Brand Parmalat Survives Bankrupt Parmalat

11 January 2005

Insolvency experts restructuring fallen Italian dairy giant Parmalat are plowing a different furrow to that pursued by the administrators of similar massive frauds at Enron and WorldCom.

While the latter opted to camouflage their scandal-tainted brands with new identities - respectively MCI and Prisma Energy International / CrossCountry Energy - the Italian giant is capitalizing on the Parmalat name with a €2 million ($2.61m; £1.4m) national ad campaign proclaiming its history and products.

Explains Alasdhair Macgregor, executive creative director Publicis Italia: "There was nothing wrong with the Parmalat name or products, just with the people at the top."

Parmalat's campaign, aired on Italian TV as from last month, may be extended to other European markets ahead of the company's relisting on the Milan stock exchange in March.

The drive focuses on the brand's people and products - among them milk, yogurts and juices - and recalls the company's successful industrial roots. 'Parmalat's future starts with quality,' proclaim the commercials.

Macgregor confesses he was skeptical when Parmalat approached him about the ad campaign, reckoning that discretion might be the better part of valor. "The risk of making a mistake was huge," he says.

Manfredi Ricca, business director at the Italian branch of Interbrand, approves of Parmalat's strategy: "Given that its sales weren't really hurt by the scandal, the name proved to be the asset Parmalat should focus on for its relaunch," he says.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff