Barilla and Y&R Chicago have parted ways as the pasta marketer launches a creative agency review covering the U.S.
A spokeswoman for the company confirmed that it was "undertaking a regular agency review in the U.S. and has invited other firms to present their capabilities." Y&R in a statement said it has "elected not to participate" but "wishes the Barilla marketing team much success with finding their next North American agency partner."
The marketer in 2014 spent $28.7 million on measured media in the U.S., according to Kantar Media. But the company appears to have been relatively quiet on TV of late. According to TV ad-tracker iSpot, the last time a commercial aired for the Barilla brand in the states was in June of last year. The spot was called "Don't Ruin the Moment" and featured a couple romancing over pasta.
The review follows a decision in November by the company to hire Dentsu Aegis' 360i as its first digital agency of record in the U.S. That assignment includes digital and social marketing, including strategy, content creation and website design.
The company made headlines a couple years ago after Chairman Guido Barilla said he opposed using gay families in ads. The controversial comments sparked a negative backlash, prompting an apology and leading the company to take multiple measures to improve its image and embrace equality. Barilla "has journeyed from gay rights pariah to poster child," The Washington Post stated in a report last year.
Contributing: Malika Toure