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A lesson to be learned from Barilla chairman’s remarks

BY Antoinette Alexander

Barilla, a leading Italian pasta brand, has become the subject of an international boycott after company chairman, Guido Barilla, made remarks during a radio interview that critics have characterized as disparaging gay people.

While everyone is entitled to having a personal opinion, this is lesson 101 on what not to say. If you want your brand to reflect your personal opinion — which you are, of course, entitled to — don’t be surprised if people who don’t share your opinion don’t want to share your brand experience either.

In response to the backlash, Barilla posted a statement on its Facebook page that reads: “At Barilla, we consider it our mission to treat our consumers and partners as our neighbors — with love and respect — and to deliver the very best products possible. We take this responsibility seriously and consider it a core part of who we are as a family-owned company. While we can’t undo recent remarks, we can apologize. To all of our friends, family, employees and partners that we have hurt or offended, we are deeply sorry.”

However, judging by the consumer comments posted on its Facebook page, the damage has been done.

One post reads: “I’m Italian, I’m gay, I’m married legally to a man, I have three adopted children. I had Barilla pasta for dinner last night. Today, tomorrow and forever more I will choose another brand of pasta. Good bye Barilla! You lose!!!”

Another post reads: “And we who disagree with the CEO comments, even as we uphold the value of free speech, are also very free to never purchase his product again while it serves to benefit his pocketbook. Plain and simple.”

And another post was a photo of a garbage can filled with unopened boxes of Barilla pasta.

This is going to cost Barilla big time, and it is unlikely that any marketing effort, social outreach or social media campaign will fix this.

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BD, WHO partner to reduce labor-related complications in developing world

BY Alaric DeArment

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. — Becton, Dickinson and Co. is partnering with the World Health Organization in an effort to address maternal and newborn mortality, BD said Friday.

The medical products company announced a commitment to develop and launch the Odon Device, an obstetrical instrument for assisting the delivery of newborns during circumstances of troublesome labor. Obstructed and prolonged labors are common causes of maternal and child mortality in developing countries, particularly for adolescent girls and young women. According to the United Nations Population Fund, 10 million women per year experience such serious pregnancy-related medical complications as bleeding, infection and trauma, and 260,000 maternal deaths occurred in 2012.

"The Odon Device offers a low-cost, simplified way to deliver babies and protect mothers when labor is prolonged," WHO director-general Margaret Chan said. "It promises to transfer life-saving capacity to rural health posts, which almost never have the facilities and staff to perform a C-section."

 

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Kroger Named to Dow Jones Sustainability Index

BY Jason Owen

CINCINNATI — The Kroger Co. on Friday announced its inaugural listing on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index-North America.

The Dow Jones Sustainability Index-North America tracks the economic, environmental and social sustainability performance of the top 20% of the 600 largest North America-based companies in the Dow Jones Global Total Stock Market Index.

"Inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index is an important mile marker and a sign of real progress for Kroger," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s president and chief operating officer. "While we take great pride in the strides we have made to reduce our impact on the environment and to operate as good stewards in our communities, we have more work to do. We intend to continue pursuing our long-term sustainability goals with enthusiasm and determination."

Learn more about Kroger’s sustainability progress and download the full 2013 sustainability report at www.kroger.com/sustainability.

Highlights of Kroger’s Sustainability Progress

Kroger is Feeding the Hungry. Kroger’s number one community priority is to support organizations that bring food and hope to our hungry neighbors. A founding partner of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger agency, Kroger worked with more than 80 local food banks in 2012 to donate the equivalent of 200 million meals.

Moving toward the EPA’s Zero Waste threshold of 90%, in all Kroger retail locations. To get there, Kroger will increase the diversion rate to 65% for all stores by the end of 2013, and to 70% by the end of 2015. Today, the company diverts 58% of waste.

Kroger is Reducing its Carbon Footprint. Kroger’s aggressive work to reduce energy, the implementation of a refrigerant management plan and improved fleet productivity has led to a 4.8% reduction in overall carbon footprint – even as the company grows in size and sales.

Kroger is Creating Jobs. The company has created more than 33,000 jobs since 2007.


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