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The Branding Comedy Daniela Meloni

The Branding Comedy.

The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy is an epic poem written by Dante Alighieri between 1308 and 1321. It represents one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem begins on the night before Good Friday in the year 1300. Dante is lost in a dark wood assailed by beasts he cannot evade, and unable to find the “straight way”. Conscious that he is falling into a “deep place”where the sun is silent, Dante is at last rescued by the greek poet Virgil, and the two of them begin their journey to Hell. Having survived the depths of the underworld, Dante ascends to the Mountain of Purgatory on the far side of the world. The Mountain is on an island, the only land in the Southern Hemisphere, created by the displacement of rock which resulted when Satan’s fall created Hell. Then, Dante is guided through the nine celestial spheres of Heaven. These are concentric and spherical, and in the centre is placed God. Hell, Purgatory and Paradise are all divided in different circles. In each of them are the sinful or virtuous souls. In fact, every circle corresponds to a precise sin or virtue. The travel through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven is just a metaphor of the soul’s journey towards God. Describing it, Dante uses symbols and allegories that reveals a medieval world-view and a Theocentric vision of life.




The Brands

The Branding Comedy is a contemporary remake of the original Divine Comedy. As God is placed in the centre of the Paradise, in the Branding Comedy is the Consumer to stay in the centre of the system and he represents something to be reached by the brands, which are the real protagonist of the book. The Branding Comedy is divided in three sections, like the original Comedy. In each circle are placed the brands, depending on their “sins and virtues�, their positive/negative values or simply their real position in the market. In fact, as Dante uses the ancient symbols and allegories to describe the medieval world, in the same way logos and brands represent the symbols of today, carrying loads of different values and characterizations.

Abandon all hope upon entering here.


Circle VIII Betrayal

Circle VII Fraud

Circle VI Violence

Circle V Heresy

Circle IV Wrath

Circle III Greed and Prodigality

Circle II Gluttony and Addiction

Circle I Lust

Limbo Virtuos pagans


The Limbo is the first circle of the Hell where reside the souls of unbaptized and the virtuos pagans who don’t deserve to stay in the proper Hell. The Limbo is the place where there are the greatest personages of the ancient history, specially Greeks and Romans, like Aristotle, Homer and Caesar. They live in a castle illuminated by a supernatural light, grieving only because of their separation from God, in a malincholic but serene condition.

The primary difference between Linux and many other popular contemporary operating systems is that the Linux is a free and open source software. Despite his portability and his free license, it shares the market of operating systems with just 1.12% and it is the third operative systems used after Windows (86,55%) and Mac OS X (5,90%).

Go? When you, who when I was in doubt, was wont to be my strenght, appear as weak?


In the second circle of Hell are those overcome by lust. Dante condemns these “carnal malefactors� for letting their appetites sway their reason. They are the first ones to be truly punished in Hell. These souls are blown about to and from by the terrible winds of a violent storm, without hope of rest. This symbolizes the power of lust to blow one about needlessly and aimlessly. In this circle, Dante sees Semiramis, Dido, Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, Achilles, Paris, Tristan, Paolo and Francesca and many others who were overcome by sensual love during their life.

Playboy is one of the most famous and knowed brand in the world. His magazine is published every month and shows female nude photoshoots. Playboy has been the first magazine explicity dedicated to erotic photography and it has had a big role in the movement of sexual liberation. Playboy Enterprises is also a society involved in adult entertainment through every kind of media.

...she established lust as civil law, and hence was free to do what should be banned.

Gluttony and Addiction

In the third circle of the Hell are the gluttons, forced to lie in a vile slush produced by ceaseless foul, icy rain. The gluttons lie here sightless and heedless of their neighbours, symbolising the cold, selfish, and empty sensuality of their lives. Just as lust has revealed its true nature in the winds of the previous circle, here the slush reveals the true nature of sensuality – which includes not only overindulgence in food and drink, but also other kinds of addiction.

Marlboro is a brand of cigarettes, famous for its billboard advertisements and magazine ads. In the early 1960s Philip Morris invented “Marlboro Country” and distilled their manly imagery into the rugged cowboys known as the “Marlboro Men”. Marlboro leads the cigarette market with more than 40% share.

Come where the flavour is, come to Marlboro Country.

