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Opinion and Insight

Push, Dare and Go Beyond

Simona Maggini, the CEO of Y&R Italy talks to LBB’s Alex Reeves about the challenges of Italian adland, the need to be proactive on women’s leadership and finding a new CCO

Push, Dare and Go Beyond

Simona Maggini has been leading Y&R Italy as CEO since 2015. Here, Maggini chats to LBB's Alex Reeves about working across the CEE market, how the industry needs a more proactive approach to women's leadership and her main goals for the agency in 2018.





LBB> You've worked in Austria across the CEE market and also in Russia. How would you describe the advertising industries in those countries?

SM> In a way the advertising industry is at a less sophisticated stage of development, in another way there is much more room for exploration and growth. This is specifically true for Russia, which is in fact an emerging market, as a whole.

What is definitely more rewarding than in Italy is the role of creative agencies; they are fully respected and serious marketing partners for clients’ companies.


LBB> How does the Italian industry compare to these and other markets?

SM> The advertising Italian industry is more complicated and challenging, less open. Too static and conservative. We should all push, dare and go beyond.


LBB> I read that you believe the industry has had more of a reactive than a proactive approach to women's leadership. What do you mean by that? 

SM> You would expect advertisers to be trend setters. As a general attitude I mean. And being experts, even on a social level, of human insights and behaviours, themes like gender equality and new generation leadership should have been surfed better than just weakly following what others are doing, on a more convincing and massive level.


LBB> And what steps do you think the industry should be taking to become more proactive about it?

SM> It depends a lot on every specific situation, there is not a magic recipe, but as communicators we should be more aware of our social role.

In addition to this, and for sure it does not only relate to our industry, showing a clear improvement in the gender salary gap would be highly appreciated and highly progressive to say the least.


LBB> Y&R Italy is one of the most awarded agencies in the country. What do you attribute that success to?

SM> It may sound strange, but it all comes from something not totally charming: relentless effort and hard work. And for sure it comes from a huge focus on a clear strategy, which we started to design almost 3 years ago and which is now showing itself with a clear shape and visible results.


LBB> The agency’s old CCO Vicky Gitto left earlier this year.  What sort of chief creative officer are you looking for? Have you filled the role yet?

SM> The role is filled with the smartest choice for our company in this period of time: Francesco Poletti. An Italian talent who, after spending some years in Germany, is coming back to his home country leveraging on his cross cultural and cross disciplines experience.


LBB> What are your main goals for the agency moving forwards in the coming months and years?

SM> As Francesco mentioned in his first interview as Executive Creative Director of Y&R Italy, our ambition is to bring the agency to be a true international player, with an even stronger personality. We want to make it the place to be for employees and client partners.