Tennis superstar Roger Federer proves an amazingly quick study in the culinary realm in the first ad in a new Barilla global platform, “Masters of Pasta.”
In the ad (below), Federer — a longtime pasta lover, but a “complete amateur” in the kitchen, according to Barilla — nevertheless demonstrates impressive flair as he gets a cooking lesson from renowned Italian chef Davide Oldani. Oldani is known for creating “Cucina Pop” (“Pop Cuisine”) — making simple daily cuisine extraordinary through technique and knowledge.
The ad will be seen in digital channels in the U.S. starting January 16, and TV in some international markets. The campaign debuted in the U.S. on January 13, via billboards in New York City's Times Square.
Federer, who signed as a Barilla brand ambassador in May 2017, will also star in product-specific videos and make appearances over the five-year contract. His messaging for the brand will focus on the role that complex carbohydrates like pasta play in his training, on-court performance and daily life.
The campaign, the first for Barilla from its new global creative agency, 72andSunny Amsterdam, will run in more than 40 countries, including Australia, Japan, Italy, Germany and France. In addition to television, it spans online, social media content, and digital and traditional out-of-home.
Following a series of teasers released by Federer and Oldani, Federer posted the campaign’s anthem video on his social channels on Dec. 27, marking the campaign's launch in markets outside the U.S. Barilla posted a two-minute version on the same day.
Federer is the latest in a string of tennis and other sports ambassadors and sponsorships for the 140-year-old Barilla, including Steffi Graf, Stefan Edberg, Alberto Tomba, Alex Zanardi, Ricardo Kakà, Thomas Müller and Mikaela Shiffrin. The brand is a longtime sponsor of the AS Roma Italian soccer club, and has been a main sponsor of the Italian national basketball teams since 2015.
Federer — who has earned an estimated $625 million from sponsors during his two-decade career and was named the world’s most marketable athlete in 2016 by the London School of Marketing — had at least 10 deals as of last year, including Nike, Mercedes-Benz, Rolex, Credit Suisse, Wilson and Lindt.