Ambassadors is a creative production studio driven by the belief that craft makes all the difference.
It is a testimony to Ambassadors's love for the industry and craft of animation that they were able to become our very first Creative Services Company of the Year, in the year when the category was first established. The team was also able to secure a Bronze in the Animation category with their Times are Changing project, a beautiful animated short to promote Unox's plant-based line.
Showcasing incredibly high production value, the works of Ambassadors could capture anyone who is even remotely interested in the art of animation – and that is no mean feat. For this Annual Spotlight, we had a chat with Halbo van der Klaauw, Founding Partner of Ambassadors, to learn more about one of the most talented production studios in Europe.
Annual 2021 is currently accepting submissions until 27th May. Enter now to grab your slice of creative immortality!
What feels unique about The Annual?
It’s a classic – the heavy, shiny, instantly-recognisable book to keep by the coffee machine. Always nice to have something analogue in this digital world. Even nicer to be in it!
How does it feel to have won the Creativepool Annual Awards?
It’s an honour being the first company awarded creative services partner of the year, and awesome to see the category introduced in general. It really shows the growing involvement and recognition for the makers ‘behind the scenes’. The word ‘service’ has also definitely changed a lot since the 90s when I was behind the box as a VFX guy. Back then it was simply post-production, but it’s really evolved now to supporting brands and agencies across all kinds of creative, workflow, and scaling needs.
Will you be entering again this year? If so, what are your hopes?
We’ll throw our hat in the ring! We’ve already been lucky to work on some beautiful projects at the beginning of this year, from replacing live shoots with photo-real CG animation, to getting on set for some socially-distanced live shoots, to really wonderful character animation to help get the conversation going on some trickier topics.
Can you tell us more about your winning submissions and what you think impressed the judges?
So as well as the creative services partner category, we had a bronze medal for ‘Times are changing’, a TV commercial we produced for Unilever’s Unox and made with our friends at TBWA\Neboko. Our brief was to retain Unox’s trustworthy, traditional brand identity while promoting its growing range of vegetarian options to the Dutch public. We shot it all on a miniature set with very close attention to detail, and animated it with this lovely CG feature style and an originally composed music track. It became a sweet story about a family of third-generation butchers trying something new, not about missing out. Within one year, the vegetarian range grew over 400%, making Unox the fastest grower in its category. Shows the persuasive power of animation!
What advice would you share with other agencies and individuals looking to grab a prize?
I guess we’re all trying to create that ‘ah’ moment for people, that moment of connection. Whether that’s a beautiful shot, an innovative new technique, something that really brings out the magic of the story. There has to be a certain level of obsession with your craft to make that happen, I think. Even if you’ve obsessed over a shot for hundreds of hours and maybe don’t want to see it again… that might be even more reason for entering it!
How do you feel Covid has impacted the creative landscape in 2020?
I think Covid made us all a bit more aware of each other in the industry. We made more of an effort to reach out to people, see how they’re doing, see how we can get through this period together. It’s like the war brought us together. As the creative industry gets up and running again, I hope we don’t lose that.
What are your hopes for 2021 and beyond?
The big one is to properly open Ambassadors back up. I can’t wait to see people running around on all our floors again! We’ve learnt a lot about the benefits of balanced, flexible, remote working, so as the rules continue relaxing, it’ll be a question of balancing that with the in-studio experience. We want to make Ambassadors somewhere our artists, clients and partners can drop by as they like, with a great balance of collaborative areas and quiet work spots. We’re busy with renovation plans and it’s looking good! Just holding out to that moment we can have our first production party on the roof, all of us together enjoying a bit of Dutch sun. Happy days on the way.
What is your most exciting project in the next year?
I love all our children, it’s too hard to pick a favourite ;)