The idea of selling frozen ice cream cones had long been a dream of ice cream makers, but it was not until 1959 that Spica , an Italian ice cream manufacturer based in Naples conquered the problem of the ice cream making the cone go soggy. Spica invented a process, whereby the inside of the waffle cone was insulated from the ice cream by a layer of oil, sugar and chocolate. Spica registered the name Cornetto in 1960. Initial sales were poor, but in 1976 Unilever bought out Spica and began a mass-marketing campaign throughout Europe.
The product is available in a variety of flavours including Strawberry, Mint Chocolate and Nut, whilst previous flavours have included Rum & Raisin in the 1980s. Now its flavours include Lemon, Whippy , 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.
The brand was marked 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
Just one Cornetto,
The adverts ran for ten years during the 1980s and 1990s, and resurfaced in 2006, this time sung by pedestrians, drivers, office workers and marathon runners in Central London. To a sizable number of British consumers the alternative lyrics are more familiar than the original.
The lyrics to "Just One Cornetto" was also adopted by fans of Greenock Morton in the late 80s and early 90s for reasons which are still unknown. It's still occasionally sung by fans of the clubs although not as often as it once was.