Rodger Werkhoven's profile
the simplest advertising property for SIMPEL
my contributions:
HELP WIN THE PITCH by:
CONCEPTING THE BIG IDEA
GIVING THE BRAND THE FINGER
ánd ITS INTRODUCTION CAMPAIGN
(and doing all the initial COPYWRITING)

'SIMPEL' (Dutch for simple) is THE challenger brand in the Dutch telecom market. It positions its brand simply being the cheapest no-frills option available. Pitching for the account with typical Dutch ad agency Alfred - I suggested giving SIMPEL the finger. At first Alfred's co-founder and creative partner at the time, dismissed my concept: "It's not 'Alfred' enough. It is just TOO simple..." Marcel van Wing, Alfred's MD back then, disagreed and rescued my concept, pulling it from the bin. Just days later my art director Michiel Neefjes and I, presented SIMPEL's founder Jasper van Rooij the concept. I simply drew a smiley on one of my own fingers and told him: "Meet your new campaign's star actor". Van Rooij - there and then - declared us winners of his pitch right away. His accompanying marketing staff were understandably taken aback by their boss's impulsiveness, but Marcel van Wing swiftly opened a bottle of champagne to seal the moment. The rest is Dutch advertising history. The campaign - running for 9 years already - is now one of Alfred's longest-running ones.

Creatives today working at Alfred still air new fun episodes regularly.
For your entertainment, I'll try and collect them all, here. Stay tuned...
​​​​​​​
above a campaign summary, below more recent commercials and their tag-ons
below: being the challenger brand, SIMPEL simply revolutionized the Dutch telecom industry:

is it the finger actors' popularity or the competitive pricing winning SIMPEL its 'Website of the Year' awards?



my 'finger actor concept' ment SIMPEL could - even on a small budget - work with the world's biggest stars:
below: a couple of the classics, the first done by actual human finger actors

initially art director Michiel Neefjes had the brave idea of putting the finger actors in real everyday situations ... 

... this brave approach implicated that the campaign's first finger actors actually weren't human... but robots!


below, the very first SIMPEL commercial ever, starring a ROBOTIC finger actress:

additional credits:
Michiel Neefjes (initial art-direction)
Marcel van Wing (the Alfred MD who rescued my concept from the bin)
Jan Willem Smits, Maxim van Rijs, Jurre van de Ven, Luuk van de Put (for continuing the saga)
Jasper de Rooij (for having the guts going for my concept)
Rob's Prop Shop (for building the robot fingers)




the simplest advertising property for SIMPEL
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the simplest advertising property for SIMPEL

What if... simplicity is a brand's philosophy?

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