2
Feb
    Japan Website Project

AEGON Japan Website

In 2010, I worked as the Web Editor and Writer for AEGON.com. AEGON is a global insurance company whose name may be recognizable in the Netherlands, but not so much in Asia and the Americas.

As part of a website update project, I was asked to create visual content and English text for the AEGON Japan Website. The Japanese site would become a template for AEGON Germany and other country websites.

Easy to read, easy on the eyes

For the Japan site, I needed to develop content that was easy to read for non-native English speakers, easy to translate and customer friendly. The website needed to be economical with words, simple and clear.

With the Brand Manager and Japan contacts, we created a visual identity which would worked for AEGON internationally while still appealing to the Japanese market.

Project Walkthrough

Follow my walkthrough of the AEGON Japan Website Project using a fancy, zippy, zoom-able Prezi presentation. Or alternatively, you can go straight to Japan and the www.aegon.jp for direct contact in Japanese or English.

Links

Big Fat Website Project - AEGON Japan on Prezi
AEGON Japan website
AEGON.com

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25
Jan
    Elementary School Project from Texas

Flat Stanley in Holland

Flat Stanley is on a learning and teaching journey through Holland. May all my 2012 projects be as rewarding and creatively challenging as the Flat Stanley Website Project.

Who is Flat Stanley?

Sometimes a kid is so cute, sweet and well-behaved that you want to put them in your pocket and take them home. Flat Stanley is made of paper, so you can take him anywhere. He folds up and quietly rides around in your coat or backpack. He unfolds every time with a crooked smile, good humor and ready for a photo shoot.

Quote from Flat Stanley

"My name is Flat Stanley. I am from Sour Lake, Texas. My friend Avery sent me to Holland for a school project. I came dressed in my best clothes. But, when I arrived it was colder than Texas. My host family made me put on a red scarf. Today I started my big adventure visiting another country."

Follow Flat Stanley

During his stay, Flat Stanley: visits the biggest castle, crosses the tallest bridge, meets two cheese cutters, goes to school and has pictures, video and commentary to document his time for his Texas classmates.

Links

Flat Stanley in Holland
Flat Stanley School Project Instructions
Flat Stanley Background from Wikipedia

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9
Jan
    Interviewing King of the Rink Sven Kramer

Holland's Sven Wins Again

This weekend, Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer won his fifth European Allround Championship. If you are not Dutch, you may remember Sven from the 2010 Winter Olympics as the guy who mistakenly changed lanes too early or too late and lost one of his gold medals. Or, for asking an Olympic reporter, "Are you stupid?" Neither being publicly proud moments for the Dutch King of the Rink.

(photo rights purchased through Getty Images)

Interviewing Sven in 2010

In 2010, after the Olympics and the day after the World Championships, I was asked to interview Sven Kramer for AEGON. It was the last hoorah party for the skaters since AEGON was no longer sponsoring Dutch skating. It was a bittersweet moment for some of the skaters who had grown up knowing AEGON as a Dutch sponsor for 25 years.

"Are you stupid?"

While preparing for my interview, I came across the now infamous "Are you stupid" video which has now been blocked by the International Olympic Committee. Sven Kramer had just walked off the ice after winning the gold for the 5000m speed skating race, when an Olympic reporter asks, "If you can say your name and your country and what you just won here." On tape and live, Sven answers, "Are you stupid? Hell no! I'm not going to do that."

Not surprisingly, Sven received some bad press for the comment which aired multiple times during the Olympics. In the Netherlands, skating is a popular sport and Sven Kramer is one of skating's most popular heroes. In the Netherlands, Sven is and was a big fish in a small frozen Dutch pond. In the international sporting world, Sven is a small fish in a big pond. No matter how famous you think you are, kids around the world do not exchange or collect international speed skater cards.

Breaking the ice

Before my interview, the "Are you stupid" comment was haunting me. I was really nervous and worried that he would not want to help with the interview, or he would be rude or cocky. He was neither. I decided to clear the air and use the video to break the speed skating ice.

My first question to Sven was, "Could you just state your name and country for us?"

Sven threw his head back, laughed and said, "You've been watching youtube!"

Skater dad

He wasn't mean or evil, and was even nostalgic as he recalled his father who had also skated with AEGON on his chest and stocking cap. Sven said, "I remember the AEGON suits hanging in my dad's closet and I couldn't wait until I was big enough to fit in one. It was a proud day for me when I also wore the AEGON skating suit."

Skating champions on a break

The day I interviewed Sven was the first day of the skaters' break. I also asked, "You are now on a break, but what do you do when you rest? Probably not the same as we do?" Sven laughed, and said, "No, I will run and stuff." Unfortunately, only parts of the very charming, candid, adorable Sven Kramer interview appeared for the AEGON internal audience and employees.

International skater = international website

My lesson from the whole situation was that I needed to come uber-prepared for interviews. If I have done my homework, then I shouldn't worry about how other reporters were treated. Sven Kramer was gracious, helpful, fun, laughed a lot and even agreed with a smile to take a pic with me.

Now, in 2012, if Sven Kramer still wants to be recognized as an international superstar sports celebrity, he needs to have an English website and English Facebook page. I happen to know a not-so-speedy-skating big fat writer who can help. Gladly.

Links

Article about Sven Kramer and the "Are you stupid" video (in English)
Sven Kramer online (in Dutch)
Sven Kramer Facebook (in Dutch)

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