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Emanuele Pirella: The Father Of Italian Copywriting - How Slogans Mirror Society

“Chiquita, 10 e lode” (Chiquita, A-plus).

The slogan for the Chiquita banana’s advertising campaign is one of the most famous lines that Emanuele Pirella created. It defines his career as a great copywriter, advertiser, journalist, and satirical essayist. His slogans made history in Italian publicity.

Pirella is the protagonist of the Italian advertising world that was rising exponentially around the end of the 60s in Milan, simultaneous to capitalism. It’s a time when everybody was moving from the country to the city, consequently, lifestyle changed. Behaviors started to become cosmopolitan consumer ones, and Pirella‘s aim was to change the advertising language based on that shift. Since then, advertising was looked upon with fear. In Italy they saw spots as hidden persuaders, so with the TV program Carosello they had to invent a story before presenting the product or brand, and it was employed a very simple, sterile, and imperious communication. Pirella changed the perspective.

"In advertising, it's essential to communicate and express human nature, where the subject is not the product, but values and ideas."

(Emanuele Pirella)

Emanuele Pirella had a vocation for writing and a "wonderful obsession" for it. He instantly devoted himself to writing, starting to review movies, writing children’s books... He always wanted to be a journalist and a writer but since the doors of the publishing industry were closed for him, he used his talent for advertising. The idea to establish a dialogue with the consumers brought Pirella as the forerunner of the change of society’s consumerism with advertising campaigns that represented the modernity of costumes. «Non avrai altro jeans all’infuori di me» (you won‘t need any other jeans than me). It was the advertising campaign created for Jesus Jeans in 1972, another successful one that showed how Pirella‘s words made an impact and represented the ones who would watch his commercials and slogans. He is famous for the way he created the slogans, he insisted on ending even the shortest sentence with a dot, after being named “Punto Pirella” (dot Pirella).

Emanuele Pirella‘s success became rather quickly but he started as an apprentice copywriter in 1965 for Young&Rubicanma and soon enough he became creative director of Italia/BBDO and in 1981 he was the founder and head of Lowe Pirelli. With words, Pirella rides the wave of society’s change and he revolutionizes the stiff and old communication in favor of an ironic, effective, but mostly human language, with a distinctive style and tone. A smart way to advertise, merging culture and copywriting, and leading the campaigns in innovative ways. Pirella had the idea to advertise the Giovanni Rana tortellini product with the owner of the company himself as the protagonist of the spot. He received many Cannes Lions at the Cannes Film Festival for his work. He is the author of Copywriter: Mestiere d'arte (Copywriter: Artistic craft) that retraces his experiences and teaches how to effectively write slogans. For him, to create an effective slogan you have to use words that surprise the audience, hence they will remember that sentence. That means to break the traditional ways of communication and play with words and use emotional prose to draw people. The copywriter works hand in hand with the artistic director to convey a message where words and images are paired. Advertising is aesthetics.

Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK. You are OK.

(Mad Men, TV Show, Season 1 Episode 01)

Mad Men is a TV show about the advertising world in the 60s in the US. It brings us behind the doors of that workplace and the advertiser job in order to represent society's needs and to sell based on the latter. In their first episode, Smoke gets in Your eyes, the protagonist as the creative director explains how advertising has nothing to do with scientific truth but its essence is in the imagination. The advertiser considers and respects the choice of the consumer. Successful slogans are when the consumer finds himself integrated with the words representing the brand; they relive their experiences and emotions and they feel the protagonist of those slogans. The public is the product.

(Mad Men, TV Series)

Pirella was an Italian Mad Men, an intellectual advertiser that opened the doors to the digital communication we have nowadays on social media. In the last years of his life, he founded in 2000 the "School of Emanuele Pirella" to find and mentor new talents to direct in the advertising world he created.


  • Pirella, E. (2002). Il copywriter: mestiere d'arte. Il Saggiatore.

  • PIRELLA, Emanuele in "Dizionario Biografico". in "Dizionario Biografico". (n.d.).

  • cose, L. parole e le. (2014, April 14). "You are the product": bellezza e spettacolo in Mad Men • Le parole e le cose². Le parole e le cose².

  • Debord, G. (2016). Society of the spectacle. Black & Red.


  • TopoCopy. (2016, February 23). Maestri DELL'ADV, come EMANUELE pirella. riflessioni. Medium.

  • You are the product - mad men poster don draper quote by beautify my walls. Pixels. (n.d.).


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