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Machinisten woedend over reclame spotje

“Machinisten woedend over reclame spotje”

Train drivers furious about advertisement.


Wide blue skies over wide Dutch landscape. Exciting music swelling. The camera sweeps across the grassy planes, mighty windmills and zooms in on a Real Sportsman. A lean, mean triathlon machine, quickening his pace to pass the closing barriers, just before the train whizzes by.

Completely untouched, he jumps on his bike and maneuvers his way all slick and sharp through the frantic city jungle before fearlessly jumping into the water of the Amsterdam IJ – bicycle and all – to complete his mission. This mission turns out to be to raise attention for Donor week (14 – 20 October). The thriathlist just completed this nerve wrecking tour de force with a donor heart beating away in his chest.

As I told you last week, I am not a natural sports fanatic. It is not very likely that my book-loving heart will ever make anyone successfully join a triathlon. I can’t understand why on earth someone would quicken his pace to pass a closing barrier. Personally, I would make most of the occasion, insert a comfortable break, take in the scenery and dream away. Obviously, steering a perfectly good bicycle into a canal is pure silliness. Still, I was definitely impressed by this silly, yet brave athlete, running on a heart that might very well be buried in the ground if its previous owner had not signed up as a donor. It made me check the Donor week’s website today.

However, train drivers all over the Netherlands were less impressed by the fearless actions of our athletic friend. According to the drivers, the ad encourages dangerous and asocial behavior. The fact that the Dutch government issued this advertisement, while supporting a campaign that raises awareness for the dangers of crossing closed railway barriers at the same time, simple abhors them. Fumingly, they issued a complaint at the Reclame Code Commissie.

Our minister of Health (photo ANP), Edith Schippers, couldn’t see any harm in the ad. She thinks it to be rather prikkelend (incentive) and spannend (exciting). According to her, the clip shows someone who is very much alive and living on the edge with a donor heart. This is what she said:



‘Ja, het is een prikkelend spotje. Sterker nog, het schuurt. Wat ik terugzie is iemand die het leven leeft met een donorhart, living on the edge! En dat is een groot contrast met mensen op de wachtlijst voor een orgaan. Hun leven staat stil in afwachting van een orgaan. Ze staan letterlijk “on hold”. Regisseur Dick Maas heeft daar een spannend en prikkelend filmpje van gemaakt om ook jongeren aan te spreken. Daar sta ik volledig achter. Wat je ziet in het spotje is natuurlijk niet de werkelijkheid, dat is in film en reclame vrijwel nooit het geval.’

Want to join the discussion, awaiting the Reclame Code Commissie’s final verdict? Have a look at the clip, make up your mind and contribute to one of the many news forums in your best Dutch!