Wake The Town
Gear Seven/Arc Studios/Shift
Contemplative Reptile
  • International Edition
  • USA Edition
  • UK Edition
  • Australian Edition
  • Canadian Edition
  • Irish Edition
  • German Edition
  • French Edition
  • Singapore Edition
  • Spanish edition
  • Polish edition
  • Indian Edition
  • Middle East edition
  • South African Edition

The Directors: Robert Jitzmark


Emerald Pictures director on why his heart is set on comedy

The Directors: Robert Jitzmark

Swedish director Robert Jitzmark was born and raised in the beautiful city of Gothenburg, located in Western Sweden.

After graduating from high school, he decided it was time to move to the big city (Stockholm) to study at RMI Berghs School of Communication, where in 1995, he received a degree in marketing and scriptwriting. While still a student at Berghs, he wrote, directed, and produced ‘Toxic Demon Paint’ — a horror film that was well received and went on to win at the university’s Examination Awards Ceremony.

Longing to have more hands-on experience, Robert joined Petterson Åkerland as an assistant director before moving to Mekano in late 1995. He stayed with Mekano for the next five years, working for clients such as Sprite, Snickers, the Finnish National Lottery, and Hyundai, for whom he created a campaign that received the International Andy Award in 2001 and was named ‘The Gayest Commercial of All Time’ by and Planet Out.

In 2002, Robert co-founded the award-winning Camp David Films alongside five close colleagues.

Since then, he has worked with celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Usain Bolt and footballers like Messi, Robben, and Neymar. He has shot campaigns for Puma, IKEA, Sony PlayStation, Canal+, MTV, and Mentos, as well as a personal favorite for the French Ministry of Health — a series of commercials for Inpes Condoms. He has also worked with well-known brands like Peugeot, DHL, and SMART and created celebrated campaigns for MINI.

His spots for Swedish Fish, produced by Hungry Man (US), won Gold at the ADC Festival in New York and went on to win several Epica Awards. His campaign for the Elmsta Horror Festival has been lauded worldwide.

Robert is celebrated for his unique style of visual comedy. He currently lives in Stockholm.

Name: Robert Jitzmark

Location: Stockholm

Repped by/in: Camp David (Sweden), Believe (London), Pumpkin (Switzerland), Tangrystan (Norway), Emerald Pictures (US) and Stink (Asia). Pending new reps in France and Germany.

Awards: Gold at ADC New York for SWEDISH FISH, EPICA AWARDS and nominations, shortlisted in Cannes Lions, Ciclope and wins at Swedish Golden Egg and Roy Awards.  

LBB> What elements of a script set one apart from the other, and what sort of scripts get you excited to shoot them?

Robert> I can get excited on anything from the simplest one-take short scripts to big, heavy post scripts. It always depends on the idea and what opportunities you get to evolve them. But my main focus has always been on comedy. That is where you find my heart.

LBB> How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot?

Robert> As soon as I get a brief, I try to set up an initial chat with the creatives. It’s important to get a feeling for where they’re at when it comes to making changes to the script, creating humor, and to just generally discuss how much they do or don’t want to push an idea. It’s always good to have that insight before you start writing.

Then I lock myself up in my apartment for a few days, and the writing begins. I like to avoid distractions. Whilst I'm in that bubble, I do a lot of research, thinking, listening to music, and finding different forms of inspiration.

Once my ideas are written down, I get in contact with the talented layout team I like to work with, and together we do some intensive research to find the right reference images for the project. I love being involved in image research so that we can find exactly the right tone for each treatment.

When possible, I then try to set up a meeting so that I can present my treatment to the creatives face-to-face. I think it’s always good to have the opportunity to explain my approach and how I see a film coming to life.

LBB> If the script is for a brand that you're not familiar with, don’t have a big affinity with, or a market you're new to, how important is it for you to do research and understand the strategic and contextual side of the ad? If it’s important to you, how do you do it?

Robert> I think it’s super important to research what you’re advertising! It doesn’t matter if I think I know a brand well or not; I always take the time to research the brand and product.

LBB> For you, what is the most important working relationship for a director to have with another person in making an ad? And why?

Robert> For me, it’s important to have a very close relationship with a lot of people — my producer, the 1st AD, the set designer, stylist, editor, post-production company, and the creatives… the list goes on. The essential is that we’re all in on this together, and the more in sync you are with your team, the better the film is going to be!

LBB> What type of work are you most passionate about — is there a particular genre or subject matter, or style you are most drawn to?

Robert> I have always loved working with comedy, and it’s what I work with the most. I love trying to make people laugh! I find that comedy is also so different depending on where you are in the world, and that’s part of what makes it so fun. I love digging into new cultures and understanding different kinds of humor.

LBB> What misconception about you or your work do you most often encounter, and why is it wrong?

Robert> I’ve encountered a lot of people that don’t really take the advertising industry seriously. They think we just play around and have fun. They don’t really understand how hard we work. I think there’s probably a lot of jealousy there too, but I would really encourage them to look at the hard work we do, and then perhaps they wouldn’t be so skeptical.

I’ve honestly met some of the most talented, hard-working, and engaged people I’ve ever known through this business. And I’m so proud of that.

LBB> Have you ever worked with a cost consultant, and if so, how have your experiences been?

Robert> I worked with cost consultants on a couple of different German jobs, and to be honest, I didn’t think it was ideal. Unfortunately, they just didn’t seem to be that interested in the creative, and their focus was only on cutting costs. It’s possible I was unlucky on those jobs, and I’m sure there’s many brilliant cost consultants out there. The key is to find a happy balance between bringing the creative vision to life and spending sensibly!

