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Or 'these little fuckers.' We had our own ideas.
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  • 11/07/2024

Cosplay 2024

How an award-winning designer wrote an award-winning script. One and the same person functioning as both designer and copywriter. It’s not very common, but it is what Ben Boliau did for Eastpak. ‘All my hobbies and passions came together. Pretty great.’

The blue-faced demon smiles, arms planted firmly in his side. Horns proudly on his head, scaled suit tightly hugging his body, his dark blue fanny pack dangling at the waist. He’s ready for a day of cosplay. A narrator moves it along. We embark on another epic quest / we make haste across the gray plains of Mundania. This both visually and textually stunning Eastpak film introduces a whole new world. A planet populated by colorful cosplay: knights, superheroes and fantasy creatures. The grumbling voice-over sounds like an action movie blurb, written by an urban Tolkien.

There are a couple of reasons why Eastpak – Built to Resist 2024 by Mutant won several awards at CBA24. One of those reasons is Ben Boliau, the architect of both words and pictures. Ben is a senior designer at Mutant, but also wielded the pen for this campaign. Rather unusual, but apparently it works.

‘I’m trained as a designer but have always engaged in words as well. There’s a complementary relation there I just can’t ignore. Therefore, I don’t like maintaining a single-focus approach’, explains Ben. ‘And as I have a background in nerdy, fantasy role-playing stuff, I really wanted to give this a go. All my hobbies and passions came together in one project. I got to conceptualize it all. That was pretty great.’

What came first? The chicken or the egg? The words or the images? In both cases, Ben finds it difficult to say. ‘To me, those two are inseparable. When I read a briefing, I’ll see images. When I see images, a voiceover starts rolling in my head. There’s not really a difference, except that designing is much more labor-intensive than writing. When I’m working on text and I feel the flow, it just gushes out.’

Apart from a more all-round crafty experience, it’s an interesting way to get a different perspective on things. Walk a mile in another (wo)man’s shoes and all. Would Ben recommend colleagues to try the same? ‘It’s probably not for everyone. You need a bit of aptitude and interest. Plus a MutantTM mindset’ and agency culture. But as a teacher in higher arts education, I urge even my most fanatically-focused students to taste different disciplines. Or rather, as the US CD Hassan Rahim (and personal hero) calls it: to be anti-disciplinary.’ It might be an unusual approach. But hey, it can win you a couple of awards.

  • creative belgium awards (2023)
  • silver, industry craft copywriting
  • silver, industry craft photography
  • bronze, film craft cinematography
  • AGENCY: Mutant
  • BRAND/PRODUCT: Eastpak
  • ART DIRECTOR: Ben Boliau
  • DESIGNER: Frank Schouwaerts, Ben Boliau, Tjen Colman
  • ACCOUNT: Innie Tran, Lina Mertens, Thomas Koltsidas
  • COLOuR GRADING: William Ferré
  • DIRECTOR: Guy de la Palme
  • DOP: Pierre De Villiers
  • EDITOR: Joris Willems
  • MOTION DESIGNER: Bob Van den Audenaerde
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: Andile Buka
  • PRODUCTION COMPANY PRODUCER: Eva Van Riet, Geert De Wachter, Katia Renson
  • SOUND: Audiotheque