Barilla Group's historic heritage is now accessible to everyone, thanks to the new Historical Archive website (https://www.archiviostoricobarilla.com/en/). A museum portal that showcases the 141 years of life of the Parma-based company, whose history is a reflection of the history of our country. Thousands of photographs, videos, promotional items, packaging, publications and bibliographical work testify to the journey of an icon of food Made in Italy and the changes in Italian society.
We all remember the spot in which a shivering kitten is saved by the girl in a yellow anorak. And the one, signed by Fellini, in which an elegant lady, despite the long list of Nouvelle Cuisine options suggested by the waiter, orders "Rigatoni". Two commercials that have made the history of Italian advertising and can now be found on the website of the new Barilla Historical Archive www.archiviostoricobarilla.com
The new Historical Archive website was presented on Wednesday, November 14 in Milan, at MuseImpresa headquarters, during the events organized for Corporate Culture Week. The project was strongly encouraged by Pietro Barilla – who died 25 years ago – with the objective of conserving and making the most of the historic documents produced by the company since its foundation in 1877, just a few years after Italian unification.
“We are all made of our history, which is therefore our most valuable heritage. Barilla has a long and extraordinary history that dates back more than 140 years, made by thousands of people, to whom we owe a great debt of gratitude. The Historical Archive, wanted by my father, shows how we focus on all aspects of quality and recounts how the tastes and customs of Italian society have evolved.” - said Luca Barilla, Vice-President of the Barilla Group - “A project that required years of work and represents not just our memories, but a journey across the cultural and economic changes of our country.”
RECOGNITION FROM THE MINISTRY OF CULTURAL HERITAGE AND ACTIVITIES
The Barilla Historical Archive is of great importance and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities has defined it a "website or considerable historic value" because it shows the evolution of Italian customs.
ITALY'S CUSTOMS DISPLAYED IN OVER 35,000 DOCUMENTS
Over 35,000 cataloged documents that show the history, the economic activity and the communication and advertising strategy of Barilla's iconic brands: Mulino Bianco, Pavesi, Pan di Stelle and Voiello. The graphics and advertising selection includes 150 posters from the 1920s to date, promotional items and approximately 2,700 TV and cinema ads. Starting from the oldest “Le Ali del Nostro Cielo – The Wings of Our Sky”, in which forks and spoons dance to the music of Rossini's “The Thieving Magpie”. Barilla has been a pioneer in the field of communication, thanks to collaborations with great film directors including Federico Fellini, Wim Wenders, David Lynch, Giuseppe Tornatore and Gabriele Salvatores. And performances by personalities from the worlds of sport, art and entertainment, such as Alberto Tomba, Alex Zanardi, Dario Fo, Mina, Massimo Ranieri and Pierfrancesco Favino.
The image bank includes thousands of company images taken since1913 which reveal the traits of the Italian family-run company, still recognizable in the company today: from its founder, Pietro, to brothers Guido, Luca and Paolo, currently at the helm of the Barilla Group, the fourth generation of this Made in Italy dynasty.
The website also includes a merchandising section with lots of vintage items which collectors can purchase directly from the site.
IN 1877, PIETRO BARILLA OPENED AN ARTISANAL BREAD SHOP IN RURAL ITALY
Barilla's story begins in Parma, just a few years after the unification of Italy, when Pietro Barilla opened a bread shop in Via Vittorio Emanuele II. In 1898, "a little wooden press to make pasta and sell it" was brought into the shop. Dating back to those times, the website shows one of the first invoices, dated 1909, and postcards of the same period, showing Parma during the Belle Époque.
