SuperHeroes New York names Geoff Desreumaux as Head of Strategy

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We named Geoff Desreumaux as Head of Strategy of our New York office!

 

Geoff joins our Williamsburg-based agency (currently working with brands such as Dubai Tourism, Sixt Rent a Car USA, Canon, and Akzo Nobel) after notably launching snapr, the first decentralized content creation platform for brands and agencies. Prior to this, Geoff served as social media director for Zimmerman in Florida, Head of Social for Lexis in London and Senior Strategist at Cheil UK. Geoff led strategy and content creation for brands such as Samsung, Virgin Mobile, Harley Davidson, Diet Coke, Beefeater, Chivas Whisky and retail powerhouses such as Office Depot, Michaels Craft stores, and The Body Shop.

 

Geoff is also the co-founder of We are Social Media (WeRSM), one of the world’s leading independent sources of digital marketing news and insight, covering social media marketing and the connected lifestyle. Recently, for the second year in a row, Geoff was named as one of the top social media influencers to follow in 2019.


‘We are in the business of capturing attention’, Geoff says. ‘Never before has it been so crucial to integrate media strategy, planning, and buying in creativity. And while all agencies know they must evolve, SuperHeroes is already there. Our post-advertising mindset is key in making our clients famous and growing their business.’

 

The New York office has seen steady growth since opening its doors in early 2016. The ongoing focus for the NYC office is to work with brands with a hunger for fresh creativity, plus to serve the agency’s global clients. New York was the first step in an ambitious expansion plan for the ten-year-old agency, which is focused on stateside growth in 2019. It also just established a satellite office in Singapore due to its large Asian client base.

 

Rob Zuurbier, partner and managing director, SuperHeroes New York:

“It remains our ambition to retain the entrepreneurial, creativity-driven spirit of an independent boutique agency, whilst creating work that speaks to people both stateside and globally. With Geoff’s help in shaping the New York office, we’re in an even better position to further service our clients in the forward-thinking ‘post-advertising’ world.’

BUMA AWARDS NOMINEE: THE MOTORCYCLE SYMPHONY

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SuperHeroes’ The Motorcycle Symphony has been nominated for ‘Best Original Composition in Advertising’ in the Buma Awards for best ad music.

 

Out of the more than 150 commercials that were sent in, the jury selected 10 commercials that are nominated in the category ‘Original Composition in Advertising’ and 10 commercials that are nominated in the category ‘Best Sync in Advertising’.

 

The winner will be determined by the vote of the online public (50%) and the jury (50%).

So we need your help with getting as many votes as possible!!!

 

How can you help us win the award?

CAST YOUR VOTE for The Motorcycle Symphony and spread the word about our nomination!

 

Right now, we’re one of 10 nominees in total in our category. The top 3 will be announced at the beginning of May and will be invited for the Ad Music Awards ceremony in Amsterdam, on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

 

About The Motorcycle Symphony

SuperHeroes created the world’s first motorcycle symphony. It pays tribute to men who have been dealt a tough hand in life. Conducted by Dominic Seldis of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam and created for the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride in Amsterdam that was organised by Rusty Gold.

 

 

Read more info about The Motorcycle Symphony!

 

About The Ad Music Awards

The Buma Awards is one of the most prestigious award shows in the Dutch music industry. To reward the increasing importance of music in the advertising industry, the Buma Awards joined forces with Adformatie to officially make ad music a part of their ceremony this year.

 

Find the Buma Awards online here.
Find Adformatie online here.

 

Let’s fly!

HOW THE DUTCH (RE)TOOK MANHATTAN

global-headline-makers-superheroes-new-york_1554890211When Amsterdam’s SuperHeroes flew across the pond, they needed all their powers to succeed. Dutch journalist Gijs de Swarte recounts their adventures.

 

“Window dressing, fake it ’til you make it. It’s more or less a necessary evil,” confesses Rob Zuurbier, managing partner at SuperHeroes New York. “We might be confident that we can handle an account, and on our website we’re showcasing great work for global A-List clients, but that doesn’t necessarily impress anyone here in NYC.”

