Client: Agenzia delle Entrate

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

Territory: Italy

As the Italian government attempts to solve the sovereign debt crisis, the country’s revenue agency last week launched its first campaign across television and radio aimed at pinning down tax evaders.

In one of two TV ads, tax evaders are compared to a series of creepy-crawlies in a sequence of images that resembles a refined biology class presentation. An image of a wood parasite is followed by a series of others, including that of a fish, a dog and even an intestinal parasite. The final image is of a shady looking man labelled a “parasite of society”– a true leach on welfare services.

The strong message made simple arrives in the final moments: “Those who live at the expenses of others damage everyone.”

The 30 seconds will certainly stick in the minds of Italians and there are plans to reinforce the campaign with a print component in September, when tax returns are due.

But one wonders whether this will be enough to target a national habit that costs an estimated €100bn a year.

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