Barilla Pasta's Turnaround from Homophobia to National Pride
...For decades, Barilla was unshakable. As the flag-bearer for mass-market pasta, the company not only survived Atkins and other low-carb diets but thrived on an image of authenticity. In the U.S., dry pasta brands are generally interchangeable, only further anonymized when doused in marinara. But Barilla’s serial promotion of its ties to Italian home cooking in television ads set to an Andrea Bocelli song earned it a quarter of the U.S. pasta market. Colzani now watched that carefully curated image unravel in real time. He measured the brand’s declining appeal with customers on a monthly basis using tools developed by Millward Brown, a market-research company owned by advertising conglomerate WPP Plc. In 2014, Barilla dropped 21 spots on the Reputation Institute’s annual ranking of companies.