Barilla, the world’s largest pasta brand, debuted on TikTok this week with a parody of the Lipps Inc. song “Funkytown,” with lyrics revolving around macaroni, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
Barilla teamed up with Khaby Lame, an Italian TikTok creator with more than 59 million followers, to promote his music and fake pasta holidays. Developed by agency We Are Social, the campaign is the latest from Barilla to use music to connect with more young consumers who are cooking at home.
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Barilla entered the TikTok marketing arena with a publicity campaign, acknowledging a strange trend that has been drawing the attention of some users of the app for more than a year. The brand responded to a viral video that sparked a meme hashtag in which creators meticulously counted down the days until May 24 until they could enjoy a bowl of macaroni. Barilla, which calls the holiday Macaroni Day, was working on a larger brand positioning earlier this year, “A Sign of Love,” and hopes to create a stronger emotional connection with its products.
Pasta is a packaged food category that garnered intense consumer interest early in the pandemic as more people began cooking at home. TikTok is also increasingly home to aspiring foodies, especially Gen Z. A New York Times report this week detailed how creators like Eitan Bernath amassed millions of followers in a short amount of time, while novice chefs searched for recipes and looked for kitchen tips. The trend suggests TikTok is moving beyond its dance and lip-sync video roots, which could open the door to a wider range of marketers.
Still, Barilla fit into the platform’s musical focus by emulating Lipps Inc.’s disco song “Funkytown,” which first charted in the early 1980s. While the single predates TikTok’s largely younger user base, the retro tune has featured prominently on the app. Last year’s viral video of a man sipping cranberry juice and skateboarding on the soundtrack to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” propelled the song back onto the charts and its highest number of streams to date.
Barilla is trying to capitalize on consumer interest in streaming music in other ways. Earlier this year, it released a collection of eight Spotify playlists whose playback times corresponded to the cooking times of different shapes of pasta.