Oh Look, It’s A Chimp – TV Ads In Italy

In a country where a man in an oversized Muppet suit presents a show for adults, maybe it’s too much to expect well-made television ads. And maybe I am spoiled, because Dutch ads are usually quite funny and original. But Italy is said to be the country of fashion and style, with a great cinematographic history to boot.

There is so much more TV advertising here than in Holland, and there is so much less quality and humour. We seem stuck somewhere in the early seventies. Mobile phone provider Wind treats us to three men in vulture suits: ‘Watch out or I’ll call my nephew. He’s twice as big as me: El Condor Pasa.’ Apparently this is a famous comic trio. Class act, that.

Another all-time classic is an animated blob with an incredibly irritating squeaky voice: it’s a sodium particle in a bottle of Acqua Lete mineral water. That’s right, mineral water, and they succeeded in making an ad in true washing powder fashion. All that lacks is a piece of animated cloth with magically disappearing stains. Now that’s reaching for the skies – trying to imitate a washing powder ad.

The absolute low point is reached by 1240, a telephone number inquiry service. They use the oldest weapon in the book of movie comedy and it really guarantees howls of laughter every time you see it. A chimp in a shirt. And beware – that cheesy tune will get stuck in your brain.

But it’s not all bad. Barattolino Sammontana ice cream brings us two incredibly British guys, straight from Windsor Castle, discussing the delicate taste of their chocolaty treat – in flawless Tuscany dialect. The tagline is then delivered in Italian with a heavy British accent: Good taste speaks Italian. At least that made me giggle before I switched off the damn set.


Eshi’s Sad Story

And here’s where two worlds meet. Careful readers of my ‘welcome’ message have already seen that I am active in the virtual world of Second Life and through my contacts there I came across this sad story.

Eshi Otawara (a Second Life name) lost her husband unexpectedly, two years ago. And while immigrants to the US who marry and then divorce after three months get every chance to complete the process of naturalization, immigrants who are faced with the sudden death of their spouse are pulled from the process and asked to leave.

Eshi’s husband, dr. Glenn J. Morris, served in the US Army. I know most conservative Americans love their armed forces and take great pride in them. And I know that being tough on immigration is also primarily a conservative thing – all over the world. But if this cold expulsion is the answer of the United States to the death of a loving husband and former serviceman, then all those yellow ribbons, all those parades, all those gatherings and speeches and statues and medals are worthless.

And whereas I do not advocate a special status for the spouses of service personnel, I know these are the prime victims in a time when America is losing so many of it’s finest on foreign battlefields. Honour them, honour them through their families and honour their families in their own right, for it’s these loved ones who gave a sacrifice of immeasurable value.

I urge my American friends to go here and act, or write their Congressman, or do whatever you think is the best way to create some leaverage in Washington. Maybe not for Eshi or the late Dr. Morris, but for the wives of those fighting and dying as we speak.

(Second Life is a trademark of Linden Research, Inc.)