2018 Grand Jury Spotlight: Cinzia Crociani
SVP/Global Creative Director
2018 Grand Jury member Cinzia Crociani is SVP/Global Creative Director at Energy BBDO in Chicago – she’ll be bringing her creative passion to this year’s Global Awards. Cinzia loves her job so much that in her 15 years in advertising she’s started her career twice: the first time as an Italian copywriter at Publicis Milan, and the second, being thirsty for adventure, as an art director in Asia. She’s worked on global and Fortune 500 brands and her award-winning creative work has been recognized by all the top international shows.
From her humble beginnings as an art intern at Ogilvy Singapore, she moved up the ranks to Creative Director at Grey and Saatchi & Saatchi over the next 9 years. In Singapore, Cinzia worked on many local and regional campaigns and created the “Life Saving Dot,” an idea that transformed Indian “bindis” into life-saving iodine patches for women in rural India.
Last November, she moved to the United States to join Energy BBDO where she recently helped to create “Prescribed to Death,” a memorial wall covered with 22,000 pills, each with a tiny face mechanically carved into it to represent the number of people killed by opioid addiction.
We chatted with Cinzia about a variety of topics…
The Global Awards motto for this year is “FEEL Creative” - it’s about knowing your audience and empathizing to deliver top-notch communications to not only represent your client fully but make people happier and healthier. Tell us a bit about your process – do ideas just come to you, or is it a collective brainstorm with your team? How do you FEEL Creative?
I like to find unspoken human truths—the ones we aren’t completely aware of—those feelings, fears, and desires that we can’t even put in words. And when I find those hidden insights, I get excited because I know I have something that people will recognize immediately and simultaneously truly experience for the first time.
In the health industry, those hidden emotions and insights are the key to making behavior change a reality.
Being relatable isn’t enough and in a world where attention is the real currency, it doesn’t matter how beautiful and surprising your message is if you can’t make an impression. To combat this, I always push myself and the people around me to create executions that put the audience in control, something unique they can experience, interact with or even make their own.
What do you find thrilling about the industry now that may have been different 5 years ago?
One of the most exciting things about the industry today is that we’re starting a new era of communication. The changes that have happened in the last few years are so huge that they’ve disrupted the whole business. Now, it’s the survival of the fittest and it’s all about evolving and adapting. The way we think about advertising agencies and the way we work needs to drastically change in order for us to survive.
We can’t just have beautiful creative ideas, we need to think of creative ways of bringing these ideas to life and getting them out there. We have to find a new way to talk to people in different shapes, forms, and places. And the reality is, client budgets are generally not growing, but the tools available to us as creators are. This is a great opportunity for us to get scrappy, to innovate, to turn things upside down and test the limits of our potential, boldly going where we’ve never gone before. And I love it.
What is on the horizon for the industry in general and what do you see emerging more in the next few years?
In the past few years we’ve seen the rise of what I like to call “homo cyberneticus”— humans enhanced by technology and innovation. Humans today can move faster, speak louder, control a home and a car remotely, monitor their health at all times, use personalized medical devices, and who knows what will be next. I believe that the homo cyberneticus will have increasing power and control in the future. Technology is putting more and more control in the consumers’ hands. We shouldn’t try to take the control back, we must embrace the change. But we can still succeed as communication changes in the cybernetic future by remembering that we humans have been and always will be driven by the same fundamental truths: life, love, fear and death.
What are some of the projects that you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of and why? Could be anything.
My most recent favorite “child” was Prescribed to Death for the National Safety Council. It was a very timely campaign that leveraged the hidden insight that most people who fall victim to prescription opioid overdose never saw themselves as the ones at risk.
The reality is that 22,000 people die each year from prescription opioid overdose, nearly 6 in 10 American households have opioids in their medicine cabinets, and 1 in 3 people prescribed them don’t know that they were taking an opioid. We had to find an impactful way to make these horrifying numbers personal and relatable in order to raise awareness for the magnitude of the issue and that it can happen to anyone.
So, we put a face on the issue by creating a memorial to the 22,000 victims of 2016. We carved their faces onto pills—old people, young people, children, neighbors, teachers, friends. A black wall with 22,000 faces and stories staring back at you.
And the campaign didn’t stop at awareness. We wanted to help change behavior so we gave people tools to prevent future devastation of lives. We created the “Warn Me Labels”, which could be attached to insurance cards to prompt conversations about opioids with doctors, and we provided Stericycle return bags so people could properly dispose of their leftover opioids.