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The Sanremo's Pupa ad is not gender propaganda but we like it anyway

Our Sanremo scandal has finally arrived, just in time

The Sanremo's Pupa ad is not gender propaganda but we like it anyway Our Sanremo scandal has finally arrived, just in time

There's a beautiful girl with bangs, a veil, and a white dress. The makeup artist applies the final touches of a delicate nude lipstick, perfect for a bride. She enters the church amidst people and flowers, solemn. Concurrently, a girl with short hair runs under the rain; windshield wipers fight against the downpour, and her car broke, leaving her abandoned. Her makeup is smeared but not too much; she wears red lipstick, dark pencil-lined eyes, gray pants, and a black jacket. Drenched yet determined, she enters the church, doors swinging open, people on benches turning. She gazes at the bride, says nothing, extends a hand, and the bride runs towards her. They take a bus together, sit at the back, hug, and smile. End credits. What are we talking about? 1) A re-telling of t.A.T.u.'s scene during their All the Things She Said Live performance at the 2002 Festivalbar 2) A music video by Hayley Kiyoko 3) The worst nightmare of the Italian right-wing 4) Pupa's commercial designed for the 2024 Sanremo Festival. Two out of four answers are correct. And it's chaos.

Pupa's Sanremo Ad Angers Lega Senator

The much-anticipated annual controversy before Sanremo has arrived, and it's more current than ever. Former Lega senator Simone Pillon has already expressed indignation on Twitter: "Pupa is preparing the LGBTQ-themed ad for Sanremo 2024, with the bride leaving the groom at the altar and running away with her friend. It's the usual propaganda. Let's write on it like on cigarettes: This ad seriously harms the sexual identity of young people. And they should go get blessed." Enrica Ricci, Global Brand Communication Director of the brand, promptly responds: "Sanremo's ad aims to tell the true beauty, that of emotions. No clichés, just truth, even in the case of smeared makeup like the girl entering the church. It doesn't matter if the two protagonists are friends, one saving the other from a wrong marriage, or two partners starting a new adventure together. We tell a story of sisterhood and freedom. Nothing else. The ending of the ad is intentionally open. It's a value-driven choice to tell every woman that Pupa stands with her in her deepest emotions."

A Hot Topic That Will Spark Discussion

A choice that, during endless public discussions on the role of women, on what family means, and what a couple means, in an event that promises caution and as little politics as possible (impossible to think that Rai, and therefore the current government, won't interfere), causes even more stir, and holds even more value. We'll hear about it all week, despite the intention to leave interpretation to the audience, equally provocative and clever from a marketing perspective. Setting aside the right-wing delusions, though, it's impossible not to read in these 45 seconds the overcoming of something. Like the idea that marriage is the only path to fulfillment and happiness for women, for example. Or the belief that there can't be true female solidarity because women have been conditioned to continuous competition by the patriarchy. For those who wish, there might be more to read: a model of different love that is not in direct competition with the prevalent one but has the power to dismantle every form of compulsive heterosexuality, normalizing different desires.

Normalization Through Pop: The Potential of Pupa's Sanremo Ad

The most cynical will say it's a commercial operation, and therefore senseless with no real value. The truth, however, is that Sanremo has a large audience, and a message like this, besides benefiting Pupa's pockets, will probably also benefit all of us. Not so much because it will change the minds of extremists; unfortunately, 45 seconds are not enough for that. But because the normalization of alternatives considered deviant until (too) few years ago also goes through pop culture, through ads, gossip, and images. And if this sisterhood ad has even a tenth of the memetic impact of Anna Tatangelo's for Coconuda, then we're in for something.