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Cornetto is a branded frozen dessert cone manufactured by Unilever and marketed throughout the world under various company names, but with the same Heartbrand logo. However, depending on geographical region, several variations of the product exist, ranging from milk based ice cream to vegetable fat based dessert.
For a long time, the idea of selling frozen ice-cream cones had been impractical, as the ice cream would soak into the cone during the manufacturing process and make it soggy and unpalatable when served. It was in 1959 that Spica, an Italian ice-cream manufacturer based in Naples, overcame this problem by insulating the inside of the waffle cone from the ice-cream with a coating of oil, sugar and chocolate.
The product is available in a variety of flavours, including Strawberry, Mint Chocolate, Nut, Lemon, Whippy (Yoghurt flavour with a chewy chocolate), Valentine's Day flavours, and Cornetto Soft (soft ice cream that comes in chocolate chip, cookie dough, vanilla, chocolate, and double chocolate). Cornetto Soft is sold on the street by vendors and is made on the spot with an ice cream dispenser, but the other flavours are pre-made and are factory packaged. There is also cornetto enigma, which consists of the flavours cookies and cream, raspberry and double chocolate.
The brand was marketed in the United Kingdom and Ireland by a successful advertising campaign which placed the Italian song O Sole Mio into a variety of stereotypical Italian locations and situations, with its lyrics changed to:
The adverts ran for ten years during the 1980s and 1990s, with the song supposedly sung by former Italian waiter Renato Pagliari of one-hit wonders Renée and Renato. (However, this is claimed not to be the case by Pagliari's son, Remo.) The advert theme resurfaced in 2006, this time sung by pedestrians, drivers, office workers and marathon runners in Central London. To a sizeable number of British consumers, the advert's alternative lyrics are more familiar than the original.
In the Philippines, the ice-cream is sold under the slogans of "Mag-Cornetto ka na lang" ("Just [have a] Cornetto instead") and "Hanggang saan aabot ang 20 pesos mo?" ("How far will your 20 Pesos take you?", referring to its low price).
Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's series of three films (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World's End) is referred to as the "Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy" or "Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy", as each film shows a reference to a different flavoured Cornetto (strawberry, original, and mint, respectively).
The novelty band Pookiesnackenburger released a single "Just One Cornetto" in 1982.