“As SuperHeroes, we love helping brands fly”

52520551_2050364511707502_1725086155742904320_nFounded in Amsterdam and now with offices in New York and Singapore, SuperHeroes is a global creative ad agency with a diverse staff of different nationalities.

 

The agency sees itself as digitally native, but are developing both digital and integrated campaigns. They are on a mission to save the world from boring advertising.

 

The agency provides a wide array of services including media relations, an innovation lab, smart retail, social, analytics, and communication strategies.

 

They have worked for global clients such as Converse, LG, Diesel, Heineken, and Asus and have produced a great range of viral videos, with more than 100 million views.

 

Among its diverse staff, Babo Schokker is a creative at the agency. In an interview with Top Interactive Agencies, Schokker described the design process at SuperHeroes, what the key to creating a successful campaign is, what great projects he has been working on, and how to handle challenges.

 

Could you give us an introduction to SuperHeroes and its vision and mission?

We, as SuperHeroes, love helping brands fly. Working with us means getting the best of both worlds: creativity and strategy, which is deeply rooted in our mission of saving the world from boring advertising.

 

SuperHeroes was founded in 2009 and now has secret hideouts in Amsterdam, New York, and Singapore, with a team of more than 45 people and over a dozen nationalities.

 

What is SuperHeroes’ design process?

It is our belief that smart sharp creative outperforms expensive media buys any day of the week. Forget about superficial impressions, we create direct hits which resonate with your audience on a human level.

 

What ingredients are key to create successful campaigns?

Creating experiences that grab people in any media. Get them to wonder, love or hate it. Grabbing attention for the project and the message.

 

What is your personal definition of creativity?

The beauty of creating unexpected moments. By giving people a different perspective on the world and creating memories.

 

Can you tell us about the project you are most proud of?

You’re as good as your last project! At the moment, that’s ‘A symphonic tribute to men’s health for the Distinguished Gentleman’s ride. Check it out here.

 

We had the idea of paying tribute by putting together an orchestra of motorcycles. The immediate question was: “How on earth can we pull this off?” That’s where conductor Dominic Seldis stepped in. This man has an unstoppable passion for music, which we needed for such an experiment. The passionate motorcyclists, who volunteered with their bikes were transformed into enthusiastic classical musicians. Proving there is music in every loud pipe.

 

The biggest personal challenge was that it was all created pro bono by friends and volunteers. It was all done for the passion of making the idea come to life. Motorbikes and karma points for a good cause.

 

As a result, 991 riders joined last year in Amsterdam and raised $ 71.332,19 – together. Worldwide, there were 114,699 riders who raised $6.103.893 – total.

 

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The client is upset with a particular element of design that you have done. How would you handle the situation?

Call. Ask questions. Go back in the process. Find a way together. Say sorry to your wife, friends, girlfriends and say hello to your work.

 

Name a challenge your team is currently facing.

Growing the agency. SuperHeroes is transitioning from teen to adult so there will be challenges that come with that. Keeping your identity and finding the right people and projects that fit the SuperHeroes’ mentality.

 

How do you know if a person has what it takes to be part of the team?

If he/she can spend a night with us at the bar.

 

Name one favorite thing and your least favorite thing about your role.

My favorite thing is the SuperHeroes team. And personally, I don’t like projects that don’t come ‘alive’ or when they do, but not in the way you imagined.

 

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What was your journey like to get to where you are today?

An ongoing search of who you are and what kind of work you love to make.

 

Are there online publications, professionals, industry leaders you follow?

No. Mostly artists and musicians, they’re the future. I follow Daniel Arnold and Team Lab.

 

Where do you go to get inspired?

Take me anywhere. But mostly by meeting new people.

 

What profession other than your own would you like to explore?

Start a cocktail ice-cream shop. With all your favorite flavors!

 

What piece of advice would you give a recent grad looking to work in the design/creative industry?

Find out what kind of work you love to make and try to stand out. Work hard and find people who share the same passion. Don’t join the trend of “Nobel Prize” concepts in your portfolio. Why so serious?

 

Babo’s Working Preferences:

Mac vs. PC: Mac.

Preferred Social Media Channel: Instagram.

Coffee vs. tea: Espresso Martini.

Favorite Work Snack: Ramen Noodles.

Name 3 artists on your office playlist: Another Level, Donny Benet, Collie Buddz.

Your go-to Mobile app: Tinder. Call me maybe?

Favorite Sneaker Brand: Nike.

If you could work anywhere in the world, where would it be? Somewhere tropical.

 

Thanks Babo!

 

Originally published on TIA

NEW SUPERHEROES

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We would like to introduce you to the new Amsterdam SuperHeroes!

Get to know the newest team members in this short but sweet Q&A!

 

Sharon

SuperPower: 

“My superpower is being passionately curious.”

