It’s about the creative ideas, stupid!


Hey agencies, here’s my recipe for your success.

Be very clear on what your role is, and do it very, very, very well.

That’s it.

A good friend is attending a digital conference and he posted on Facebook one of the “clever” points made by a speaker:

“If a product isn’t that good we shouldn’t fix it with a great ad. We should be able to help the client make it a greater product”

Typical starry-eyed, faux-inspirational, conference-speaker nonsense. Continue reading


The secret sauce? It’s called relevance.


A couple of weeks ago I saw this ad for the launch of the Smart Car in the US.

I thought to myself, “cool”. I didn’t love it, but I did like it. I felt it took a very simple core idea that was very central to the product itself, and gave it a positive spin, almost a counter-cultural declaration of sorts. On my scale of recognizing good advertising, which I wrote about in a previous post on this blog it surpassed my hurdles of being good, sticky, and branded. Not bad! Sure, maybe it wasn’t entirely original (this kind of thing was done by DDB back in the “Lemon” days, more than 40 years ago), but I thought it was pretty good, and that was that. Continue reading

Introducing… Auro Trini Castelli – A Milanese Strategic Planner at the intersection between advertising and design.

A weekly series of “9 smart questions + 1 stupid one” with talented industry people…all with an international twist, of course!

Advertising and design is serious business, people!

1. Tell me briefly about your background. How did you get to where you are today?

I was born in London, but spent most of my life in Milan, Italy. I studied marketing business and economics at Bocconi university. But I was pretty much immersed in the world of design from an early age. My father is a designer, and my mother is a fashion designer. So I started doing a Masters in car design, and worked as Strategic Designer for four years. It’s similar to what I’m doing now in advertising, but in a design context: defining the physical premises for a product, knowing what the “brand” stands for, what the audience is, etc. One day I had the chance to meet the CEO of DDB Italy at a seminar of automotive design, and later on he offered me a job as a Planning Director for Audi. So that was my start, it was somewhat of a natural jump into strategic planning.

2. Both of your parents were designers. What impact did that have on you, and how did you carry over that sensitivity onto your professional life? Continue reading