Barilla pens rigatoni-themed ‘Funkytown’ parody for TikTok



Dive Brief:

  • Barilla, the world’s largest pasta brand, made its TikTok debut this week with a parody of the Lipps Inc. song “Funkytown” featuring lyrics themed around rigatoni, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
  • The “Funky Rigatoni” concept was inspired by a TikTok post shared last year by user @jimmyrules32 that encouraged people to “eat a bowl of rigatoni pasta on May 24th 2021.” The original video shows bugs on a brick wall set to the beat of “Funkytown,” and inspired an #EatABowlOfRigatoniPastaOnMay242021 hashtag that has accumulated more than 41 million views, per Barilla. A separate account, @rigatonipastacountdown, posted daily reminders leading up to May 24.
  • Barilla partnered with Khaby Lame, an Italian TikTok creator with more than 59 million followers, to promote its tune and the fake pasta-themed holiday. The campaign, developed with agency We Are Social, is the latest from Barilla that uses music to connect with younger consumers who are cooking more at home.

Dive Insight:

Barilla enters the TikTok marketing sphere with a campaign honoring a bizarre trend that’s commanded the attention of some users on the app for over a year. The brand is responding to a viral video that subsequently set off a memetic hashtag where creators meticulously counted down the days to May 24, when they would be able to enjoy a bowl of rigatoni. Barilla, which has dubbed the occasion “Rigatoni Day,” is tying the effort back to its larger “A Sign of Love” brand positioning that was introduced earlier this year and looks to draw a stronger emotional connection to its products.

Pasta is among the packaged food categories that saw a surge in consumer interest at the outset of the pandemic with more people cooking at home. TikTok has also increasingly become a home to aspiring foodies, particularly in the Gen Z cohort. A report in The New York Times this week detailed how creators like Eitan Bernath have been able to amass millions of followers over a short time span as novice cooks look for recipes and kitchen tips. The trend speaks to how TikTok is expanding beyond its dance and lip- synced video roots, which could open the door for a greater variety of marketers.

Still, Barilla is leaning into the platform’s music focus with a parody of “Funkytown,” the Lipps Inc. disco song that first charted in the early 1980s. While the single predates much of TikTok’s typically young user base, vintage tunes have gained traction on the app. A viral video of a man skateboarding while sipping cranberry juice to the soundtrack of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” last year propelled the song back to the charts and its highest streaming figures to date.

Barilla has tried to capitalize on the consumer appetite for music streaming in other ways. Earlier this year, it released a collection of eight Spotify playlists with running times equal to the cooking times of different pasta shapes.




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