Ciao Y&R Friends,
Upon retirement from Y&R, I was given a profoundly generous gift by our Chairman
David Sable — a chance to say farewell to some favorite offices. This is a blog of my 21 day tour
around the Y&R world.
Stop 1 – Y&R Roma. We arrived in the Eternal City on Good Friday of Easter weekend
to a city filled with pilgrims from all over the globe. We are welcomed by Marco Ruggerio,
new CEO Y&R Roma, and, Diletta Bigonzi, New Business Cordinator. I worked with Diletta
for the past 18 years and this was the first time we met. She thanked me for my “contagious joy”.
Y&R , on Viale Julius Caesar, is a great office with 35 employees – with key clients such as the
Lottteria, the Italian Post and financial services. We were invited to a Vigil Easter Mass at St Peter’s
Basilica with the services led by Papa Francesco an endearing name for The Pope! We also attended
special papal celebrations in St Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday. Dan Brown fans see photo
below. As a visitor to the Rome of the Caesars and to the Rome of the Popes, it was a delight to see the
artistic and monumental wonders of this magnificent city. Off to Milan in the morning by train.
Stop II – Y&R Milan
Milan is the place to BE – prep rations in high swing for the upcoming Expo 2015 starting in May involving 140 countries. It’s all about life – how to feed the planet, create energy for life. While we will miss this world’s fair, we did enjoy some of the extraordinary offerings of this highly modern city. Y&R Italia, for the past 6 years, is in the “cool” SW part of Milan in an area developing old warehouses and factories into office space for ad agencies, fashion, design and event companies. We were welcomed by “the one and only” Massimo Costa WPP’s head of Europe and Chairman Y&R Italia. I have known Massimo for 20 years going back to when he was an account guy puppy on Colgate. As a rising star, he became head of Y&R Milan, later head of Y&R Europe and now in charge of all the WPP companies in Europe.
We also met Simona Maggini, General Manager Y&R Milan, Sandra Macasso, Marketing Director, Y&R Milan and Fabio Caporizzi President of BM in Milan.
Y&R is a truly integrated office – all the Y&R group companies share space but also ‘work together’ in each department — they have about 250 employees, 70 million in billings and service major clients such as Barilla, Lavazza, DANONE, Bavaria Beer etc it’s no wonder that they are one of the leading agencies in the country
Cristina Biagini, PA and Romina Romana toured us around the office and later to lunch at the nearby NHow hotel designed by Matteo Thun – a futuristic experience believe me!
While the Expo is dedicated to the future, we concentrated on seeing the major “now” cultural sights –
.Il Duomo one of the most important gothic cathedrals in the world where we took a lift to the roof for a close up of this magnificent masonary
.The Gallaria newly refurbished gallery of shops and restaurants. Here we made sure we did the tradition of grinding your heels into the bull on the mosaic floor to guarantee good luck — a form of retail therapy.
.The Last Supper – truly one of the best known pieces of art in the world. While this is getting more difficult to see, it was worth the effort to bask in the presence of Leonardo’s masterpiece.
.La Scala – the premiere opera house in the world where we saw an unforgettable Giselle.
We had lunch with Ugo Castellano a former CEO of Y&R Milan who reminded me that when he visited Y&R in New York on Madison Avenue for the first time 43 years ago, I was the person who greeted him! Ugo also was responsible for opening our very first office in Brazil in 1978. He spends his retirement time doing charity work and riding his scooter around town!
Finally we were invited to the Rinaldis home to celebrate my birthday. I have known Luigi for 40 years and it was a joy to spend this special time with his wife Theresa, his daughter Cinzia and her family. Luigi was originally Media Director at Y&R Milan and later one of their chief executives. Today Luigi spends his time doing charity work for the Rotary and visiting his homes in Tuscany and Sardinia. An unforgettable Birthday – Italian style!
Singapore here we come!