Italian creativity is something of a national emblem and a point of pride, and it can sometimes express itself in ways that are in equal measure puzzling and awe-inspiring. When it comes to marketing, the effect is heightened by the fact that the field itself is relentlessly creative and evolves at a faster pace than any other form of communication, incorporating inputs from all aspects of human life. Marketing and advertising in Italy have a complex identity, made up of international influences and local culture. We have selected three of the funniest, most original examples of Italian creativity in advertising and marketing from the recent past.
Ikea Italy is making fun of us (but we don’t mind)
This is not so much a campaign as a social media stunt, that had all Italy laughing at the one thing Italians don’t seem capable of laughing at: being excluded from the 2018 World Cup. The post, of course, came out in 2017, when Italy was declared officially out of the run, and it was one of the best examples of real-time marketing in recent years. Just after the Swedish team (yes, we know, almost too perfect to be true) beat the Italian one and secured its place in the tournament, IKEA reacted by posting a picture of one of its outdoor benches with the writing “We will be giving Gian Piero his bench” – a reference to Italian coach Gian Piero Ventura, who was just at that moment waving goodbye to the prospect of “sitting on the bench” while watching the national team play in Russia. Quick, effective and to the point, this perfect social media campaign can be said to have scored a perfect goal.
— Goal Italia (@GoalItalia) 14 novembre 2017
Sky’s family Kidmas
Last Christmas, M&C Saatchi created a heart-warming campaign called “The Kidmas Project” for Sky Italia. The concept was pretty simple and effective: Christmas is a time for families and, traditionally, for children. It’s a time for coming together, for feeling good, safe, warm and fuzzy. The whole campaign revolved around the idea of seeing the world through a child’s eyes, by accepting and adopting a child’s language. What stuck in our collective minds were the made-up words with which the kids in the adverts described the Christmas season, which was said to be “familiable” and “enthusiasmagical” (these are approximate translations). The campaign was launched across a multimedia platform incorporating social media channels, tv ads, city posters, an experiential website and a dedicated app that allowed users to add Christmas stickers to their text messages.
Urban jungle marketing: extra points for sustainability (and budget)!
Street advertising is still relatively uncommon in Italy, and a street advertising tour is practically unheard of. A Milan agency launched one to promote Banca5, a new banking service by the Sanpaolo Group. The goal of this campaign was implementing the values relating to the new service to the already existing brand reputation and to establish Sanpaolo as being “Europe’s first proximity bank”. The adverts appeared in several Italian cities in the form of horizontal graffiti on roads and pavements, making generous use of a bright green colour that made them instantly recognisable. The service itself is significantly different from the bank’s traditional offer, which called for an original campaign. Banca5 doesn’t need to be activated by visiting the bank or downloading an app, and it can be operated by any of the shops that are equipped for the payment of bills (in Italy, it is common for tobacco shops and off-licenses that sell lottery-tickets to have an online payment service). One definite upside to this kind of advertising is its sustainability: it does not require any material to be printed on paper and therefore saves on both budget and waste. It is also easier to target micro-zones with a campaign such as this one, thereby implementing what is, in essence, a proximity marketing campaign without the use of beacon technology.