Executive Creative Director of The Odd Number, Terry Mckenna says: ‘I truly believe that Thina is one of the hottest up-and-coming directors on the continent. She is blessed with the rare ability of both being great with performance and visually delivering a beautiful piece of film.’
No matter what you call them, we’ve all seen them, South African Italians – ama’Italiano – a sub-culture of South Africans who have decided to live a life that is centred around Italian culture, living la dolce vita right here in Mzansi. ‘It’s a subculture where looking good, feeling good and dressing well is a priority, even if you live in a back room in your granny’s house, what you look like walking down the street is very important; stylish suits, gold jewellery, they talk the talk and we all know at least one uncle like this.’ Says Thina.
Director Thina Zibi on set with The Odd Number
The creative team at the Odd Number brought the local insight of the ama’Italiano lifestyle to the brief, inspired by the idea that ‘We already dress Italian, drive Italian, so eating Italian shouldn’t be so foreign.’ Thina adds: ‘I love working with The Odd Number because they constantly push creativity to deliver unexpected and memorable ideas for brands.’
‘The Fatti’s & Moni’s Always Eat’alian commercial was great fun to shoot and I found Triple Story Content to be a breath of fresh air. They are very committed to, and passionate about producing great content.’ Adds The Odd Number ECD Terry Mckenna.
On her approach to telling this uniquely South African yet also Italian story, Thina says: ‘For me, the key to this was landing the similarities of the two cultures, South African and Italian. This lifestyle is not something we learnt in Italy or saw in a Louis Vuitton ad, it’s inherently who we are, what we learnt from our fathers and uncles, it’s tradition. Our South African ama’Italiano lifestyle includes mothers constantly feeding their sons, the way we feel pride in how we look and our clean homes, there is a brotherhood, we love who we are, and religion is big… Even the father of the house, whether he has passed or not, his impact on both cultures is always felt. I deliberately put the portrait of the father on the wall of the house, it gives the sense that they are upholding the father’s tradition who is always watching over them, it was also a nod to the “Swenkas” and the “Papa G’s” of South Africa. It’s not about worshipping the European culture, it’s about embracing our local culture. Visually I wanted to remind the viewer how South African we are, which is why I decided to place the commercial in the township. The dual realities were very important to me, I didn’t want to mock this culture or create caricatures. These are local boys who love the Italian lifestyle, and I wanted to be respectful with their story and of course, have fun and be a bit out there, but it had to be real and true.’ And that is the success of this ad, you feel like you are 100% watching real South African characters, so relatable!