Pasta, Politics and Public Relations

CEOs of major companies are always in the spotlight. Their words can affect partnerships, consumer relations, investors and the reputation of their company- so it literally pays for them to tread carefully with hot button topics.

Comments that have an emotional effect on people spread quickly through social media and are difficult to brush under the rug. An article from Huffington Post or The Guardian will be shared internationally by thousands of outraged consumers feeling personally insulted and agreeing to bring their business elsewhere.

The recent backlash to Barilla’s CEO, Guido Barilla’s comments have created an international public relations challenge. In cases like this, the company has a few options.

They can retract with an apology and include a statement that the comments do not reflect the views of the company or take a risk and make a stance on the issue, either way displeasing a portion of the consumer base. More drastic measures like resignations and terminations are courses of action for extreme cases.

In the case of Barilla, a formal apology has been delivered, though the buzz, boycotts and anger continue. What do you think is the best next step for the company?

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