Italians may no longer call themselves ‘saints, poets and navigators’ after the recent Costa Concordia shipwreck; yet, as the internet in recent days has shown, they still haven’t lost their sense of humor and their proverbial knack for business.
Few hours after the luxury cruise liner hit the rocks, T-shirts with the phrase’ ‘Vada a bordo, cazzo!’ [‘Get on board, for f**k's sake!’] were offered on sale on the Internet.
“We saw that it was the most important Twitter hash tag of the moment and we decided to ride that wave,” Stefano Ramponi, 26, owner of LipsiaShop e-commerce platform behind the viral T-shirt, told Metro. “We will pursue this trend-of-the-day T-shirt idea.”
The unconditional order given by coastguard official Gregorio De Falco to so-called Captain Coward, Francesco Schettino, went also rapidly viral on social networks, becoming a top-trend on Twitter and Facebook (#vadaabordocazzo).
“Such a dramatic phone-call struck us, as well as the coastguard’s grit and determination. Yet we don’t want to speculate on the tragedy: it was praise for Mr De Falco’s behavior. We want to be creative but also to make people think,” Ramponi said.
The T-shirt, promoted exclusively via social media, acted as a traffic driver for the company’s website, attracting some 30,000 clicks in a few hours.
Facebook groups were created by both Mr. Schettino devil’s advocates and those celebrating Mr. De Falco’s voice of duty as that of the ‘true Italy’. Elsewhere on the Internet someone was also quick to register the vadaabordocazzo.it domain – just in case.
Italian satirical websites like leading Spinoza.it also joined in, publishing some of the best jokes on the 114,000 tonne cruiser wreckage.
“Luxury cruise ship goes adrift on Italian shores. More examples of allegories to follow,” was amongst the most shared jokes on social networks.
Italian foremost journalist Marco Travaglio similarly pointed out that once more in Italy the Captain “has sneaked away in the dark […] letting the reins to technocrats. Rings a bell? Like someone who kickstarted his career on cruiseships…” [Former PM Silvio Berlusconi]. Needless to say, the online community was quick to ‘like’ the wit.