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.


One Comment

  1. ‘But Italy is said to be the country of fashion and style…’ No doubt meanwhile you had the chance to realize that all this is for export only. Look at Adriano Celentano’s TV shows: The Netherlands in the fifties. Totò is still very popular, some of his more than hundred films can be seen frequently on Italian TV. And the man has been dead for over fourty years. As far as I know Fellini, Bertolucci and Visconti movies are shown seldom on Italian TV. If you look in shops that aim at ‘common people’ in Italy, the top of luxury is a copper lamp with plastic ivy wound around it, For Martinelli’s pipistrello you better go looking in the US or Germany, (or in my drawing room, for that matter) as they are seldom used in Italian households. Watch the ‘Prova del cuoco’ lunchtime show on Raiuno. Silly dancing and nursery songs are the staple there (and delicious food, of course) — Antonella Clerici, who knows nothing and can’t do anything but flash her eyes and show her cleavage, is the unbeatuable star there. In these surroundings the tv ads tyou mention fit in hamoniously…

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