The universal language of food

JWT Amsterdam’s new campaign for PLUS supermarket follows a young Syrian boy’s adventures with typical Dutch food

Amsterdam, 22 August 2018 - Food is so heavily embedded into the culture of a country, that local people rarely notice how wonderful -  and sometimes weird - their own food is. That is, until someone from a different place arrives…

The power of good food

This insight sets the scene for JWT Amsterdam’s new TV commercial for Dutch supermarket PLUS. The film follows the story of Ismail, a Syrian boy from a refugee family. At his new school he befriends Lucas, who introduces him to Dutch food in all its glory.

True Dutch delicacies are presented - and tasted with varied success - including familiar favourites like pickled herring with raw onions, toasted cheese and ham sandwiches (sans ham for Ismael), and the classic deep-fried meat snack, the ‘bitterbal’.

Watch the film here -

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 “Food and culture are intrinsically linked. And more than that - food has the power to bring people together. Even when they can’t speak the same language. This was what we wanted to portray in a genuine and thoughtful way with our new film for PLUS Supermarkets.”

Bas Korsten, Creative Partner, J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam


The spot is sensitively directed by leading Dutch director Ismael ten Heuvel, who was so moved by the narrative that he even named the protagonist after himself. The same director worked on JWT Amsterdam and PLUS supermarket’s rather controversial Christmas TV commercial which featured a co-parenting family and showed how they celebrated Christmas. This spot was one of the Netherlands’ most lauded Christmas ads of 2017.



Agency: J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam

Creative Partner: Bas Korsten

Creative Lead: Chris Sant, Dieuwer Bulthuis

Business Lead: Budi Gonzalez de Chaves

Strategy Lead: Daan de Raaf

Concept Producer: Charlene Thomas

Screen Producer: Marloes van den Berg, Kirsten van den Berg


Client: PLUS Supermarkets

Manager Marketing & Communicatie: Bas Snetselaar

Communication Manager: Esmee Blom, Cecile van den Heuvel


Production Company: Pink Rabbit

Director: Ismael ten Heuvel

Producer: Monique van Beckhoven


Music: Amp.Amsterdam - featuring Andrew Simple

Creative Director: Diederik van Middelkoop

Producer: Bart van Liemt


Sound: Studio Alfred Klaassen

Producer: Jacco Lenstra & Hans van de Loo


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