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Barilla and the Marketing Pitfall of the Unnecessary Celebrity Spokesperson

Pasta boxes are the perfect packaging to reuse. Pasta leaves no residue, and the boxes are generally large enough to fit other items. That’s clearly the inspiration for a new campaign from Barilla that promotes box reusability in time for Global Recycling Day. The campaign casts tidying guru Marie Kondo as the spokesperson and their campaign video starts with Kondo carefully folding a pair of socks that apparently she has sold through a secondhand market.

Putting aside the unlikely idea that anyone would buy used socks in a secondhand market, the focus on folding techniques in the video seems quite random. Also, given the fact that transportation alone contributes over 20 percent of global CO emissions, promoting shipping seems like an odd focus for a campaign meant to celebrate an environmental cause.

Kondo too is also a strange choice for spokesperson, given she is best known for home organization. Why not promote Barilla boxes for storage of items or as a tool to aid in home organization instead? Or the brand could have shown how the boxes could fit a range of items commonly sold online such as baby products, video games, pet products and more. Ultimately, I think these flaws result in a campaign that misses the mark. What do you think?

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Rohit is the author of 10 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.


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