Italian Creativity’s ‘Decrystallisation Year’
The ADCI Awards will soon be deciding what sort of year it’s been for Italy’s advertising industry. Since 1985, the ADCI Awards have served as a reference point for creativity and quality in advertising in the country.
And the Italian industry in 2018 is in an interesting place. It’s facing the same shifts as the rest of the world thanks to Extreme Makeover: Holding Companies Edition, but that’s letting loose some experienced creative directors to set up their more creative and high-end offerings. Over the past few years, the local industry has been battling a conservative mindset and an uncertain economic and political environment – is this the year it unleashes its inner creative fire?
That’s the question that the judges will have to ponder at the ADCI awards, run by the Art Directors Club Italiano. They’ll be looking out for only the very best work – both Vicky Gitto, the ADCI President, and Roberto Battlglia, the president of the 2018 ADCI awards are adamant that the winners serve as a beacon and a sign of both the awards credibility and the credibility of Italy’s creative advertising.
Ahead of the entry deadline, LBB’s Alex Reeves spoke to Vicky and Roberto, to try and gauge the themes and key changes the Italian creative market has seen over the year.
LBB> How would you define the past year in Italian creativity?
Vicky> The decrystallisation year. The equilibriums that seemed to crystallise the logic of the market have changed completely. The big holding companies, to meet the need to redesign their business model, have followed an undeniable tendency to dilute the DNA of their individual brands. The shift is towards reduced back office costs and a very clear focus on construction of vertical teams for the delivery of services, mainly for large local brands and international brands.
Many of the most important creative directors have closed their histories with the multinational agencies and this will certainly generate the birth of new projects and a high-level offerings. The large consultancy companies are entering the creativity market with more and more aggressiveness as a boost to all the analysis and data-driven creative services already implemented in the recent past.
Clients used to have a fairly stable and decipherable map of the market. In this great reorganisation of the offering, I have the feeling that today they are experiencing a moment of disorientation. Often they are no longer having the interlocutors with whom they had chosen to embark on a path, they are constantly bombarded by a continuous offer of services, apps and technologies that create confusion between the goal and the means to achieve it.
LBB> What projects or trends do you think especially stood out over the past 12 months?
Vicky> We hear a lot of talk about innovation, digital, artificial intelligence and less and less brand building. I believe that the signals coming from the great international business managers are to review their investment strategies, putting order in the process of building their communication, looking for great quality and tangible added value for their investment in a brand. It is increasingly evident that technology will provide the market with tremendous opportunities and that creativity will be the only differentiating and unpredictable element in a process where everything else will be programmable.
LBB> What are the biggest challenges for the Italian advertising community right now?
Vicky> The last few years, with a steady growth of scores at the Cannes Lions Festival, have shown that creative talent in Italy is very powerful, but too often it finds it difficult to express itself. We are part of a market that has been stagnating for years in terms of conservative communication and consequently very low innovation. A justification has certainly been the economic and political crisis of the country that created a widespread vacuum in that energy that often creates the desire to go further. I think the time has come to overcome this stalemate and that the conditions have been created to do so in a rather short time.
LBB> How do you feel about the market for creative talent in Italy right now?
Roberto> The market in Italy over the past year has completely changed. The structure of the multinationals has changed, through reorganisations and rounds of redundancies and important exits.
The needs of the companies that are recruiting have changed, with much more attention and skills increasingly integrated in theory, but which are still managed separately.
With the continuous dispersion of audiences’ attention, today we are dealing with means that evolve continuously and the way of doing creativity has changed accordingly, increasingly deconstructed and fragmented. Despite all this, this year in Cannes, Italy has returned home with a better booty than that of the previous year, thanks also to creative talents emerging from the new digital realities that have been imposed in recent years - a result that bodes well for an increasingly growing future.
I am totally positive about the talent of our creatives, the great job ahead will be to create the conditions so that they can express the best in a market that often forces you to deliver non-outstanding projects.
LBB> What your advice to the jury for the ADCI awards be?
Roberto> Very simple.
Choose the best things ever.
Because it is our credibility that is at stake.
Every single juror must be responsible just as if it were the same person who put his or her face on that job. Better a closer and harder selection but that is in total harmony and respects the intellectual integrity of the juror, because it is precisely his or her name that will go on every single piece of work that will be rewarded. Without forgetting that the most important thing is to identify that piece of communication, that simple idea that, thanks to its quality, freshness, innovation and effectiveness in execution, has managed to become part of pop culture and make people's opinions evolve. This for me is the sense of an award-winning work.