1910-1947: BARILLA'S IDUSTRIALIZATION BEGINS
A difficult time for Italy, a country that experienced two World Wars with 20 years of fascism in between. However, they were years of great development for Barilla, which set the foundations for an entrepreneurial future with increasingly wider horizons. There are many photographs of the first bread and pasta industrial plant, opened in Via Veneto in 1910, showing the canteen, the cash office and the purchase and shipping departments. The first company trademark also dates back to 1910. It was the work of sculptor Emilio Trombara, representing a boy breaking a giant egg into a large wooden kneading trough. There are also promotional postcards and calendars from the 1930s, dominated by the smiley, chubby faces of children, thanks to Barilla's glutinated baby pasta, recommended to mums “to make them grow, healthy, happy and strong”. An image of times gone by that draws smiles if compared to today's "phobia about gluten".
1947-1958: BARILLA'S PASTA TURNS BLUE AND WINS ITALIANS OVER
Italy and Barilla experience the reconstruction and economic boom hoping for a more prosperous future. This period of renovation coincides with the third generation of the Barilla family heading the company: Pietro is mainly in charge of marketing and promoting the brand, while his brother Gianni looks after the plant's development and administration. In 1950, Pietro Barilla's trip to America marks the start of a new era for the company. He learned the logic behind advertising, marketing techniques, the importance of product packaging and the retail chain system. The first effect of this eye-opening experience was the introduction of cardboard boxes to package pasta, which at the time was sold loose (as shown in the suggestive black and white photos on the website). The archive reveals the origins of the classic "Barilla Blue", which today is synonymous with pasta in more than 100 countries. A choice inspired by the color of the paper used in shops to wrap loose pasta, immediately recognizable and familiar to housewives. It was such a success that in 1952 the company abandoned bread production to focus all its efforts on pasta, which was soon distributed nationwide. The Historical Archive includes photos of the tools used to make pasta with increasingly ambitious aspirations: next to molds and sieves there are also graphic designs by Erberto Carboni, who created the brand's oval logo. And also the revolutionary 500g packet, including the patented version with the transparent film window.
The Historical Archive includes many advertising and communication documents dating back to the 1950s: material that appeared at trade fairs, on public transport, on posters and promotional campaigns in newspapers and magazines. The advertising show Carosello marked the start of campaigns that made the history of advertising and communication. The claim "Con pasta Barilla è sempre domenica – With Barilla pasta it's always Sunday" – which won the Palme d'Or for advertising in 1952 – was a turning point. Shortly after that, Giorgio Albertazzi and Dario Fo starred in Barilla commercials.
1959-1970: BARILLA INTERPRETS THE NEW LIFESTYLES OF CONSUMERIST SOCIETY
Holidays, emigration, building development... and especially the consumerism represented by the arrival of two home appliances (the refrigerator and the television) that symbolized change in the country. Italian society embracing consumerism coincides with Barilla developing into an increasingly strong company in step with the times. Or even a step ahead of them. In 1965, in Rubbiano di Solignano, Barilla opens a new plant for the production of bread substitutes. In advertising, the ads starring Mina (all archived and available on the site), tell the story, or rather sing the story, of a woman that is no longer a house wife, but increasingly self-confident and independent.
After Neil Armstrong takes his first steps on the Moon, Barilla starts another revolution: in 1969, in Parma, it opens the largest pasta factory in the world. A production line 120 meters long, making 1,000 tons of pasta per day. The story of the factory's first steps and inauguration are told in the documents, newspaper cuttings, photos with personalities of the time and films.
1971-1979: THE AMERICAN PARENTHESIS AND THE LAUNCH OF MULINO BIANCO
Social unrest, terrorism, recession and oil crisis: the 1970s were difficult years for Italian companies, and Barilla was no exception. In 1971, brothers Pietro and Gianni Barilla have no choice but to sell the company to US multinational W.R. Grace. Gianni leaves the company, but Pietro Barilla keeps going. In 1975, the launch Mulino Bianco, Barilla's brand of biscuits and snacks, anticipates and caters for the need to return to nature and the appreciation of good, healthy choices. The Historic Archive preserves the first terracotta samples of the different shapes of Mulino Bianco biscuits and the precious documents on the history of the brand. Then came the little surprises hidden in the matchbox-style boxes inside the packs, which became synonymous with snacks in the 80s. There are more than 600 of them on the website: erasers, origami, lettering guides, crayons, calendars, riddles, stickers, board games, geographical maps… it's impossible to mention them all. In 1979, Pietro's offer to buy the company back is accepted, and the Barilla family takes back control.