Greed and Prodigality

Those whose attitude toward material goods deviated from the appropriate mean are punished in the fourth circle. They include the avaricious or miserly who hoarded possessions, and the prodigal, who squandered them. The two groups joust, using as weapons great weights which they push with their chests.

HSBC Holdings plc is the world’s largest banking group and the world’s 6th largest company. The company has a global reach and financial fundamentals matched by few other banking or financial multinationals.

I saw m to ever their ho while, w used th They s er; at th around those w W W

multitudes ry side of me; owls were loud wheeling weights, they heir chests to push. struck against each oth hat point, each turned d and, wheeling back weights, cried out: Why do you hoard? Why do you squander?


The fifth circle contains souls destroyed by anger. In the swamp-like water of the river Styx, the wrathful fight each other on the surface, and the sullen lie gurgling beneath the water, withdrawn “into a black sulkiness which can find no joy in God or man or the universe�.

Red Bull is the most popular energy drink in the world. Red Bull has an aggressive international marketing campaign. The numerous sponsored activities range from extreme sports like windsurfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, cliff-diving, surfing, skating, freestyle motocross, rally, Formula 1 racing, and breakdancing to music and video games. Red Bull contains taurine, glucuronolactone, caffeine, B vitamins, sucrose, phenylalanine, and glucose. In Germany, a small amount of cocaine was discovered in it.

As when a bull breaks loose when dealt the fatal blow, and cannot keep its feet, but thrashes every which way mischief-bent


The sixth circle contains the Heretics, those who believed that the body did not contain a soul. Many of these are Epicureans, followers of Epicurus, the Greek philosopher whose philosophy was the attainment of happiness, defined as the absence of pain. The Heretics’ punishment is to spend eternity in flaming tombs, until Judgment day, when the tombs will close and the souls inside will be sealed forever within their earthly bodies.

‘Army be the best’ is the recruitment section of the British Army. They advertise the army carreer as ‘A lifetime of learning, a lifetime of rewards, a world of opportunities’.



The seventh circle is divided into three smaller rounds that house sinners of violence. The first features sinners against neighbors, murderers, and the makers of war. The second round houses those who sinned against themselves with suicide. The third and final round houses those who committed the sin of violence against God, Art, and Nature.

The National Rifle Association of America, or NRA, is an organization which promote the firearm ownership rights as well as marksmanship, firearm safety, and the protection of hunting and self-defense in the United States. The NRA sponsors firearm safety training courses, as well as marksmanship events featuring shooting skills and sports. The NRA is said to be the single most powerful lobbying organization in the United States.

Shooting for the future.


The eighth circle punish sins that involve conscious fraud. These circles can be reached only by descending a vast cliff, which Dante and Virgil do on the back of Geryon, a winged monster: he is the image of fraud, with his face appearing to be that of an honest man, and his body beautifully coloured, but with a poisonous sting in his tail.

Enron Corporation was an American energy company based in Texas. At the end of 2001 it was revealed that its reported financial condition was sustained substantially by institutionalized, systematic, and creatively planned accounting fraud, known as the “Enron scandal�. Enron has since become a popular symbol of willful corporate fraud and corruption.


The last circle of the Hell houses the traitors, who are distinguished from the “merely” fraudulent in that their acts involve betraying one or other special relationship. There are four concentric zones of traitors, corresponding, in order of seriousness, to betrayal of family ties, betrayal of community ties, betrayal of guests, and betrayal of liege lords. The traitors are frozen in a lake of ice known as Cocytus, with each group encased in ice to progressively greater depths.

Herbalife is a global nutrition, weight-loss and skin-care company. It works as a multilevel marketing company: in addition to profits from product sales, Herbalife distributors can earn additional commissions from sales by their ‘downline’ distributors. This system is very similar to the pyramid scheme, which is a business model that involves the exchange of money primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, without any product or service being delivered. Pyramid schemes are a form of fraud. Herbalife has also faced legal challenges over the safety of its products.

And of that second region will I sing, In which the human spirit from sinful blot Is purg’d, and for ascent to Heaven prepares.


Terrace VII Lustful and Sodomite

Terrace VI Gluttonous

Terrace V Covetous

Terrace IV Lazy

Terrace III Wrathful

Terrace II Envious

Terrace I Proud


The first three terraces of Purgatory relate to sins caused by a perverted love directed towards actual harm of others. The first of these is pride. The souls of the proud are bent over by the weight of huge stones on their backs. As they walk around the terrace, they are able to profit from the sculpted examples of humility.

