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Carbonaragate: when branded content fails

Brand ends up being outraged by editorial content produced for it. Lesson learned: never anger an Italian.

Last week, at the grocery store, I bought pancetta. Why? Because I had seen a 45-second video on Facebook about how easy it is to make carbonara pasta. True story.

Never did I think I’d hear about this video in a Guardian article this week.

If I had searched again for that video, I wouldn’t have found it. Because Barilla, the pasta brand, asked that the French site that had produced the video take it down.

Why did the site accept to take it down? Because Barilla had paid for that content. They had paid so that Demotivateur (the site) would produce video content that uses the brand’s products.

It so happens that Demotivateur had decided to reinvent an Italian classic, pasta carbonara, but as a one-pot pasta recipe. They didn’t know that reinventing Roman recipes is a big no-no, and that tradition trumps virality.

Demotivateur’s video, qualified as a “horror show”, even made front-page news in Italian daily La Repubblica!

Please, everyone, when producing branded content, get approval from the brand BEFORE publishing. You’ll end up with less trouble something be not quite right.

This week, Barilla published, on its site, the proper recipe for pasta carbonara, and everything is good again in the world.