Sunday, October 06, 2013

Bigotry Costs You Big Money

One of the lessons that corporations should know but seem to forget at times until it whacks them on their bottom line is that bigotry can cost you big money.

The latest corporation to learn this lesson the hard way is Barilla Pasta chairman Guido Barilla

Barilla, the number one pasta make in Italy that does $3.9 billion euros annually in business made the comments during a recent interview in which he was quoted as saying he and his company will not feature any gay families in their advertisements because he supports a “traditional family.” He then followed up by stating that if someone disagrees, well, they can “go eat another brand of pasta.”

Dude, you are about to learn just how much purchasing power the TBLG community (about $800 billion dollars) has in addition to how much brand loyalty matters. 

Well, the TBLG community and their supporters took Barilla's advice and if they weren't donating his pasta to food banks, it went straight to the trash.   His competitors like Bertolli Germany  took advantage of the bigoted remarks of its rival by releasing ads and making statements to the effect their pasta is for everyone to enjoy.

Hey, I still haven't eaten at Reicher-fil-a Chik-fil-a (and I love their food) ever since Dan Cathy made his jacked up remarks and doubled down on them.

I used to enjoy their commercials.  Now I roll my eyes every time I see one of them because it's a reminder to me of the anti-gay attitudes they wallow in.  Neither am I inclined to spend my hard earned T-bills at companies who donate to organizations that oppress me and my allies.  

Target is still trying to get back in the GLBT  community's good graces as a preferred store after they donated $150,000 to a business group backing a Minnesota GOP gubernatorial candidate in 2011 who was anti-marriage equality.  

The African-American community stopped patronizing Dillard's after racial profiling incidents in Texas were the catalyst for 80 African American shoppers to file suits against the company.   Since 1994 six unarmed customers have been killed after confrontations with their loss prevention security.  Five of those customers have been non-white.  Dillard's was also sued by customers in Mississippi, Kentucky and Georgia on similar racial profiling allegations. In Alabama, eight black women who were patrons of Dillard’s beauty salons sued the company for race-based pricing.

IKEA scrambled to apologize after a commercial was released in Thailand the local trans community considered disrespectful and the Thai Transgender Alliance called them on it.

Guido Barilla recognized that he fracked up, and is now trying to do damage control and apologize.  But it may be a case of too little and too late to get their lost market share back in the BTLG community.  

Once you insult the LGBT community and tell us you don't need or want our consumer dollars, we have long memories.
And he and his company are also learning the hard lesson that bigotry costs you big money.

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