To employ someone, I need to see the soul behind the portfolio. I never hire basing my decision on the work done. I always try to see the work that that person will do.
Alex Brunori: Executive Creative Director, JWT>MRM>McCann Worldgroup, singer/composer, yoga/tantra student/teacher, vegetarian, married and in love, studied in NY, worked in Rome, Milan, London, Amsterdam.
Riccardo Daverio: Art and Creative Director, 33 years, working in MRM since a number of years and having fun about it, keep on experimentig with colours.
Jan Mattassi: Copywriter, 32, passionate about languages and history, studied at a german school then industrial design. I lived in Vilnius, Moscow and now in Milan where I switched to advertising.
What do you do for inspiration?
J: Read a lot, travel as much as I can and check out the FWA, of course.
A: Contemporary art & technology.
R: Sitting with a red glass of wine on a chair, on my terrace.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
J+R: By now, getting in MRM and working with this team is a blessing. It's tough in Italy for digital, but it's exactly the opportunity to push things forward.
A: Skipping a heartbeat each time I look at my wife (and ex guitarist) Katia, after 23 years. That, and the three lions won at this year's cannes, too.
How many hours do you work each week?
R: 50, more or less.
J: Do we really rest some time, as creative workers?
A: I am afraid it goes up to 60. In the quiet weeks, that is.
How do you relax or unwind?
R: Listening to music.
J: I have such a bad memory, I forget bad things anyway.
A: Composing music in my home studio, at night.
If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?
A: Either a singer/musician, or a vegetarian chef or an unemployed gigolò.
R: A chef or a fisherman.
J: Very probably the industrial designer, which is what I studied. A projectual course that hekped me a ot in my career into advertising. Or the cop.
What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?
J: I love switchig between projects, I hate when stuff starts with the wrong turn and I learned that getting stuck happens, you just should avoid let it take you over. Accept it, just as you accept a tough hangover!
R: The most interesting part is always getting to the idea. The hardest part is selling the idea to a client who doesn't get it. I have to switch off everything and restart my system.
A: Seeing the rersults of it. Not seeing the results. Can't allow myself to get stuck. Bugger...
What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?
J: About 50 hours or so.
A: 55 hours, had to stop because I was hallucinating.
R: 30. I collapsed.
If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?
A: when I pioneered in digital, quitting what was a successful career in traditional atl.
J: the decision to quit my job at my alma mater (and a future into research) to pursue a career in advertising.
R: I always did what I wanted to do: this job.
What software could you not live without?
J: Microsoft Word (LOL).
A: Logic Pro.
How many projects does your company juggle at any one time?
J+R: Me and Riccardo are always on at least 3 projects at a time. It's fun and very inspiring to be switching from one thing to another and it makes us test each other every time on new challenges.
In terms of software, is there anything new you have been playing with lately or that has impressed you?
R: Kingdom Rush.
J: Microsoft Word (ROTFL).
Who is your target audience?
J: Human beings, which means we do things we'd love to play with.
A: People I love, people I hate, people I don't feel a thing about.
R: All of the above.
What area of web design lacks the most?
R: Integration between mobile and desktop.
J: I think there's never enough storytelling around.
Are there any websites that have shone through as being pioneering in the last 5 years or so?
J+R+A: all the Chrome Experiments did.
Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?
J: I am sure it will!.
R: helped my ego, for sure.
A: We're answering an interview, don't we?
When dealing with major clients, how difficult is it to meet the needs of such wide target audiences?
A+J+R: simplicity has always been, is always and will always be the key.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
A: Missingalvaro.com. It is not online and I miss it dearly, in fact.
R: Don't remember but I am sure it was crap.
J: It was gross, I made it with Frontpage in 1995 and I don't miss it. At all.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
R: No. Just a diary.
J: Not yet, but I hope to. Isn't it every copywriter's dream?
A: A screenplay.
Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?
J: Sailing. it's such a perfect way to cut off from the real word, from land, both physically and metaphorically.
R: I grow plants. I love gardening a lot.
A: Lucid dreaming.
What was the last digital effort you saw (or were a part of) that used social media in a way that really made sense. Why?
J+R: We worked on this italian cold-cuts brand on a campaign about corruption in italy. A tough topic that gained both criticism and applauses. One of the media was Facebook and we managed to turn the brand page into one of italy's most engaged with political forums. The campaign gained 3 lions at Cannes and got shortlisted for the best use of social media, indeed!
A: Yeah, the three lions I was mentiong earlier ;-)
The web is getting out of the web. Do you find that thinking in digital solutions alone hinders you? Do you feel the urge to solve the problem using all mediums necessary?
A+R+J: we actually work on each project with a multi-media approach.And right now we are deep into the internet of things.
Looking 10 years in to the future, how far can websites go?
A: sites turning into apps.
Of all the websites you/your company have produced, which one are you most proud of?
R+J+A: This one we have been awarded for, for sure: www.weyewear.com
A+R+J: I have seen the best talents coming from everywhere, schools included. It takes great teachers not to limit people and inspire them to greater heights, and that's tough. More often, schools normalize talents to a common, mediocre level. So personal work, either in a school or not, is of pivotal importance.
If you were to give advices to a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what would these advices be?
R: steal as much as you can from those with a greater experience and try to be fast, because being very good in a very short amount of time is today's hardest challenge.
J: Always target real people. Always make things you’ll love to see. Advertising is deeply connected to art and art imitates life, so imitate life. By the way, dreams are the best part of life.
A: don't settle with your limits, try to force them.
How difficult do you find employing the right people in a world where everyone calls themselves a web designer?
A: To employ someone, I need to see the soul behind the portfolio. I never hire basing my decision on the work done. I always try to see the work that that person will do.
How do you keep up with the latest capabilities of Flash or do you rely on other members of you team to do this?
J+R: A specialist always comes handy. Think of Pulp Fiction's Mr. Wolf...
What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?
J: A Mech, yes!
R: A helicopter.
A: The Aerion SBJ.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
R: I have learnt by doing, experimenting, failing, inventing, trying something new. I never do the same design twice.
How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?
J+R+A: The FWA in the first place, then we check what's shared on the socials by our contacts. And then, most important, we think about what would be cool and fun to do, then see if it has been done before.
There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?
J: As a copywriter, the Old Spice response campaign!
R: Skittles, Old Spice, Heineken.
A: The next Nike+.
What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?
A: I just care about doing my best today. It is the most effective way to build a future.
J: I just hope I will keep my mind open, year after year.
R: I think I will never embrace normality.
What are you excited about learning next and is there a long term challenge you are considering tackling?
J: more immersive multiplatform environments, please. And video games.
R: 3D, arduino.
A: finding a technology-based way to empower people's minds.
What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?
J: I bought a Parrot AR Drone but still need to pratice!
A: An amazing Moog Taurus 3 bass pedal. God bless Bob Moog.
R: a new iMac
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
J: Perfection might not exist. But failure certainly does. Chase the former, mind the latter.
R: Art is what you can get away with. (Andy Warhol)
A: If you have read the whole interview, have yourself checked.
It has been a privilege, thanks very much
J+R+A: our pleasure. Let's do it again soon with another FWA.