The Barilla crisis: the brilliant competitor response that never was

Italian pasta brand Barilla found itself in the middle of a crisis yesterday, caused by a quote from its chairman Guido Barilla. In a radio interview, Mr Barilla said that the company would not include gay people in its advertising. After threats that customers would start a boycott against the brand, the company issued an official apology.

As often happens in cases like these, customers tend to make fun of the brand, posting things such as fake ads on social networks and generally trying to humiliate the brand. These online comments often go viral. This time, one popular item is the following comment from one of Barilla’s competitors, Pasta Garofalo.

garofolo barilla spoof

But while making fun of a competitor in a crisis may give you a few laughs and some instant publicity, it’s a risky business. Creating an atmosphere where it is ok to stab competitors in the back may in the long run result in damage to both brands. And the good people at Garofalo know this, that’s why they never posted the image above. It’s a spoof and have been created by someone else, pretending it’s an official comment from the brand.

The company quickly posted a comment on its Facebook page to set things straight. The comments says that the ad is not theirs, they have not been involved and they do not approve of it. I think it was wise of them to act and to distance themselves from the ad. And as always, if in doubt if something is fake or not, try check the source.