by Davide Grosso
Italy – Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi who recently resigned due to the severe economic conditions besetting his country, has launched the new anthem of his party. The song entitled “People of Freedom” is the latest addition to the specific marketing strategies that distinguishes Berlusconi’s party since many years. As usual, lyrics are based on the keyword of his party/organization: freedom.
Since 1993 the former prime minister had developed the communication strategy that would later declared his success with the first hymn titled “Forza Italia”. His strategy also included sending to all Italian homes a book full of photographs of the President / worker / entrepreneur, a symbol of those people who achieve great things only by their own efforts.
The melody of “Forza Italy” is always played in all the official events of the party with lots of big screens with karaoke style texts. It is impressed in the memory of millions of people, voters and not. It consists of a simple and easy to store melodic structure in the style of advertising jingles and popular lyrics that evocates a dark evil to be defeated by the force of light and cooperation of all for a common dream.
In this way music becomes a bearer for the slogan and the party program or even replaces it. This successful advertising strategy led to some supporters of the brand taking independent action like in 2002 when a supporter of Berlusconi created what would become his new campaign slogan: “Thank goodness for Silvio”. The usual chords are the background of a message of almost religious devotion: “Viva Italy, Italy has chosen to still believe in this dream. President we are with you: Thank goodness for Silvio!”
Over the years, Berlusconi was also noted as a skilled singer and lyricist of the Neapolitan singer Mariano Apicella, with whom he made three albums.
In 2010 a group of fanatical supporters of the president made an official song for their beloved to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize. “There’s a president, always present… a nobel peace for Silvio the great” read the text that, despite its efforts, did not lead to the prize being awarded to King Silvio.
Now, after a political and personal parable that saw Italy plunged into economic crisis and mocked by the international media about the continuing blunders of the Prime Minister involved in a myriad of scandals varying from corruption to prostitution, the new party anthem tries to re-launch the People of Freedom with lyrics such as: “We are the People of Freedom, people who hope, who struggle and who believe in the dream of freedom!”
The truth is that the majority of the Italians, these days, probably just hopes to be able to pay the rent this month.
Davide Grosso is an Italian ethnomusicologist who works as a researcher, journalist and musician.