Best memes:  

@dankartdirectormemes. I’m also a fan of @ChefJacquesLaMerde. This chef makes the most incredible plates with ingredients like nacho cheese and other processed junk food. It’s a parody of the art of plating. @HipDict shows funny, sometimes painfully true definitions of English words. I love it. @coco_pinkprincess is the account of an 8-year old girl from Tokyo with an epic sense of style. Disturbing or just part of the world we live in? I’m still in doubt. Oh, and of course you need to follow @SGoldstoff… she’s this super awesome girl with the best InstaStories everrrr. Very humble as well.”

 

David

Fun fact:
“I ended up in a hammam in Istanbul once with all my straight-guy-friends, thinking it was just, you know, relaxing. Turns out it was a gay-sauna getting ready for a huge orgy.”

Which visual artists do you get inspired by? 

Bill Viola

Christo

Boukje Schweigman

What GIF do you relate to most and why?

I relate to this GIF and I’m talking to my therapist about it, because the reason eludes me. It might just be the purple brush though.

 

Chloë

Favorite musicians?

Got a sec? I LOVE 2Pac, Mac Miller, Thundercat, Kendrick Lamar, GoldLink, H.E.R., Sango, Xavier Omär, and of course, Anderson .Paak.

I mean… come on!

He’s the best.

What is your life dream?

“A house full of dogs. Just everywhere you go: dogs.”

Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?

“Everyone at the office calls me No Pants Chloë or NPC, because I love to wear t-shirts and sweaters as dresses with tights. Honestly, pants are so overrated.”

 

Alissia

Favorite quote to live by:

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

When you’re not in the SuperHeroes office, you are …:
“Either working out in the gym or grappling (I really love that!). Also, watching shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Friends.”

‘No Ego, No Bullshit’ Mentality

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Niels Straatsma, Creative Director at SuperHeroes Amsterdam, reflects on the creative and business differences between the American and European west coast.

 

Dutch creative director Niels Straatsma recently returned to The Netherlands from R/GA Hustle in Los Angeles and joined international agency SuperHeroes Amsterdam, who also have offices in New York (formerly known as New Amsterdam, of course) and Singapore.

 

What’s the biggest difference between working on the west coast of the United States and being a creative on the ‘west coast’ of Europe? Nils Adriaans caught up with him to find out how he’s found the shift.

 

Q> Before joining SuperHeroes, you worked in Los Angeles. What was it like to work there compared to Amsterdam?

Niels> Los Angeles is a crazy, beautiful place. Almost everyone is a “transplant” who’s there to make it big one way or another. You can really feel the American dream. Everywhere around you, there are people succeeding, but also a lot of people struggling. But everyone seems to enjoy the hustle. This competitiveness shows in the ad industry too. It’s much more competitive than Amsterdam. Probably a cultural thing, or maybe because there’s a lot more hierarchy. And it is well respected. That took some getting used to for sure.

It was also interesting to be in a city that’s so close to pop culture. A lot of trends start on the west coast, in term of music, food, and fitness for example. And devices like Alexa already have a serious audience. Or for example Bird, the e-scooters, that are coming to Amsterdam soon, have been around for quite a while in LA. That culture opens opportunities for our industry.

And of course, budgets. They’re big, huge. That definitely opens opportunities. I remember making a shortlist of DOP’s and everyone in the room started naming these super famous Hollywood guys without even blinking. It felt so unreal at the moment. At the same time, everything costs a lot more as well. It’s an enormous market, so there are lots of layers, people and testing involved. Which makes everything take a lot longer, and gives ideas a lot of time to potentially die. So all that budget doesn’t necessarily make it easier to make great work.

 

Q> Going away for a longer period of time often gives you a clear view of where you were. What did you learn about Amsterdam, being one of Europe’s leading creative industries, while enjoying the Californian sun?

Niels> Amsterdam is great too!

I think a lot of creatives here tend to look at the work we see from the US and think “if only we had those budgets”. But we only see the very best work. And there’s so much we don’t see. Including all the work that doesn’t get made. Besides, working with smaller budgets isn’t so bad. It forces you to be resourceful, creative. And there’s a beauty in that too. Instead of big epic films full of celebrities, we have to find other, more original ways to stand out.

It’s in our nature to be a little more pragmatic. We want to be competing with the best in the world, we just have to do it in a relatively tiny town (with a lot of international companies) where everything is within a 15-minute bike ride.

 

Q> Given your international scope, what is the biggest shift in the advertising industry right now, in your humble opinion?

Niels> When I started in advertising 10 years ago, it was all about these new digital spaces where we could target audiences in exciting, smart and disruptive ways. What once was a smart alternative to a 30-second ad has now become a formula. It’s not the disrupting thing to do, it’s the standard. There are business models for influencer campaigns, viral factories, social whatever.

Just look at all the Alexa jokes that came during the Super Bowl this year. I think in the quest for innovation, we’ve all moved into the same direction. Which is kind of ironic. I don’t mean to be cynical, technology offers great opportunities to reinvent ourselves and stand out, but we shouldn’t use tech for the sake of just standing out; it should always make sense for the consumer, it should make his or her life seamlessly better or easier.

