Pasta Diva

By Archivio Storico Barilla

With the birth of Italian television, realizing the great potential offered by the new medium, Barilla ventured into television advertising with great commitment and attention to the quality of the message, parallel, in its own way, to the quality of the product. For this reason, over time, it identified certain VIP faces to promote its pasta.

Giorgio Albertazzi's album: Dante Alighieri. (1959) by FATTORI, Mario (1927-2002)Archivio Storico Barilla

Here is a run-down along the timeline.
In 1958, one of the first Carosello TV shows also featured Barilla, which presented for two seasons a very young Giorgio Albertazzi (1923-2016), first as a discoverer of rare historical films and then as a reader of passionate love poems, and whose gaze would win the hearts of the consumers.

The lier with Dario Fo: the magician. (1959) by FATTORI, Mario (1927-2002)Archivio Storico Barilla

At the end of ‘59 the partnership with Albertazzi – arguably a little too serious – was interrupted, and he was replaced by the more popular and unpredictable Dario Fo (1926-2016). But this was a meteor which only burnt for one season of Carosello.

Mina: songs - Una casa in cima al mondo (A house on the top of the world.) (1967) by CPV ITALIA - GHERARDI, Piero (1909-1971)Archivio Storico Barilla

The singer Mina (Mina Anna Mazzini, 1940-), charming and engaging, was to become an exceptional interpreter of Barilla’s image from 1965 to 1970. Tied to the fashion of the time, but never predictable, endowed with uncommon mimicry and acting talents, along with her exceptional voice she would caress the boxes of pasta with voluptuous elegance or sit astride gigantic packages to recommend quality purchases to those greatest of cooks, namely, Italian housewives.

Massimo Ranieri: Squares of Italy - Love Dream. (1973) by YOUNG & RUBICAM ITALIA - LESTER, Richard (1932-)Archivio Storico Barilla

In 1970, while the futuristic factory of Pedrignano, built along the Autostrada del Sole highway three kilometres from the city of Parma, came into operation, for a couple of seasons Barilla proposed the songs of Massimo Ranieri (Giovanni Calone, 1951-), a standard bearer of regional Italian recipes.

Raoul Casadei (1975) by YOUNG & RUBICAM ITALIAArchivio Storico Barilla

In the 1970s, the production of commercials became sparse and largely repetitive. However, Renzo Marignano appeared as a look-alike of the journalist Mario Soldati (1906-1999), champion of regional cuisine, and the king of Liscio dancing Raoul Casadei (1937-2021), a defender of fine Italian traditions.

Steffi Graf - Racket. (1994) by TBWA - GIRALDI, Bob (1939-)Archivio Storico Barilla

Barilla had grown, and important businesses from various European countries had joined the company. And precisely to launch its image beyond Italy’s borders, Barilla linked its name to sport and to the faces of some truly exceptional VIPs.
In Germany, it was Steffi Graf (1969-) who advertised Barilla pasta from 1991 to 1994, and again in 2006, as refined as a jewel, as cheerful and light-hearted as the tennis champion herself. Then tennis again, this time with Stephan Edberg (1966-), who in 1992 popularized Barilla Pasta with his likeable personality in Scandinavian countries.

Placido Domingo - Train. (1993) by TBWA - SUAREZ, GonzaloArchivio Storico Barilla

Placido Domingo (1941-), almost a hero to his compatriots, masterfully blended harmonies of sounds and flavours,

Gérard Depardieu - Roman balcony. (1992) by TBWA - SCOTT, Ridley (1937-)Archivio Storico Barilla

while Gérard Depardieu (1948-) told the French, with subtle irony, of the wonders of Italy (also in the kitchen).

Viva il blu - Christmas - Zucchero Fornaciari (1994) by YOUNG & RUBICAM ITALIA - GIRALDI, Bob (1939-)Archivio Storico Barilla

In 1994, a new horizon opened up with the “Long Live the Blue” campaign. It would be the turn of the singer/songwriter Zucchero Fornaciari (1955-) and the universal notes of White Christmas,

Viva il blu - Asia 2. Cindy Crawford (1995) by YOUNG & RUBICAM ITALIAArchivio Storico Barilla

the magic fork pendant of Cindy Crawford (1966-)

Viva il blu - Blue Boy - Alberto Tomba (1995) by YOUNG & RUBICAM ITALIAArchivio Storico Barilla

and the particular performances of Alberto Tomba (1966-) that would bring the consumer’s attention back to the universe of Barilla. The ski champion had already starred in two commercials dedicated to egg pasta in 1992.

Barilla farfalle Gran Bretagna. Bode Miller (2005) by YOUNG & RUBICAM ITALIAArchivio Storico Barilla

The American skier Bode Miller (1977-) sponsored by Barilla for the three-year period 2004-2006, shot the commercial “Farfalle” for the international market in 2005.

Barilla - Spot 2015 - La PartenzaArchivio Storico Barilla

In 2015, the actor Pierfrancesco Favino (1969-), directed by Oscar-winning director Gabriele Salvatores (1950-) staged the story of a single dad, a truck driver, struggling with a growing daughter. His presence on TV screens alongside Barilla continued until 2017.

Masters of Pasta - Testimonial Federer e Oldani (2017) by 72ANDSUNNY AMSTERDAMArchivio Storico Barilla

Tennis player Roger Federer (1981-) and chef Davide Oldani (1967-) interpreted in 2017 the international video “Masters of Pasta” set in a cooking school. This odd couple were back in 2019 in a short “The Party”, in which Mikaela Shiffrin also took part.

A Pesto Story - Mikaela Shiffrin (2020)Archivio Storico Barilla

American skier Mikaela Shiffrin (1995-), Olympic gold medallist at Sochi, who had been wearing the Parma company’s logo on her tracksuit since 2012, after interpreting the international commercial “The Party” with Federer and Oldani in 2019, was back in 2020 to star in a longer video intended to tell the story of Barilla’s pesto sauce for the international market.

Masters of Pasta - Testimonial Federer e Oldani (2017) by 72ANDSUNNY AMSTERDAMArchivio Storico Barilla

The journey into Barilla’s TV advertising, among actors, singers, and exceptional sportspersons underscores a constant search for excellence and quality in communication. And it is precisely the theme of all-round quality that reveals itself as the leitmotif of half a century of TV commercials, which Barilla has chosen to present, thanks to top-level interpreters, in line with its very own precise and coherent philosophy.

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