Barilla Pasta Wants to Woo You Back
November 5th, 2013
Italian pasta maker Barilla found itself in a big ol’ pot of hot water a month ago when the company’s chief, Guido Barilla, told an Italian radio program, “I would never do an advert with a homosexual family…if the gays don’t like it they can go an eat another brand.” Gays have decided to do just that. Barilla has tried several bumbling attempts at apologizing, particularly Barilla’s American subsidiary, which found itself in the entirely untenable and incredible position of trying to distance itself from its own mothership.
Now the Barilla bosses in Italy are making another stab at making good:
Chairman Barilla, the 55-year-old great grandson of the company’s founder, has since held at least eight meetings with gay organizations and activists both in Italy and in the United States, a market where it is counting on for growth outside its crisis-hit home market.
“Italy is a very insular country, and in cities like Parma it’s even more so,” company spokesman Luca Virginio told Reuters, saying the firm had been shocked by the global backlash.
“The meetings have helped open our eyes and ears to the evolution taking place in the world outside Parma.”
He said the shock could lead to a shift in focus from rosy depictions of traditional Italian family life that have always been the staple of Barilla advertising campaigns.
Barillo has announced an advisory board with American gay activist David Mixner as a member. It’s still way to early to tell whether this represents a real change with the privately-owned company or if it will wind up being nothing more than a marketing campaign. As far as I’m concerned, they can keep the ads showing traditional Italian family life. Just show some gay families from time to time, and not in segregated media. Until I see more visible changes, I personally plan on staying with some of the other brands for the time being.
Barilla apologizes. Again. Kinda.
September 28th, 2013
Now Guido Barilla has released a video in which he non-apologizes for about the fourth time.
In case you need a transcript, it’s something like this:
Me. Me me me. Good guy, me. Me. Me. Always respectful me. Me. Me me me me me me. The reaction to me has made me unhappy me me. I’ll be listening to me me me and me and some good family groups. Oh, and also some of the people who are mad at me. Me.
Bertolli likes all kinds of pasta families
September 27th, 2013
Ronzoni chimes in on pastagate
September 27th, 2013
Just like pasta, we believe families come in all different shapes, sizes, colors and orientations. We feel it is important to represent diversity in our advertising and will continue to do so in the future.
Barilla: gay customers “can go eat another brand” of pasta
September 26th, 2013
Guido Barilla, whose firm has almost half the Italian pasta market and a quarter of that in the US, told Italy’s La Zanzara radio show last night: “I would never do an advert with a homosexual family…if the gays don’t like it they can go an eat another brand.
“For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the fundamental values of the company.”
He added: “Everyone has the right to do what they want without disturbing those around them”. But then the pasta magnate upped the ante by attacking gay adoption. “I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose,” he said.
Oh, and after the obvious shocked and disgusted response, “I’m sorry if my comments on La Zanzara have created misunderstanding or polemic, or if I’ve offended anyone.”
No, no misunderstanding. It’s clear. You’re an asshat and I’ll accept your invitation to buy other brands (or, better yet, make my own pasta).