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Does This Video Change The Way You See Italy?

written by M.E. Evans January 26, 2015

Similarly to a turtle that’s stuck on it’s back, Italy is desperately flailing to get to it’s feet and recover from it’s economic, political, and social setbacks. Their solution? This video, titled, “Italy, The Extraordinary Commonplace.” I actually don’t even know what that means. Does anyone know what that means? The video is in English, and aims to clean the soiled reputation of a once great nation.

Italy is trying to rebrand itself.

The video has gotten mixed reviews but a lot of them are good. ABC recently wrote a story titled, “Italy Promo Gets Thumbs Up For Turning Stereotypes Around.”

The video was created by The Ministry Of Economic Development. So far the YouTube video has been viewed over 390,000 times. It’s nice to see that Italy has finally found a way to market itself differently and is trying to change it’s image in hopes of increasing interest from foreign investors. At the very least I can say that it’s great that Italy has possibly found a way to market itself to the world. You know what they say? It’s all about marketing. Once they figure that out, they might be able to fix the country.

Part of me wishes that I found the video as inspiring as other people. The problem is that I work in marketing (Yes, during the day I’m a copywriter for an SAS company. I market to people, it’s what I do). The video just made me giggle and roll my eyes.

I get the point, Italy has become known, not for its craftsmanship, but rather for being a country of lazy, ass-backwards mommy boys who avoid responsibility at all cost and party hard into their fifties. Italy’s reputation for pasta, booze, and easy sex with overly willing (and often married) Italian men, has made it a favorite destination for the recently divorced and 20-30 somethings looking for a good time or an exciting change of pace.

Nobody says “Italy” when asked the question: Who is the most productive country in Europe. Nobody moves to Italy for “better job opportunities,” or to “enhance their career,” unless they’re job of choice is to sell pasta or wine. People move to Italy for what they think will be a relaxed and easily life free of the stress that comes from living in a country that commands productivity and work ethic (like the US, which kills it’s citizens with stress and mental illness).

It’s sad. It’s sad because Italy is a lot more than spaghetti. The point of the video was to dispel the bad image and replace it with a new one which is super smart but…It did not work for me.

Here’s why:

1) Denial is never a smart way to go. I found the idea that they were trying to bury their “undesirable traits” beneath the “desirable” ones kind of silly.
2) There were no connections between any of the points. It was confusing as hell.

The video begins with:

“PIZZA MAKERS? Italy is a world leader in the creation of infrastructures-1000 construction sites in 90 countries.”

Uh-huh…go on…

Those two things have nothing to do with each other at all. Also, why do either of those things need to be mutually exclusive? And, what’s the point in downplaying that make pizza makers?


Here’s what a US version of that video would look like:

A country of fat asses?
The US is really good at aeronautics and has a lot of spaceships.

WHAT THE SHIT!? Exactly.

It goes on to include: “Party Addicts, Gesticulators, and Latin Lovers?” among the other “bad” stereotypes they’re trying to bury under more desirable traits like “Engineering, biomedics, etc.”

Also, Gesticulators? Why is that in there? Am I the only person that thinks of a dance group from the 70’s.

It’s a brilliant concept but it only got to second or third base. It missed a home-run by even having the “stereotypes in there in the first place. If you’re going to have them, then just embrace them. It’s such a bad idea to try and dispel stereotypes by connecting two completely different concepts together. “I am not an asshole. Jolly Ranchers are often cherry flavored.”

Here’s what I wish they would have done:

Left out the stereotypes or Embraced all of them. Yes, Italy is a country of pizza makers, and people who party into old age, yes they’re are “latin lovers”, yes, family is important to many of them, yes, yes, and…? ALSO, Italy is creative, brilliant, innovative, professional. ITALY HAS IT ALL. ITALY HAS IT ALL AND THEN SOME, BITCHES!

I would have liked to see this: “Work. Play. Thrive: Italy, where everything is possible.”

That rings a lot stronger to me than, “Take us seriously! We’re really not mommies boys! Look, we have architects!”

Yes, I know that many of you loved the video. It’s not that I don’t agree that it’s a step in the right direction. I just think it could have been better and more effective. And hey, they’re trying to target foreigners so I’m interested in what foreign people think of the video? Are you totally in awe of Italy’s badassery now? Or did the video also confuse you a little?

What did you guys think? Did Italy get it right or not?

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