A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get tickets to the D&AD talk by Erik Kessels of Kesselskramer. I had high expectations of the night from listening to those who had been to his talks before, and I was not disappointed. The talk was both informative and interesting – but most of all humorous – covering his work within Kesselskramer to interests outside, and also that ventures into exhibitions.
Possibly best known for their piece Iamsterdam, the work of Kesselskramer stands out in a crowd to the point where it literally forces you to pay attention. Throughout the talk there were many piece of work discussed with the most prominent being that of the campaigns for Ben and the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel, and also the smallest shortest film (on a stamp).
The campaign for Ben was a complete rebrand that saw Kesselskramer not only create advertisements but also rename the phone company. Kessels stated the name Ben came about as they wanted to give the company a personality, which is seen carried out throughout the entire campaign. Including utilising social networks – such as Facebook – where we see Ben referred to in the first person;
Hi, I’m Ben. I like that you’re on my page. Look around. And if you have any questions, I try as soon as possible.
This simple tool has been an effective way of promoting a brand whilst at the same time creating a link between the user/viewer, and it goes to show from its success and longevity. 2003 saw Ben move to
T-Mobile – but from 1999 to 2003 the campaign saw over 200 TV ads, over 500 in the papers/magazines plus posters, all of which are now either on Ben’s Facebook page or YouTube channel for all to see.
One of the videos we saw on the night of the talk was that of Victor & Ben.
The campaign for Hans Brinker Budget Hotel was possibly one of the most outrageous I have heard yet, but again it worked and well at that. The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel was known for it budget style, and instead of trying to make it into something it wasn’t KesselsKramer simply advertised it as it was. Turning the downside into the upside through humour and a bit of clever thinking. The work produced ranged mostly within the outrageous side of things, with everything from ‘unique designs’ to ‘apologies after 40 years – sorry.’
From advertisements like this the hotel has become somewhat of a famous spot for backpackers and the like traveling through Amsterdam. It is amazing that such play – on what could be argued as the worst element to advertise – has had such an impact upon the public. Due to the sheer length of this campaign there is so much that has gone into it throughout the years with the latest being a Hans Brinker Budget Advertising YouTube page, which invites people to create advertisements for the hotel with each 1,000 views of your video giving you 10 Euros.
One of the things that stood out most from this talk was the fact that Erik takes time out to create things he enjoys and doesn’t see as work (even if that is what they become in the end), such as his ‘Useful Photography’ series which features a whole book on the work of Cow photography and also of Oolong the Rabbit.
With a studio in a converted church, a website that is effectively useless and extremely confusing, and a set of minds that can create amazingly interesting and intelligent pieces of design – KesselsKramer definitely an agency to be inspired by.