A Way to do Publicity in TV
In 1957, the RAI (initial of Italian Radiotelevision), decided to start broadcasting advertisements, and for this innovation it needed an appropriate format, because a law then in force did not allow advertising in any evening show, and not before a period of ninety seconds from the beginning of the same.
And so, the television program called “CAROSELLO” (Carousel), was born, which went on the air for 20 years, from February 1957 to January 1977, on the then single national network (now called RAI 1), for a total of 7261 episodes.
“Carosello” was daily broadcasted, from 20:50 to 21:00, and was discontinued only in rare occasions, such as the Pope’s death, the killing of Kennedy or during the landing of the spacecraft Apollo 14 on the Moon.
The rigid format was not only a “spot” container, but consisted of a series of films (shorts), sketch theater comedy-style with musical interludes, or cartoons, then followed by the advertisements. Everything was predetermined, like the number of seconds devoted to advertising, the number of citations of the advertised product, as well as the number of seconds to devote to the show, whose plot often was unrelated to the product itself.
The main rule of Carosello was that each show (lasting 1 minute and 45 seconds), had to be strictly separated and distinguished from the mere publicity, while the “product” (réclame) had to be mentioned only at the end of the sketch, which often lavished a promise towards the quality of the product itself. Almost all the known “brands” of the time were advertised through this program.
In the creation of most Carosello shows have participated famous directors such as Luciano Emmer, Age and Scarpelli, Luigi Magni, Gillo Pontecorvo, Ermanno Olmi, Sergio Leone, Hugh Gregory, Pupi Avati, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Federico Fellini, Richard Lester, and famous actors like Toto, Erminio Macario, Gilberto Govi, Vittorio Gassman, Dario Fo, Mina, Ernesto Calindri, Nino Manfredi, Virna Lisi, Gino Bramieri, Raimondo Vianello, Gino Cervi, Fernandel, Eduardo De Filippo, Jerry Lewis, Jayne Mansfield, Orson Welles, Yul Brynner.
The beginning of “Carosello” was an animation depicting the opening of a curtain marked by a piece of music that resembled a kind of fanfare.
In addition to introducing the innovation of réclame, this solution was the way to do it by inserting advertisements in a context that had the advantage of making them pleasant, and for this Carosello was a huge success, remaining for many years one of the most viewed program, very loved by adults and children. Over the years it became a typical “Italian family” evening appointment, to the point that even the common saying (addressed the children), “in bed after Carousel” was born on that time.
Today, Carosello is part of Italian TV history, and although the new generations do not know it, its memory still is alive in our minds, and maybe it has been this nostalgia along with the need to heal the RAI finances, which some leaders have thought to reintroduce this format. It is said that as early as next March, Carosello again will be broadcasted on the national network, in a revised and adapted version.
Here, some old sketch, shorts or cartoons transmitted during Carosello.