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"What Do Italian Americans Want?" Sons of Italy® CSJ Informs Ad Industry

Press Contact: Kylie Cafiero, (202) 547-2900

WASHINGTON, D.C. - November 29, 2006 - Adweek, the popular trade magazine for marketing, media and advertising agency professionals here and abroad, published an article in its Nov. 13 issue that highlights how the the advertising industry stereotypes Italian Americans.

The article's publication marks the first time that Madison Avenue has paid attention to this issue, according to the Sons of Italy® Commission for Social Justice® (CSJ), the anti-defamation arm of the Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the nation's biggest organization for men and women of Italian heritage.

The article, entitled "Take Off the Apron," was written by Dona De Sanctis, OSIA's deputy executive director, who also directs OSIA's anti-defamation activities from the organizations' headquarters in Washington, D.C.

With a paid circulation of nearly 70,000 readers, Adweek is the most widely read magazine in the advertising world. It covers every aspect of the billion-dollar ad industry and reaches all levels of advertising professionals from the smallest agencies to the biggest conglomerates in the U.S. and abroad.

In her article, De Sanctis notes that thanks to the popularity of The Sopranos and entertainment like it, most commercials portray Italian American men as gangsters while the women are usually presented as unattractive housewives and grandmothers.

"Commercials using Mafia imagery range from breath mints and lip balm (Wrigley's Eclipse and Blistex), to herbicides (Round-Up), batteries ( Eveready), diet pills (Stacker 2) and even milk (the International Dairy Foods Association) and stuffed animals (Vermont Teddy Bears)," De Sanctis notes.

The article offers studies that show how the stereotypes found in commercials help shape public opinion about the character and status of Italian Americans and other ethnic groups.

Click here to read the article.