 

When a client brings their whole marketing team to your office, he points out, they want to see that you have a big, trustworthy operation. But at first, SuperHeroes was based in a shared workspace in Brooklyn with a bunch of start ups.

“So we rebranded the whole space SuperHeroes New York, from the front door, to the kitchen, to the meeting rooms. I then ‘promoted’ every other company to temporary SuperHeroes. The guy building websites three desks down became my creative director and the lawyer down the hall my CFO. It worked, we had a great meeting, the client felt confident and we landed the account.”

 

Rob remembers roaring home on his motorcycle that day with the Manhattan skyline to his right, thinking: “Yesss, we are actually doing this here in NYC!”

 

The three members of the SuperHeroes management team all see their New York adventure from slightly different perspectives. For co-founder and ECD Rogier Vijverberg, who started his career at Young & Rubicam, it has a definite romantic appeal. “Sinatra. It’s in my head, I can’t help it: ‘If you can make it here…’”

 

Django Weisz Blanchetta, managing director of the Amsterdam office, sees it as the ultimate test of entrepreneurship. “Establishing a viable agency in the Netherlands already commands a great deal of respect. But New York? Starting from here, in Amsterdam, with a different language and culture? You can’t help but wonder: Is it possible? Can we pull it off? Will it be fun?”

 

Zuurbier, who built his career within the Dentsu Aegis network, already had a sweet gig at 360i in New York. But he says: “I was ready to be more of an entrepreneur, more independent, less politics. I wanted to dive into this adventure with these guys and build something from the ground up. I knew I would be dropping in salary and perks quite heavily, but I honestly thought we’d be up, running and killing it in no time. That was a bit of a miscalculation.”

 

The US industry press reacted to the SuperHeroes NY office with headlines such as: “Can an Independent Amsterdam Agency Tame Gotham’s Many Challenges?” and “Expanding into New York is no stroll down Broadway.”

 

Almost three years in, Zuurbier can confirm that. Funding, he says, was the first challenge. “A decent creative team will cost you north of $300K a year here, and you want multiple teams, obviously, so do the math. Then you’re going to need strategists, account people, producers, media specialists and so on. You want to move on from the ‘one man and a desk’ phase as soon as humanly possible.”

 

Also, he says, the New York agency didn’t want to become a local agent for the Amsterdam office. It had to be self-sustaining. “But if you don’t have a couple of million at your disposal, and you need to earn every dollar before you can spend it, then you have to hustle, hustle and hustle some more. Hit up those new business leads and do everything you can to bring them in.”

 

No longer New Amsterdam

As he points out, the industry in the US moves at 100 miles an hour. Loyalty depends on results. You can present your best work on your best day and you’re lucky if you get a polite no. “This city will eat you alive if you can’t deliver,” Zuurbier says.

 

But delivering depends on talent. And, as Weisz Blanchetta observes: “Talent comes at a price.” It’s also working at competing agencies when you arrive. “So you’re always going to be a bit thin at the beginning. You want to scale up as quickly as possible.”

 

Despite the fact that this city was once called New Amsterdam, there are cultural differences. A major one is between Dutch frankness and American tact. According to Zuurbier: “If an American says ‘very interesting’ he means he doesn’t like it much. If he says, ‘I’m sure it’s my fault’, he means, ‘You messed up.’ So you need to be on your toes.”

 

Then there are the usual bumps in the road: clients who pull out at the last minute, others who can’t decide, still more who baulk at a brilliant idea in favour of a safer concept.

 

For one tech giant, the agency made a film whose goal was to juxtapose the product’s authenticity with the “fakeness” we’re confronted with every day. Vijverberg says: “It was a great campaign and it would have been hugely successful. But in the end the client didn’t dare to run it.”

 

Bad for agency morale, not to mention a missed opportunity to generate spin-off clients from the buzz around the campaign. “That hurts.”

