While Italy is full of assets, such as its landscapes, its historic cities or its gastronomy, it is too often one of its scourges that is put forward: the mafia. That name alone is enough to sell dozens of products around the world. The Italian agricultural union is sounding the alarm.
When Mafia Marketing Sells Pizza
Italy is associated with many images, and while some are positive (like the sun, the opera and the food), other stereotypes have a hard tooth like the one that links the country to the Mafia.
A mafia style that sells
If this image is still widely used in cinema or television series, with an often distorted view of reality, we remain in the field of fiction and we imagine that viewers know how to distinguish between things. However, when the “mafia” style is claimed to sell products of Italian gastronomy, this poses a whole other problem.
The main Italian agricultural union, Coldiretti , points the finger at this form of marketing which blithely uses references to organized crime to sell pizza, pasta or mozzarella in Italy and around the world. It is not uncommon, in fact, to come across a cafe called Cosa Nostra (named after the largest Sicilian mafia association), a pizzeriaPadrino (The Godfather) in France, a Mafia sauce for fries in Belgium. The examples are innumerable, and are sometimes eloquent. In Norway, a major media did not hesitate to define Cannolo – famous pastry from Sicily – as the “dessert of the Mafia”.
But you don’t even have to go this far to understand that the Mafia is a selling point that works. In the tourist village of Taormina, still in Sicily, they unashamedly sell “Cosa nostra with almonds” and “Mafieux à la Pistache”.
An amalgam that bothers Italians
This fascination with the mafia is very shocking for the Italian agricultural organization, which deplores this amalgamation between Made in Italy products and criminal associations. This is a blatant lack of respect for the relatives of victims of organized crime, as well as an offense against Italy and the quality of its culinary products.
The president of Coldiretti , Ettore Prandini, affirms that this rapprochement normalizes the mafia and its actions and that it is time to react. When we know that even an institution as powerful as Tripadvisor offers a section for “Mafieux Fans” with activities and restaurants referring to this criminal world, we understand that changing mentalities will be a long-term quest.