New Talent: Bart Mol / Art Director & Pol Hoenderboom / Copywriter at Tribal DDB Amsterdam
LBB > You have been raking in the award show metal this year. There is no mistaking the fact that you are 'new talent'. Joining forces in 2010, your partnership seems to be going from strength to strength. Talk to us about how you both, individually got into advertising and how you got together?
Pol > My father owned a silkscreen company and inspired me to become a creative. After moving to Amsterdam and graduating at the Junior Academy, I managed to get a job in advertising. After spending my second week in advertising on a shoot in sunny Cape Town, I knew I made the right career decision!
Bart > After being a proper rebel in high school, I decided to sign up for the marines to travel the world. I trained for a year to pass my physical test but (luckily) got rejected because of my eyesight. After that, I decided that I might as well study what my father did for a living: construction. It didn’t take long to realise construction wasn’t for me, but I did learn a valuable lesson; I liked architecture and design.
For the next couple of years I studied interactive design, including video editing, animation and music design. In my third year, I got an internship at Tribal DDB in Amsterdam. This was what really got me excited about advertising. I loved working on big clients and explaining my ideas to others. It didn’t take long to grow within the company from an intern to an art director position. After working with many freelance copywriters for two years, it was time to go steady and I teamed up with Pol.
Pol + Bart > While chatting over coffee, our conversation suddenly stopped. We were both distracted by the new girl with massive high heels walking past our room. We knew from then we'd get along just fine.
LBB > Both of you are self-confessed music fans, with Pol playing the saxophone and Bart spending most of his time at experimental gigs. As such, it's no surprise that you devised 'Obsessed with Sound', your work for Philips. Can you talk to us about the campaign, from brief, to concept and finally, if possible, to results?
P+B > The main goal was to let the target audience, defined as 'sound aspirers', associate Philips with sound quality and 'obsession with sound'. In a saturated market, with lots of players that solemnly focus on sound, like Bose and Sennheiser, Philips was looking to distinguish itself. There were no direct sales objectives; the focus was on awareness and association.
The brand promise of the sound range from Philips is 'hear every detail'. When listening to music on a Philips product you hear the music the way the artist intended it and you don't miss any detail. Online, where a lot of people listen to music through inferior speakers, we tried to bring this promise alive by making it possible to literally 'hear every detail'. We chose to use an orchestra because it pushes the boundaries of complexity and amount of musical layers. The more complex and multi-layered the piece, the harder it is to 'hear every detail'.
We collaborated with the Grammy Award-winning Metropole Orchestra and recorded a specially composed music piece in 55 separate music tracks. On the website, viewers can experience the music video as a whole, or can single out each musician to hear every detail and discover more about the musicians.
The experience starts through Facebook, where we released trailers, behind the scenes footage and product information. Updates on the Facebook page are focused on increasing the level of interaction with the target audience. To accomplish this and increase buzz we launched a music competition on Facebook.
From over 1400 contestants, the winning band, Inky, from Sao Paulo was flown in to Amsterdam. They had their track specially rewritten for the whole orchestra to play. We created a music video and had it recorded by U2’s producer Steve Lillywhite. (http://youtu.be/eMNjRZi8HcM?hd=1)
In the end over 600,000 people watched the interactive video. While the piece only lasts three minutes, people have spent around 4.5 minutes on the site. An amazing 12% of the consumers wanted to know more about Philips’ sound products on Philips.com
The fan base of the Philips Sound Facebook page has increased by a stunning 2100%. From 10K to 216K fans.
LBB > 'Obsessed with Sound' is winning at all the major award shows. Be it the D&AD, SXSW (http://bit.ly/JhjfKo), Clios and, fingers crossed, Cannes Lions 2012. You two are collecting a great stash of awards. Talk to us about how it feels to have your work honoured, what it means to you (if anything) and if it's affected your careers.
P+B > Of course we’re honoured to win so many awards, but it was also a big team effort at Tribal DDB Amsterdam. We worked really closely with our design and UX guys to make this happen. So it’s nice to see that we ended up winning in so many different categories, including design and interaction design.
Last year we worked our asses off and didn’t have time to spend our vacation days. So this year we’re having a really great time picking up our international awards and extending each trip with a few days to enjoy the city.
LBB > What do you enjoy about your roles and what is it about the job that keeps you inspired and motivated?
P+B > At Tribal DDB Amsterdam, we work as a team. It’s one big open floor with different project teams. It’s nice to share a table with a designer, visualizer and an interaction designer. You just flip your screen and discuss it with the team.
It’s a sport to stay on top of everything. It’s not only about coming up with the concept itself, it’s also about managing to get it sold in, fighting to get enough hours to make it perfect, and still managing to get a decent espresso in the meantime.
LBB > Pol, you were with Grey Amsterdam before Tribal DDB Amsterdam, but Bart, you've been with Tribal in Amsterdam since graduating... Are Tribal DDB supportive of new talent and what is it about the agency that keeps you (Bart) and attracted you (Pol)?
P+B > Tribal DDB Amsterdam is a great place to work, but in the end you always have to create the opportunity to make good work yourself. The great thing is there’s always room for talented people. If an intern proves himself, the chances are he’ll get offered a contract. For instance, Bart started as an intern. After teaming up with me we started working on Dutch clients, and finally managed to get our first international brief: Philips.
LBB > Besides Philips, you work with other Tribal DDB Amsterdam clients such as KLM, VW, Nicotinel and on local Dutch brands such as NS, Ziggo and Centraal Beheer. Which do you prefer and why; locally based work or global work?
P+B > Some big international campaigns sometimes can take over a year to produce. That’s why we also love to work on the smaller projects. A big budget doesn’t always result in a better campaign. In the end it’s always nice to just come up with a great idea. Budget, or no budget.
LBB > What has been your favourite piece of work that you've created so far this year?
P+B > In April we launched our international VW Beetle campaign: ‘Hitchhike With a Like’. And we’re just back from Stockholm, where we were shooting the new Philips ‘Obsessed with Sound’ campaign, which is going live later this year.
LBB > You're both at Cannes this year. Is it your first time? Both of you were in NYC for the Clios. Aside from the great travel opportunities that you're enjoying through the award shows, what else does 2012 hold for you both?
Pol > It’s Bart’s second and my sixth time [at Cannes]. This year we’ve rented a nice villa with 11 other friends from different agencies. It’s going to be a fun week. As well as the 2012 ‘Obsessed with Sound’ campaign, Tribal DDB Amsterdam will also hopefully land a couple of major new accounts we’re pitching for right now. Fingers crossed!