MILAN — “Not in Milano” is the slogan marking an international communications campaign that aims to draw tourists back to the city, with a little help from ambassadors ranging from Margherita Maccapani Missoni to design guru and gallerist Rossana Orlandi.
“Although the word ‘not’ evokes something negative, in this case, we overturn it to something positive,” said Milan’s Mayor Giuseppe Sala while presenting the campaign at Palazzo Marino on Tuesday.
Using an ironic tone and catchy visuals, the short clip intends to combat clichés and features Maccapani Missoni and Orlandi in landmark locations, with the former roaming at the Stazione Centrale train station and the latter taking a cappuccino at iconic Camparino bar in central Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
“I’m a countryside girl but as soon as I could, back in 2001, I moved here,” Maccapani Missoni said. “At the time, I was also ambassador for my family business and used to travel a lot across the world. During these trips, usually people’s reaction when they heard I was from Milan was almost to be sorry for me for coming from such a city. Ever since my goal has been to [celebrate] its qualities, so I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this project,” added the designer, who left her role as creative director of M Missoni earlier this year.
Other ambassadors tapped for the project included star chef Carlo Cracco and Alberto Dalmasso, cofounder and chief executive officer of the Satispay digital payment startup.
The campaign’s overall concept centers on relaunching the city as the best European destination for a ‘return to business’ trip by rejecting stereotypes associated with this kind of tourism — which is key for a financial and commercial center like Milan — and showing how business and lifestyle can go hand in hand.
“Did you ever rush to your first meeting of the day without having a cappuccino? Not in Milano,” said a voiceover in one of the segments of the clip, which ends with the invitation to “come and see what real business is like in Milano.”
Luca Martinazzoli, general manager of Milano & Partners, the official promotional agency of the city, explained that the campaign spotlights business tourism since this is a key asset for the city compared to other Italian destinations.
“The goal is to increase the quality of tourism here, rather than the number of tourists. Being mainly driven by business purposes, this type of tourism is sustainable with the city,” noted Martinazzoli.
Founded by the municipality of Milan and the chamber of commerce of Milan, Monza, Brianza, Lodi, the Milano & Partners association activates partnerships and collaborations with several local businesses, brands, universities, cultural institutions and public entities to enhance the city’s international attraction. It is also supported and financially backed by 15 private entities — including Pirelli and Accenture — that annually invest in the company’s promotional projects.
Martinazzoli said an annual budget of 3 million euros goes toward promoting the city.
For the production of this campaign specifically, Martinazzoli credited the We Are Social Italy agency for mainly contributing to its production by developing the strategic and creative approach. Milano & Partners will invest 300,000 euros to promote it abroad, especially in the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany, where the spot will be broadcast starting next week.
All ambassadors featured in the campaign will additionally amplify it by posting it on their social media channels.
Martinazzoli said the goal was to tap faces from different industries to show the many facets the city has to offer. Even though most personalities were not born in Milan, they found professional success here, an aspect that Martinazzoli said was important to stress to telegraph that “Milan is an open city and has always welcomed everybody.”
“Being part of this project is a due contribution,” said Dalmasso, who established Satispay in 2014 in Turin but recognized that relocating the business to Milan after 18 months was the only way to enable it to scale up size.
“From that moment, everything accelerated for us. This city looked so unreachable and expensive but it is a place that welcomes you quickly and where everything becomes possible….It empowers you as it makes everything you need available,” added the entrepreneur.
Despite the temporary setback caused by the pandemic last year, Milan is gearing up for a fall season packed with events across different industries. Specifically regarding fashion and design, before the city hosts fashion week from Sept. 21 to 27, it will stage a special edition of the Salone del Mobile international furniture and interior design trade show.
For the occasion, acclaimed Italian architect and urban planner Stefano Boeri will take over and serve as curator of the event, which will be called “Supersalone” and will run from Sept. 4 to 10. Incidentally, on Tuesday, Salone del Mobile named Maria Perro its new president, succeeding Claudio Luti, who resigned from the role earlier this year.
“It took a lot of bravery and willpower and we’re fighting to reach excellent results for the September event,” said design guru Orlandi, who got emotional while explaining that “this industry is suffering, raw materials are lacking but we’re here, Milan is ready and we will restart full of energies.
“This city is fantastic, extremely generous and there’s not a single person who’s saying no in lending a helping hand in this moment,” she continued, adding that she’s proud to be Milanese. “Someone told me this city has a rare energy and I find this beautiful and perfectly representative of what we are.”
At the launch of the campaign, personalities from the scientific community and business world, who have contributed to bringing world-class meetings to the city in recent years, were also recognized for their contribution in enhancing Milan’s international reputation by receiving a special plaque and letter from the mayor.
In 2019, Milan attracted a record number of almost 7.5 million business and leisure tourists who spent at least one night in the city, marking a 9.4 percent increase compared to 2018.
The city’s mayor sounded cautiously optimistic because the first signs of recovery have been seen in the past few months, with American and Spanish tourists currently back in the city. “We are the second city for tourism flux in Italy right now, so these are great signals for a good restart,” he said.