Days ago I participated in a talk with Giampietro Vigorelli, an old and famous advertiser, “who has enriched himself with his work” (cit.) Where we talked about the differences between old and new advertising, between traditional and social advertising. It emerged that while once there were huge budgets that allowed professional productions and long times to develop aesthetically memorable commercials, today everything is faster, cheaper and more strategic.
But we all know that good ideas don’t come with money and therefore the old and expensive advertisements of yesteryear are often children of the times and, even if some remain memorable, others are full of sexism, patriarchy, racism and stereotypes. And although social campaigns may be aesthetically inferior, with a less high and professional language, they are however more advanced, enterprising, courageous and, I must say, also empathetic. Empathetic because after all they have to deal with users once they are published on social networks. Traditional advertising did not have and does not have this immediate comparison.
Film directors lent to commercials
But social campaigns aren’t always cheap. And they are not always made only by purist digital strategists or by old advertisers converted to social media, sometimes they are mythological creatures half TV, half social and half cinema, created together with famous film directors lent to advertising. This is the case of the advertising campaign for Parmigiano Reggiano, which has hit the headlines in recent days, where the total investment of the operation amounts to over 4 million euros for 4 months of airing and includes TV commercials, placement and an ongoing digital campaign. . The television campaign, but also digital, consists of six thirty-second commercials taken directly from the film “Gli Amigos” by Paolo Genovese. In practice, a medium-length film was produced with the classic language of a film and some clips were cut out to use them as commercials to be broadcast on digital and TV indiscriminately.
TV forgives, digital is anarchic
While TV forgives, digital is anarchic and takes the side of Renatino, the boy from the dairy, who in the commercial admits to working 365 days a year without ever stopping and is also happy to do so. Users are indignant and accuse Parmigiano Reggiano of celebrating the exploitation of workers. Obviously, it’s all hyperbole because Parmigiano Reggiano is truly processed every day to follow the production cycle that distinguishes it, so Renatino is just a cinematic metaphor. The problem is all there. In a film, statements and dialogues of this type can pass as a cinematographic license, in a commercial, they become propaganda. Using a cinematographic language without criteria to make an advertisement is totally wrong. Using a cinematic language for a TV commercial is even more wrong and then using it for digital is masochistic. Each advertising medium has its own linguistic register, its format, its expressive methods: let’s use them. The same mistake was also made when Gabriele Muccino was chosen to tell the story of the Calabria region, who created a spot defined as vulgar, full of stereotypes, with mafia atmospheres and costing over 1 million euros.
The error also in the commercials for vaccines
Error repeated and confirmed in the 4 commercials commissioned from the director Tornatore for the vaccination campaign. This time a serious mistake, in my opinion, given the subject dealt with. More than a commercial to get people to get vaccinated, it looked like a short film by a screenwriter fascinated by PVC curtains. He could not communicate the emergency we were in.