Barilla, the largest pasta brand in the world, made its début on TikTok this week with a macaroni-themed parody of the Lipps Inc. song “Funkytown,” as reported by Marketing Dive.
Khaby Lame, an Italian TikTok creator with over 59 million followers, collaborated with Barilla to promote his music and fictitious pasta festivals. The campaign is the latest from Barilla to use music to interact with more young consumers who cook at home. It was created by the agency We Are Social.
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Barilla entered the TikTok marketing arena with a publicity campaign, acknowledging a peculiar trend that has captured the interest of some app users for over a year. The brand responded to a viral video that sparked a meme hashtag in which creators counted down the days until May 24 in order to savor a bowl of macaroni. This year, Barilla has been working on a larger brand positioning, “A Sign of Love,” in an effort to establish a stronger emotional connection between its products and the consumer.
Early in the pandemic, as more people began preparing at home, pasta was a packaged food category that attracted intense consumer interest. TikTok is also a growing hub for aspiring gourmet, particularly members of Generation Z. This week, the New York Times reported on how creators such as Eitan Bernath amassed millions of followers in a brief period of time, while amateur chefs searched for recipes and kitchen tips. The trend suggests that TikTok is expanding beyond its dance and lip-sync video roots, which could make the platform accessible to a broader spectrum of advertisers.
Nonetheless, Barilla matched the platform’s musical concentration by imitating Lipps Inc.’s disco hit “Funkytown,” which debuted in the early 1980s. While the song predates TikTok’s predominantly youthful user base, it has been prominently featured on the app. Last year’s viral video of a man drinking cranberry juice and skateboarding to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” soundtrack propelled the song back to the top of the rankings and resulted in its highest number of streams to date.
Barilla is attempting to leverage in other ways on consumers’ interest in streaming music. A collection of eight Spotify playlists whose playback durations corresponded to the cooking times of various pasta shapes was released earlier this year.