Italian ambassador to Canada rips mafia-themed ad campaign

The Sopranos is back on HBO in a little over a week, but when the whackings begin in earnest, be sure to maintain a skeptical eye. A restaurant chain called Jack Astor’s in Canada tried out a mafioso theme in its advertising recently, having two wiseguys misbehave in illustrated print ads promoting a new Italian menu. The grumbling began almost immediately, and eventually the Italian ambassador to Canada joined the chorus of boos. The chain has “not only offended thousands of their fellow Canadians of Italian origin,” he wrote in a special communiqué, “but also possibly lost as many prospective customers.” The restaurant has scrapped the print ads and meekly apologized. Its top marketing guy, recognizing that this is business, not personal, is making an offer that his critics will probably not refuse. He explains: “In future, we will take great care to make sure that the many positive attributes of Italian culture are emphasized in our advertising.”

—Posted by Tim Nudd