No Dignity Left on Italian Television

16 Nov

Not like there was ever that much to begin with, but still…

The other day when I saw this ad on TV for the umpteenth time, I said to Ale, “Next time that ad comes on, I swear to God I’m getting my camera out so I can make a little movie of it and put it on my blog.”

He says, “It’s probably already on YouTube, figurati.” I checked, and sure enough…

Now, I’m warning you: viewing is at your own risk. I really do feel for the children of the man dressed up as a sliver of parmesan cheese, all dolled up in his straw blond wig, waving his gloved hands and legs clad in yellow tights as he emerges triumphant from the holy wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Good God, people, is this what it’s come to?

If you speak Italian, click through to the link on the YouTube site for some hilarious comments. And God help you really, if you do understand Italian, because knowing what they’re actually singing makes it that much more cringe-worthy. In fact, why should we who understand Italian suffer alone? Let’s bring the non-Italian speakers into the fun as well. And I promise, I’m not making this stuff up:

“I was bored and rather down, there wasn’t even anything on TV…” (Oh, really? In Italy?! Who would’ve ever thunk it?)

“I’m alone, melancholy, I’m looking for some company, I want a companion, for the future, but he’s got to be fragrant, that’s for sure…”

Now. Click through to the video. Share in the compelling train wreck-like power of the ad that is “PA PA PA…” and tell me if it doesn’t get evilly stuck in your head for the next, oh, week or so. And don’t say I didn’t warn you in advance.


24 Responses to “No Dignity Left on Italian Television”

  1. nyc/caribbean ragazza November 16, 2007 at 8:59 pm #


  2. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy November 16, 2007 at 9:28 pm #

    Ya, although from an advertising point of view, it’s semi-brilliant. Any time you can’t get something out of your head…branding! πŸ™‚

  3. Giulia November 16, 2007 at 9:31 pm #

    I LOVE that commercial! It puts a smile on my face every time I see it! πŸ™‚

  4. Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita November 16, 2007 at 9:32 pm #

    I’ve seen this before and still LOVE it. Yes, it may be dumb or redundant, but the people are so funny and I catch myself singing it. The “cheese man” is def my favorite!

  5. romerican November 16, 2007 at 9:41 pm #

    AH- this is one of those commercials that makes me want to bash in the TV screen!

  6. Andrea November 16, 2007 at 10:26 pm #

    This is so funny! I just got tagged for a meme and in return I am tagging you. Tell 7 random comments about yourself and then tag 7 more people. Love the blog!!

  7. finnyknits November 16, 2007 at 11:28 pm #

    I think kids should be performing this play in schools. Way better than Oklahoma!


    Meanwhile, I’m sure I’ll still be singing this when I get to Rome in a month. Thanks so much.

  8. Donna November 17, 2007 at 12:24 am #

    This is absolutely hilarious!! I wish we had this commercial in the USofA! I will be singing it the rest of the day.


  9. Joannie November 17, 2007 at 5:47 am #

    I saw that awhile back and loved it… the 80s song it’s based on is even scarier..

    I mean, is this lady teaching aerobics or something?

  10. Gil November 17, 2007 at 10:10 am #

    I thought it was one of the better things on Italian TV when I was there.

  11. Americanaroma November 17, 2007 at 10:13 am #

    Yes, this commercial is definitely THE cheesiest! Everytime I see it I burst out laughing…the thing that is even scarier is that I know the original song Mamma Maria…listened to it growing up (let me correct that: my parents did!)

  12. jessica in rome November 17, 2007 at 10:34 am #

    hey I posted about these ridiculous commercials awhile back…but you have to admit Buon Domenica is the WORST garbage on Italian TV!!!

  13. Isabelle November 17, 2007 at 2:09 pm #

    I should watch much more Italian TV, I never happened to see this one !!!!!!! It’s just perfect.. I think my favorite is the mushroom dress, I would so much imagine wearing it at a cocktail at the embassy ;-)))))))

  14. mentalmosaic November 17, 2007 at 2:36 pm #

    You know, most dorky ads are easy to tune out. But this ad really strikes a chord with people. Everyone in our household has something to say when it comes on! I have actually noticed that I pay more attention to it every time I see it.

  15. Anna L'americana November 17, 2007 at 3:54 pm #

    Brilliant! Italians always had a way with unbelievably cheesy commercials – ironic that this one is actually selling cheese!!!! What’s even funnier is the 7 minute “making of” video that’s also posted to YouTube…I wonder if HBO is gonna run this!

  16. Gina November 17, 2007 at 9:43 pm #

    It’s pa-pa-pa-pa-pazzo!
    Seems like an homage to the Burger King Whopperettes Commercial from the 2006 Superbowl.

  17. AndrΓ© Wegner November 18, 2007 at 12:07 pm #

    That’s amazing. I really like all of them (there must be 3 or 4).
    Part of the fun is also to use an olden goldie from Ricchi e poverie. This music is somewhere between being ashamend that you’ve had listen to it, but on the other hand their music is somwhow fun. Easy to sing along.

  18. Annika November 18, 2007 at 6:37 pm #

    oh my goodness, that’s hysterical! I haven’t laughed this hard in ages!

  19. kataroma November 18, 2007 at 7:25 pm #

    Wow. Am I the only one who clicked on one of the other links which brings you to the “holiday” version of this ad complete with falling parmigiano snow and candy canes amoungst the dancing veggies?

    Now I’m NEVER going to get this out of my head.

  20. Cinzia November 19, 2007 at 4:00 pm #

    Oh mamma, I change channel as soon as commercials show up (?) so I didn’t see this one. One I saw instead and I really hate is the one where the waiter says “Bella topolona” to the lady ordering gorgonzola. I can’t remember the brand but when I see it again I’ll take note and won’t buy it again. Bleahh!

  21. Shelley, At Home in Rome November 19, 2007 at 4:36 pm #

    See, this is the risk with advertising. People generally tend to think that “if it sticks in your head” and you remember it, that’s always a positive thing, but it’s not necessarily. If it sticks in your head and gets on your nerves, you might go out of your way NOT to buy it…I’ve done that before!

    In any case, this one is kind of immune to brand loyalty because I think (could be wrong) that most people buy Parmigiano Reggiano regardless…it comes packaged grated under different brands but since they’re more advertising a sort of base product I don’t see the advertising affecting sales one way or the other. It’s probably a campaign more for general awareness, in which case I’d say it has more than done its job!

    Personally I have a love/hate relationship with the ad… I’m embarassed to say I like it because it’s so cheesy (no pun intended!) but at the same time it has given me genuine laughs so I do find it amusing at the same time, I mean, they had guts to go all out and over the top like that.

  22. Rachele January 12, 2008 at 9:42 pm #

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I am not suprised at all about this commercial. I pride myself on the fact that I have a really stupid sense of humor, and have laughed histerically more than a million times at Italian commercials. Honestly, this one is so stupid that I was dying laughing,crying really because these are grown men and woman dancing in shiny veggie suits……its histerical,stupidly speaking.Yeah, i get what you are saying about the words to the song…..its kinda weird. The birth of venus?……no, the birth of old man/parmiggiano sliver coming to rescue a lonly aglio or what ever he is…..hahahahahhahah

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