Dove c’e Barilla…

One of the classes that I am currently taking on this trip is an Italian conversation class. In this class, we have a new theme every day, and we spend the two-hour class reading aloud and then discussing our opinions on the topic of the day. The class only consists of seven people, so it feels more like a group discussion, rather than a traditional class.

Today in this class, we talked about prominent Italian brands, as well as how these brands advertised. When I think of Italian brands, the first ones that come to mind are usually clothing or fashion, such as Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, and Versace. However, most of the class was spend discussing other industries. For example, automobiles such as Ferrari and FIAT (which I learned stands for Fabbrica Italina Automobili Torino, which stands for Italian Manufacturer of Automobiles, from Torino) were also discussed at length, as well as the food brand, Barilla.

In general, the advertisements were made to appeal more to the sense of humor, rather than to show off the utility of the product. For example, we watched the following video ( for an Italian dessert called Maxibon. The commercial is about a man who tries to speak to two girls in broken English (because he thinks they only speak English), but then after watching him stumble through the English, they ask him what his name is in perfect Italian. Another commercial that we watched was for FIAT ( although no FIATS were actually shown in the commercial. The ad shows a woman arguing with her boyfriend on the phone, and her downstairs neighbor can hear her. She ends the fight by saying that she would go out with the next man she sees, and when she opens the door, her downstairs neighbor is standing there waiting for her.

During our class discussion of these advertisements, we talked about how Italians value both the idea of “Made in Italy” (or Italian brands in general), as well as humor. Since I had never watched Italian advertisements before, I thought this was a pretty interesting lesson!

For homework, we were assigned into groups to create our own Italian advertisement. Here’s the link to my group’s ad for Barilla pasta: