Pleasant to meet: the atypical advertising man.
It’s a bit strange when you meet copywriter Robert den Bremer. If you know his work, you expect an extravagant flamboyant advertising man who tells you how the world works. The reality is different. Robert is a quiet, nice guy who likes to listen rather than talk about himself. Fortunately for this interview he talks about his work with fire.
You’ve been at the biggest agencies. TBWA, DDB, Y & R, JWT. Where did you learn to write?
“I had the luck that I had two very good mentors. At McCannit was Arie Kleijn. A real professional who himself had learned the trade from Jim Prins. The other one was Erik Wünsch. I learned the deletion of words from him. Because writing is deleting. It is the wise lesson of Elsschot that is still going on.
Unfortunately, you see that in practice often go wrong. Especially online seems to have become the drain for words. Many websites today are complete digital folders. Everything is coloured. That is unfortunate because the drop-off moment at sites is always lurking. People want quick relevant information and do not want to be overloaded with tediousness. “
You started as a DM copywriter.
“That’s right. During my law studies, I used to be a reporter for the local newspaper. Law was not really my favourite subject and I liked writing. I started at the legendary agency Pieter van den Busken and later I joined The Direct Marketing Group.
The advantage of Direct Marketing is that as a writer you learn how to be effective. After all, DM is always measurable, so you quickly know what works and what does not. Another advantage is that you learn to write quickly. I wrote my fingers blue. Sales letters, magazines, leaflets. It did not stop.
Is Amsterdam ‘the place to be’ for copywriters?
“To learn the trade for sure. The big offices are in Amsterdam. There you have the best professionals around you. Once you can write, you can do it anywhere. I’m based in Egmondaan Zee. That’s great. Just writing in peace and recharge your batteries with the dog on the beach. The perfect combination. But with pleasure, I also work at the client’s base. “
Which work are you most proud of?
“Copywriting is often more than just text writing. There is often also strategy and concept development involved. That makes it extra fun. What am I proud of? The campaign with the big fish for the Staatsloterij (made with my art director). The Trom cap for Heineken. The radio commercial for Grandma’s Smulfrites from Aviko. My work for Volkswagen. Less well-known, but no less proud, is my work for the Ithaka Free Schools and the campaign for www.rugkliniekgorinchem.nl. “
For Heineken we came up with the Trom-Hat and all communication around it. From TV commercial to online.
The fish for De Staatsloterij has now become a real ‘advertising property’. A vehicle with which you know at a glance that it is about De Staatsloterij.
Writing for Volkswagen is the dream of every copywriter. I have been allowed to do it for six years.
From offline to online. I have done all the communication for the schools in North Holland. The message that resonates everywhere: You learn better if you enjoy learning.
What makes you different from other copywriters?
“There are plenty of good copywriters. My big advantage is that I understand different disciplines. I know how to write good direct marketing. Above the line I have more than 25 years of experience at the best agencies in the Netherlands. The last seven years I have specialized more and more in SEO and content marketing. The latter is self-evident. Because the world is not just online or offline. They often go hand in hand. “