La letizia, la felicità, la gioia – that’s right folks, this week we are channelling 1950s Florence as Piaggio brand Vespa launches a new campaign depicting the feeling of joy as lockdown starts to lift across Europe and life starts to get back to “normalish”.
The series, entitled “Together at Last”, has been devised by BBH London and hails the reunion between people and what they have missed during lockdown: riding to work in the sunshine (really?), escaping the city (that’s more like it), exploring our city’s culture (ditto) or simply reuniting with friends (maintaining social distancing, of course).
It also sees BBH bring back the end-line ‘Vespizzatevi’ or ‘Let’s Vespa’ for the first time since the 1950s. Not that the agency is averse to old ad slogans, after all, it worked pretty well for Audi and “Vorsprung durch Technik”.
Anyway, according to the blurb: “The tone of this idea captures the surrealism and pure joy… by personifying the little things people have missed the most, and showing them as a companion on the back of the scooter.”
Paying homage to Vespa’s post-war work, the campaign features a series of illustrations to launch as lockdown restrictions began to ease, commissioned from a separate illustrator; Paul Thurlby, Quentin Monge, Agustino Iacurci and Sebastien Curi.
Each execution has its own style, but they are all “colourful, playful and unequivocally Vespa”. The campaign is launching in the UK, Italy and APAC in May, with illustrations being released in a phased approach to reflect the easing of lockdown. It will span across outdoor, press and social channels, as well as featuring in Piaggio Group’s own Museum in Pontedera.
Piaggio Group executive vice president of global marketing and communication Davide Zanolini said: “We thought it was the right moment to use the ‘Vespizzatevi’ concept now as we need to start again approaching life and mobility with enthusiasm, joy and positive energy. It was not easy to reinterpret a campaign that made the history of communication in the early 1950s. But BBH has done an excellent job to make the concept contemporary cool and again, while preserving the heritage of the original campaign.”
BBH London head of art Pablo González De La Peña added: “It’s such a special opportunity to put a global campaign out there now that restrictions have been lifted in some countries. People are finally free to conquer the outdoors again, and we’re going to welcome them with buckets of energy and positivity.
“The iconic Vespa has been making our streets more colourful for 74 years. After these depressing times, it’s time to get back to it, starting with these bright, bold posters. We have brought four of the most vibrant young illustrators to help us find the right tone for the brand. Taking those classic posters from the 1950s and giving them a contemporary approach. Seeing them all together, they all feel unequivocally Vespa.”
So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office? Will we be inspired to don a sharp suit, shades and loafers and rush down to our local dealer for a test drive? If “The Wasp” was good enough for Gregory Peck, Marlon Brando, Dean Martin, and Charlton Heston, let alone most of the cast of Quadrophenia, surely it is a no brainer?
Well, zipping round the streets of Milan and Rome, maybe, but the British climate is another matter. Have you ever “zipped” to work on a cold, rain-soaked and blustery December morning? Still, the illustrations are great and as Jimmy Cooper (played by the excellent Phil Daniels) once said: “I don’t wanna be the same as everybody else. That’s why I’m a Mod, see? I mean, you gotta be somebody, ain’t ya?”
Decision Marketing Adometer: A classic 8 out of 10, just don’t mention the ‘poxy hair dryer’ engine