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Now, That's What I Call Massive! Hans Brouwer Looks Back on 20 years of MassiveMusic



With 20 years under its belt, CEO and founder Hans takes a fond look at MassiveMusic's industry highlights

Now, That's What I Call Massive! Hans Brouwer Looks Back on 20 years of MassiveMusic

With offices in Amsterdam, Berlin, London, New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo, MassiveMusic is one of the leading creative agencies in the world. Hans Brouwer, CEO and founder looks at its humble beginnings, hopes and dreams for the company and its legendary Cannes party. 

Q> What was the music landscape like when you founded MassiveMusic?

Hans> MassiveMusic’s birth, back in 2000, coincided with the rise of the internet, one of the most transformative technologies ever. This opened up so many possibilities in the music landscape. We were able to work with composers from all over the world without having to meet with them in person. 

Before that moment, clients and agencies used to go to their favourite composer who had to be skilled in way too many music genres, often resulting in not very creditable outputs. I mean, imagine assigning a rock track to a classical-trained composer. Thanks to the roster of composers we’ve had, clients and agencies began to trust us more and more, because they knew that we would link them with the right person for the job. 

Q> What were your hopes and dreams when you started the company?

Hans> To build an awesome company together with a bunch of music lovers. All I wanted was to produce the best musical output for campaigns and brands all over the world. 

Q> What were the biggest moments for Massive since then?

Hans> There have been so many, but one of the biggest milestones is the moment we won every possible award for Nike’s ‘Write The Future’ campaign, back in 2010. 

Moreover, becoming the music partner for some of the biggest brands in the world and being able to compose the music as part of their corporate identity is pretty amazing. This goes one step further than composing a soundtrack for a campaign, which we still do a lot and love to do. Let’s say that, compared to the past, our challenges nowadays are shifting from being a provider to becoming brands’ music partner. Just like we did with Philips and O2, for instance.

Another huge moment was when, thanks to the success of MassiveMusic, I got the opportunity to co-develop the ex Shell HQ building and turn it into the A’DAM Toren, an all-things-music tower where we now have our incredibly beautiful Amsterdam’s office.

Q> What’s been the biggest driving force behind your growth?

Hans> I’m going to keep this one short and sweet: ambition and a genuine passion for music.

Q> How has the way music and advertising intersect changed in 20 years?

Hans> Nowadays, music plays a more important role in the communication world compared to 20 years ago, and rightly so. It’s not to ‘simply’ spice up a moving picture anymore, it has become an essential asset of a brand. It helps to trigger recall, to tell a story and to cohesively cater to all touchpoints. Both in the advertising and the branding worlds, music is the common denominator if you want to convey emotions. 

Q> When did Cannes become a big part of Massive’s DNA and how has this journey been over the years?

Hans> Massive was actually born in Cannes. We opened up during the Cannes Lions week, so it has been in our DNA since day One. Over the years, the Cannes journey has changed because the industry has changed. It shifted from being a festival for creative advertising to becoming a more corporate communication festival. 

Every year, we work hard on coming up and developing a new concept for our legendary Cannes party. Everyone can serve cold beer on the beach. An experiential party is way more interesting, especially if linked to the world we live in at that specific time. To organise these parties, we work together with our talented partner, MediaMonks, and challenge ourselves to do better every year.

Q> What is it like not being able to do the usual party this year?

Hans> For me personally, this was the first time in over 26 years that I couldn’t attend Cannes Lions. This year, on our legendary Wednesday night, we were still very lucky that the weather in Amsterdam was similar to the Cannes weather - 30 degrees and sunshine! 

We were able to host 4 Cannes lunches so we could at least have the chance to see our Dutch friends and clients. Such a pity that the year MassiveMusic turns 20, Cannes Lions is not happening, although I totally understand the reason behind it. We cross our fingers that we can be back next year with an even bigger concept!

Q> What sort of music does the world need right now? And what sort of music does advertising need?

Hans> Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick would say that ‘what the world needs now is love, sweet love’. I’d also like to add ‘music that heals and brings people together’. And with that I don’t mean cold techno in a club, but music from the heart. 

As for the advertising world, well, it goes without saying that the industry needs some massive music (if you know what I mean). At least for another 20 years ;)

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MassiveMusic Amsterdam, Thu, 02 Jul 2020 16:20:19 GMT