On Being Creative – Aartrijk

by Pat Alexander on January 11, 2012 · 1 comment

In today’s 24/7 online world you need to be creative to get attention. My friends at Aartrijk have done just that over the past few weeks. Creative is just what they have been in creating and introducing us to a cause they support. Here is the scoop on the Aartrijk Zoo. Actually, I have always thought the people of this group were the “zoo”, but that is how creative people are.




Contact: Dave Willis, dave@Aartrijk.com, (603) 444-2225


‘They Were a Bunch of Animals,’ Aartrijk’s CEO Says

SPRINGFIELD, VA (January 6, 2012)—At the end of December, while employees spent time with family and friends, a group of cyber mischiefs conspired to take over social media accounts of Aartrijk, the insurance branding and marketing communications firm. “On Friday, my wife, Ellen, realized something was going on,” said CEO Peter van Aartrijk. “She noticed—and ‘liked’—a seemingly innocent Facebook post that read ‘Ruff, ruff, ruff!!’ Little did we know what was in store.”

The Aartrijk Zoo's Primary Photo

Throughout the weekend, other animal comments appeared. On Monday the firm learned they were the victims of cyber-furrorists. “They told us they had changed the passwords and warned us to expect a ransom note,” van Aartrijk said. By the end of the day, the perpetrators shared their identity. “It was our own Zoo—the animals who hold a special place in our hearts and offices—that did this,” he added. “I went to Molly, our firm’s Chief Security Officer and Chief Napping Officer, woke her up and asked her to explain. All she could say was ‘rut roh.’”

On Tuesday morning, the animals revealed their intent in a blog post by Chloe, an Aartrijk Zoo member from New Hampshire. “Just before Christmas, Peter shared with blog readers five ideas to unwind,” she wrote. “The Aartrijk humans—and probably a lot of clients and other friends—heeded the advice. When that happened, we, the members of the Aartrijk Zoo, sprang into action.

“We figured out how to surf the web, and started communicating with each other,” Chloe continued. “We chatted about all kinds of stuff, including a post Mariane Ceballo wrote a while back about supporting our communities.” The animals liked the idea of giving back, and signed on with actor Paul Rudd and the Mozilla Firefox Challenge to raise money for Rolling Dog Farm, a shelter for disabled animals in Northern New Hampshire.

They created a fundraising page, (http://bit.ly/ZooRaiser) started posting on Facebook and put together a zoo-wide donation to support the farm. “Because I lost an eye to cancer and because I live in Northern New Hampshire, I can relate to the animals at Rolling Dog Farm, so I made a donation of my own,” Chloe added. “And we’d love for you to join us. If we all chip in, we can make life a lot better for some disabled animals who just want another chance at a safe and loving home.”

According to van Aartrijk, the hackers were punished for their criminal acts. “We all decided to give our pets a really stern look,” he explained, “which most simply ignored. We’ve also decided to honor their initiative and giving spirit with a donation of our own. And we encourage our friends to do the same.”

About: Aartrijk is a boutique branding firm serving clients from insurance and financial services firms and member organizations. Aartrijk’s highly experienced team offers business-to-business and business-to-consumer brand auditing; brand identity development; Web positioning and social media; advertising, marketing-communications and public relations; publishing and editorial; and customer and marketing channel research. www.Aartrijk.com.

  • Just because we have pets, doesn't mean we aren't the zoo, too. The big difference: we can unscrew the lid to the egg nog.

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