In the last few months I have seen several ads include the term gluten free. Some, for informational purposes and awareness, like Chex. This new ad from December talks about it.
Others seem to use it because it’s a hot topic. It seems pretty random to add “gluten free” in this Honda Fit commercial which squeezed the term into an ad last fall.
Now the latest ad that brings up gluten, is a promotion for NASCAR on NBC. Take a look below:
“When our idea of danger is eating gluten, there’s trouble afoot”, is what the actor says in the advertisement. He describes that as one thing that makes America “soft”. It then says at NASCAR events “where everyone is welcome and we all belong”…. only seconds after alienating the gluten-free community.
This is a long version of the ad that you’ll see on the Super Bowl, so who knows if the gluten portion will even make the shortened version.
The ad, in general, is pretty silly. GlutenDude wrote about this topic as well and said, “They have a cool concept, a funny actor and a huge audience. They could have selected one out of 1,000 things that related to America being ‘soft’ that would have still been humorous. But they chose gluten. Why?”
Amy Ratner, Editor of Gluten-Free Living Magazine also wrote about the issue on the website’s blog, “Like many writing about this commercial controversy, I am tired of the whole ‘let’s kick gluten free around’ mentality.”
It is a question I wonder as well. Why gluten? What is it that makes that the go-to phrase or joke?
I ask, what will anyone get out of the gluten moment in this commercial. Will the general public be educated about gluten? Not likely. Will the gluten-free community at least feel some awareness being raised? Absolutely. I never pay attention to NASCAR, but now I know it will be on NBC on July 4th weekend (although I still won’t be watching it).
UPDATE: What do you think about this topic? GlutenDude started a petition if you would like NBC to pull the ad. As of this posting, there have been more than 16,000 signatures. Click here to sign the petition.
Late Friday, NBC Sports told ADWeek.com the gluten comment will not be included in the final 60-second commercial that will run on Sunday. It did not comment on whether the petition had anything to do with it.
The article quoted a spokesperson for NBC Sports saying, “The intent of our creative was to highlight NASCAR’s return to NBC Sports in 2015 and celebrate the sport’s fun and passionate following. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, but we understand that it is hard to please everyone and apologize to anyone who took offense.”