Bruno Bertelli: from Cannes victories to the future trends of advertising [INTERVIEW]

The return of the brands to the big productions, the increasingly targeted integrated campaigns and the state of advertising in Italy. These are some of the topics discussed with Bruno Bertelli, executive creative director of Publicis Italy.

Bruno Bertelli - Executive Creative Director of Publicis Italy

Recently we have talked about the last campaign of Heineken “Heineken: Sunrise”, a winner at PIAF 2012. Today we present an exclusive interview with Bruno Bertelli, executive creative director of Publicis Italy.

There is more than the PIAF´s award in his list (in creative couple with Cristiana Boccassini): 15 lions at Cannes, Grand Clio, Grand Prix at Adce and one at Eurobest, silver at The One Show, one at Andy Awards, and one at D&AD.

First of all, congratulations on the victory of “Heineken: Sunrise” at PIAF 2012. Could you explain to the readers of Ninja Marketing how the concept of the campaign was born, what was the creative process and what were the demands of the brief?

The initial request was for a worldwide campaign on responsible drinking. It’s been years that Heineken has created campaigns on the subject, and has recently placed great emphasis on the quality of its products, encouraging a responsible consumption rather than an indiscriminate use. In fact, they were very brave and courageous to place in the spot a man who turns down a beer and chooses a bottle of water instead.

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Strategically we have decided to avoid a campaign centered on the adverse effects of reckless consumption and we have instead preferred to focus on what are the positive effects of moderate consumption. In such a way, a true and defined insight has been identified: the best opportunities come at the end of the night. This insight also comes from personal experience. My English friends always say to me: “You Italians are smart, because you remain sober and get all the hotties, while we get drunk and at 2 a.m. we had to go home.”

In these years you’ve been a member of several juries of International Festivals of Advertising, from Crystal to Cannes. Can you tell us, as an insider, what are the trends and the most interesting insights that have emerged in recent years?

Concerning the well-known integrated campaigns, the trend is to consider less the amount of the media involved and more its quality: it must be perfect, targeted and justified in reference to the target. Each piece must add value to the campaign.

Another thing is the return of the big production movies. For some brands, the movie serves to demonstrate their philosophy. Thinking about the films of Nike and Puma, which are “flagship films”, they demonstrate, also through the value of the production, not only their products, but also their way of life, their way to see life. And I can admit that this was very popular during my last experience in the jury at Cannes last year.

Among the latest international works that I really like is the one of the ESPN’s: “It’s not crazy. It’s sports”, that I found intelligent, beautiful and with a great insight. It will definitely win something at Cannes, as well as the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation’s film “Back to the start”.

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In 2010 you (and Cristiana Boccassini) have made us dream with “Are you still with us – Auditorium” winning as many as 10 lions at Cannes. What has changed since then and what this victory has brought to you?

It gave me the opportunity to work with international clients more than with national brands, which are still underestimating the awards. Abroad, especially recently, the big brands that are looking for creativity, give great importance to the awards and invite you to join the contests because you have already won other contests. The fact that today I am working for Heineken worldwide is largely related to those famous 10 lions which I have won.

Abroad, to contact companies of recognized creativity is a real trend. The names are always the same: W + K, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the Deutsch in Los Angeles, etc. These are the companies which are contacted if the clients want highly creative campaigns.

In the United States this phenomenon has also given birth to many creative boutiques like Droga5, which has turned into giants in only few years thanks to the major clients who have abandoned the big networks.

What is the state of advertising in Italy and what do you think are the biggest problems that a creative has to face in our country?

Perhaps you will be surprised, but the state of advertising in Italy is very good. I had a meeting with Massimo Guastini and some members of ADCI to see the Italian campaigns that will go to Cannes.
Objectively, there are some really beautiful works. I’m very positive that this year will be a good year for Italy.

The main difficulties in our country are mainly at the level of realization. If you need to do an Ambient in England, it is just enough to have an idea and then the best will achieve it. In Italy it is rather a struggle against all odds, because they tell you that you can’t do it, or that it could be done but differently. Besides, you have also the bureaucratic difficulties. There is a risk to lose a lot of time and money.

Auditorium was undoubtedly a very complicated project, but everything was easier because Heineken as a very cooperative client was used to work closely with the agency.

What do you think about fake and ghost adv (campaigns never planned but created only to enter the awards)?

I think that this debate is quite out of time because it’s focused primarily on the print ad. These are campaigns that are running on the web but it is unlikely that an agency will enroll for the awards campaigns that the client has never seen. The important thing is that this is made less and less for clients of the agency with an “educational function”: “Look what could be done.” In this case I’ll call it “speculative” rather than fake.