Bye Bye Barilla

Barilla doesn’t want you to feature anything but a tradition family in their advertising.  Guido Barilla made the big mistake of not just discounting gays, but also women, with this interview comment.

“I would never make a spot with a homosexual family. Not out of a lack of respect but because I do not see it like they do. (My idea of) family is a classic family where the woman has a fundamental role.”

So no ads with dad helping cook the family meal either?  Just mama, after a long day at home watching soap operas and cleaning ,since most women don’t work in Italy to help support their families I am gathering from Guido Barilla’s comments, serving up a delicious dinner to her lazy family that probably won’t even help clean the dishes. Here in the US , most women work outside the home and husbands and children all pitch in to help with dinner and clean up.  We aren’t just glorified maids and even stay at home mothers expect some help with dinner and clean up!

The Barilla brothers?  Mama is so overworked she can't even bother with plates.

The Barilla brothers? Mama is so overworked she can’t even bother with plates.

A Forbes article gets it wrong when they say that the company has lost the powerful gay market.  What Barilla lost is the market of people of any sexual orientation that support equal rights.  Where Barilla and Forbes see this as a ‘traditional family” issue, I see it as an equal right issue.  If Guido had said “I would never make a spot with a black couple, My idea of family is a white one.” I would not buy the pasta.  If he said “I would never make a spot with a little person family.  My idea of a family is tall normal people not circus freaks.” I would not buy his pasta.  It’s not the gay market they lost, it’s the market of people with any sense of decency and fairness.

My family was the customer Barilla did NOT want to lose.  I have bought 2 boxes of Barilla pasta for the past 9 years, every week, without fail. I also buy at least one jar of their sauces.  When Barilla first came to the US, my friends that had lived in Italy told me I had to start buying it.  I was on a budget then, and the pasta cost a bit more, but I was sold once I started using it.

devil two

In our family, everyone helps or they don’t eat!

My family never tried another pasta ever.  Every week,  I throw in the shopping cart those boxes and sauce.  We’re a busy family, I’m not the wife that is the woman of Guido Barilla’s dreams.  Their pasta made my life easier.  That’s what today’s working mom wants, a quick delicious meal that is easy to prepare and the family loves it.  That is also what Barilla gave our family for over 9 years.  I learned quickly exactly how long to perfectly cook the pasta, learned which sauces were family favorites, and I would also try new products when the company introduced them as I trusted the brand.

Then the commentary from Guido Barilla.  I stood in the grocery store, the head of my very straight, but not narrow, family, and did what the Barilla family never wanted me to do.  I looked at other brands of pasta.  I bought two.  I then picked up 2 new kinds of sauces.  I didn’t like doing this.  Our family has great brand and customer loyalty.  I know we love Barilla products and these were unknowns.  I would have bought Barilla only until the day I died and my daughters also grew up with Barilla and would also have just kept buying the products, if only Guido Barilla had kept his mouth shut.

This week I cooked new types of pasta.  One of family was “eh” about, but the other was “well this is different but quite good”.  We’re still working on a jar sauce (no I have no real interest in cooking, so don’t want to make my own sauce.  These are our busy night meals, meant to be super simple).  The point is, these new pastas could be owned by companies that hate gays and baby koalas, but they have the sense to keep their mouths shut about it.

Customer loyalty is something they should know can’t be easily won back.  My family tried pastas we never would have tried, and found one we actually liked.  The point is you never want your core customer to even think of trying anything else.

But to assume you just lose the gay market when you make comments like Guido Barilla made is idiotic.  Straight but not narrow describes a lot of us.  Barilla lost my loyalty, and even with his apology, much of the damage is done.  I tried another brand.  I hope things work out enough and Barilla does enough that I can go back to buying some Barilla products.  But the lesson should be, if you dislike gays or baby koalas, keep your mouth shut.  If you don’t want money from gay people, you don’t want my money either.

Categories: Family, Food, Travel

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

20 replies

  1. Reblogged this on Yankee Skeptic and commented:
    This is important enough a point, I want to share it on Yankeeskeptic also. Why do these companies, and even media articles, not get that it’s not losing the “gay buyer” it’s losing the good people of any sexual orientation that believe in equality.

  2. This is proof that company staff should learn to keep personal opinions the same place they keep their rectums….covered up and hidden from public view.

  3. I think your take on this is WAY off. There was nothing sexist in Mr. Barilla’s comments. Some people see what they want to see.

    • traditional family with MOM doing all the cooking? Has he met a modern Italian woman recently? It was sexist and it was also homophobic. Also, he lost the customer loyalty of THREE women, and my dear husband also.

      • also perhaps not sexist, but I think my gay friends would say “I won’t buy this product where the owner of the company says that he doesn’t like straight women that are teachers and they can just buy another product if they don’t like it.” I will support my friends as I hope they would support me. We need to all stand up when someone is a bully. I think this was bullying. “we dont’ NEED you” yes they do.

      • He said “My idea of family is a classic family where the woman has a fundamental role.” How you equate “fundamental role” with barefoot, pregnant, and slaving away in the kitchen is beyond the comprehension of any thinking person. It’s pure conjecture and you cannot argue that with any shred of integrity. Your entire premise is pure poppycock.

      • The trick phrasing is “classic family”. Whatever that mean.s

  4. Personally, I do not understand these sorts of “businessmen” at all. Why do they even CARE about the race, religion, or sexual orientation of their customers so long as they’re getting their money? You would think they would be the first to leap onto a new demographic to ply their goods to. How would anyone know that anyone in a pasta commercial a family or just a bunch of good friends getting together with their kids? I probably wouldn’t even notice since I don’t watch TV anyway. 😛

    • the problem here is that he opened his mouth. He could have said “I don’t know, I don’t do marketing.” He could have said “I hadn’t thought about that, I’ll have to get back to you later” the point is he went OUT OF HIS WAY to assure people that he wasn’t going to use gay people and then insulted people that care about equality “gays can buy another pasta”. well, no, gays and non gays are going to buy another pasta. does he think gays live in gay town and have no straight friends and relatives? The point is I am sure lots of companies have people that aren’t fond of gays or Jews or blacks or baby koalas, but they are fond enough of money and their family business to keep their MOUTHS SHUT. how DUMB do you have to be to say “Gays can buy another pasta”, and think “this will not be insulting to anyone straight, straight people love when we marginalize their gay friends and relatives!”

      • Apparently, they are the sort who cannot fathom straight people who have no problems with not straight people. Or they think we will suddenly think, “Oh, everyone else hates them. I better hate them, too, so they don’t attack me.”. Who knows? It makes sense to them somehow. Hopefully people get over this shit soon. Hate is exhausting. There are better things to put energy towards that are more productive.

  5. I’m straight, but I support equal rights for everyone, and I had already forwarded the anti-gay ugliness to everyone in my family several days ago. I expect they will join me in boycotting Barilla. I will use what’s left in my cupboard, and then I am done with them.
    Thanks for speaking out.

  6. I’m an Italian living in Spain. I was a fan of Barilla since……….(long time ago) Their pasta and sauces are good
    Nice post and for me too: “Bye Bye Barilla!

  7. May I translate the post to Spanish and publish it in my blog giving you the credit?
    Would be great because in Spain, Barilla is a popular brand.
    Best regards

  8. I struggle with the fact you use jar sauces. 😉 Nice post Kitty!

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