It’s only work and no one is going to die. So enjoy it or do something else with your time.

Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I’ve been Executive Creative Director of Tribal DDB Amsterdam for nearly five years. In that time I’ve worked across Philips, KLM, P&G, Unilever, VW and Heineken winning multiple awards at most of the major festivals.

In an earlier life I was Creative Director at GT (now VML), senior creative at Agency Republic and before that ACD at Profero, all in London.

What do you do for inspiration?

I talk to smart people and exchange ideas.

Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

The Guardian ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/ ), Twitter and Brain Pickings, an arts and ideas blog ( http://www.brainpickings.org/).

What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Being part of the team to take a local digital agency of 25 people and turn it into a multi-award winning international agency of over 80 people.

What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?

My favourite part of the job is that stage in a project when you can look back at the last two weeks and recall thinking, ‘how the hell are we going to do this?’ and realising that in that time we’ve come up with some really great work to show the client. The hardest part of the job is getting good ideas made. Good ideas are everywhere, great executions are few and far between. An idea has to infect a client and travel like a virus through the client organisation – then it might get made.

When I get stuck I imagine how another successful brand might approach the problem – that usually opens a few doors.

How do you relax or unwind?

I meditate – it allows you look at a problem as if you are looking back at something that has already happened, it’s a great way of putting things in perspective.

If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?

The decision to move to Amsterdam and be ECD of Tribal DDB Amsterdam is probably the best decision I’ve made. Agency Republic was great, but it was already successful. Taking something no one has ever heard of and making it into something people have heard of is where success lies.

Are there any websites that have shone through as being pioneering in the last 5 years or so?

It’s the same with any innovation; it has to move the argument forward.

Get the glass still stands as a high water mark in web production values.


Nike Better World showed people how to think differently about HTML 5.


Ro.me Three Dreams of Black showed people what was possible with WebGL. We are going to see much more of this.


What was the last digital effort you saw (or were a part of) that used social media in a way that really made sense. Why?

We use social in an intelligent way for all out clients. We’ve turned KLM into a social brand, we had some great success with Philips over years with the help of social and we are now doing the same with Heineken. The real key to social is to remember that people don’t connect to share, they share to connect. You need to give them something that will help them connect with others, not with the brand.

Have you been a part of a campaign that was rooted in digital and THEN reached over into other consumer touchpoints? Did this happen organically or was it a part of the plan from the beginning?

KLM Tile and Inspire did this an epic way. Watch the case film here

The web is getting out of the web. Do you find that thinking in digital solutions alone hinders you? Do you feel the urge to solve the problem using all mediums necessary?

We see ourselves as an integrated ad agency that puts digital at the centre. If the solution calls for more touch points, our clients are open to these solutions. We try and avoid tech for tech’s sake, no one wants QR codes shoved in their faces and housewives don’t understand Google Labs. So all it is always about using all mediums necessary, not all mediums for the hell of it.

Looking 10 years in to the future, how far can websites go?

I don’t think we’ll be distinguishing video content and websites in the coming years. Sites won’t contain content, content will contain sites and information and be fully immersive. The same for reality - so sites, information and experiences will be imbedded everywhere but this will be driven by devices that can effortlessly detect the information and make it a seamless part of everyday life.

What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?

It’s the same as anything, you need to know the rules so you can break them. We hire people with imagination who want to try new things, not designers who fall back on outdated systems.

If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?

Have a great idea and then polish the arse off it in execution. If you’re happy with something when it’s gone live, you probably haven’t tried hard enough – you should always have wanted to do something better.

How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?

We have a Facebook group within the agency where everyone posts links and inspiration. Smart people do internal presentations and we go to conferences and talks. Also, how many trends are real? The world might be reinventing itself faster and faster, but it’s not going through a revolution every week – despite what Mashable says.

What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?

Has to be the USA.

There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?

Recently a home for mentally disabled adults opened near our office. I’d like to create an app, or something similar, that could improve their lives, even in a small way.

Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?

I just try and make sure I think clearly about all parts of life. Know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and understand what you can change and what you can’t.

What are you excited about learning next and is there a long term challenge you are considering tackling?

It’s going to be a novel.

What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?

Posh dinner for friends.

Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

It’s only work and no one is going to die. So enjoy it or do something else with your time.


Case study: KLM 'Tile and Inspire' campaign

Philips 'Obsessed with Sound' Campaign Trailer

Philips 'Obsessed with Sound'
Philips 'Obsessed with Sound'

Tribal DDB Amsterdam office
Tribal DDB Amsterdam office

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