Monti as Balotelli: how to make a viral photo montage. [INTERVIEW]

A new Italian Super Hero: SuperMario Mario!

SuperMario Monti is a viral photomontage that has spread on the internet in few hours: Mario Monti, our Prime Minister, as his namesake Balotelli, the newborn star of our national team thanks to the victory against Germany. The 2 public figures have very little in common, especially if you look at their bodies and styles, and the result of this unusual mix, SuperMario Mario, makes everybody laugh!

We called Emanuele De Carlo, the new Italian superhero’s dad, who told us the story of the creation of this viral and funny idea.

Tell us something about yourself: who are you? What do you do?

I work in advertisement, I’m the owner of an agency in Venezia (Mestre),, and I’m a social network manager. Five years ago, with 6 friends I’ve created a pretty popular social net on Ning,, and I deal with everything that concerns communication.

How did you get the idea of SuperMario Mario? Was it just a moment of distraction?

I heard the news about Mario Monti’s role in the Euro Group and I was hit by the image of Mario Monti getting his shirt off after the deal. Then I found a nice picture of Monti and one of Balotelli and I thought “I’ll make a close-up, too!”. The idea was actually born when I saw the second picture.

Describe all the stages of this viral phenomenon.

Well, I posted the first one at 10:15 in the morning and then the second one, my favorite, at 10:30. I got sudden comments from my friends and at 12 the first share from an online newspaper (Libero, which never quotes the sources but it’s fine because it’s an important newspaper). Then I got many more shares from other important websites and blogs, like yours. The thing the surprised me the most was that I got many friendship requests and many people wrote on the news websites and blogs that didn’t quote me to complain… it was awesome!

They defended you :-) Why? Did they do it for solidarity?

It was like the Facebook people claimed their baby in front of the other medias.

Why was your unusual Monti such a big success?

In my opinion because we are in a very delicate historical moment: despite our suffering we keep our fierce optimism up and when people discover something that sums this spirit up, they grow fond of it. The photos got very few negative comments about Mario Monti and most of people just laughed and praised “Big Mario”.

Did you expect such a successful outcome?

Absolutely not. I think such things are impossible to plan or foresee. I’ve worked in communication for too much time to ignore that, no matter the strategies you elaborate and the prevision you do, there’s always a percentage of risk. The communication manager is a clever poker player: if he’s good, he could win a lot or lose a little, but he can’t foresee his cards.