Barilla is not making a huge mistake but a ginormous one similar to many other brands, which have not yet discovered the potential in designing gay brand amplifier programs, reaching out to the heterosexual shoppers.
Many brands today cannot picture a direct promotion of their products specifically tailored to the LGBT community, not because they are anti-LGBT but because they are afraid of tapping into a brand dialogue with an unknown consumer segment, they left undiscovered. Even though this segment might have discovered their brands long time ago.
Brands shall not think straight when it comes to building brand dialogue platforms and come out of their marketing closets.
There are few shopper segments with as much buying influence power like the LGBT community. So I could not help but wonder why only few have tackled the marketing opportunity to engage LGBT members to amplify brands via their help to the heterosexual community. To simply put, every woman loves a gay shopper friend who would give great advice and recommendation for hit brands worth paying attention to and worth paying hard earned dollars to.
Brand amplifier programs are proven marketing initiatives, which work when engaging opinion leaders to increase WOM about brands. It has its exact placement within the newly discovered consumer decision journey so I could only encourage marketers to discover the potential in hiring gay brand amplifiers promoting their brands to the heterosexual community for both women and men. Aren't we all familiar with top hit TV shows like the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy making boyfriends and girlfriends super pleased with the introduction of new shopping habits to start with.
Utilize the sensitivity and persuasion power of the gay community by listening to what they have to say about your brands and learning about how they picture any of their straight friends buying into your propositions. The success of social business relationship management is being welcoming and open to dialogues that are happening with or without you anyway.
So my advice is not to go straight to straights, but gaily forward and I guarantee your diverse marketing initiatives will pay off.
Just think about it!