1979-1993: THE “WHERE THERE'S BARILLA THERE'S HOME” SERIES, WITH FELLINI, TORNATORE AND MICHALKOV
Then come the bright 1980s: a "return to the future" and to an informal, lighthearted spirit, in which the importance of eating together and conviviality inspired great advertising campaigns. Every Sunday the iconic football rivalry between AC Roma and Juventus also involved Barilla, whose brand stood out on the red and yellow jerseys of Roma players – the words “Obrigado, Barilla - Thank you Barilla”, pronounced by a smiling Falcao who had just won the league, are a symbol of that time. Meanwhile, on screen Barilla launched memorable commercials directed by the greatest film directors in the world. In particular, the backstage with Fellini on the set of “Rigatoni”, which takes place in a luxury restaurant, where a sophisticated couple declines a long list of French-sounding dishes proposed by smart presented waiters and orders a simple pasta dish.1985, was the year of an unmistakable campaign. The claim, “Dove C’è Barilla C’è Casa – Where There’s Barilla There’s Home”. The music, Hymne, by Vangelis. The little girl in a yellow anorak coming home holding a shivering kitten melts the heart of millions of Italians. The campaign continued until the early 1990s with different variations (including "Adoption", the spot in which smiles, integration and bonds are created between a newly adopted Cambodian girl and her new family, all around a plate of spaghetti, ) In 1990, while the whole of Italy was glued to the TV to watch the magical duo of Baggio and Schillaci play football for their country, the magical duo of Italian cinema (Oscar winning director Giuseppe Tornatore and the great composer Ennio Morricone), created the “Famiglia del Mulino – The Family who lives in the Mill” campaign, based on a universe of values – family, nature and environment, quality products and ingredients – which are still strong company values.
1993-2000: INTERNATIONALIZATION AND SUSTAINABILITY
The fall of the Berlin wall set the foundations for an increasingly open and global society. The fourth generation of the Barilla family – Guido, Luca and Paolo, Pietro's children – lead the way towards internationalization and sustainability. The first years are defined by expansion on the European market: between 1993 and 1995, Barilla focused on high level testimonials, strengthening its brand in France with ads signed by David Lynch and Ridley Scott, starring Gérard Depardieu; in Germany Steffi Graf served Barilla pasta in the silver "plate" she won at Wimbledon. Numerous items in the Barilla Historical Archive show the Group's interest in the world of sport and the collaboration with the greatest athletes of the time.
2000-2017: From “GOOD FOR YOU” TO “GOOD FOR YOU, GOOD FOR THE PLANET”
These last 17 years have been marked by important themes, such as health and nutrition. Producing good and healthy food is no longer enough: in 2004, the inauguration of Academia Barilla – a cultural project dedicated to understanding and promoting Italian regional food – puts the focus on the strong social and cultural values that rotate around food and its preparation. In 2009, the Barilla Center For Food & Nutrition, a multidisciplinary think tank that analyses factors and issues related to food and nutrition, was founded.The attention to the sustainable use of the Planet's resources is the start of a new chapter for Barilla. In 2017, the company celebrated 140 years of activity and its present and future are expressed in its way of doing business “Good for You, Good for the Planet.”
Swiss champion Roger Federer, one of the greatest tennis players of all times, is entrusted with representing the brand and promoting its pasta and sauces around the world. Federer, together with chef Davide Oldani, representing the good, healthy and sustainable food of the Group from Parma, are the latest additions to the Barilla Historical Archive.
For further information: www.barillagroup.com - Twitter: @BarillaGroup
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