January 16, 2022

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‘Godfather’-branded Italian foods arrive | Ad Age

It’s an offer you can’t refuse.

A new line of imported Italian foods—including olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sauces, and a vodka—are taking their name, story and inspiration from the iconic film franchise, “The Godfather.”

Corleone Fine Italian represents a collaboration between Los Angeles-based MJ Licensing and ViacomCBS Consumer Products, which oversees licensing and merchandising for the global media and entertainment company that includes Paramount Pictures, which released the film in 1972. Sequels followed in 1974 and 1990.

Nearly 50 years later, the “Godfather” franchise remains a powerful force that communicates a nostalgic message about the importance of family that underpins the brand with appeal to film buffs and foodies alike, Jeffrey Dash, managing partner of MJ Licensing, said in an interview. This, he believes, will distinguish the line from typical licensed food products, which he said often tend to lack staying power.

“A lot of times, studio licensing departments will just slap a logo on a product and not think about building a brand. They just cut a deal and it’s over,” Dash said. “What we’re doing here is building an actual brand that we think will stand up due to the quality of the products. We feel like people will want to try the product because they love the film, and because they like the products, they will trust the brand.”

The idea for a Godfather food line goes back to 2014 and the pursuit of a vodka brand MJ sought to associate with Don Vito Corleone, Marlon Brando’s patriarch character. Discussions with Paramount followed as the idea evolved to include foods as well, including a real-world launch of the fictional olive oil that the Corleone family imported as a front for its criminal enterprises.