Barilla Pasta: A Company In Hot Water
(5 pages of text)
On September 26, 2013, the chief executive officer of the world-leading pasta manufacturer, the Barilla Group, was challenged with a precarious situation. A day earlier, during an interview on an Italian radio show, the company chairman made a series of anti-gay remarks when asked why the company did not feature advertisements with gay families. Social media exploded with negative comments and numerous equality themed pictures creatively featuring pasta. U.S. late night television shows mocked the company, and various equality rights organizations around the world called for a boycott of its products. Competitors also issued statements and ads extolling their respect for diversity. Everyone — customers, news media, competitors and organizations supporting diversity — were looking for an explanation. The company desperately needed to devise a strategy to publicly respond and avoid the negative long-term consequences of a damaged brand name, decreased market share and ultimately lost revenues.
- To place students into the leadership role of a major corporation.
- To understand how controversy can result when company leadership express their personal views and beliefs as those of an entire organization.
- To encourage students to consider the importance of branding products to diverse populations when seeking to expand globally.
- To consider diversity, specifically human sexuality and family dynamics, from a corporate perspective.
- To provide students with an opportunity to develop their analytic, strategic planning, communication and decision-making skills.
Accommodation & Food Services
Italy, Large, 2013
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