 

Q> I’m sure you could have joined other international agencies as well – why did you choose SuperHeroes?

Niels> After I returned to Amsterdam I started freelancing for a while. I figured that would be the best way to find the next agency I wanted to stay. It gives the opportunity to get to know the company and the team. I wasn’t necessarily chasing international agencies, I was rather looking for the right dynamics and vision I would feel comfortable with.

SuperHeroes felt right from the get-go. Although we operate internationally, the team is very lean and mean. I love the “No ego, no bullshit” mentality, with very little hierarchy. It keeps everything moving fast. And at SuperHeroes, you can do that for a very broad range of brands, big and small.

As I joined they were in the middle of rethinking their positioning as an agency. “What is the agency for a world post-advertising?” It sounds exciting and it’s even more exciting to think along and turn it into something concrete.

 

Q> Finally, if you could give brands one piece of advice in this day and age, what would that be?

Niels> I guess purpose is the big thing now. And that’s great. People don’t care about purpose because they were told to. It’s a product of today’s culture. I would highly recommend anyone who’s thinking about starting a company to think about their purpose first!

Already established brands that haven’t thought about their purpose before however, please don’t. You can’t force purpose into a brand.

 

Niels previously worked for Achtung! mcgarrybowen, where he made this wonderful work, before heading off to California:

 

And this is one of SuperHeroes, on a mission to save the world from boring advertising, recent gems.

 

 

Originally published on LBB Online.

SuperHeroes AMS names Niels Straatsma as Creative Director

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We’ve expanded our Amsterdam creative team with our newest Creative Director, Niels Straatsma! He’s an incredible talent and addition to our team.

 

Niels started his career at 180 Amsterdam and has been active in advertising for more than 10 years. While working at Achtung!, he made many prize-winning campaigns for Vodafone, 3FM, Volkswagen, and Philips, just to name a few. As a creative director, he was also responsible for the ANWB brand campaign.

 

Straatsma then went to Los Angeles to work as Associate Creative Director at Hustle, a hub within the international advertising agency R / GA.
He then returned to the Netherlands to work as a freelancer:
“I wanted to look around and see if I could find an agency where I would feel at home. At SuperHeroes, it felt good. I like the No Ego, No Bullshit mentality here. At the same time, it is an international agency with great ambitions and an innovative vision. I look forward to contributing to making the agency more well-known around the world.”

WANTED: DESIGNER

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SuperHeroes NYC | AMS is an international creative agency that develops highly intelligent, creative and effective campaigns geared towards getting attention in a world where everyone is busy and no one cares. We’re looking for a Designer who can break through the clutter and create delicious eye candy and help us on our mission to save the world from boring advertising.

You’ll be at the heart of our Amsterdam team that spans fourteen different nationalities and are, individually and collectively, specialists in the fields of digital, film, social, design and motion, old school print and even practical jokes. We do this for an amazing international roster of clients, like MTV, ASUS, ING, and Coca-Cola.

 

Your role is to make our creative concepts and campaigns pop from any screen. As a designer, you’re constantly aware your assets will live in a landscape where a thousand visual triggers are screaming for attention. With your design skills, you ensure people choose to watch our experiences and love to share it!

 

What do we ask from a designer like you?

 

  • Within SuperHeroes, you will execute all forms of graphic design (for digital, video as well as print).
  • Your role is to add visual value to our creative campaigns.
  • You will be able to develop your own signature by creating outstanding pieces of design.
  • You’re gifted with an incredible eye for detail.
  • And another eye that keeps a close look at the ever-changing world of innovation, creativity, and design.
  • Together with the design department, you will safeguard our clients’ visual identities.
  • You’ll bring an endless feed of cultural reference points. You are tech and pop culture savvy.
  • To you, Adobe Creative Suite is like a stack of toys.
  • Other soft- and hardware skills are definitely a plus.
  • You have reached a junior to mid-level experience by working at creative agencies, brands or studios.
  • You have a good sense of humour, but more importantly: you can deal with ours ;-).
  • You are fluent in English.
  • You occasionally help an old lady cross the street.

What will you get in return?


Next to dodgy sketches from our copywriters and lovely lunches at our communal table, we have lots to offer:

 

– A full-time job in Amsterdam that gives you a chance to work on global brands.
– You’ll be surrounded by an amazing international team of creatives, strategists, developers, motion graphic designers, and client managers.
– You’ll become a Superhero (isn’t that just awesome?).
– You’ll work in our hideout at the most royal one of all Amsterdam canals.
– You’ll even get a decent salary.

– And if you prefer a mouse over a stylus, we’re OK with that too.

 

Interested?

Send your motivation and portfolio to airmail@hellosuperheroes.com. Let’s fly!

We're on a mission

SuperHeroes is a digitally born and raised, ever-evolving international creative agency.
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