IMPACT Creative Talks: ‘In current market, brands should be more relevant & contextual’

Bruno Bertelli, Global Chief Creative Officer of Publicis Worldwide speaks about the integration of agencies and the new rulebook for CCOs post-COVID

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Sep 8, 2020 8:31 AM  | 6 min read
impact creative talks

On the virtual session of IMPACT Creative Talks, which Bruno Bertelli, Global Chief Creative Officer of Publicis Worldwide, deliberated on the topic ‘Is Too Safe Too Boring?’ At the session, sharing learnings from this COVID market environment, Bertelli highlighted the agency’s rulebook to fight the problems arising out of the pandemic for their clients, judging Cannes Do awards 2020, guidelines for brands in this COVID market and more. The session was moderated by Neeta Nair, Assistant Editor, IMPACT Magazine.

Integration of BBH and Publicis WW

Starting off the virtual session, talking about his perspective on this new structural approach Bertelli remarked, “I’m very pleased with this collaboration of Publicis and BBH. We both have a very strong brand culture which is the come around for the two realities. In India, there have been some good agencies that are stable. It’s not like other markets where there is a lot of new markets and new changes. Having some unity in the market helps too. A new proposition between Publicis and BBH is very welcome for the market. BBH has a great reputation, Publicis is more a client-focused agency and has a 360-degree approach. The combination of the two can be very interesting for the market.” 

Speaking about the additional areas of knowledge that will come forth through this integration Bertelli said, “The bringing together is mainly on a management level. Then it is all about getting structured and seeing where the differences are and what differences should be carried on. Keeping the differences of both the agencies is the secret for success.” 

Bertelli also spoke about bringing about this integration in other markets: “Our belief is the ‘Power of One’. Publicis is very client-focused so market by market we try to collaborate and work together depending on the needs of the clients. Especially, now with COVID, there are a lot of needs that are coming in from clients that are not just communication-related but also business-related." 

He explained that more brands from different backgrounds working together is the need at this moment. "In the past, the way media and creativity were working together to make creativity more efficient adjusting creativity depending on the results under a specific time. The future will be much more about efficacy,” he said. 

Publicis journey at Cannes Do Awards by Marcel 

Bertelli remarked on the relevance of Marcel, which has become a necessity with COVID. "Marcel was a tool which created the connection not only between offices and capabilities but also among people with the same interest. Those that shared the same interest were brought together and it was amazing. In this current pandemic situation, this tool accelerated the opportunity to connect. It made the process more flexible,” he added. 

Speaking about the judging process this year at ‘Cannes Do’ Bertelli commented: “It was not much different this year. I have been judging a couple of other awards from home. It was a similar process. You go through a lot of work and come into a shortlist. The only big difference this year was the discussion. Obviously, when you’re physically in the same jury you can spend two or three days discussing the work in depth. When you are in front of a computer you can’t do it for more than 5 hours. This year it was much more about creativity not about effectiveness or results. It was very inspiring.” 

Agencies: Should they experiment or play safe? 

Bertelli pointed out that in the last three years, the focus has been on results, business approach, integration, but not on the bravery of the work. "Being a judge on some of the awards the work being executed was safe. With COVID the work became much more brand-led which is a good thing. The pandemic was an issue that everybody had at the same time made the work uniform and consistent which is not that differentiating," he said. 

He also said brands will have to differentiate themselves again and assume a sharper positioning even as they try to recover from the pandemic situation, communicating the urgency of socialising from a  distance and other social awareness messages.

 Bertelli also commented on the brands' approach at the moment: “A brand like Apple now is really about creativity it is getting sharper and sharper. Nike is becoming more contextualized. Same with Heineken, the work we are doing now is much more topical and related to what is happening outside. This normally helps to make the work better, you need to be more relevant and contextual.” 

Among noteworthy campaigns during the pandemic, he mentioned Burger King, Nivea and Heineken’s ‘Back to Bars’ campaign. 

Advice for CCOs across markets 

Making a case for revising storytelling, Bertelli said: "Especially due to COVID, we have been watching more films and reading more books, and we have fallen in love with storytelling again. We need to revise storytelling in advertising in an interesting way.”

He also shared that slowly and gradually creative teams should come together at one place physically to discuss and ideate campaigns. So that there is a better flow of communication and creativity.

Final thoughts

Signing off, the creative head shared the one thing that will change forever for creative agencies across the world post-pandemic: “Even when we go back to normal we will never go back to 8-10 hours in the office. It will be much more flexible. We have learnt that we can work from a distance. Which doesn’t mean that we need to stay this way all the time but we can be much more flexible. A lot of meetings will happen on Skype. I used to spend a lot of time travelling to have physically meeting with clients. In the last 6 months, I’ve been ding Skype meetings and sometimes the meetings were sharper, faster and it was easier to make decisions. The way we balance human connection to me is about the work internally. When you want the campaigns well crafted and want to go in deeper then obviously you need to have physical meetings.”

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