Blending creativity, craft and technology to bring imagination to life
A new proposition. A fresh start. Ambassadors and Amp.Amsterdam are officially merging into one company. Over two years ago, they announced a strategic collaboration. Now, the merger is a reality. They found common ground in their passion for craft. "For craft, for music, for innovation – that's what unites us all," says Halbo van der Klaauw.
In 2007, Van der Klaauw, together with Diederik Veelo, founded the creative production company Ambassadors. Joost Haartsen launched Amp.Amsterdam in 2013, focusing on sonic branding, music for commercials, and sound design. They became neighbors on the Herengracht. "We entered a strategic partnership over just one cup of coffee," Haartsen recalls. Van der Klaauw adds, "What sparked my interest in Amp.Amsterdam was their forward-looking approach and movement towards the future. I saw many similarities in creating something special together."
Over the past two years, the organizations have become intertwined. "We laid the foundation of our collaboration on a single A4 sheet and decided to merge only if it worked organically," Haartsen explains. "We realized within a few months that there was a match among all our people. Of course, integrating everything takes time."
Sanne Tolsma was brought in as the managing director. Previously responsible for international business and bureau management at MullenLowe ALFRED, and managing director of Creature Amsterdam (formerly XXS), Tolsma says, "We can bring any idea to life; you imagine it, we make it. To do so, we use visual effects, animation, AI, sound and music, among others.Few can offer this under one roof at this level. We provide scalability with a hundred people and our own technology. We're the hub between brands and agencies, making us Ambassadors for imagination."
Offering High Quality
There's a market need for a fully integrated party, Haartsen notes. "A few years ago, having everything under one roof seemed a bit cheap. But that's changed. Now, you must be genuinely integrated. We believe this approach lets us offer high quality."
Why work with one partner for production? "With all artists under one roof, communication is direct and collaboration is high, which benefits the creative output. It saves time. It affects all channels, allowing us to make creative decisions in every aspect of film or content, tailoring it to the client or product. This scale and diversity are unmatched," Haartsen explains.
Van der Klaauw adds, "Making a beautiful film is everyone's goal, but there's much more. Like adapting for Gen Z, ensuring it looks good and remains relevant across platforms. That's why we develop deeper partnerships with brands and agencies."
Technology, especially AI, plays an increasing role. "Years ago, our innovation hub, Ambassadors Lab, was already ahead in this," says Van der Klaauw. "Eight years ago, I was presenting our creative automation platform, Cube, to clients, but it didn't catch on."
Now, clients like Booking.com, Dyson, and N26 streamline processes with Cube. "Thanks to Revel.ai and Vocoda.ai, we can digitize people and voices," he adds.
"The pace of development means brands and agencies come to us asking for help," continues Van der Klaauw. "International brands now need a vast undercurrent of content and digital assets. With Cube, you can organize and automate this. Cube ensures every change aligns with the brand's guidelines and requirements."
Haartsen adds, "One misaligned release can have significant consequences. Cube eliminates that worry." Tolsma notes, "Consistency in creative output is also key to brand building."
Craft and Creativity Make the Difference
Technology aids, but craft and creativity are key. "Imagination is more important than ever," Haartsen states. "Brands don't just want an animation; they ask us to realize their vision."
Van der Klaauw believes technology enhances creativity. "Previously, half the time was spent on mundane tasks, now handled by technology. This allows us to achieve more in less time, though creative spirit remains crucial."
He anticipates significant technological advancements in the next two years. "We're careful about rights, so we develop our own models and avoid tools like Midjourney due to ongoing lawsuits over artists' compensation," he explains. Tolsma emphasizes, "Fair compensation is a priority for us. If we create a new voice from five, those five are duly paid."
Ambassadors and Amp.Amsterdam see themselves as partners, not suppliers. "Technological changes have transformed the relationship between brands, agencies, and production companies into a neural network," Haartsen explains. "There's no longer a hierarchical model in brand-agency relationships."
Tolsma adds, "Most creative automation tasks are entrusted to us. Many Dutch advertising agencies and casting agencies use our platform for their creative workflows. Our relationship with brands like Booking.com is a testament to this partnership."
"Ambassadors have offices in Amsterdam, New York, and Berlin. The international market is key for growth," Haartsen notes. "Our creativity's scalability is what large brands seek. We work with clients like HBO and Apple in America."
Tolsma says, "Our international business grows from Amsterdam, with the opening of our office in Berlin."
Not Just Talk, but Action
Tolsma is proud of their clear narrative and direction. "Everyonehas a role, contributing to our vision that creativity and craft will always make a difference for our clients. We also focus on nurturing young talent and adding societal value."
"Imagination is more important than ever."
Ambassadors' production for various Albert Heijn commercials, including the recent Eye of the Hamster.
Collaboration with director Paul Geusebroek for the Patta, Nike, and FC Barcelona commercial.
Production for the BMW XM introduction from Berlin, with full 3D and CG by Ambassadors.
Staatsloterij's recent campaign featuring full CG animation by Ambassadors.
Music productions for brands, resulting in nearly 200 million Spotify streams in the Netherlands alone.
Want the full story? Check out the article on Adformatie (in Dutch).