Dirty gondola: The image of Italy in American advertisements

Robert Casillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


American advertising often draws, consciously or unconsciously, on a large body of cliches about Italy which may be traced to American writers of the nineteenth century, when Americans first began to appear in large numbers on the Italian scene;1 indeed, in some ways Italy's image has not changed much in the Anglo-Saxon world since (late in) the English Renaissance. But contemporary advertising has also drawn upon and inspired new conceptions of Italy, and these in turn have already become cliches. Advertising is not autonomous; it does not alone create the standardized images and themes which it propagates nor the mass mentality by which it lives. Not only is advertising a servant of capitalism, but its values and icons cannot be understood apart from reigning cultural and economic ideologies, social patterns, methods and goals in education, etc. However deplorable may be the products and effects of this institution, it is pointless to rail at them except with the awareness that advertising is only a symptom of something more fundamentally established in American life, that the coarseness and ignorance, vulgarity and uniformity to which it appeals and which it encourages, have yet deeper and more intractable roots.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-350
Number of pages21
JournalWord and Image
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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