Louis Vuitton, or LV, is an international luxury French fashion house specializing in trunks, leather goods, readyto-wear, shoes, watches, jewellery, accessories, sunglasses, and books. Known the world over for its LV monogram and logo, Louis Vuitton is one of the World’s most recognized brands. A long time symbol of prestige and wealth, the company commands some of the highest prices in the international fashion market for its products.


In the second terrace are the envious. Envy is the desire to prevent the happiness of others. Here, the souls of the envious wear penitential grey cloaks, and have their eyes sown shut.

The rivalry between Pepsi and Coke dates back to 1970 and continues to heat up the market nowadays. During that period, Pepsi conducted blind taste tests in stores, in what was called the “Pepsi Challenge”. These tests suggested that more consumers preferred the taste of Pepsi to Coke. This became known as the start of the “Cola Wars.” Overall, Coca-Cola continues to outsell Pepsi in almost all areas of the world.

Live on the Coke side of life

Max your wild side


The third terrace punish the souls of the wrathful, who walk around in acrid smoke, which symbolises the blinding effect of anger.

DOOM is the oldest firstperson shooter computer game. It is widely recognized for having popularized the first person shooter genre, pioneering immersive 3D graphics as well as true third dimension spatiality, networked multiplayer gaming. Its graphic and interactive violence, as well as its Satanic imagery, also made it the subject of considerable controversy. Doom was played by an estimated 10 million people within two years of its release; as a sign of its effect on the industry, games from the mid1990s boom of first-person shooters are often known simply as “Doom clones�.


On the fourth terrace we find souls whose sin was that of deficient love — that is, sloth or acedia. Since they had failed in life to act in pursuit of love, here they are engaged in ceaseless activity. Allegorically, spiritual laziness and lack of caring lead to sadness.


Facebook is a social networking website: users can add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Facebook has met with some controversy. It has been banned at many places of work to discourage employees from wasting time using the service.

Turn hither, see where come Two others, pulling on the curb of sloth


On the last three terraces are those who sinned by loving good things, but loving them in an excessive or disordered way. On the fifth terrace, excessive concern for earthly goods — whether in the form of greed or extravagance — is punished and purified, and the avaricious and prodigal lie facedown on the ground, unable to move.

Visa is a global payments technology company which connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories, enabling them to use digital currency instead of cash and checks. It is one of the world’s most advanced processing networks capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions per second. In 2008 Visa held a 38.3% market share of the credit card marketplace and 60.7% of the debit card marketplace in the United States.


On the sixth terrace are purged the gluttonous, and more generally, those who overemphasised food, drink, and bodily comforts. The souls of the gluttonous are starved in the presence of trees whose fruit is forever out of reach.

McDonald’s Corporation is one of the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving nearly 47 million customers daily.

Lustful and Sodomite

The terrace of the lustful has an immense wall of flame through which everyone must pass. Souls repenting of misdirected sexual desire (both heterosexual and homosexual) run through the flames calling out examples of lust, like Sodom and Gomorrah.

Durex is the most popular brand of condoms in the UK. Its name is a portmanteau of “Durability, Reliability, and Excellence”, though some people mistake it as being “Durable Latex” or “During Sex”.

Nathless all, That in my thoughts I of that sacred realm could store, shall now be matter of my song.


Empyrean: Consumer

Primum mobile: Angels

Fixed Stars: Faith, Hope and Love Saturn: Contemplatives Jupiter: Just Rulers

Mars: Warriors of the Faith

Sun: Lovers

Venus: Lovers

Mercuty: Ambitious

Moon: Inconstant



Dante arrives in the Moon: its waxing and waning is associated with inconstancy. Consequently, the sphere of the Moon is that of souls who abandoned their vows, and so were deficient in the virtue of fortitude.

The ancient London Underground system requires a lot of updating of tracks and signals. Some of the work is being done very slowly and inefficiently which accounts for the huge amount of time it takes. The extent of future work is liable to reduction due to financial cut backs. Replacement bus services, albeit slower, are provided to replace Underground lines closed for engineering work.

Fain wouldst thou learn if any service is enough to offset broken vows, and fend the soul against pursuit of damages.


Because of its proximity to the sun, the planet Mercury is often difficult to see. Allegorically, the planet represents those who did good out of a desire for fame, but who, being ambitious, were deficient in the virtue of justice. Their earthly glory pales into insignificance beside the glory of God, just as Mercury pales into insignificance beside the sun.

