Thursday, December 1, 2011

Selling Italy - Italian Stereotypes in American Marketing

I saw this advertisement on television last night: Amore in the Afternoon - an odd title to be sure, evocative of both Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway and Afternoon Delight by the Starland Vocal Band (see hyperlink for a wonderfully dated music video) at once. For Americans, fine coffee is essentially an Italian affair. So Nestle, a Swiss company advertises on American television promoting a machine likely made in China by saying its "the Italian way." They dress up an actor who is probably not Italian (he never speaks at least) in stereotypical Italian clothing. The co-opting of the superlative adjective form to make"droolisimo" is particularly nice - I think Italians don't say that. Also, drool does not make me want to buy products. Last week, Italian 10 years bonds sold for 7%. The good life portrayed in advertising is certainly false for many Italians during this time of austerity. But though investors and economist have little confidence in her, Italia is still the sweetheart of advertisers.

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