La Dolce Vita, Italian for 'the sweet life', was the name of Federico Fellini's 1960s film masterpiece. The lifestyle it portrayed was embodied by the Vespas and tailored suits that came to influence Mod culture in the UK through bands such as The Who and The Kinks.
Agency The Bank created a £4m integrated campaign based on the classic for the SABMiller lager Peroni Nastro Azzuro to roll out for 18 months starting April. The aim was to evoke 'Italian style in a bottle' and "present Peroni's new positioning and pay homage to style icons of the 1960s", says Miller Brands (UK) marketing director Jean-Pierre Van Lin.
The experiential element of the campaign took place from 7-8 April and 5-6 May. A 'Cinema Peroni' 1960s camper van projected the TV ad onto landmarks across London such as the Capital Radio building. Other parts of the capital targeted were Haymarket, Islington, King's Road, Regent Street, Soho and Trafalgar Square. The van featured luxury mobile cinema seats and promotional staff handed out popcorn to viewers.
The campaign includes above-the-line activity such as a world-first three-and-a half-minute-TV ad, based on La Dolce Vita, that features the same scene from the original film with the character Sylvia frolicking in the Trevi Fountain in Rome.
It was only the second time a film crew had been allowed to film in the Trevi Fountain since the original production was filmed in the 1960s.
The Bank organised a launch event at the Design Museum in Shad Thames London on 6 April. It was attended by SABMiller and Miller Brands (UK) staff, press and Peroni clients' and featured three large video projections of the TV advert onto the Design Museum's exterior walls. There was a 30ft long lit-up Cinema Peroni sign above the museum, red carpet, stilt walkers, show girls and fire twirlers.
The Bank also produced a remake of the song 'Baby Its You', performed by the Shirelles in 1960 for the TV advert. Former The Bank employee Maria Antonia and her band The Sapphires performed the song and a pop promo was created to add to the campaign. The single, including a B-side track of 'Baby You're My Light' is due for release in September and was produced by Bacon and Quarmby.
Other above the line activity includes photography from Tom Stoddart, which provides stills for billboard and print media shots. Agency Mook also created a 3D website.
The Bank chairman and director of the TV advertising Ian Cassie says: "On Peroni's behalf The Bank has created a visually stunning, integrated campaign that truly captures timeless Italian chic and the essence of what makes Italy so stylish: tailored suits, modish scooters, and of course, Peroni Nastro Azzurro."
Branded Peroni merchandise was created, such as glassware, beer mats, bottle openers, men's and ladies' leather jackets based on a 1960s Italian scooter jacket design, Peroni iPod shuffles and cufflinks.
There is also a range of limited edition La Dolce Vita branded items such as a coffee table book featuring Tom Stoddart's pictures and framed, signed prints from the actress who played Sylvia in the TV advert. All merchandise is only available to SABMiller staff for internal use and marketing promotions.
The Bank chief executive Will Harris says: "We develop campaigns around the principle of branded entertainment, aiming to create fusion between entertainment and communication. The Peroni campaign demonstrates this, from the pop promo through the touring cinema to the commercial itself."
BACK TO THE PAST
The Bank sourced the Cinema Peroni van that was bought privately.
It was a rare split-screen panel original Volkswagen van from 1967. The van featured a popcorn machine in the back and two models in Cinema Peroni outfits handed out fresh popcorn in Peroni branded tubs. All features of the van were bespoke, with custom leather seats with red Peroni tags, whitewall tyres and custom leather panels. Miller Brands (UK)'s Van Lin adds: "We are thrilled Cinema Peroni has been such a success both in itself, and as a valuable component of the wider Peroni Nastro Azzurro integrated campaign. As a premium Italian beer with a unique style positioning, the activity enabled us to both entertain and engage our consumers simultaneously, as well as creating a talking point and capturing imaginations much like the film La Dolce Vita did 47 years ago."