My godchild is an amazing, confident, happy 3-year-old with two mommies. Families are made in the heart. They have little to do with blood, marriage certificates or adoption and cannot be hijacked by one social demographic or culture. They are heart bonds. Family is not limited to tradition but encompassed by love.
So in September 2013, when the chairman of Barilla, the famous pasta brand, said he would never use a gay family in one of their advertising spots for TV, it set off a global storm, and it hit home with me. The company was forced to try to defend their position, then apologize, and finally admit that they needed to leave antiquity and join the modern age.
A month later, in November 2013, Barilla announced that it would work to make the company more diverse saying it would create an ad campaign more inclusive than the previous ads, which had depicted only "traditional" families.
Over a year later they have yet to produce an ad featuring a gay family. In fact, nine months after this announcement, Italian frozen-food company Findus produced Italy's first gay-inclusive d. See it here.
In summer 2014 Barilla launched a contest calling for content creators to submit work under 60 seconds that reflected their new diversity campaign. When I heard about the contest, I felt strongly compelled to create a commercial testing their commitment to a more inclusive ad campaign. Their new call to action -- "Love life, love pasta, in your own way" -- asked us to bring our distinct voice emphasizing the values they want to promote, these values being diversity, uniqueness and inclusion. I saw this as a great opportunity to offer them a commercial with high production value and a modern take on family.
In fact, my submission was the only one that confronted them face-to-face with a gay family. However, regardless of its superior production quality, I was not surprised when the spot was not selected by Barilla for competition. It represented a beautiful, sexy, loving lesbian family.
My motivation was to make sure that Barilla could not deny that the beauty of the family values that they hold so dear for their brand are also found in LGBT families and other "alternative" families.
Barilla has not changed their stance, and I would bet that they don't plan on it, unless someone stirs the pot. In the barrage of the information age, once they aren't "news" any longer, who holds them accountable? Me.
My spot is a very fast, sweet and sexy 56 seconds. Even if Barilla didn't have the guts to choose it as a finalist, it's important to me that this representation of family be seen, if not for me, then for my godchild, who deserves to know that her family is as important and as valuable as any other.