For many marketers, social community management is a misunderstood or undervalued strategic weapon, often misused as a media vehicle rather than an important part of brand and relationship building. A recent misstep by a global packaged goods CEO could change that perception.
Barilla CEO Guido Barilla recently stated to Italian radio, “We won’t include gays in our ads, because we like the traditional family. If gays don’t like it, they can always eat another brand of pasta.” The position sparked outrage and boycotts worldwide.
Because of alert community managers at Marcus Thomas, client Buitoni was able to quickly respond to the situation. The agency used a simple, inclusive graphic – incorporating Buitoni's trademark pasta – to take the high ground in the global discussion and make the company’s “pasta for all” stance widely known. For its efforts, the company was rewarded handsomely by the marketplace.
In one short weekend after the Marcus Thomas-led response for BuitoniI, the company garnered nearly 120 million impressions in traditional and social media.
All from a little social media community management – not just the mouth, but just as importantly, the eyes and ears of a brand.
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