationships. … We believe that this free app really adds value for marketeers.”

Self-Driving Car Wreaks Havoc, but Not for the Reasons You Think, in Hilarious Dutch Ad

Some aspects of the techno-utopian fantasy are especially worth skewering, and Dutch insurer Centraal Beheer does a pretty nice number on one of them: the self-driving car.

The brand has a knack for making disaster funny by casting some obnoxious stereotype as fictional villain. A couple of years back, it was a moron in a red Speedo doing circus tricks with his speedboat wheel. Now, in a new ad, it’s a self-important ass reading the paper in the backseat of a Volkswagen that’s being driven by a computer.

The commercial does bear a resemblance to Liberty Mutual’s 2012 spot about human error, but adds another layer to the slapstick joke, and keeps it au courant by blaming the escalating fiasco on the disbelief of spectators distracted by the driverless VW. That premise is a stretch, but it’s definitely good for a chuckle.

Now, if only the computer chauffeur would take its passenger into the ocean, or maybe just into a shipping container bound for a remote island inhabited entirely by robots.

Client: Centraal Beheer Achmea
Agency: DDB & Tribal Worldwide, Amsterdam
Production Company: Passion Raw
Director: Owen Trevor
DP: Tim Hudson
Producer: Dan Scott-Croxford, Kwok Yau
Editor: Guy Savin
Grading : Brian Krijgsman
Online: Ton Habraken, Stephen Pepper, Jeroen van Berkel
Soundstudio: Rens Pluym, Wessel-Jan van Zijderveld
Music: Massive Music

Real People Thank Those Closest to Them, While They Still Can, in Emotional Ogilvy Ads

Get out your Kleenex, because Ogilvy Amsterdam and funeral insurance company Dela have brought back their Cannes-conquering "Why wait until it's too late?" campaign—urging people to "say something wonderful" to those they love here and now.

One of three new long-form ads takes place at a concert hall, as a woman named Martine surprises her widowed father midway through the show by taking the stage and serenading him with a song expressing her admiration and affection. In another, elderly Leo, who has struggled with illness of late, appears poolside during his wife's exercise class to thank her for more than 50 years of companionship and devotion. Finally there's Mark, an overweight, bullied teen, who pays tribute to a special teacher who helped him overcome his social awkwardness.

These are real people, not actors, and their reactions are genuine (Martine's dad and Mark's teacher struggle to hold back tears), which ratchets up the emotional intensity, despite the fact that the approach is fairly restrained given the campaign's premise.

This is powerful stuff—an evocative concept expertly realized—though it makes me feel just a tad uncomfortable, like I'm peeking at intimate moments where perhaps I shouldn't pry.

Maybe my discomfort stems at least partly from the realization that there are people I haven't taken the time to thank and praise. By going so boldly public, the folks in these ads remind the rest of us that a few heartfelt words spoken in private can make all the difference.

This Amazing Ad for Guide Dogs Makes You Realize How Much They Really Do

Out of nowhere, we're suddenly seeing some pretty incredible ads for guide dogs.

In January, we had the Norwegian Association of the Blind's amusing PSA with the menagerie of nondog guide animals. Now, we swing in the other direction completely with this intense ad for Holland's Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation. We won't spoil it, but this remarkable ad will leave you with even more appreciation for dogs and the skills they bring in communicating with humans.

The spot is by ad agency Selmore Amsterdam and Caviar director Rogier Hesp.


Drift Projects

Le studio Drift, fondé en 2006 par Ralph Nauta et Lonneke Gordijn, a créé plusieurs projets d’installation de lumières pour divers événements. De Miami Basel au Grand-Hornu Images Museum, leurs créations jouent essentiellement avec le mouvement, les structures et la confrontation entre nature et technologie.

FF3 at Grand-Hornu Images Museum – « Space Oddity », 2012.

Flylight at Hi-Tech Campus Eindhoven, 2012.

Miami Basel 2013.

Flylight during La Biennale di Venezia, 2012.

FF3 at Gemeentemuseum Den Haag Museum, 2012.

Luminous Times in Boisbuchet, 2011.

0 FF3 at Grand-Hornu Images museum - Space Oddity
19 Luminous Times - in Boisbuchet 2011
18 Luminous Times - in Boisbuchet 2011
17 Luminous Times - in Boisbuchet 2011
16 FF3 Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
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12 Flylight during La Biennale di Venezia
10 Flylight during La Biennale di Venezia
9 Miami Basel 2013
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6 Miami Basel 2013
3 bis Flylight Hi-Tech Campus Eindhoven
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Most Beautiful Villages Around The World

Focus sur les plus beaux villages visibles à travers le monde, du Mali au Tibet en passant par l’Iran. Cette sélection de photographies a été faite par différents photographes aux quatre coins du monde où les couleurs et les architectures se font écho ou contrastent selon les niveaux de vie de chacun.


Popeye Village à Malte, par Mosin.

Village au Niger, Mali, par Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

Mountain Village en Iran, par Mohammadreza Momeni.

Village africain, par Michael Poliza.

Village au Tibet, par Coolbie Re.

Gàsadalur Village aux Iles Féroé, par Gareth Codd.

Fort Bourtange aux Pays-Bas, par Jan Koster.

Village dans le Sud-Ouest de l’Angleterre, par Bob Small.

Village caché dans le Sud de la Chine, par Christian Ortiz.

Hobbiton Village, lieu du tournage du Seigneur des Anneaux en Nouvelle-Zélande, par Weta Workshop.

Village de La Spezia en Italie, par James Brandon.

Hallstatt en Autriche, photographe inconnu.

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Globe Chair

Etudiant à la Design Academy d’Eindhoven, Michiel van Gageldonk a imaginé cette « Globe chair ». Avec un design très réussi, cette création alliant beauté et confort propose un dossier de forme sphérique. Un projet à découvrir en images sur son portfolio et dans la suite de l’article.

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Holland Is Incredibly Cool, and Its New Tourism Ad Isn’t Too Shabby Either

Holland's new tourism campaign proposes that the country everyone knows for canals and wooden shoes is actually the coolest place on earth. In fact, the video below claims that Holland is the Original Cool, since all the bourgie lifestyle liberalism that Americans enjoy (bicycle culture, organic food, locally owned shops, Bas Rutten) has been a part of the Dutch lifestyle for way longer, and it's more accessible to boot. It's a fair point, to be sure, and they can't rely on legal weed and prostitution to drive tourism forever, so it's good that they're drawing attention to other things. I bet their Pleasure-Island-for-repressed-Westerners reputation got old a long time ago. The campaign, by Mustache Agency in New York, is a collaboration among the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Amsterdam Marketing and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.


Barber Campaign

L’agence 180 Amsterdam a imaginé cette série de prints très réussis pour le salon « Barber Shaves & Trims ». Avec un slogan proposant d’apprivoiser la bête, ces visuels nous montrent des animaux sauvages avec des moustaches bien taillées. Un rendu simple et original à découvrir dans la suite de l’article.

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Claire Droppert Photography

Claire Droppert est une photographe et graphiste freelance résidant aux Pays-Bas. Cherchant l’inspiration à travers tous les paysages qu’elle observe, cette artiste toujours inspirées par la simplicité et le minimalisme nous offre des clichés absolument magnifiques à découvrir dans la suite de l’article.

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chilling in the park
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