.

I’ve just started kitesurfing. My goal is to master it and then kite along Richard Branson’s Necker Island, with a supermodel on my back, for no particular reason.

question Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I’m a digitalist. By origin, DNA, birth, whatever. Five years ago I founded SuperHeroes, a creative agency with a single mission to save the world from boring advertising. I don’t really like advertising, but I do love telling stories. It’s just great to create worlds that people can dive into. Starting in digital in 1997, in the early days of online, we did not have large ad budgets to push stuff into people’s faces. We had to work for attention. And that’s still what we do, every day. Making sure that our work speaks for itself.

question What do you do for inspiration?

Of course the usual: surfing the web, watching films, going to exhibitions etcetera. But first and foremost, I like going outside. Walk on the streets, grab my bike, just to look at people. Watch people in bars, have a chat. I’m a bit of a zoologist perhaps.


question What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

SuperHeroes is a really international agency, with nine nationalities and people coming from all over the globe. I find it amazing that we are able to give all these people a memorable time.


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

By far, the concepting is my favourite. It’s an addictive, pleasurable struggle. I really like diving into a question, turning an idea inside out and back. To then see it come alive on set or in code. The hardest part? I guess being patient: things take time. It would be great to have a magic time machine.

Whenever I get stuck, I stop and go for a walk. And follow John Cleese’s advice: go to bed and the morning will answer. 


question How many projects does your company juggle at any one time?

There are always over 10 at the same time, in various stages.


question Who is your target audience?

SuperHeroes’ agency mission is to save the world from boring advertising. We sometimes say we create digital POP: work that people love to watch, share, and engage in. And we know that for people to do that, we have to tease them a bit. So we connect to universal emotions for instance, or add a slice of absurdity. It’s like if you are a greyhound, we hold the rabbit.


question When dealing with major clients, how difficult is it to meet the needs of such wide target audiences?

We always look for universal emotions. In that, it doesn’t matter so much if it’s a bigger or smaller client or audience. We’re all human beings, driven by nature itself.


question What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?

Purple and yellow. In tables. But I found out in a very early stage that I’m not a developer myself, that I don’t have the patience for it. I do have a fascination for technology and innovation, but I’m more of a conceptual innovator.


question Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?

Not yet a full book, but I would love to. I’ve got the subject already. Now the only thing I have to do is write it.


question 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?

Of course you need to get out of digital too. It’s not difficult to become a digital dinosaur, stuck in your ideological web with the world moving on. With digital everywhere, digital meets physical in so many more ways. And it just does not always make sense to use a device, or a screen. However, I do also believe that digital thinking can be applied to physical - teasing people to act and think.


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

This is a great question. Time travel is one of our superpowers. The Web is dead, Wired said a little while ago, but I personally think the contrary: we’ve only just begun. Dividing the web in apps and sites to me is not relevant. In 10 years’ time we’ve overcome all technical barriers to get to the core of what the web can be: an all-embracing playground, breathing and flexing like a human being.


question Do you think Flash is here to stay?

I think not. It was great for the time being, but all technology gets replaced.


question How difficult do you find employing the right people in a world where everyone calls themselves a web designer?

We always look for people with a strong set of own projects in their portfolio. We especially like people that experiment, that do their own innovative side projects. If you can do it for yourself, you can also do it in a team.


question What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?

A Batmobile.


question When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?

We’ve found that the only way to grow was by making work that got talked about. And we still adhere to this belief.


question What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?

When choosing names for our new agency, we actually for some time thought of the name Sweden Amsterdam. Not that me and my partner were Swedes (although we loved to be the Bjorn and Benny of the Dutch digital world), but we admired the country for its great digital agencies and design. It still has a strong and steady flow of great projects, but the rest of the world is closing in.


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

There are two actually.

I’m fascinated by large apartment buildings, flats like in Hong Kong. Synchronic lives of people, just divided by thin walls. It would be amazing to use any modern tech we have to document these lives for a really long period of time. Real life taking place, non-edited. Almost like Jim Carrey’s The Truman Show, but without the bubble.

The other one would be to shoot a whole bunch of camera’s into different directions into space. Let’s see what these black holes are really about, real time of course. When we’ve documented every stone on earth, we must turn to space to explore.


question What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?

We will continue to build the SuperHeroes Empire, making advertising fun again. We’re now in Amsterdam and New York, but Asia and South America await. And for me, I will be somewhere in between, hopefully enjoying every day of it with lots of great people around me.


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

I’ve just started kitesurfing. My goal is to master it and then kite along Richard Branson’s Necker Island, with a supermodel on my back, for no particular reason.


question Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Be brave.

 


Links

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Rogier Vijverberg
Rogier Vijverberg

The SuperHeroes Amsterdam office
The SuperHeroes Amsterdam office

Diesel - The Magic of Christmas
Diesel - The Magic of Christmas

LG - Stage Fright
LG - Stage Fright

LG - Steady Feathers
LG - Steady Feathers

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