Adverts work by playing with established stereotypes of gender, nationality, and patriotism and in Italy that's no exception.
Here are a few of the dodgiest adverts that have made it onto TV screens in Italy in recent years, revealing the best and worst of the bel paese.
1) Amica Chips
This advert for Amica Chips is based on a simple pun. The word for what is known as a crisp in the UK and potato chip in the US is “patatina” which, in Italy, can also be used to refer to a woman's genitals.
This linguistic coincidence was too much for Amica Chips to pass up and the advert features legendary Italian pornstar Rocco Siffredi who explains that he has tried all of the “chips” there are to try but considers these to be the best.
Naturally, some people found this advert more offensive than funny, and it was removed at the behest of the Association of Catholic Families. Of course, no sooner had it been removed then it went viral on YouTube, turning a whole new generation on to the joys of Amica Crisps.
2) Morretti Zero
This ad uses some pretty recognizable stereotypes. The wife is at home, curled up on the sofa when the husband returns from the pub drunkenly swigging a beer. She is disgusted with her inebriated husband, who enrages her further by trying to get frisky with her on the sofa.
But there is an unexpected twist to the tale. Hint: What are men supposed to like more than beer and sex?
3) Ciocorì biscuit bar
This advert for a kids' chocolate bar features a snotty young girl walking through a meadow and collecting flowers while she explains why Ciocorì is her favourite snack.
What happens next is so very, very wrong...
This advert for metal varnish paints a scene all viewers can relate to.
You know, when you wake up and go out onto your massive marble balcony that overlooks the sea and find your wife painting some kind of cage on the balcony with the help of "Giovanna”. We've all been there.
Quite who Giovanna is, or why she decided to help your wife paint in a sexy French maid's outfit is beyond us. But the guy in the video doesn't bat an eyelid. He merely stokes his chin, raises an eyebrow and sleazily quips “well done Giovanna, well done...”
The ridiculousness of the advert was not lost on Italians. it quickly gained cult status In Italy while making life difficult for anyone called Giovanna.
5) Forza Italia
We've seen some pretty ridiculous adverts so far, but nothing quite as toe-curlingly awful as this 2008 election video for Silvio Berlusconi.
The inspired video features regular, everyday Italians singing nauseous and nonsensical platitudes before following them up with a rousing chorus of “thank goodness for Silvio!”
He may have been re-elected, but this appalling attempt at creating a personality cult didn't go unnoticed. It spawned countless parodies and headlines, much to the fury of the song's creator Andrea Vantini who has repeatedly tried to sue people for improper usage of his masterpiece.
Are there any outrageous Italian adverts that we missed from our list? Let us know about them in the comments below.