Supermarket's 'horrible' ad sparks Covid backlash

·3-min read

A supermarket has apologised for an advertisement campaign in its magazine which was lambasted for being “tone deaf”.

A full-page ad from US grocery chain Giant Foods was heavily scrutinised for its caption: “Hosting? Plan a super spread.”

Covid-19 cases continue to surge in the US ahead of the holiday season and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises celebrating Thanksgiving within households to prevent spreading the virus.

In light of the pandemic, the term “super spreader event” has been thrown around a lot.

The Giant Foods ad that sparked online controversy.
The ad featured in Giant Food's magazine 'Savory' and caused a stir online. Source: Twitter/@potomacripper

It refers to events where the virus has been spread easily where there has been large groups of people.

Speaking to the US edition of TODAY, experts said there had been incidents where college parties, weddings, family parties and busy bars have all been super spreader events.

In a statement to TODAY, Giant Foods did offer an apology for the ad, saying the company had no intention of being insensitive.

“We apologise for our advertisement in Savory which used the language Super Spread to describe an abundance of food,” the statement said.

“While, in hindsight, the choice of words was a poor one, Giant had no intentions of insensitivity. We continue to encourage people to practice safe social distancing practices for celebrating the holidays in line with CDC recommendations.”

Though it appears Giant Foods has pulled the ad from their online edition of Savory, people were upset when it first came out.

One person drew attention to the ad on Twitter, which prompted a response from Giant Foods.

“We missed this in the pre-holiday excitement,” Giant Foods said in response to a Twitter user.

“Thank you for pointing it out. This is not the message we intended, please stay safe this holiday season.”

However the explanation did not go over well with some.

“You ‘missed it (your ad about planning 4 a Thanksgiving ‘super spreader’) in the pre holiday EXCITEMENT?’” one person fired back at Giant Foods.

“It sounds strategic. It pushed messaging boundaries. But it missed the mark. Because it was tone deaf. Because it lacked a sensitivity chip.”

The same person then went on to point out the US leads the world in Covid-19 cases and more than 250,000 Americans have died of the virus since the start of the pandemic.

“People are dying. Your customers are dying. Your customers’ loved ones are dying. The world is in the midst of a pandemic that has killed 1.34 million+ people,” she said, adding publishing the ad was “insensitive and disrespectful”.

“OUR country is the worst in the entire world in the number of deaths - 250,000+ to date: 1 person dying per minute.”

Another person on Twitter said the ad highlighted “why copyediting is important”.

On Twitter, a third person shared what appeared to replace the original ad in the magazine.

“Kudos to @GiantFood for replacing that horrible ad with one that's more respectful of the current world situation,” they tweeted.

“Feedback works.”

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