Béla Stamenkovits, legendary Dutch adman and by many considered their best Art Director, has passed away age 69

 

The Netherlands has lost one of their advertising giants. Béla Stamenkovits (1949-2019). He created iconic advertisements in The Netherlands, where he strove for beauty and aesthetics in his visual concepts.

Here is a nice memorandum in Adformatie from everyone at TBWA. Béla Stamenkovits actually began his career as an office boy, at an agency called KVH. He soon realized that he wanted to become a creative, as he had quit art school for the job. Within a year he convinced his employer to allow him into the studio, which back then was the tedious work of wax and paste. Ever ambitious he became a junior art director and soon he started his first agency in his own garage: Madison Advertising. In the seventies, he founded PMSvW, which soon became one of the biggest agencies in Amsterdam.

Left Béla Stamenkovits, center Jim Prins and Hans van Walbeek
Left Béla Stamenkovits, center Jim Prins and Hans van Walbeek on the right in New York representing Prins, Meijer, Stamenkovits & Van Walbeek.

Millions of people saw his ads, not just in the Netherlands but also in international advertising awards, as his ambitions were not limited to competing only locally. You may recall ads like "Honey, is the Bokma cold" (1977), "You can laugh at everyone in a Fiat Panda" (1987), "Liquid Gold - Naomi Campbell" (1995),  "Gühl - Second Nature" (1995), "Gühl Living Colors" (1995), "Nissan - Instruments" (1999)

A billboard for jenever "Honey, is the Bokma chilled?" 1977

Béla Stamenkovits, whom many agree was the best art director in the Netherlands, leaves behind an impressive (and award-winning) body of work, and many beautiful and dear memories of the people who worked with him during his long career. From KVH in the 70s to 2015, when he quit his last firm SSSS & Orchestra. In the late 90s, he worked at Campaign Company, later merged with TBWA/NEBOKO where he became the chief creative officer

Béla Stamenkovits had one golden rule and piece of advice for Creative Directors: 

"Never credit yourself as a creative director on the credit lists. Leave the honour to the creative team who did it. It’s their work and they need to be motivated. If I believe in people, they can play in the major leagues right off the bat. And I do my best to sell their work to the client." 

In order to create the right blend of people in his agencies, he asked account people to bring their portfolios to interviews. That way he could see by the work that they sold if they shared the passion for great creative work.

Béla is remembered by friends and colleagues in Het Parool, Marketing Tribune, and Adformatie.

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