Onorato Dompé and his son Franco have quite some traits in common. They share, in fact, not only an entrepreneurial spirit and the passion for the pharmaceutical industry, but also a thing for advertising, at the time called “propaganda”.

In the early 1900s, Onorato is involved in three editorial projects: Gazzetta Farmaceutica Italiana, Gazzetta Medica di Milano and Il Profumiere Italiano. Along with strengthening his position as a scientific thought leader, these publications help him reaching out to his potential clients more effectively: among the articles, in fact, the reader could bump into the ads of Dompé’s drugs.

Bozzetto pubblicitario Artrosil
Advertising sketch of the drug Artrosil (probably early 1940s).

Franco follows in his father's footsteps. In 1947, he launches the first issue of Bellezza d’Italia, a leisure magazine, addressed exclusively to doctors, aiming to entertain the readers during their free time (probably very little!), as well as get them to know Dompé’s products through powerful ads. These were often signed by the magazine’s art director, the successful architect and graphic designer Franco Grignani.

Pubblicità Artrosil B1
Advertising of the drug Artrosil B1, signed by F. Grignani (Bellezza d'Italia, 1955, no. 3).

In 1949, moreover, the 36-year old entrepreneur sponsors the Cimento Invernale, a winter swimming race taking place in the freezing cold waters of the Naviglio canal, in Milan. In this circumstance, Dompé farmaceutici warmed up the athletes by offering them its flagship product, the cough syrup Guaiacalcium.

Advertising sketch Guaiacalcium
Advertising sketch of the drug Guaiacalcium (around 1940).

A few years later, in 1956, Franco is involved with a much more popular sporting event: the VII Olympic Winter Games in Cortina d'Ampezzo. In this occasion, the company delivered to the athletes racing on the slopes the necessary medication, transported on 28 branded vans.

Olimpiadi Cortina 1956
Dompé at the VII Olympic Winter Games in Cortina.

Last but not least, in 1963 Dompé makes its big screen debut. In a memorable sequence of Ieri, Oggi, Domani - the movie directed by Vittorio De Sica and winner, in 1965, of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film -, actress Sophia Loren struggles to give to one of her children a sip of Guaiacalcium.