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#PRFail: Barilla Pasta: Not the Gay Man's Noodle
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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Stocked on the shelves of the pasta aisles in grocery stores nationally is the brand Barilla. Its tagline is "the taste of Italy." Ironically, after what its muttonhead CEO said, homosexuals across the country have a terrible taste in their mouths about that pasta. And after you read this unfortunate PR and marketing faux pas, you would think that after the CEO of Barilla serves up his half-cooked opinion, he should throw it against the wall first to make sure it sticks.

Guido Barilla 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.” Yet somehow bells didn't go off, for the PR team of said nitwit, C-suite windbag wasn't hitting the CEO on his cell. He continues with this tirade: "Everyone has the right to do what they want without disturbing those around them...but I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose."

Keeping it classy, Barilla. That kind of talk is definitely not prego. And now, people are picketing your classy noodles. 

His [Barilla's] remarks immediately led Aurelio Mancuso, chairman of the gay-rights group Equality Italia, to say: “Accepting the invitation of Barilla’s owner to not eat his pasta, we are launching a boycott campaign against all his products.”

What's strange is after this story broke, I went to my pantry and read the ingredients panel. DYK: it reads "Thiamine Mononitrate and Ferrous Sulfate," NOT Thiamine Mononitrate and Steve. Or at least I believe that's how the saying goes.

Also ironic? The company has another slogan, "Where there's Barilla, there's home." I don't know if Sir Guido has traveled to the States lately, but "home" looks a little different than the Italian bungalows of the mid...say, 18th century. You see, some homes have two guys with kids. And wouldn't you know it, they both eat pasta and somehow are not ruining the universe, the planetary axis, or the polar caps.

I have seen other homes with two women, kids and — wait for it — even a dog. Following an Italian feast with manicotti, fettuccini, fusilli, vermicelli, and whatever else of illis there are, they feed themselves pasta, feed the kids pasta, and yes, Mr. Barilla, even the friggin' dog. The parents and children, I wouldn't worry about being a horrible influence on your consumers. The dog, however? Well, life's a bitch. You know, as the saying goes. 

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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