Longing

It’s a fair price to pay to live in Shanghai, but being so far from the Netherlands makes me long for it a lot. The feeling arrives suddenly. I thought I’d be immune to it but no. I walk through familiar streets in Google Street View, I look back at last year’s pictures, and I […]

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How to Be Both review

Here’s a book I really want to love, as it’s lighthearted tale about how art connects time and space and its people. Even the form is highly original, telling about two motherless figures, six hundred years apart — one a troubled teenager, the other an Italian fresco painter. These perspectives draw you in. The book is marketed […]

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Old Captain Bar

‘Old Captain Bar’ (老船长) at 168 Gaoyang Lu in Hongkou is my kind of sad place. It has shiny brewing tanks in its interior, five eager staff in turquoise jackets and a singer doing hits from the 90’s and 00’s, but not too loud, so you can still talk. The television shows figure skating – […]

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Language is about people and advertising is about language

It helps my job to see advertising as a language. Even if it’s not literally a dialogue, you are communicating to someone’s mind, tapping into what they already know, feel or do. If any message wants to stand a chance to be understood or felt, it must relate to someone. And the process to get […]

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The bowl with the cat printed on it

We closed our suitcases and did one final check in the house in which we had lived for a long year, to switch off the lights, lock the door and take the plane to Shanghai. And then we found one bowl with a cat printed on it, left in the sink. “Just throw it away”, […]

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Walking around Albert Park

In less than a month it’s ten years ago that I visited Melbourne for 2009 Australian Grand Prix. Meeting Lewis Hamilton and a Parisian fan was one story from that weekend, but another took place a week ahead of the race. The race always takes place in the middle of the city in Albert Park — […]

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Ayrton and Massimo

Sunday morning, March 4th, 1990. A violent accident takes place on the streets of Imola, right in front of the hospital. An 18 year old man is thrown off the back of his friend’s moped. His name is Massimo and he makes an awful fall. Massimo is brought to the hospital, his spine injured, his […]

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An Excess Male review

A dish spinner keeps spinning disks on top of sticks afloat and needs to alternate spinning each dish before one of them slows down and falls, making the performance fail. An author’s role is similar in that he or she must keep characters alive before they fall from memory, so that the reader is not […]

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Our struggle against pleasure

Today’s wellbeing increasingly comes from abstinence rather than indulgence. Smartphones halt day dreaming. Social media causes depressions. Commitments and emotional baggage stop us from developing deeper understandings. More people die from eating too much than starve. Yuval Noah Harari writes: “Sugar is now a greater danger than gunpowder. You are more likely to die from […]

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Strategy lessons from racing

Racing is life under high pressure, and I think advertising (or any industry) can learn a lot from how racing cars are designed. The car In the book ‘How to build a car‘, famed Formula One engineer Adrian Newey talks about cars he designed and the philosophy behind them. I think it’s interesting, because cars, […]

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