The Volkskrant launches Google action 'de Volksquiz'

With Harmen Siezen (81) as presenter.

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The Volksquiz will go live at the beginning of February. It’s a news quiz from de Volkskrant that’s played on the Google Assistant. In the Volksquiz, diehard news and history nerds can showcase their knowledge and measure themselves with friends, family and the rest of the Netherlands. The presenter? None other than Mr NOS Journaal, Harmen Siezen. Copy Director Barry de Waal developed the concept together with colleague Paul Geraets and wrote all texts for both Harmen Siezen and his digital assistant and sidekick, Sofia. We spoke briefly with Barry about this special conversational project.

Popular on the Google Assistant 
Playing games on the Google Assistant is ever so popular, in the Netherlands and worldwide. For DPG Media, Greenhouse_Conversational previously developed Qmusic’s ‘Guess the sound’ and the ‘Donald Duck quiz’, both successful games with very positive reviews. Just say, “Hey Google, I want to play a game” and find out what games are currently available. De Waal: “Within that growing list of games, the Volksquiz is the only news quiz, which naturally increases the chance of success.”

Week quiz and History quiz 
De Volksquiz is based on existing quiz content from de Volkskrant. Consumers have been able to play a Weekly Quiz and a Jubilee Quiz for some time now via the newspaper’s website. Both variants have now been further developed for users of the Google Assistant. De Waal explains: “This means that the texts of the questions and answers have been made suitable for chat and voice, so shorter, more colloquial. And that especially the entertainment level has been increased, thanks to game show host Harmen Siezen, game sound design and brand sonic elements.”

Silver generation 
Over 17,000 times (!) Harmen Siezen presented the NOS Journaal, making him the ideal host of the Volksquiz. Not only is he a news authority, but he also brings a sympathy vote with him, certainly with the focus target group – the over-50s, the silver generation – for whom Siezen has been the face of the NOS Journaal for decades. But also because of Siezen’s delightful self-mockery and an unmistakable sense of humor.

Quite exciting… to coach a living legend 
Copy Director Barry de Waal spent hours in the studio with Siezen to record over a 100 voice fragments. The now 81-year-old Siezen actually no longer does any projects, but gladly made an exception for the Volksquiz and recorded all the texts with great pleasure and energy. Although De Waal has been accompanying voice-over recordings for more than 20 years now, this specific recording was quite exciting, according to him: “Harmen Siezen is a living legend, you know, and you have to tell him to pronounce a sentence a little faster, or that the emphasis should be elsewhere. But he was very easy to coach. It was great fun!”

Play the game? 

Stay tuned, we’ll share the game after the launch!