 

All these stories are reluctantly told. After all, dwelling on the negative will set you up for failure. But the rationale behind the New York adventure was and remains positive: it will bring growth to SuperHeroes. “In our business the US is still a major trendsetter: what happens there happens in Europe a year later,” says Weisz Blanchetta.

 

One example of a US learning is the use of a concept called “Long Ideas and Sequential Storytelling”, which is also being implemented among European and Asian clients. The method is comparable to the way TV series are being made. The idea is not to make one big tent-pole commercial that’s shown on a loop, but a number of connected short stories, all with different storylines, expressed across many platforms.

 

“This is a completely logical format to us,” says Vijverberg, “especially when you look at our motto: ‘Saving the world from boring advertising.’ It forces us to think much more deeply about how the various content pieces can add up and enforce the core message.”

 

“Free Thinking” sessions are another concept born in New York. Creatives and strategists are given time to come up with concepts independent of any brief. The best ideas are matched to relevant brands, products or services, and only then are potential clients approached. “It’s also the perfect way to keep positive energy flowing,” says Zuurbier. “Setback? Alright guys, let’s do a session and keep on acquiring.”

 

But the setbacks are becoming scarcer. A big advantage when opening the NY office was that Amsterdam had already worked in the US for big clients like LG, Converse and ASUS. But SuperHeroes also brought a crucial differentiator with it: the agency was known as digitally disruptive and slightly irreverent.

 

Adweek upped the ante by placing SuperHeroes on its list of The Most Engaging Brand Content Makers. And then the founding trio’s core plan began to fall into place: more international clients started waking up and noticing them. Suddenly – boom! –an out of the blue call from Dubai.

 

Zuurbier: “Did we want to pitch agency of record for the Dubai Tourism Board?  An extremely complicated multi-million dollar account aiming for Asia, Africa and the Middle East. 14 markets, 9 languages, 12 industries and three audience subgroups per industry. Pitching for two months straight against mostly big network agencies.”

 

SuperHeroes won.

 

“This confirms the gut feeling we’ve had since starting this crazy journey. We made the right call. So far, it’s totally been worth the fight.”

 

Gijs de Swarte is a Dutch journalist, writer and filmmaker. He worked in New York for a number of years.

 

Originally published on Adforum and Epica Awards

WEBBY NOMINEE: THE MOTORCYCLE SYMPHONY

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SuperHeroes’ The Motorcycle Symphony has been nominated for Best VIDEO: MUSIC in the 23rd Annual Webby Awards

 

SuperHeroes is excited to announce that we’re in the running for The Webby Award this year.

 

As a nominee, The Motorcycle Symphony is also eligible to win a Webby People’s Voice Award, which is selected by the voting public online.

 

So we need your helping hand with getting as many votes as possible!!!

 

How can you help us win?

CAST YOUR VOTE for The Motorcycle Symphony and spread the word about our nomination!

 

All Webby Winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 and honoured at the 23rd Annual Webby Awards ceremony in New York, on Monday, May 13th, 2019.

 

About The Motorcycle Symphony

SuperHeroes created the world’s first motorcycle symphony. It pays tribute to men who have been dealt a tough hand in life. Conducted by Dominic Seldis of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam and created for the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, in Amsterdam organised by Rusty Gold.

 

 

Read more info about The Motorcycle Symphony!

 

About The Webby Awards

Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honour” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international awards organisation honouring excellence on the Internet, including Websites, Video, Advertising, Media & PR, Apps, Mobile, and Voice, Social, Podcasts, and Games. Established in 1996, this year’s Webby Awards received nearly 13,000 entries from all 50 states and 70 countries worldwide this year. The Webby Awards is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). Sponsors and Partners of The Webby Awards include: YouTube, WP Engine, EY, YouGov, Vitamin T, WNYC Studios, Fast Company, ESA, Product Hunt, and Social Media Week.

 

Find the Webby Awards online here: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat via username TheWebbyAwards.

 

“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

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