belgium Tag

Greg Shapiro Sells Potatoes for AGRISTO

Greg Shapiro Sells Potatoes for AGRISTO
14 Sept. 2022

Soda Stream, Dollar Shave Club, Old Spice with Terry Crews… and now Greg Shapiro sells potatoes for Agristo. In an online ad directed by Gouden Kalf winner Dennis Bots. Starring me, parachuting into a potato processing plant in Wielsbeke, Belgium.

Dennis Bots knew me from watching me at Boom Chicago theater in Amsterdam. There was a time I was improvising a James Bond character, and I entered wearing a jumpsuit – which I then removed to reveal a tuxedo. Coincidentally (?) Dennis hired me to appear wearing a skydiving outfit, which I would then pull away to reveal a tailored suit. And that’s how the video opens.




Why cast Greg Shapiro to sell potatoes? Dennis wanted John Cleese type to lead the viewer on a tour through the Agristo HQ & potato processing plant. Have you ever seen those truckloads of potatoes trundling down the Dutch and Belgian highways? Now I know where they go: Agristo. Thick-cut Belgian frites, thinly-sliced potato crisps, and even those starchy-molded Pringles. The processing plant was amazing.


Day One started outside Agristo HQ, pulling off my flight suit. Then I got to meet the Agristo management team, who were also extras in the video. Some of them dressed as giant potatoes. This was a fun team.

Day Two took place in the processing plant, leading up to the ‘Matrix’ moment. Director Dennis wanted to demonstrate the many, many potatoes flying around the processing plant by recreating the ‘Bullet time’ moment from The Matrix.

There was a stuntman to help me, but I would be bending over backwards myself. The stuntman’s name was one of the more perfect names I’ve ever heard, by the way: Kili Wolf.

foto by Europe’s finest Steadicam man Jo Vermaercke



I knew of Dennis from his work directing kids shows like Sinterklaas Journal & Huis Anubis. He’s also done a lot of Belgian Studio 100 productions like K3. And he won his Golden Kalf for Achtste Groepers Huilen Niet. But then he revealed the coolest credits: he helped design some of the rides at amusement park Efteling. He did the Sprookjesboom in the fairytale forest, he did the story behind the rollercoaster Joris en de Draak, and most amazingly he helped design the part dark-ride / part rollercoaster / part wet-ride De Vliegende Hollander.

Producer Reinhout Nechelput revealed at the wrap party that this production was the first with his new production company. It was great. Creatives at Belgian D-artagnan were creative. And branding manager at Agristo was delightful.



photo: Costume designer Inger Pedersen

Remote Meetings Are Dead – Long Live Hybrid Meetings! Greg Shapiro

Remote Meetings Are Dead; Long Live Hybrid Meetings!
7 March, 2022

In February I was called upon to do two separate events for Janssen Pharmaceuticals in Belgium – both remote meetings. Now that Covid restrictions are lifting in the Netherlands and Belgium, you might expect a return to 100% live events ! And you’d be wrong. Looks like hybrid meetings are the New Normal.

The first remote meeting was an expat event, and I was asked to make a 20-minute tailored video.

Would there be enough material about cultural quirks in Belgium? Oh, yes. But how far should I go in making fun of Belgium? I started out with “Who knew one country could drink so much beer? Even the children drink to excess – at least that’s what I assume since the national mascot is a boy urinating.”

I sent in my video – via WeTransfer. Would they approve? Would they even watch it before plopping it into their meeting? I didn’t hear anything back… until after the day of the meeting. The subject heading said “LOVED IT!” Phew. “We used your video at our event yesterday and it was great. It really hit the right note and was enjoyed by all. We hope to see you again – hopefully F2F next time.”

Indeed, we were hoping for F2F Face to Face next time. But the next time was a hybrid meeting. Which was fine! The second Janssen remote meeting was produced by Co-MANA, who created a pop-up studio in Belgium. There was a giant LED wall, with projections that could change themes for the two-day event.


There was a dedicated screen with a dedicated link to the internal Janssen team leaders. There was a live monitor. And there was a prompter screen, which doubled as a link to the Q&A moderator. And we ended with a live band, who played during the interactive quiz.

It would have been nice to have the team leaders on location, as well as the band. Heck, it would have been nice to have a fully live event. But if Hybrid Meetings are the new normal for now, i gotta say this meeting was great.