Thursday, 5 August 2010

Cinzano, Blois

On June 6, 1757 Carlo and Giovanni Cinzano, two brothers from Turin, received their titles of Master distillers. The two had invented a brand new kind of vermouth, which combined fortified wine with thirty-five ingredients. Originally Cinzano was only available as 'Rosso' (red). The 'Bianco' (white) version was developed a few years later. The drink proved popular among the upper classes of Turin and in 1786 Cinzano were appointed official suppliers to the Royal House of Savoy. In 1840 Cinzano started offering a sparkling wine in an attempt to compete with Champagne. In order to satisfy growing demand for its products, the company opened in 1863 new facilities in Santa Vittoria D'Alba and Santo Stefano Belbo. During the second half of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century, large numbers of Italians left their country, looking for a better future in France, or across the Atlantic, in Argentina, the US and to a lesser extent Brazil. Exports of Cinzano to these countries began in the 1890s and in 1902 a production facility opened in Chambéry, France.
At the same time, to boost sales, advertising campaigns were launched: the first printed ad appeared in 1887 and two years later Adolf Hohenstein drew the company's first full colour poster. In 1910 poster artist Leonetto Cappiello designed several promotional objects to be used in bars. They showed a conquering figure holding a bottle of Cinzano and riding a red horse against a red background. A design clearly inspired by classical Roman sculptures. The horse rider also appeared on the thousands of discs that were dropped over Milan in 1911 from an airplane. More imaginative campaigns followed after the First World War. 1925 saw the introduction of the red and blue logo that is still in use today. According to Cinzano:
The red symbolises passion, pride and vivacious radiance. The blue represents nobility, tradition and the depth of the Mediterranean. Together the two colours represented "Italianness" and the upward diagonal slash between them was a symbol for the upward path of the company.
Yet the Great Depression and then the Second World War led to a dramatic fall of sales and production. The company's fortunes improved in the 1960s, backed by several advertising campaigns on cinema, radio, and television. In Italy singer Rita Pavone lent her voice to the famous "Cin Cin Cinzoda, una voglia da morir" jingle. In 1967, Guido Crepax, who would become famous for his erotic comics, designed a series of provocative printed ads aimed at the younger generation. Yet it was the 1970s TV commercials for Britain featuring Joan Collins and Leonard Rossiter that captured the public's imagination.
In spite of these remarkable campaigns, sales of Cinzano declined rapidly in the 1980s and 1990s. During these difficult time the company passed through several hands until it was purchased by Campari. Nowadays Cinzano is the world's number two vermouth, behind arch-rival Martini.

Another painted sign covered this wall before Blois Publicité, the company that managed this space, put the one for Cinzano.

Location: Avenue de Verdun, Blois, Loir-et-Cher / Picture taken on: 30/05/2009

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