The creative genius goes to church every day – as this is, where his advertising agency KesselsKramer operates in Amsterdam. Founded in 1995 together with Johan Kramer, it is one of the most famous ad agencies in the Netherlands and beyond. The location seems rather odd, but that’s exactly how they like it.
When the best make it worse
Thanks to KesselKramer, the agency’s first client Hans Brinker Budget Hotel can now claim to be “the worst hotel in the world”. As honesty turns out to be their only luxury, the creative director came up with the rather simple, but effective idea: In a world overloaded with advertisement, where everything is made better than it actually is, or – as some might say – is even almost entirely a lie, they are making the strong gesture of simply telling the truth.By highlighting the flaws, instead of hiding them, Kessels creates an attention, which is directly proven by the TYPO crowd’s reactions. Curios about how bad it could possibly get, the audience is magnetised by the slides Kessels has to show from a 19 year working relationship with his client. Accompanied by the laughing hall, he flicks through the different campaigns until “it can’t get any worse.” The campaigns are excellently designed, outrageously original and peppered with solid honesty. It is this kind of strong ideas, that make the work of Kessels so much fun to look at. And the whole talk remains truly entertaining. Equipped with little anecdotes, he communicates his love for story-telling with all means. In this end, Kessels presents himself not necessarily like a man of many words, but with loads of pictures.
An eye on the odd
A couple of other, not any less convincing, advertising projects and design products can be seen, as he continues. Followed by a collection of smartphone pictures and online treasures, that show unbelievably ridiculous and stupid construction errors. (Draws, that block each other from opening. A staircase, that can’t be taken.) In his talk he mixes passion with profession, private snapshots with campaign posters for clients, work with hobby. It becomes clear, that his creations are not simply a certain design approach, but derive from a more general specific attitude towards the world. And subsequently result in a broad range of creative outcome, that can not be put in one single category. At all times Kessels has an extraordinarily attentive eye on oddity.
Designer, Artist, Curator (Amsterdam)
Flea markets, fairs and online sites are some of the treasure troves, where Kessels follows his passion for vernacular photography and its immanent stories. What started as a hobby, has meanwhile become the successful publishing project “In Almost Every Picture” with 14 volumes and made him the star of the found-footage scene. By remixing the contexts, abandoned photo-albums of amateurs become photo-books, that celebrate the every day, the profane, the unintentionally comical and the accidentally aesthetic.