Bruno Bertelli tells LBB’s Alex Reeves about the work, wins and awards that made 2017 a vintage one for his home agency
There’s no doubt about it in the mind of Bruno Bertelli, chief executive officer of Publicis Italy and global chief creative officer of Publicis Worldwide. “2017 has been a good year,” he says. “Important new clients such as Diesel and Pirelli have chosen our agency as partners. They are giving us great visibility and we’re working very well with them. We have won many awards and climbed the ranking among the best European agencies.”
That sums it up pretty well. As Bruno’s first full calendar year in the global CCO role, 2017 has seen the network’s Italian outpost rise to become one of its central international hubs. It’s all part of Bruno’s plan. “In advertising you are successful only if you plan and have a vision of the future, both in general and in reference to where you want to bring your agency,” he says. “Cristiana [Boccassini, Publicis Italy executive creative director] and I have given a more international approach to the projects for Italian clients and we have achieved the results. This has produced a change of perspective: now we no longer work by studying campaigns exclusively for our country and this has also helped Italian clients to tighten relationships with their international headquarters.”
Their Diesel account win this year is the clearest evidence of this shift. Previously, the only international client the agency was responsible for was Heineken - now it’s the global hub for two brands with undeniable marketing heritage. Both have previously been named Advertiser of the Year in Cannes.
The Heineken output from Publicis Italy was of the usual high quality this year, from the fact-packed F1 sponsorship campaign featuring David Coulthard to their usual fare of cinematic spectaculars, including ‘Trailblazers’ and ‘Share the Drama’. The beer giant is a darling brand of the creative community and Publicis Italy played its part to protect that reputation this year.
Straight out of the starting blocks, the agency delivered a global campaign of epic scope for Diesel. The Francois Rousselet-directed ‘Go With the Flaw’ was a slick film, demanding attention, and has already earned admiration, including the Film Craft Grand Prix at Eurobest.
The agency kept this momentum up for the fashion brand as we approached the end of the year, too, first advertising for a new CEO in a tongue-in-cheek announcement and then denouncing a whole fabric as ‘uncool’.
Bruno explains how this is the result of a wider strategy that began way before this year: “The market calls for campaigns with a broad profile and a more international flavour. We have moved accordingly, investing a lot in creativity. We are committed to building an agency of international relevance with professionals from all over the world - a result obtained thanks to constant work over time.”
Working with a global mindset is not just good for this one agency though. As an Italian, Bruno is proud of the work the agency is doing for his home market’s profile in the global creative community. “What Cristiana and I are very proud of is that we have helped to transform the perception of Italian creativity in the world of global communication and to attract international brands,” he says.
This year Publicis Italy was the only agency listed in Cannes Lions’ Global Creativity Report at number seven in Europe. If their form continues, keeping creative eyeballs on Italy, the country could well benefit from a creative boost that will last years.