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  • Jefferson Adams

    Agency and Party City Apologize for 'Gross' Gluten-Free pre-Super Bowl Ad

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      When one of the women points out the gluten-free options, the other asks "Do we even know people that are like that?"


    Photo: CC--Jeepers Media
    Caption: Photo: CC--Jeepers Media

    Celiac.com 02/20/2018 - Party City has pulled a controversial advertising spot that provoked outrage in gluten-free community by tagging gluten-free dieters as 'gross.'

    Moreover, both Party City, and the advertising firm behind the pre-Super bowl ad, Hill Holliday, have issued public apologies in an effort to mitigate the outrage caused by its obviously insensitive ad.



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    The ad starred two women attending a Super Bowl party and standing in front of an "inflatable snack stadium."

    When one of the women points out the gluten-free options, the other asks "Do we even know people that are like that?"

    The first woman answers: "Tina."

    To which, the second woman says: "Oh, gross, yeah."

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, furious viewers wasted no time in launching the Twitter hashtag #IAmTina, which called out both Party City and Hill Holliday for insensitivity toward people with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity.

    Party City apologized via Instagram, and also clarified that celebrity Sunny Anderson played no part in the campaign.

    The company statement reads, in part: "Party City values its customers above all else, and we take your feedback extremely seriously. We recognize that we made an error in judgment by running the recent Big Game commercial, which was insensitive to people with food allergies…We will also be reviewing our internal vetting process on all advertising content to avoid any future issues. In addition, Party City will be making a donation in support of Celiac Disease research."

    Read more at: Adweek.com

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    I hate that these organizations that are so insensitive and when called out on it they offer up their feeble excuses and donations thinking that will placate those that they have offended. I saw the ad and I was more than offended. It is hard enough to find decent foods and restaurants as it is! I was at a restaurant after the ad aired and over heard a waiter tell a customer that their restaurant didn't cater to those gross gluten free nuts! I won't go their again and I won't shop Party City anymore. When friends ask I am going to tell everyone I know why. I am 66 years old and have celiac and I am not gross!

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    I hate that these organizations that are so insensitive and when called out on it they offer up their feeble excuses and donations thinking that will placate those that they have offended. I saw the ad and I was more than offended. It is hard enough to find decent foods and restaurants as it is! I was at a restaurant after the ad aired and over heard a waiter tell a customer that their restaurant didn't cater to those gross gluten free nuts! I won't go their again and I won't shop Party City anymore. When friends ask I am going to tell everyone I know why. I am 66 years old and have celiac and I am not gross!

    Quit being so sensitive, that's the problem with this world. Everyone is too sensitive... I am 53 years old with celiac. Boo hoo. It didn't offend me. Really.... A GLUTEN FREE DIET IS GROSS!!! are you kidding

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    Glad to hear that they apologized and I hope they will change their ways. I saw a post from a mother whose young celiac daughter saw this commercial and was understandably upset. As long as celiac and other allergies are treated as a joke, they will never be viewed as seriously as they are by the public and the restaurant industry.

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    What happens when we eat gluten is gross but eating gluten free is not gross unless you hate meat, cheese, fruits and vegetables. I am also an excellent gluten free baker my stuff is not gross at all.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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