This chapter explores the influence of Italy’s recently introduced law on tax credit and product placement upon national film production. This law, passed in 2010, but enforced in 2011, encourages non-media companies to invest in Italian film production using the twofold incentives of tax credit and product placement. In Italy product placement, which consists of ‘incorporating brands in movies in return for money or for some promotional or other consideration’, has been legal since 2004.1 However, this chapter argues that the association of product placement with tax credit, which has no equivalent in other EU states to date, increases the financial involvement of private companies in film production in a way that enhances commercial influence upon the narrative and aesthetic features of the films. The chapter verifies this hypothesis through the analysis of a case study, the 2012 comedy The Commander and the Stork (Il Comandante e la Cicogna — hereafter The Commander), directed by Italian film-maker Silvio Soldini. In accordance with the new law, Lumière & Co., the Milan-based production company that made the movie, signed a partnership with Italian company ILLVA Saronno, allowing the famous Disaronno liqueur brand to star in one of the film’s scenes and the company to benefit from tax credit on its investment.2 This film is a particularly interesting case study not only because it is one of the very first (and, as will be discussed, still very few) implementations of the law, but also because of its production and artistic profile.
- Joint Venture
- Product Placement
- Cultural Relevance
- Interesting Case Study
- Direct Fund
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Pola B. Gupta and Stephen J. Gould, ‘Consumers’ Perception of the Ethics and Acceptability of Product Placement in Movies: Product Category and Individual Differences’, Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising 19, no. 1 (1997), 37.
Bernadette Luciano, The Cinema Of Silvio Soldini. Dream — Image — Voyage (Leicester: Troubador Publishing, 2008), xvii.
See Pola B. Gupta and Kenneth R. Lord, ‘Product Placement in Movies: The Effect of Prominence and Mode on Audience Recall’, Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising 20, no. 1 (1998), 48.
Roberto Paolo Nelli, ed., Product Placement Made in Italy. Le marche nei film italiani dal 2004 al 2011 (Roma: Edizioni Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo, 2013), 251.
For an historical overview of the product placement practice in Hollywood see Kerry Segrave, Product Placement in Hollywood Films: A History (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2004).
See, for instance, Israel D. Nebenzahl and Eugene Secunda, ‘Consumers’ Attitudes Towards Product Placement in Movies’, International Journal of Advertising 12, no. 1 (1993), 1–11;
Denise E. Delorme and Leonard N. Reid, ‘Moviegoers’ Experiences and Interpretations of Brands in Films Revisited’, Journal of Advertising 28, no. 2 (1999), 71–95;
Alain D’Astous and Francis Chartier, ‘A Study of Factors Affecting Consumer Evaluations and Memory of Product Placements in Movies’, Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising 22, no. 2 (2000), 31–40;
Cristina A. Russell, ‘Investigating the Effectiveness of Product placements in Television Shows: The Role of Modality and Plot Connection Congruence on Brand Memory Attitude’, Journal of Consumer Research 29 (December, 2002), 306–318;
and Etienne Bressoud, Jean-Marc Lehu and Cristina A. Russell, ‘The Product Well Placed: The Relative Impact of Placement and Audience Characteristics on Placement Recall’, Journal of Advertising Research 50, no. 4 (2010), 374–385.
For the ethical and legal aspects of product placement see Siva K. Balasubramanian, ‘Beyond Advertising and Publicity: Hybrid Messages and Public Policy Issues’, Journal of Advertising 23, no. 4 (1994), 29–47;
Paul Siegel, ‘Product Placement and the Law’, Journal of Promotion Management 10, no. 1–2 (2004), 89–100;
and Lawrence A. Wenner, ‘On the Ethics of Product Placement in Media Entertainment’, Journal of Promotion Management 10, no. 1–2 (2004), 101–132.
Scott Donaton, Madison & Vine: Why the Entertainment and Advertising Industries must Converge to Survive (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004).
See also Cristina A. Russell and Michael Belch, ‘A Managerial Investigation into the Product Placement Industry’, Journal of Advertising Research 45, no. 1 (2005), 73–92;
Jean-Marc Lehu, La Publicité Est Dans Les Films. Placement De Produits Et Stratégie De Marque Au Cinéma, Dans Les Chansons, Dans Les Jeux Vidéo … (Paris: Eyrolles Editions d’Organisation, 2006);
Jean-Marc Lehu, Branded Entertainment: Product Placement and Brand Strategy in the Entertainment Business (London: Kogan Page, 2007).
See Thomas Mackay, Michael Ewing, Fiona Newton and Lydia Windisch, ‘The Effect Of Product Placement in Computer Games on Brand Attitude and Recall’, International Journal of Advertising 28, no. 3 (2009), 423–438;
Hank Kim, ‘Def Jam, H-P Explore Branded Music Alliance’, Advertising Age 73, no. 36 (2002), 4, 28;
Alan Nelson, ‘The Bulgari Connection: A Novel Form of Product Placement’, Journal of Promotion Management 10, no. 1–2 (2004), 203–212.
