If you haven’t heard, burn your Barilla. After Chairman Guido (oof) Barilla announced he would never stand for a gay family in his company’s ads, US communities and rights groups rallied and said in so many words, “We don’t want you, either.” In the midst of this, Bertolli saw an opportunity to paint their pasta in a more inclusive light: a proverbial rainbow, if not a literal special edition.
I was just talking about this kind of thing with a friend: is it gimmicky and cheap when brands do the right thing, because they seize a moment and academically understand it’ll up their stock? A calculated risk for an exponential gain. There’s almost a stigma on acting honorably in marketing practices because it knowingly generates positive buzz. At the same time, speculative scrutiny is a byproduct of public sphere real estate; everyone’s aware of a good deed, everyone’s aware of a monumental screw-up. It’s like Brad Pitt working with Habitat for Humanity, or Charlie Sheen doing anything.
At the end of the day, being popular for being good sets a tone for good-doing, and what’s so bad about that? Good is so in.