In honour of the Italian elections coming up this week, we thought we’d reminisce about one our favourite modern evil geniuses – Silvio Berlusconi.
Flipping our commonly held views of right and wrong upside-down, Berlusconi seems to get more popular the more he does wrong. In this bizaro-world situation, issues like blatant corruption, sexism, homophobia, racism and underage prostitution seem to translate into extra votes in the ballot box. Them’s the breaks when you own all of the TV stations eh!
In order to put Brand Berlusconi into perspective, we have drawn upon some of our industry’s commonly used brand tools to see how he is positioned on the world stage:
Figure 1: Modern Leaders Brand Perceptions Chart
Figure 2: Berlusconi’s Brand Friends
Never one to miss a good photo op or verbal gaff – Berlusconi really is quite a treat to google. We’ve compiled a collection of some of our favourite images for your enjoyment below, along with some of our favourite Wikipedia quotes from this Italian stallion.
Figure 3: Berlusconi Image Highlights
Ever the gentleman:
Addressing traders at the New York Stock Exchange in September 2003, Berlusconi listed a series of reasons to invest in Italy, the first of which was that “we have the most beautiful secretaries in the world”.
On 6 November 2008, two days after Barack Obama was elected the first black US President, Berlusconi referred to Obama as “young, handsome and even tanned”. On 26 March 2009 he said “I’m paler [than Mr Obama], because it’s been so long since I went sunbathing.”
Subsequently, at a tent camp on the outskirts of L’Aquila housing some of the more than 30,000 people who lost their homes during the 2009 earthquake he said to an African priest: “you have a nice tan.”
On 24 January 2009, Berlusconi announced his aim to increase the numbers of military patrolling the Italian cities from 3,000 to 30,000 in order to crack down on what he called an “evil army” of criminals. Responding to a female journalist who asked him if this tenfold increase in patrolling soldiers would be enough to secure Italian women from being raped, he said: “We could not field a big enough force to avoid this risk [of rape]. We would need as many soldiers as beautiful women and I don’t think that would be possible, because our women are so beautiful.”
Two days after the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake, Berlusconi suggested that people left homeless should view their experience as a camping weekend.
On 1 November 2010, after once again being accused of involvement in juvenile prostitution, he suggested that an audience at the Milan trade fair should stop reading newspapers: “Don’t read newspapers any more because they deceive you. […] I am a man who works hard all day long and if sometimes I look at some good-looking girl, it’s better to be fond of pretty girls than to be gay”.
On 27 January 2013, on the occasion of the Holocaust Remembrance Day, Berlusconi said World War II fascist dictator Benito Mussolini had done “good”, and said he did the right thing in siding with Adolf Hitler because he appeared to be winning the war at that point.
Guess it’s always good to be a winner…
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Categories: News item of the week, The bigger wider world
Did you know?
During his university studies Berlusconi was an upright bass player and occasionally performed as a cruise ship crooner. No wonder he’s so popular with the ladies!
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Over the years Berlusconi and the Economist (or “Econumist” as he would have it) have waged a war of words…here are some of our favourite Berlusconi covers: