`Silvio Muccino Ad Promotes Italian Foods in U.S.

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Silvio Muccino Ad Promotes Italian Foods in U.S.

Dec. 22, 2015
Luciana Squadrilli

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A sin­gle drop of olive oil, falling from the spoon where a woman poured it from a cruet to dress her salad, turns the wooden floor into a green field where olive trees grow, chil­dren play and farm­ers are hand-pick­ing the olives, gen­tly smil­ing.

This is the open­ing scene of the com­mer­cial directed by Ital­ian direc­tor and actor Sil­vio Muc­cino to pro­mote Made in Italy’ food prod­ucts.

Since Decem­ber 9, and until Spring 2016, when the cam­paign is planned to end, the ad will be broad­cast on TV chan­nels in Texas, Illi­nois, New York and Cal­i­for­nia. Over the hol­i­day sea­son, it will be played on one of the huge bill­boards in New York’s Times Square.

More scenes include cheese, dried and fresh pasta and cured meats: by buy­ing and eat­ing Ital­ian food, the char­ac­ters are taken to the places where those extra­or­di­nary prod­ucts’ are born. The ad’s final catch­phrase says, We turn the best ingre­di­ents into extra­or­di­nary prod­ucts.”

The evoca­tive com­mer­cial is part of a pro­mo­tional cam­paign to sup­port national agri­cul­tural pro­duce by ICE, the Ital­ian Trade Pro­mo­tion Agency, on behalf of the Min­istry of Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Min­istry of Agri­cul­tural, Food and Forestry Poli­cies.

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With an over­all bud­get of €50 mil­lion to be invested in com­mu­ni­ca­tion and trade ini­tia­tives, it is the biggest cam­paign ever real­ized to pro­mote Ital­ian-made prod­ucts in the US. The ini­tia­tive will also involve also trade agree­ments with the US large-scale retail­ers, the par­tic­i­pa­tion in trade fairs and events and net­work­ing meet­ings.

Besides Muc­ci­no’s ad, the cam­paign by the Brand Por­tal agency, also con­tem­plates a wider multi-chan­nel com­mu­ni­ca­tion cam­paign to help Amer­i­can con­sumers iden­tify Ital­ian-made foods on the shelves, marked by the dis­tinc­tive sign of a bit­ten” Ital­ian flag and the motto, The extra­or­di­nary Ital­ian taste.”

Muc­ci­no’s video, based on a script by Marco Guc­cia­rdi and his staff at Brand Por­tal, proved pop­u­lar in the first few days of its broad­cast, and it gar­nered nearly a half-mil­lion views after the direc­tor shared it on his Face­book page. A pre­vi­ous post announc­ing the release of the ad reached sim­i­lar fig­ures.

Despite the direc­tor’s and scriptwrit­ers’ abil­ity to engage view­ers with Ital­ian prod­ucts and atmos­pheres, some crit­i­cism arose from Ital­ian audi­ences and press. Many blamed the exces­sive expenses for the real­iza­tion of the video, but Sil­vio Muc­cino replied that nei­ther he nor the pro­duc­tion com­pany got any fee for it.

Ital­ian jour­nal­ist Attilio Bar­bi­eri said on his web­site, Italia In Prima Pag­ina, that he appre­ci­ated the video and the ini­tia­tive to con­trast the €60 bil­lion mar­ket for coun­ter­feit Ital­ian prod­ucts around the world, but he crit­i­cized the lack of a unique and dis­tinc­tive label to be put on indi­vid­ual prod­ucts (in com­pli­ance with the Euro­pean Union’s reg­u­la­tions), but only on shelves and points of sale.

More­over, in Bar­bi­er­i’s view, the com­mer­cial reaches its goal to rep­re­sent the charms of Italy as a food heaven,” but it does not jive with real­ity, since the food indus­try stan­dard­iza­tion has taken over ancient crafts and prod­uct authen­tic­ity, in his view.

Of course, there are still many, small and pas­sion­ate Ital­ian craft pro­duc­ers like the ones depicted by Muc­cino — and olive oil pro­duc­ers are among them — but the tra­di­tions of local food-mak­ing are impeded by the inevitable demands of a glob­al­ized mar­ket, and their hon­esty and trans­parency are not always backed up by big­ger com­peti­tors and by the rest of the sup­ply chain.

Search­ing for their prod­ucts, and choos­ing them, is a good way to sup­port Ital­ian crafts­men and women, espe­cially when you can’t visit them in per­son and expe­ri­ence what the com­mer­cial effec­tively shows.




  • La Stampa

  • Italia in Prima Pag­ina

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