Virgin Group is a branded venture capital conglomerate organisation founded by tycoon Richard Branson. It consist of: Virgin Festival. Virgin Active, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Balloon Flights, Virgin Blue, Virgin Books, Virgin Brides, Virgin Cars, Virgin Charter , Virgin Comics, Virgin Drinks, Virgin Experience Days, Virgin Flowers, Virgin Games, Class 87 Virgin Trains, Virgin Green Fund, Virgin Health Bank, Virgin Healthcare, Virgin HealthMiles, Virgin Holidays, Virgin Limited Edition, Virgin Limobike, Virgin Limousines, Virgin Media, Virgin Media Television, Virgin Megastores, Virgin Mobile, Virgin Money, Virgin Money Giving, Virgin Nigeria, Virgin Play, Virgin Radio, Virgin Trains, Virgin Unite, Virgin Vacations, Virgin Vie At Home, Virgin Wines, Virgin Voucher. The last adventure of the company is Virgin Galactic where is possible to book orbital human spaceflights.


The planet Venus (the Morning and Evening Star) is traditionally associated with the Goddess of Love, and so Dante makes this the planet of the lovers, who were deficient in the virtue of temperance.

Milton Glaser created the I Love New York logo and the advertising campaign to promote tourism in New York State. He was inspired in part by the state tourism slogan “Virginia is for Lovers” which had featured a “Love” theme and red heart symbol.The logo has become a part of the American pop cultural canon.

And are so full of love, to pleasure thee A little quiet will not be less sweet.


Within the Sun, which is the Earth’s source of illumination, Dante meets the greatest examples of prudence: the souls of the wise, who help to illuminate the world intellectually.

Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by a non-profit Foundation. Wikipedia’s 15 million articles have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world.

Here doth my memory overcome my genius So that I cannot find ensample worthy

Warriors of the Faith

The planet Mars is traditionally associated with the God of War, and so Dante makes this planet the home of the warriors of the Faith, who gave their lives for God, thereby displaying the virtue of fortitude.

There are 25 million people around the world who use Apple computers. But unlike ordinary personal computer, they don’t simply use Macs, they are fans. Mac loyalty is a clichÊ. Mac users are routinely referred to as Apple’s faithful, Mac zealots, members of the cult of Mac, Appleholics, Macheads, Mac addicts... The biannual Macworld conference is often compared to a religious revival meeting, where Steve Jobs is worshipped like a charismatic cult leader.

Just Rulers

The planet Jupiter is traditionally associated with the king of the gods, and so Dante makes this planet the home of the rulers who displayed justice. is an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide. Anything may be offered for sale as long as it is not illegal: millions of collectibles, decor, appliances, computers, furnishings, equipment, vehicles, and other miscellaneous items are sold daily with a correct price thanks to the participation of millions of bidders everyday.


The sphere of Saturn is that of the contemplatives, who embody temperance and wisdom.

Google is a multinational public cloud computing and Internet search technologies corporation. The company’s stated mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. Google processes over one billion search requests and twenty petabytes of usergenerated data every day. It is the Internet’s most visited website, the fourth best place to work and one of the most powerful brand in the world.

Faith Hope Love

The sphere of the Fixed Stars is the sphere of the Triumphant Spirits of the Faith, Hope and Love.

Amnesty International draws attention to human rights abuses and campaigns for compliance with international laws and standards. It works to mobilise public opinion to exert pressure on governments that perpetrate abuses. Amnesty has the longest history and broadest name recognition in the field of international human rights organisations.


The Primum Mobile (“first moved� sphere) is the last sphere of the physical universe. It is moved directly by God, and its motion causes all the spheres it encloses to move. The Primum Mobile is the abode of angels, and here Dante sees God as an intensely bright point of light surrounded by nine rings of angels.

Coca Cola is the most powerful and influential brand in the world.


From the Primum Mobile, Dante ascends to a region beyond physical existence, the Empyrean, which is the abode of God.

The Consumer.

The Branding Comedy  

The Branding Comedy is a contemporary remake of the original Divine Comedy.As God is placed in the centre of the Paradise, in the Branding C...

The Branding Comedy  

The Branding Comedy is a contemporary remake of the original Divine Comedy.As God is placed in the centre of the Paradise, in the Branding C...