Roman Coffee That is Un-Politically Correct

8 Sep

I dunno, folks. I mean, call me crazy, whatever; it wouldn’t be the first time, and certainly won’t be the last. But, yeah. I’m just thinking, time for a logo update for Moca Caffè Roma.


Maybe I’m reading waaaay too much into this. But frankly, am I the only one who sees this sugar packet and logo as an iconic example more than slightly reminiscent of blackface minstrel shows? And am I supposed to think that it was “mere coincidence” that the name of the coffee is Moca brand?

And, as an aside, Dio Mio if you click on their site. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Pseudo Barry White-slash-70s wanna-be porno music? I mean, what IS that? And, why do websites even NEED music? Bleh.

But I digress.

Nowhere on their site could I find any commentary about the history of the logo, what it’s supposed to represent, or whatever. So, I’m kind of at a loss here.

So: boh. I’ll let you be the judge. Not like I’m covering anything new here. I mean, who among us still hasn’t watched this by-now infamous Coloreria Italiana commercial? Always brings up mixed commentary.

I never saw the Fiat ad below until I did a bit o’ research for this post. Racial stereotypes aside, this commercial is just poorly done. Crappy, hack-produced creative. Trading on bullshit race stereotypes like this is just as lazy as trading on tired and worn ploys that use the old “sex sells” as a mantra and use women as objects, like the recent Philly campaign here in Italy and the other related advertising in that post.

And, I’ve discussed political correctness and racism on the blog before. It always sparks interesting debate.

What say you, o popolo, about these sugar packets? Are they, no pun intended, in bad taste? I always do research on my posts, at least cursory Google searches anyways, and no matter how I looked in Italian or English, no one seems to have talked about this before, so I guess I can draw the hasty conclusion that it’s not being perceived as even worthy of comment. Even so, these are the things I notice and think about, for what it’s worth! (Free blog. Be nice.)


10 Responses to “Roman Coffee That is Un-Politically Correct”

  1. Natalie September 8, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    I had the same reaction to those sugar packets!

  2. Un'americana a Roma September 8, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    Great minds think alike! Seriously. I’ve seen that popcorn too. Also, I had a brief smoking stint when going through my divorce, and I bought American Spirit cigarettes, which on the package touted how they were packed by “real redskins” in the American tobacco heartland, or something. Killed me. Then they were like made in Germany or something equally absurd.

  3. Un'americana a Roma September 8, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    No pun intended there on the “killed me” about smoking, but hey, that was kind of conveniently fun unintentional wordplay.

  4. Un'americana a Roma September 8, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    OMG when I looked closer at that box I had a vague recollection of posting the same thing… turns out we really are bloggy soulmates, from the title of the blog all the way to the headdress on the popcorn box. Check this out:

  5. janavi September 8, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    What about the show where they have “celebrities” imitating other celebrities, and there was someone in Blackface doing Louis Armstrong??? I couldn’t believe it. I think there was also a woman in Blackface but don’t remember who she was doing.

  6. Andy Troiani September 8, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

    Do you need a roman guy? Here I am!

    Well… I saw those sugar sachets in all my life and I never thought about racism. I was wrong, obviously…
    I’m Searching in my memories and found something like it’s a brasilian face (connect to “coffee”), but I really don’t understand the hat.

    Probably it’s a link with Louis Armstrong, but I swear I don’t know why.
    I need to say that logo is very old (when Satchmo came here), but this is not an apology.

    However it’s really funny to see that two american girls in Rome think the same thing about something here. Funny and scary.

  7. Brittany September 9, 2013 at 12:24 am #

    Clearly you’re the expert on Europe here, but from my 4 month trek in Spain, I noticed that people are wayyyy less PC in Europe than they are in the US. I think it is our natural tendency to say “OMG THAT’S SO RACIST” when in other countries they don’t even care. The most difficult thing for me (that I got over really quickly after laughing at myself a lot) was calling black people “African Americans” in Spain. Clearly not American. So… we just said they were black. It was weird, for sure, but it is definitely an interesting perspective.

  8. Chris September 9, 2013 at 7:25 am #

    I have to admit that a have marveled at the unimaginable (almost magnificent) political in-correctness of these sugar packets for a long, long time . . . . . I’ve even brought some of them home as evidence of the fact that Italy is a VERY different place. I try not to judge, though . . . . . there are so many examples of inadvertent and explicit racism, sexism, agism and misogyny in my own (English-speaking) country that I don’t think I can start throwing stones. Besides, political correctness has spiraled out of control in Anglo-Saxon-Land . . . . hasn’t it?

  9. Natalie September 9, 2013 at 7:46 am #

    Amazing! Glad I am not the only American that can’t shake my discomfort with Italian advertising techniques. Truly great minds 😉

  10. chillcat September 9, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Mmm. These things now make me uncomfortable, but I confess I ate ‘Golliwog’ biscuits when I was a kid. I think it’s time for these images to disappear. We already live in a culture where serving Ministers can be openly insulted because of skin colour – which only serves to prove how much we need her here!

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