Bruno Bertelli: ‘Limits are often just an illusion’
Posted on September 10, 2018 | By Nils Adriaans

Bruno Bertelli, Publicis Worldwide Global Chief Creative Officer is one of the most awarded creatives in the world. His score of Cannes Lions won alone is well over fifty. His success mantra: 'Always, expose your imagination to imagination.'

No Limits

Bruno Bertelli: 'In the early nineties I moved to New York, hoping to become a screenwriter. I was determined to make movies but luckily I met a professor at film school who told me to give it up and switch to advertising. He identified my ability to tell stories, but also spotted my weakness in structuring ideas under the strict rules of cinema. ‘Advertising will forgive your limits. Hollywood won’t', he said. Best advice I ever got. 

 

Talent chooses you

'He knew that my creativity belonged in advertising. Truth is that it wasn’t easy to abandon a 20-year dream. But I did it anyway. You see, the problem with talent is that you can’t choose it. It chooses you and the best thing you can do is go with it. So that’s what I’ve been doing. And the more you expose your imagination to imagination, the more fertile it becomes. Stories, in all shapes and sizes stimulate the idea bank in your head. Once, about 10 years ago, my ability to tell stories got me out of a really sticky situation. I had just arrived in Serbia to shoot a TVC. But it turned out I had lost my passport, so they took me to prison. There, I told stories to the other prisoners. They found me entertaining enough to not give me any problems. Now I can laugh about it, but I was pretty worried at the time, as you can imagine.

“I can tell you that from my own experience, you won’t make it in this or any business if you allow your doubts to limit your potential. Just make sure you don’t under- or over-think things.”

Inspiration

'When it comes to telling stories, F. Scott Fitzgerald taught me a lot. I often relate to the doomed, idealist protagonist he portrays. Fitzgerald surfaces the complex layers of those characters: the confusion of the glamour, beauty and value of appearance with the ugliness and corruption of how things actually are. It’s a playground for the mind. Michael Jordan is a big inspiration too. He taught me to enjoy things and play every single game with all the heart and passion that’s in me. ‘Limits, like fears, are often just an illusion', he once said. That should be the mantra to everybody who wants a career and a good life. I can tell you that from my own experience, you won’t make it in this or any business if you allow your doubts to limit your potential. Just make sure you don’t under- or over-think things. This quote from Apocalypse Now describes it perfectly: ‘I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That's my dream. That's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight... razor... and surviving.’ That’s how fragile the mix of creativity and rationale is.

“Creativity infuses fun into the universe. Imagine life without Jagger or Fellini or Brando or Bernbach. Terrible. I guess creativity is what makes humanity bearable.”

 

Magic

All in all, I live for creativity. I live for that moment when I’m watching creatives present their ideas and I’m not feeling it. Nothing, good, here... but then, just when I start thinking we’re screwed, magic happens. Someone says one thing and we all know that it’s THAT thing we need. That beautiful, elusive moment makes up for all the shit we need to put up with. It’s my fuel. Creativity infuses fun into the universe. Imagine life without Jagger or Fellini or Brando or Bernbach. Terrible. I guess creativity is what makes humanity bearable.

Without creativity, I would probably sleep more and have a head full of hair, but it sounds bloody boring.'