LBB> What’s the craziest problem you’ve come across in the course of a production — and how did you solve it?

Robert> Haha! Where should I start? I’ve experienced everything from being chased by mobsters in a small alley (in a location we’ll keep undisclosed for now) to a space station set that was rigged 20 meters in the air collapsing on the camera equipment during lunch… but I’ve found that there’s always a solution. For the space station, it was just a matter of rebuilding the set, re-renting the equipment, and triple-checking that everything was secure. Thank God the camera crew loved the food! The mobsters were another story. Let’s just say that it's a good thing we could run fast and that they were a little drunker than we were!

LBB> How do you strike a balance between being open and collaborative with the agency and brand client while also protecting the idea?

Robert> It’s always a fine line, and I think it’s mostly a matter of trust. I’ll try to fight for my idea for as long as I can since the pitch was won based on a treatment that I put together, but it’s up to my team and I to convince any non-believers that we know what we’re doing and that we’re good at it. We just need you to let us prove it! Though, I think, in general, I’ve been able to manage this balance quite well, as I haven’t really had any problems with this during my career.

LBB> What are your thoughts on opening up the production world to a more diverse pool of talent? Are you open to mentoring and apprenticeships on set?

Robert> Yes, of course! I always try to get new talent or students on set and helping with a production, if possible. It was those opportunities that helped me when I was young; they were so valuable. I also teach advertising at a school a couple of times a year. Mentoring is a good way to introduce young people to the business and for them to learn everything — not just the fun stuff!

LBB> How do you feel the pandemic is going to influence the way you work in the longer term? Have you picked up new habits that you feel will stick around for a long time? 

Robert> I managed to find ways to work during the pandemic that didn’t affect my productions too heavily. I’m not a big fan of directing remotely, but it worked out quite well. I missed running around on set, though, talking to my team and the talent in person, and generally being really hands-on. That’s a huge part of why I love this work and why I’m passionate about it.

I do think that there are some things that have changed for the better, though — how we travel and hygiene in public places. I think those changes can only be good. 

LBB> Your work is now presented in so many different formats — to what extent do you keep each in mind while you're working (and, equally, to what degree is it possible to do so)? 

Robert> You have to keep the different formats in mind all the time! Especially since newer formats are becoming more important than the older ones.

I do have to admit that I find 9.16 to be a crazy limited format when it comes to working with film. I spend so much time trying to explain that a story written for 16.9 will never work as well in 9.16, which isn’t always an easy task. But it’s the future, so we have to adapt!

LBB> What’s your relationship with new technology, and, if at all, how do you incorporate future-facing tech into your work (e.g., virtual production, interactive storytelling, AI/data-driven visuals, etc.)?

Robert> I’ve always been a great fan of old-school filmmaking — using fishing lines to drag hats from people’s heads, doing as much in camera as possible. When you’re working with comedy, in-camera effects are the best way to make people laugh. I want to hear people laughing on set whilst we’re filming. That way, I know that what we got on camera is good. It creates a comfort zone for the agency and client and makes me feel happy and relaxed, too.

That said, I’m a total geek when it comes to new technology, and I’m always researching what’s being developed and how it’s being used. I’m fascinated by anything and everything that can help to make an ad stand out in a unique, interesting, or fun way. If it will add to the world I’m building, both on camera and off camera, I’m open to it!

LBB> Which pieces of work do you feel really show off what you do best — and why?


Swedish Fish was my first job in the US. The campaign was made up of three films, and this is just one of them. It was such a wonderful project to be a part of because the creatives and I had total creative freedom. The client asked us to do something funny and weird, and I really think we succeeded. I love the product too (not just because I’m Swedish!) – it tastes great.

P.S. A little known fact about this campaign is that the world-famous Swedish model Marcus Schenkenberg is the voice-over. Not a lot of people know that.


This project was just a blast from start to end. We had an amazing team throughout, we got to film the car jumping for real and the collaboration with the agency in Amsterdam was wonderful. And we got to shoot in Las Vegas in 3D, which meant that I was ‘stuck’ there for almost two weeks, but I loved it and more importantly, I survived it! It was a project that then went on to win a lot of prizes, which was so rewarding after two months of intensive work from everyone involved.

I’m sharing the 90 second version because although it feels really, really long by today’s standards, it was what was in fashion when we made it!



This film is the opposite of MINI vs Monster. It was part of an advertising campaign for a local and not-very-well-known horror festival in Sweden that consisted of three films, each following a classic horror theme (space horror, Italian horror and high-school horror).

The festival’s theme that year was shorts under five minutes. They had no budget for the campaign whatsoever – zero. In the end, a friend of mine called Gustav Egerstedt and I gathered all the horror-nerds we knew to help us out. The set was made from anything we could get our hands on. It was junk that we found and sourced from all over Stockholm. I think it still looks pretty good considering we did it for nothing!



This was such a special project. I like its simplicity and the unexpected twist. We shot in Berlin and cast characters from all over the world. From the beginning, it was important to me that we didn’t make fun of or exploit the characters we used. The people we ended working with loved everything about the spot. They loved the concept from the start, and they loved how we portrayed them in the final film.

This was another one that turned out to be very successful, which was really gratifying because it was also a joy to be a part of all the way through!

view more - The Directors
Sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with the best work and breaking ad news from around the world.
Emerald Pictures, Tue, 06 Dec 2022 09:32:00 GMT