MILAN–Italian ad agencies have come upon a wellspring of creativity." data-categories = "" data-popup = "" data-ads = "Yes" data-company = "[]" data-outstream = "yes" data-auth = "" >

Italian agencies play off reform slogans: in anti-corruption movement, shops find fertile ground for taglines By Fabiana Giacomott

MILAN–Italian ad agencies have come upon a wellspring of creativity.

In the wake of the country’s political and economic scandals, the slang phrases used by journalists to describe the purification process of Italy’s corrupt political system by the magistrates, such as the “Clean Hands Operation,” have contributed to an avalanche of puns in ad campaigns.
The trend is a few months old and by now there’s not an agency that hasn’t taken advantage of the opportunity to kick up some dirt themselves.
McCann-Erickson poses the question in ads for Mare Vivo, a company which protects the Italian seas, “Clean hands. And what about feet?” BMZ Italia plays on the symbolism of mud in their ads for Terme di Lurisia, one of the most famous Italian spas: “Not only politicians are allowed to be covered with mud.” The quest for cleansing seduced STZ and the vacuum cleaner, Alfatec, which uses the tagline “Cleaning Italy is not only a privilege of magistrates.”
Some industry observers in Italy are not amused by the ads which make light of the corruption. “Here, when almost every citizen here contributed to the damage, by not paying taxes for example, I find these advertisements in very bad taste,” said Alberto Contri, president of the Italian association of advertising agencies, Assap. Felice Lioy, general manager of Upa, Italy’s client association, added, “It seems they are invented only to make people laugh, to simplify an affair which is obviously very serious.”
“That’s the real risk,” said sociologist Franco Ferrarotti, who pointed out that the use of the phrases in ads tends to make the situation seem unreal.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)