Blog: Bertolli, Buitoni see marketing opportunity in Barilla gaffe

Michelle Russell | 30 September 2013

Unilever USA's Bertolli and Nestle's Buitoni USA have chosen social media as a way of capitalising on the furore surrounding a recent campaign by one of its closest rivals.

Barilla, one of Italy's largest food groups, became embroiled in a PR storm last week after some controversial remarks by the company president in a radio interview.

Guido Barilla reportedly told Italian radio programme La Zanzara he would not choose to make adverts that portrayed homosexual families.

Competitor Bertolli clearly saw an advantage to be played here and has since taken to Facebook to promote its Bertolli product range as "sauce for all".

One user commented: "You have a new customer! For years, I have bought ONLY barilla pasta, but now I can't wait to buy my bertolli pasta when I go shopping this week."

Similarly, Buitoni posted an image on its Facebook page with the message "pasta for all" and an image of pasta shapes representing three kinds of sexual relationship.

The "apology" by Guido at the weekend, that Barilla "care about everyone, regardless of race, religion, belief, gender or sexual orientation", may not yet be enough to calm consumers and dampen the fierce criticism from equality groups that his comments have provoked. 

Sectors: Bakery

Companies: Deoleo, Barilla, Bertolli

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