Make irresistable brands sustainable and sustainable brands irresistable

It was a special honour to have Annette Ettorre with us at the launch event for “The New Brand Spirit” on November 20th in London. Annette’s late husband Paolo Ettorre was Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi Europe and a major inspiration as well as mentor and good friend to Marjorie during and after her time at Saatchi & Saatchi Cause Connection. The deep friendship with Annette has kept this connection very much alive. We would like to thank Annette for all her support and share her speech with all that were not present at the launch:

"Good evening and thank you Marjorie for inviting me here to say a few words, that I would like to say “on behalf” of my husband Paolo Ettorre, to whom you have dedicated “The New Brand Spirit”, together with your father Bill - both of whom are so sadly no longer with us.

Paolo was a great admirer of all those who, like himself, are passionate about what they do. Marjorie, he was definitely one of your great admirers. Paolo loved telling stories, and I know he would have liked me to tell you all what first inspired him to becoming the pioneer of cause-related marketing in Italy. In 1970 Saatchi & Saatchi created an ad for the British Health Education Council to promote family planning. The ad depicted a pregnant man, asking the simple question “would you be more careful if it was you that got pregnant?”

As a result of the strong impression this ad made on him, he spent his entire career striving to give as much visibility as possible to social issues, despite the immense difficulties of producing and airing campaigns with little or no funding. During his many interviews with the media he never tired of underlining the wasted opportunity of great creativity for good causes, being seen by too few, because of limited media space.

He was instrumental in creating a vast number of campaigns that have become part of an exhibition called “Saatchi & Social”. The first exhibition in 1995 put together “10 years of social campaigns we wish we’d never had to do” - campaigns that address subject matters from child abuse to helping the aged, from human rights to abolishing violence.

He embodied what was to become Saatchi & Saatchi’s motto – “Nothing is impossible”.

For Paolo no challenge was too great - an example being his convincing the Italian Football Federation to do something that was deemed impossible and that had never happened before in world football. After a stabbing incident and suspension of the Italian football championship, a strong message was needed against violence associated with football. The idea: at the reopening of the season, the teams would come onto the pitch wearing their opponents’ shirts that they would exchange before the start of the match, with the message that “football should unite, not divide” – it happened to the astonishment of all!

Another example was his persuading the Mayor of Rome to use the Coliseum – the place where thumbs up or down would determine life or death – as a symbol for the campaign to abolish capital punishment in the new millennium. During the entire year of the Jubilee the Coliseum was lit up for 48 hours each time a country abolished capital punishment.

After Paolo’s premature death in 2007 the Minister of Culture asked me what I thought would be most appropriate to commemorate Paolo and without hesitation I knew he would want to be remembered for his commitment to communicating social issues.

As a result, an event was organised at the Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome, announcing the creation of the Socially Correct Award and the inauguration of the Saatchi & Social exhibition, which in the meantime had become “20 years of campaigns we wish we’d never had to do”.

As a family we founded the “Paolo Ettorre – Socially Correct” Association to perpetuate Paolo’s dedication to cause-related marketing - a legacy that we strive to maintain, with the support of Saatchi & Saatchi and since 2009, with the Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi which hosts the Socially Correct Award event.

The Socially Correct Award is a competition dedicated to students of art and communication. Participants are requested to create a campaign on a theme of social importance. The winning campaign is presented during an event organised each year by the association during the Spoleto Festival and the creative couple, comprising an art director and copywriter, receive their prize of a six-month internship in the Creative Department at Saatchi & Saatchi.

This year marked the 6th edition of the competition and the winning campaign created for the Ministry of Health will become their official campaign for organ donation and transplantation. Previous editions of the competition have produced campaigns for the Ministry of Cultural Heritage against illegal building and for copyright protection; for the Ministry of the Environment to promote recycling and for the Italian Children′s Ombudsperson against early school leaving. In 2011, during the European Year for Volunteering, we produced a campaign to promote volunteering for the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies. Our determination to perpetuate Paolo’s legacy is the driving force for the Association – to continue what Paolo passionately believed in: the use of advertising techniques to give voice to social issues that may otherwise have gone unheard.

The interviews and best practice cases reported in Marjorie and Christian’s book are above all, examples of what can result from being passionate and believing in what you do. CSR takes courage and motivation and the cases reported, that provide inspiration and insights for the implementation of CSR policies and initiatives, are the proof that communicating sustainability works if you work properly, honestly and follow the “10 Commandments of Effective and Credible CSR Communication” that are listed in “The New Brand Spirit”.

To conclude I would like to mention messages received from two people who were not able to be with us this evening:

Bill Muirhead - Founding Director of MCSaatchi, who is attending a Worldwide Board Meeting in Sydney: “I think about Paolo a lot. He is still an inspiration to me and was such a big part of my career”.

Richard Hytner - Deputy Chairman, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, who is in San Francisco, visiting Saatchi S, their sustainability business: “What we aim to do is to make irresistible brands (Lovemarks) sustainable and sustainability irresistible. 

It's a typically upbeat, Saatchi approach to sustainability. No vision of ice caps melting, no doom and gloom, no scare tactics...make all aspects of sustainability a joy and people will want to join in.

Significantly, for you and Paolo's memory, we believe that culture is one of the 4 pillars of sustainability, together with environment, social and economic pillars”. 

Thank you again Marjorie.

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