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03/04/2020 The magazine by Communication Science students of the UvA

ADNIGHT you meet the real “Mad Men and Women” of Amsterdam

On the 5th of October this year, the creative industry opened their doors during ADNIGHT. Medium got a chance to visit several agencies and get a closer look.


Have you ever asked yourself why you buy what you buy? What exactly lies behind this attraction or better said who? Yes, we live in a consumer society which influences what we purchase but a part from this fact, there is generally an advertising agency responsible for the charms of a product.  While the famous series Mad Men might have shown some insights into how the advertising world of the 50s worked, the impact of the advertising landscape and the diversity of agencies remain unclear and poorly accessible. ADNIGHT founders aim to change this perception.

This 5th of October I had the chance to immerse myself into the creative industry of advertising and take a closer look at how some agencies actually work.

So, what exactly is ADNIGHT? This unique event on its third edition already, consists of advertising agencies opening their doors one night, to all people interested in getting a first-hand account on what happens backstage. Exactly 41 agencies all over Amsterdam participated, each one presenting their own program to show the audience what they do and why they are the best at it. Each agency in their own way displayed their work but also gave the audience the opportunity to interact with them.

Within the provided time window of 5 hours, I managed to visit four interesting agencies from which I will recount on my experience.

My first stop was The Valley, one of the venues where an official opening took place. The digital agency kicked off with a quiz and after knowing all about bratwurst and bier advertising I set off to my second stop DAWN on Amsterdam-Oost.
The only agency I visited which remains completely Dutch speaking. Their mission as SAN’s 2017 agency of the year, is not to make people want stuff but make stuff people want. To show how they apply this mindset into their projects they offered us a detailed look behind the scenes of the GroenLinks movement. While this talk might seem all politics, the targeted topic was the development of a campaign, in addition to how a team evolved a campaign into a movement and a lesson.

After a 25-min. bike ride I arrived at my third stop TBWA/NEBOKO. One of the biggest communication groups operating in more than 90 countries.  To understand what an agency of this size relays on, three heads of different areas talked about competition, digitalism and shapeshifting. These topics were than additionally boosted through a kind of speed dating environment; A way to talk all night to specialist about particular topics. This is how I met Mr. Slot, Digital Director of Technology who talked me through the challenges that the agency goes through such as shapeshifting as a consequence of the changing media processes, often affecting the culture and the performance of the brands. I found that one could not only discuss content related topics but also bring own ideas to the table for the ones interested in internships.

Because the night was not over yet, I drove back to the center and to my fourth and last stop: J. WALTER THOMPSON AMSTERDAM, Considered to be one of the top 5 agencies worldwide. Here I got to hear the last talk on the role of music in advertising with Amp.Amsterdam’s Creative Director. They not only provided talks on all possible angles in which the agency works, but also offered direct job interviews. An indication of the certainty that they are always searching for new talent. After exploring the office, the music super duo Gerson Main & Freez ensured for a perfect closing.

ADNIGHT is not only growing bigger in size but also in reputation, making new collaborations every year, which exposes the audience to new experiences and increases the potential for networking in the industry. With that said, I’m looking forward to what ADNIGHT has to offer next year.

Cover: Adnight / Final Editor: Mana Stutchbury

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