The key here is that more often than not, controversy sells. Precedent seems to have been set. Expect more of these public 'us vs. them' stances being made by corporate CEOs and an equally decisive reaction from activists.
Companies and their executives are consistently punished by the public for expressing their views on issues completely unrelated to their business. Because they are it's necessary for company executives to use more discretion to avoid these controversies.
For LGBT folks, a local protest like mine and global protests like those against Barilla and Russian vodka brands are not petty affairs. We want our dollars to go to companies that do good by us. For the LGBT community, the "loyalty economy" will always trump the "'thank you' economy."
In Italy what Barilla said is, sadly, too often perfectly acceptable. He was speaking on an Italian radio program. He was likely not very conscious of how the rights and conditions of LGBT people, and the role of women, have changed dramatically in the rest of the industrialized West.