03 Apr
Remembering the "Just One Cornetto" Ads of the 80s
Venice Canal with Wall's Cornetto logo

In the summer of 1981, a gondola serenade took an unexpected turn. A smooth baritone voice filled the air, not with words of love, but with a desperate plea: "Just one Cornetto! Give it to me!" 

This wasn't your typical operatic scene. This was the birth of a cultural phenomenon – the Wall's "Just One Cornetto" adverts. These catchy commercials, featuring a singing gondolier and a stolen ice cream, captured the hearts (and taste buds) of a generation.

In the 1980s, a series of musical ads by Wall's UK aired on ITV in the United Kingdom, with most of them set in Italy.

The best-remembered advert (by Lintas) is from 1981, in which a curly-haired man sat in a gondola sings a revised version of the late 19th century Italian opera song "O Sole Mio" to a lady passing him in another gondola, before snatching her Cornetto from her.

The lyrics to the song have been altered to "Just one Cornetto, give it to me. Delicious ice cream, of Italy. Creamy vanilla and chocolate dream, give me Cornetto, from Walls ice cream."

The song ignores the fact that Cornetto is actually made in the United Kingdom, although its roots lie in Italy, as you will discover. However, the advert does display "Made outside Italy by Walls" at the end.

In another similar advert first shown in 1982, a gondolier reaches up towards a bridge and grabs a Cornetto from a young lady. As he passes through to the other side of the bridge, she snatches it from his hand with a smile on her face. 

Another advert featured an Italian traffic policeman outside the Colosseum in Rome, who grabs a Cornetto from a passing Wall's ice cream seller on a pushbike.

An advert which aired in early 1980s, features a man and his girlfriend in a small paddle boat on a river - which is rather less romantic that a gondola! The girl's hairstyle very much resembles that of Lady Diana (Princess Diana) in her early years. She is enjoying a Cornetto, and her partner starts singing "Just One Cornetto". As the couple pass a gondolier, the song then becomes more operatic. 


The ice cream cone snack was first introduced in 1959, but didn't become available in the UK until 1976, when Unilever bought the patent from the Italian ice cream company Spica. It was sold by various subsidiaries of the company, which included Wall's in the UK.

The word Cornetto translates as "little horn" in Italian. The inside of the golden waffle cone has a protective coating made from oil, sugar and chocolate, which stops the ice cream from making the cone go soggy.

When Cornettos were first introduced to the UK in 1976, they were priced at 30p each, and more expensive that other items in the Wall's range such as Feast and Orange Frutie.

By 1981, the price had risen to 35p. There was also a Choco Rico cone that sold for 40p. The main rival brand to Cornetto was King Cone.

Two Wall's Cornetto cones with logo, Double Chocolate flavour

Double Chocolate is the most popular flavour in Pakistan, but is not available in the UK, sadly.


The classic flavours remain the most popular, even today. All Cornetto flavours include the classic dark chocolate tip in the bottom of the golden baked cone. 

Classico (Choc & Nut)

The original Cornetto features vanilla ice cream nestled in a light, crunchy wafer cone. A milk chocolate coating and a sprinkle of chopped hazelnuts complete this timeless treat.

This flavour is also available in a gluten free vegan version.


Another classic which features vanilla ice cream, strawberry fruit ice, a delicious strawberry sauce topping, sprinkled with white chocolate curls. 


Green, mint flavoured ice cream with a delicious chocolate coating and dark chocolate pieces.

Cornetto Soft

This has the texture of the classic Mr. Whippy and Flake 99 ice creams. These are available in Chocolatey (chocolate and vanilla), Cookie and Chocolate, Caramel and Hazelnut, and Stracciatella and Caramel flavours.

Can You Still Buy Wall's Cornetto?

Yes, you can still buy Wall's Cornetto from most ice cream sellers, supermarkets, newsagents and petrol filling stations with a freezer section. 

Whether you're enjoying a sunny day at the park, relaxing on a beach, or simply seeking a sweet escape, a Cornetto is the perfect way to cool down and indulge.  

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