The power of great sports copy



The new campaign ‘We Are Who We Become‘ celebrates the power of sport for development and highlights the stories of five young South-Africans that are living testimonies of the power of sport and play. The creative concept of the campaign is produced and developed by Nanno Jiskoot, in collaboration with The Kennedys, the talent program of the international renowned advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam. The campaign video is a true gem, we find at One Saturday Afternoon but we especially love the copy.  Therefore: a short Q&A with the very talented copywriter Charlotte Jongejan (29). “I wanted to write a strong and hopeful story.” 

First of all Charlotte…  how did you get involved in this beautiful project?

“I was part of The Kennedys, a creative incubator program run out of W+K Amsterdam. The talent program runs from June to December and is currently in its 4th year and selects 6 young creatives with an EU passport from hundreds of applicants. They are selected based on their applications; the assignments vary from year to year but include questions such as ‘What does the future look like?’ as well as their portfolio of work to date. The Kennedys work as a separate group within the agency on real campaigns with real deadlines, mentored by Alvaro Sotomayor and run by Judd Caraway. When Nanno Jiskoot was approached for this project, it seemed to both of us the ideal opportunity for us to collaborate, since he and I are old acquaintances and had spoken previously about his work and the Kennedys.”

What was the briefing for the copy of the film? 

“After we worked with Nanno on the creative concept for the film, setting out the storyline and the various scenes, Nanno traveled to South Africa and filmed there for almost a month. When he returned, the editing phase started and Nanno and I worked together over a number of months to develop the narrative to tell the story of these courageous young people who have changed their lives through sport and discipline. There was no official brief as such, it was an organic process and Nanno and I worked well together, the narrative and the film reflect that balance.”

Where you come from
Is not who you are
And where you’ll start
Is not where you’ll finish
If you can see where you are going
You can leave everything else behind
And all it takes is one step
One step which leads to the next
And the next
One step away from the edge
One step towards a revolution
We are who we become
To anyone who said we couldn’t do it.
That we should quit
Back down.
To them, we say – we are fighters
And we are ready.
We are who we becomeHow did you come to this result?

“Knowing the stories of these young people through talking to Nanno and seeing the extended footage inspired me to write a strong, hopeful story. Finding a rhythm in tune with the music was also important, one cannot overpower the other. The beautiful cinematic quality of the images, at times raw, at times almost ethereal, is something I wanted to tell through words. No matter how hard the lives of these young athletes has been and is, they constantly look forward and upwards, that momentum is reflected in the development of the copy from the beginning ‘This is where you come from’ to the end line; We Are Who We Become.”


Sports(writing) feeds itself with clichés… how did you find a balance in intentionally using or avoiding clichés?

“The main thing is to find the real stories. As we worked for a non-profit organisation the budget was minimal and Nanno traveled to South Africa with only his DOP (Director of Photography, osa.). Ideally the copywriter would be on the shoot but because he involved me right from the beginning and throughout, it felt as if I got to know the stories of the kids and could write the copy form a very real and truthful place.”

You have a really Dutch name, you live and work in Amsterdam, but the copy is in English. Explain!

“I am half New Zealand and half Dutch. I grew up in New Zealand and was raised bilingually which is a great blessing. I think it’s hard to have the same affinity with a language if you are not native, but absolutely not impossible! As some of the very talented Russian/Spanish/Swedish/French copywriters here at W+K Amsterdam prove every day!”

How did you feel about working on this campaign? 

“This was a special project in every way possible. Collaborating with the very talented and passionate Nanno, working for a great initiative such as Sport for Development, having the Kennedys involved and seeing it through to the end has been truly a privilege.”

Do you need to support the aims of a campaign to come up with a good copy?

“I think that as a professional you can always ‘get behind’ a campaign in some way or other. Of course that is easier with some projects more than others and I definitely felt a personal connection with this campaign more than if say I were writing a VO for a milk commercial! But you can find the humour, joy and humanity in every job.”


About the campaign

We Are Who We Become’ is a new campaign that celebrates the power of sport for development. Because sport unites young people around the world and helps them build their future. The campaign uses videoclips, a website and a book to promote the role of sport in empowering young people and encourages organizations to use sport as a tool for development. ‘We Are Who We Become’ is initiated by the International Sports Alliance (ISA), KNVB WorldCoaches and Right To Play the Netherlands.The campaign highlights the stories of Byron, Bwusi, Luvo, Robyn and Peter. Five young South-Africans that are living testimonies of the power of sport and play. Their portraits symbolize the importance of sport for young people across the globe. They have all had their struggles; for them, life has not been an easy road. But they managed to come out stronger. And sport played a major role in that. Let their stories inspire you and those around you.


Charlotte Jongejan

Charlotte Jongejan