May 19: Janthony Will Rise Again

Today was our last day in Amsterdam and also our last day! First thing in the morning I headed to the Van Gogh museum. I ended up spending about three hours there. The Van Gogh was really cool because it was like taking a walk through Van Gogh’s life. They talked about his influences and artist friends and had samples of all their work. They also had an enormous collection of his letters.


May 18: POTUS

Ketchum was an awesome media visit. We did two interesting case studies. The first was hosted by Tim de Boer, the CEO, about Nespresso and their recycling problem. Nespresso (and bottled water) had been banned in government buildings in Germany because of waste. But Nespresso pods are completley recyclable, it’s just no one knows that. So an awareness problem turned into an image problem. A big takeaway was that most crises are self imposed.


May 17: Better Read Than Dead

More media visits! Today we visited two newspapers, one focused on Amsterdam and one national paper. I thought I would like Het Parool, the Amsterdam paper, but they seemed very liberal for the sake of liberalism and like they were trying really hard to be cool. Its history was interesting, how they started as an anti-German paper during WWII and that’s how they gained their popularity after the war. There was a big focus on how to draw in younger readers, which they do by making some of their articles free online and having an additional online section. Also, they addressed that their newsroom is primarily Dutch and white, but they try to have diversity through their subject matter to appeal to Amsterdam’s diversity. I don’t buy it. I still think that if you want to represent a population in your content, that population has to be represented behind the scenes.


May 16: The Other Side

Today was our first Amsterdam media visit! We went to Vrije Universiteit to meet with Dr. Jolien Arendsen. It was very different talking to someone who views media from an academic perspective versus the professional perspective. Based on this talk, the Dutch seem like they’re miles ahead of the United States when it comes to methods of reaching younger audiences. According to Dr. Arendsen, younger audiences pay less attention to hard news and more attention to soft news and non-news. These trends are present in all audiences, but stronger in young ones. They have an ambivalent relationship with the news.


May 15: Man Bites Dog

The canal ride in Amsterdam was a little less intimate than the one in Brugge, and told place on a covered boat, but nonetheless it was a cool view of the city. The canal-side houses are gorgeous, and coming from a city impacted shaped by river commerce it was interested to see a city shaped by canals. Amsterdam makes a lot of sense as a port and I think it’s impacted the culture quite a bit, from the multiculturalism to the legalized taboos.


May 14: Gardens and Good Food

This morning we left Belgium and headed into the Dutch countryside. It was a lot of driving, but it was very cool to see modern windmills alongside the traditional ones. We got into Holland and made a stop at the Keukenhof, the dutch tulip gardens.


May 13: The Best Beer In The World

Brugge is a city of great food and better beer, and they aren’t shy about either. Today we went to the Chocolate Museum of Brugge, and learned, among other things, why the Belgians have the best chocolate. The museum was set up as a walk through history, starting with the origins of the cocoa bean, moving into the European adoption of it and how the Belgian’s superior standards and ingredients made them the chocolate experts.


May 12: Leaving London

Today was our last day in London. Emily and I went up to Camden for some shopping. It was a really cool neighborhood. We got there about an hour before the market opened so we took a walk up Primrose Hill because I had heard that there was an incredible panorama of London at the top. It was a hard climb but the view did not disappoint.


May 11: Floating in the Most Peculiar Way

Today I was at my dream jobs.

Our first visit was at Battenhall. It’s a very young company and it’s only existed for three years, but they do really incredible work and have a great company culture. It’s a tech focused social media public relations agency. They’re all about word of mouth and don’t advertise for themselves at all. The founder, Drew Benvie, told us their strategy was “do great work, get talked about.”


May 10: Foot Trauma

Today Ed took us to see the changing of the guards. We did not end up seeing the changing of the guards. We took the tube up to Buckingham Palace and saw the band march out, and the watch the Calvary change with The Tin Bellies and Donkey Wallopers in the rain. It was interesting to see how different rulers from hundreds of years ago created traditions that still exist. Ed once again was amazing for giving historical context to everything we were seeings, and making sure we had the best opportunity to see everything. (more…)