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Grafica e comunicazione

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On loving your work

"If we except those miraculous and isolated moments fate can bestow on a man, loving your work (unfortunately, the privilege of a few) represents the best, most concrete approximation of happiness on earth.”
These are famous words of Primo Levi. I should turn them into a screensaver, in order to be faced with them every morning. Ours is indeed a wonderful profession, which I have always loved. With its difficulties, of course, or perhaps because of them. Our profession is in fact a continuous test, a trial of intelligence mixed with dash of unpredictability, a never-ending attempt to solve various problems that arise and always managing to forge new solutions (hopefully they are always new, or at least partially). Formal and conceptual solutions. All of this ensures variety in relation to, or rather in constant contact with, beauty. What's better than this, I wonder. Of course: we are constantly under attack, on trial. Of course: it is essential to train our egos to accept even unfounded criticism that may take into account some of the rational reasons that led us to certain conclusions rather than to that other. Criticism is not always justified and sometimes we just have to give in – and this is not great. Then, nowadays there is the infamous crisis that cuts budgets and therefore time, and with this the very possibility to wisely weigh our options and solutions…But they are little problems, details, small clouds on a vast and bright horizon. 

But there is one thing, only one, which really leaves me perplexed. It regards ethics and the more proper "advertising,” or rather the problematic relationship between persuasion and rhetoric (to use the words of Carlo Michelstaedter.) I speak of the conflict, rather the merciless battle between persuasion, the vain attempt to reach the full possession of one’s self, and the rhetoric, the apparatus of illusions in which we immerse ourselves in order to hide from the failure of persuasion ... In other words, I am talking about lies in the content of advertising, which is “also” a rhetorical device that must lead surreptitiously deadly persuasion in the viewer. The apparatus of fiction that must convince the consumer, particularly in a world that seems to have lost the support of every kind of persuasion (faith, moral steadfastness, awareness, dignity.)

It is a delicate argument that can’t be fully addressed in a “snapshot” and that I promise myself to explore again in the future.

However, I must admit to being fortunate:
my clients allow me to "tell the truth,” as much as it is allowed in this world anyway. If there is something that unites our clients it is related to the constant and sincere effort to improve quality. It is no coincidence that they are companies that produce or provide services for niche enthusiasts. The attention to product development and service is always the upmost, therefore, both for commercial need and the personal character of the managers or owners, who otherwise would have chosen different types of goods and services, less expensive and almost always more profitable. Looking more concretely and analyzing some of the campaigns that seem at first "exaggerated," carried out at different times, such as some older Pinarello campaigns or the more recent work for Cipollini, I feel I can say that they are simple exaggerations or the metaphorization of reality. However, before proclaiming to the world the quality of products and services offered by my clients, I tend to thoroughly test each and every good and service, in addition to accurately informing myself on the technical level.  And this is another reason for loving my job: I am "forced" to eat at Alajmo restaurants, to drink the spirits of Capovilla and the Champagne and Burgundy of Giulio Menegatti, to wear Belvest, to ride a Cipollini while wearing Giordana and DMT…in short: to live in luxury while not being rich. 

In advertising there is a self-deprecating saying: the truth is not proportional to the communicability. This is a fancy way of saying that an advertisement must not be true to be effective. In my case, however, to tell the truth, after finding the absolute excellence of what you have to advertise, it is all too easy, and makes us feel good even morally. To paraphrase Musil, I conclude by saying that, thanks to my customers I do not have to search for the truth, the truth searches me.

02/03/2012 Filippo Maglione