For a comparative study of product placement in EU countries and the United States see Stephen J. Gould, Pola B. Gupta and Sonja Grabner-Kräuter, ‘Product Placement in Movies: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Austrian, French and American Consumers’ Attitudes Toward This Emerging, International Promotional Medium’, Journal of Advertising 29, no. 4 (2000), 41–58.
For Latin America, see Antonio C. La Pastina, ‘Product Placement in Brazilian Prime Time Television: The Case of the Reception of a Telenovela’, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 45, no. 4 (2001), 541–557.
For the United Kingdom, see Chris Hackley and Rungpaka Amy Tiwsakul, ‘Unpaid Product Placement: The Elephant in the Room in UK TV’s New Paid-For Product Placement Market’, International Journal of Advertising 31, no. 4 (2012), 703–718.
See, for instance, Daniele Dalli, Giacomo Gistri and Dino Borello, Marche Alla Ribalta. Il Product placement Cinematografico In Italia E La Sua Gestione Manageriale (Milano: EGEA, 2008);
Roberto Nelli and Paola Bensi, Il Product placement Nelle Strategie Di Convergenza Della Marca Nel Settore Dell’intrattenimento (Milano: Vita e Pensiero, 2007); Roberto Nelli, ed., Product placement Made in Italy.
On branded entertainment, see Roberto Nelli, L’evoluzione Delle Strategie Di Branded Entertainment. Presupposti Teorici E Condizioni Di Efficacia (Milano: Vita e Pensiero, 2011);
Roberto Nelli, Branded Content Marketing. Un Nuovo Approccio Alla Creazione Di Valore (Milano: Vita e Pensiero, 2012).
D. M., ‘Riparto FUS 2012’, 23 February 2012, www.spettacolodalvivo.beniculturali.it/index.php/normativa-fus-e-contributi;
Nicola Borrelli, ‘Annual press release’, Cinemonitor, 16 April 2013, www.cinemonitor.it/23398-cinema-della-crisi-intervista-a-borrelli-direttore-generale-per-il-cinema-del-mibac/.
Alessio Lazzareschi, ‘Prospettive Dell’intervento Pubblico Nel Settore Cinematografico’, Cinemonitor, 4 June 2012, www.cinemonitor.it/19583-prospettive-dellintervento-pubblico-nel-settore-cinematografico/.
For a comprehensive overview on this topic see Susan Newman-Baudais, Public Funding for Film and Audiovisual Works in Europe, Report by the European Audiovisual Observatory, 2011.
Jonathan Hardy, Cross-Media Promotion (New York: Peter Lang, 2010), 240.
Because tax credits are offered to external companies on the basis of actual film production investment, the law furthermore ensures that the state complies with rules prohibiting it from offering fiscal advantages to the private sector in return for mere product placement payments to film producers. See Report by Ufficio Studi ANICA ed., I quaderni dell’ANICA — N.1 Product Placement (Roma, 2008), 71.
Nicola Borrelli, ‘Annual Press Release’, 16 April 2013; Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo Rapporto 2012 Il Mercato e l’Industria del Cinema in Italia., 72, www.cineconomy.com/2012/pdf/Rapporto_Cinema_2012.pdf.
Silvia Colombo, Il Cinema di Silvio Soldini (Alessandria: Falsopiano, 2002), 13.
Gabriele Diverio, ‘Soldini Souer. Presentazione de Il comandante e la cicogna’, Cinemonitor, 23 November 2011, www.cineconomy.com/2010/ita/news.php?news=2304.
‘Below-the-line’ marketing initiatives target consumers in a personal way (public relations, special events, direct marketing and so forth), whereas ‘above-the-line’ refers to mass communications, such as television advertisements. See Patrick De Pelsmacker, Maggie Geuens and Joeri Van den Bergh, Marketing Communications: A European Perspective Third edition (London: Pearson, 2007), 193.
Personal interview with Nadia Boriotti. Extra-textual communication activities enhance product placement’s effectiveness; see J.A. Karrh, K.B. McKee and C.J. Pardun, ‘Practitioners’ evolving views on Product Placement Effectiveness’, Journal of Advertising Research 43, no. 2 (2003), 141.
For a critical discussion on the commodification of culture see David Hesmondhalgh, The Cultural Industries Second edition (London: SAGE, 2007).
Films such as Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso (1988),
Roberto Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful (1997)
and Matteo Garrone’s Gomorra (2009) are unsuitable for product placement and yet have all received both critics’ awards and global commercial success. In contrast, Italy’s latest box-office hits, for example, Che bella giornata (What a lovely day, 2011), Benvenuti al Sud (Welcome to the South, 2010) and Benvenuti al Nord (Welcome to the North, 2012) all featured prominent placements; despite enormous commercial success in the domestic market the films did not achieve any significant international distribution; see ANICA, Quaderno n. 5 L’export di cinema italiano, 2010.
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© 2015 Gloria Dagnino
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Dagnino, G. (2015). It’s a Branded New World: The Influence of State Policy upon Contemporary Italian Film Narrative. In: Pearson, R., Smith, A.N. (eds) Storytelling in the Media Convergence Age. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137388155_6
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London
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Online ISBN: 978-1-137-38815-5