This week, Barilla’s “foot in mouth” move got lots of people talking about the right way to conduct a damage control campaign on social media. Yesterday we connected with Solomon McCown & Company president/crisis comms expert Ashley McCown to get her thoughts on the case and the challenge of planning and directing successful campaigns.
What’s your take on Barilla’s damage control efforts?
I don’t think the chairman of Barilla really cares. He issued an apology, but he also made it quite clear in his initial statement that if people don’t like what he says, they don’t have to buy his pasta. It was a muddled response and a hollow message without much emotion behind it and it did not clarify the matter. An apology has to be genuine, and his was not believable.
Also: the company is based in Italy, but their apology was only released in Italian on Facebook and Twitter at first, and that was a mistake. The U.S. is a significant market share for them, but they didn’t bother translating it—someone else did.