Above you’ll find an advertising spot from Bertolli Pasta that aired in 2009. The ad features a gay couple, with one of the men in said couple day dreaming of the other serving him pasta in a fancy restaurant only to come to and have that man be his partner seated beside him in his living room. There’s not much fanfare over the couple’s sexuality– they’re just hungry partners eating some pasta.
It’s the sort of advertisement that Barilla Pasta would never air according to CEO, Guido Barilla. Known for commercials that depict the quintessential Italian family, and in response to a question on whether that family would ever include any gay members Barilla said:
I would never do (a commercial) with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect but because we don’t agree with them. Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role.
While the CEO is opposed to gay adoption-and evidently the notion of fathers cooking dinners-he is in favor of gay marriage. He followed up his comments by clarifying how he felt about gay patrons saying that if they “like our pasta and our advertising, they’ll eat our pasta, if they don’t like it then they will not eat it and they will eat another brand.”
You need to only do a quick search of the Twitter hashtag #boycottbarilla to see that challenge being answered.
Pasta company Bertolli who has been cool with gay couples in their advertisements since 2009, also chimed in with an advertisement of their own with a caption that reads “Pasta und Liebe für alle!” (Love and Pasta for all!)
The moral of this story is pretty clear. Whether you’re Chick-fil-A or Urban Outfitters or any of these other companies that have said something problematic about an entire demographic — people are paying attention, and they will absolutely buy their pasta elsewhere.