If there is one thing Italy is famous for, it’s creativity. From fashion to food, from art to entrepreneurship, the Italian way is associated with imaginative solutions, unique twists and great visual appeal. You won’t be surprised to learn, therefore, that there is no shortage of superb creativity in Italian advertising. While most agencies currently work on international campaigns and employ international creatives, there’s still something specifically Italian about the commercials and campaigns that are targeted to the Italian public. In this post, we will give you a quick overview of Italian creativity by analysing two of this year’s best campaigns and commercials.
The most inspiring Italian commercials of 2018
Fiat 500: Italian creativity on an international stage
The new Fiat 500X advert is a perfect example of an Italian brand being marketed internationally and bringing its unique style to a worldwide audience. The first phase of this campaign saw an incredibly well-crafted short movie, that totalled over 32M views on Facebook and Youtube in under two weeks. The advert is a quirky take on the “Back to the Future” theme (with Christopher Lloyd as the traffic warden at the very end), set in 1960s Italy and in modern-day Milan. The advert is complemented by a multichannel campaign featuring posters, printed ads and online ads. This is not the first time Fiat chooses a polished, vintage look for its commercials, nor is it the first time the brand chooses to invest in highly produced short films with Hollywood stars (last year’s “See You In The Future” campaign, featuring Adrien Brody, was a resounding success).
Pan di Stelle: focusing on sustainability and responsibility
As we all know, chocolate is one of the most controversial products of our time. While we all love it and some of us profess to be unable to live without it, it is no secret that most of the cocoa – that eventually ends up in our chocolate-flavoured products – is grown under less-than-optimal conditions, in plantations that are often harmful to the territory that hosts them and impose unfair conditions or even slavery to those who work them. Barilla’s Mulino Bianco, the brand that produces the most popular chocolate cookies in Italy (the universally beloved “Pan di Stelle”), is focusing its latest campaign not on the product itself, but on the positive impact that the brand has on the Countries in which their main raw material is produced. Barilla – and, consequently, Mulino Bianco – is a mainstream brand and therefore not generally on the average responsible shopper’s list and this ad is meant to showcase the brand’s active commitment to a relevant cause. This advert focuses on the company’s endeavour to use only fair-trade cocoa for its products and to invest in the well-being of the communities that live in the areas of the Ivory Coast where the plant is grown. The video uses a dreamy, fairy-tale-like aesthetic, reminiscent of independent animation movies and, at times, of certain Studio Ghibli atmospheres. The most important thing about this campaign, however, is the fact that it does not focus on the product, its taste, the quality of its ingredients or the act of consuming it, but on the brand and on its positive impact on the world. Whether this is the first step on a full-blown repositioning strategy, only time will tell.
These two commercials exemplify two different strands of Italian creativity and of the kind of message that is most popular with the Italian public at this particular time. Light-hearted content, as shown by the Fiat commercial, generally benefits from using a retro look and by conjuring up images of a carefree past, with elements of adorable naïveté and reassuring characters. The second advert shows us a perfect example of how brands are tackling complex and sensitive issues, by following actions with communication, by participating in actual charity projects and by adopting sustainable practices, and then turn all that to a communicative advantage. Once again, there is something dreamy and childish about the storytelling style, but, as the cartoon turns into real footage of the well and the children, we are invited to consider the actual commitment the brand has shown to that particular cause.