In a classic case of too little too late, Barilla has announced plans to establish a “more active, global leadership position on diversity, inclusion and social responsibility.”
In a very polished and corporate-sounding press release published Monday morning, the pasta giant promised to improve how it approaches diversity (a.k.a. gay people).
“Diversity, inclusion and equality have long been grounded in Barilla’s culture, values and code of conduct,” said Chief Executive Officer Claudio Colzani. “They are reflected in our policies and the benefits we provide to all employees, regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation.”
They are not, however, reflected in the company’s advertisements, as noted by chairman, Guido Barilla, back in September when he told an Italian newspaper: “I would never do an advert with a homosexual family.”
“We are committed to promoting diversity further because we firmly believe that it’s the right thing to do,” Colzani said Monday.
To prove the company is very, very sorry for the comments made by Barilla, it has announced an online contest that will be launched in 2014.
The contest will be designed to “engage people on diversity, inclusion, and equality.” Entrants from around the world will be asked to create short videos that represent the multifaceted nature of pasta, which will be submitted to the web community to be liked, shared, and voted on. The videos will be then judged by an expert panel and the winners will receive awards.
Because what better way to win over gay people than by giving them prizes?
The company also announced it has launched a Diversity and Inclusion Board, as well as appointed its first-ever Chief Diversity Officer.
“As a socially responsible company that serves and respects diverse consumers, we know we have to expand our commitment,” said Luca Virginio, Barilla’s executive director of communication and external relations. “Our goal is to do better by becoming a global corporate citizen and leader in diversity and inclusion, internally and externally.”
A global corporate citizen? Sounds like a phrase straight out of Mitt Romney’s playbook.
So there you have it, folks. Barilla has attempted to make good by creating a contest that will use gay people to make videos that promote Barilla pasta.
If that bothers you at all, just remember what Guido Barilla said back in September: “If the gays don’t like it they can go an eat another brand.”