Keeping Kids at Home Until Forty

13 Nov

Help me understand this ad billboard that’s all over Rome right now. Even I, with my degree in Advertising (yes, they have those, shut up), cannot seem to figure it out. Irony? Reverse irony? Neo-realism? Mah!

It’s an ad for good old “4 Salti in Padella” (Four Jumps in the Pan for the uninitiated, Italy’s major frozen meal-in-a-bag folks) in which it exhorts: (yes, I said exhort. I realize that makes me a nerd and a literary elitist wanna-be. Reader’s key here if neeeded.)


This dish will keep your kids living at home until they’re 40!

So, here’s my thought process. This should be a good thing, right? I mean, we’re trying to sell the food, are we not? So I conclude that the damn frozen pasta meal must be so good, that “kids,” even 40-year old ones, will never want to leave Mamma’s “home cooking” and therefore will never move out, and this somehow is a positive thing.


There’s also one to the wives whose husbands never talk to them at dinner. Apparently serving the frozen pasta bag meal makes them talk? Boh! (Italian for “who the hell knows?!”)

I don’t know. My head hurts. But I will say that the Four Jumps in a Pan version of peas with prosciutto is very loved at my house. It actually got my kids to eat peas. So, you know, it’s all good.

Here the whole campaign is thoughtfully analyzed a lot better than I could ever do. Only thing is, it’s in Italian. Maybe eating Four Jumps in a Pan will teach you Italian, too, who knows?


6 Responses to “Keeping Kids at Home Until Forty”

  1. Carolina November 13, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    I love your posts Shelly and your umorismo!

  2. anna l'americana November 13, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    Marketing is a relatively new field of endeavor in Italy and if you keep that in mind, it explains so many things. Like “Carosello!” There was once a time if you had even just passing Italian and one credit hour of marketing you had your pick of perk-packed offers to head entire marketing departments. This is either so incredibly sophisticated because we are still talking about it….or just more of the same old crappy ads that make no sense. You be the judge.

  3. Cinzia Giorgi November 14, 2011 at 4:19 am #

    It’s about the fact that many Italians are now choosing not to leave home and they keep living with their parents even if they have a job because no woman would ever spoil them as moms do. It’s something really negative! We call them “bamboccioni”!

  4. Un'americana a Roma November 14, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    Aw, grazie!

  5. Un'americana a Roma November 14, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    I vote for crappy make no sense.

  6. Un'americana a Roma November 14, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    In fact that’s exactly what I was thinking. In the analysis I read (the one I linked to in Italian) there was a commenter who had a really interesting take that I liked, but I frankly don’t believe the ad geniuses even thought of. The commenter said that since the ads are actually targeted to the people who buy the frozen meals, ie, single people and career/too busy to cook people, then it makes sense because what they’re really trying to convey is that “hey, even though we’re a frozen in a bag meal, it’s so good that it tastes just like mom makes” so… maybe.

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