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Walter Amerika has almost 20 years of consumer and corporate brand building experience for clients like Heineken, Grolsch, Vodafone, PepsiCo, Douwe Egberts/SaraLee and Schiphol Airport. Over the last few years, he’s applied his skills to promoting creativity itself, as a lecturer at the Design Academy Eindhoven, as creative industries adviser to the management centre De Baak, as president of the creative board of Creative Amsterdam, and in countless other related functions.
So why does he devote himself so passionately to promoting the creative industries? “I think that after sustainability, creativity is the next good thing,” says Walter. “It can contribute a lot towards making the world a bit better, more beautiful, and more effective. We’ve come out of an industrial society and we’re moving into a knowledge-based economy, which hopefully will continue to develop into a creative economy, one of intuitive thinking. Of course, you can use creativity to put things on the agenda, as Al Gore did with his film, An Inconvenient Truth. In its most simple form, it concerns better architecture, better homes, better lifestyles for people. In 2008, for the first time in the history of humanity, there are more people living in cities than in rural areas. Think of Mexico City. Architects, designers, and communication experts can make a big contribution to improve urban living.”
Walter cites the social climate, the creative diversity, and the enormous willingness of the government to stimulate the creative industries as major boosters for Amsterdam’s creativity. For example, plenty of spaces are made available, sometimes in old heritage buildings, for new companies to establish themselves cheaply and effectively. There is not only fashion in this region, but also new media, design and architecture. That creative diversity is an important plus.
Walter was in advertising. So how does he see the industry 10 years from now? “The new office model, whatever that will be, is going to emerge partly from this region,” he says. “In New York, there are a number of offices much more into the field of cooperation with consumers and social networks. They steer much less from the client end and stand far closer to the end-user, the consumer. Exactly here is where bureau 2008 started, which undoubtedly will be no traditional advertising agency. Agencies and brands are looking much more to social networks, where consumers are uniting. That means not only Hyves, but things like patient networks too. At Fiat, they have just let an enormous number of people test the new Fiat 500. Lego had done that too. Ultimately, you try to get as many outside influences as possible for the product.”
Brand and Marketing Consultant
Most proud of:
Continuing to be occupied with creativity all day and everyday. Creativity is not yet an everyday thing, it isn’t always understood by everyone.
Developing the Creative Industry Sofa, which I’m working on now. In imitation of the farmers who set up their own bank, the Rabobank, we’re trying to set up a support and financing club for the creative industries.
Biggest opportunity for the creative industries:
To ensure a really sustainable and multicultural society. By ooking at things more conceptually, by making links, and by showing the good sides instead of the bad sides.