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!
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.
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.
- Bye-Bye, Barilla, Hello…? (slog.thestranger.com)
- Barilla Pasta Won’t Feature Gay Families In Ads, Says Critics Can ‘Eat Another Brand Of Pasta’ (lexywolfe.wordpress.com)
- Barilla Pasta Chief: We Don’t Like Gays, They Can Eat Another Brand (towleroad.com)