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Interview to Maria Luisa Francoli Plaza, member of the jury of Media category at Cannes Lions 2009

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Jun
24,
2009
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 Maria Luisa Francoli is Global CEO of MPG. She gives us her point of view on women in the advertising industry.

 
In 1997, Maria Luisa was chosen to create a Digital agency within Havas Media: Media Contacts, which today is a leading global interactive media network with 36 offices in 27 countries.
 
In 2003, Maria Luisa was appointed CEO of what was then the Media Planning network, the largest division of MPG. She was appointed Global CEO of MPG in 2006 to concentrate on driving profitable and sustainable growth for clients and, as a result, MPG.
 
Maria Luisa started her professional career in the US in the travel industry. Then she spent four years in banking concentrating on mergers & acquisitions and project finance until the end of 1993 when she joined MPG as a corporate development director, responsible for the international expansion of the group.

Cannes Lions is maybe the most important advertising festival and it receives the best ad pieces, doesn't it frighten you?

On the contrary, it excites me. It makes me humble and eager to learn.

There are some surveys that show that the majority of women do not really feel identified with brands. Why does it happen? Do you thing that this could possibly change if there were more women engaged in making campaigns for women? 

In order to respond I would like to know how many men do feel identified.

Do you think that there are enough target insights done when it comes to women-oriented products?

Target insights offer an opportunity for expansion and this is true for all targets.

The incorporation of women into creative teams is a slow process. What is our influence on the creative performance [if there is any]? Do we contribute something characteristic that men don't?

Women do always contribute in a different way than men, so it is a great thing that we have more women.

In advertising agencies, do women perform freely? Aren't they influenced too much by men surrounding them?

I hope not.

Did you ever need to fight with your collages over what could possibly work (or not) with female target?

Fight is a strong word, I prefer "debate" and debate is healthy.  Yes I have had different point of view with male co-workers.

It is said that advertising is too tough for women who want to have a healthy family life. Is this sacrifice needed to get a good job as creative?'

Many industries are still tough to be combined with a well balanced life. That requires sacrifice but in our industry, people usually tend to be more flexible.

Just to know, how many women are there in your team?

In my team over 50%. But this has not been measured.

In the interview with Ruth Lee she told us an anecdote about one product for women, whose campaign have been created my men, and that it didn't really work with its female target. Notwithstanding, it got to be awarded in Cannes, voted basically by men who found the creative idea very attractive and easy to understand. What if campaigns made for women would be judged by female jury…?

The interaction of men and women is positive also in juries.

Which is, in your opinion, this year best campaign made by women?

Don't know yet.

And the one of a product or service for women?

Don't know.

Due to your experience, is there something like a female factor in creativity?

Yes, It is about realism.

¿Your advice for young creatives?

Be daring, be sincere.

Thank you very much for your time and dedication 

 

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