While nothing can completely undo the negatives of Party City’s inept commercial, we thank the celiac disease community for turning your anger into positive action and empowering each other to work together to get results.
Recently, Party City aired an insensitive commercial bullying those on a gluten-free diet. In the ad, a gluten-free partygoer named Tina is called “gross” and the lonely plate of gluten-free crackers, her only food choice, is equally mocked. What’s worse, this commercial aired on the children’s network Nickelodeon and during the Kids Baking Championship on the Food Network.
Children saw this commercial. Children with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity felt bullied and wounded. We heard from you, the celiac disease community, that you were outraged, and that your children were confused and hurt.
But more important than us hearing from you is the fact that the world heard what you had to say about how wronged you felt by this heartless and inaccurate message. We are so proud of the celiac disease and gluten-free communities’ quick and loud response. To many, this commercial was “the last straw” because it’s not just one ad making fun of us. We might be able to take that. It’s the everyday bullying, quips, and jokes made at our expense – made at our children’s expense – that keep us up at night. It’s that the world doesn’t understand that celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease that, in some cases, can even be fatal. The fact is we didn’t choose to eat gluten-free – wehave to eat this way to stay healthy.
However, instead of focusing on the negative, we’re taking the lemons produced by this commercial and making lemonade. We’re thanking you, the quick, loud and decisive celiac disease community, including notable twitter contributorsGlutenDude, Baltimore Gluten-Free, Gluten-Free Philly and Celiac and the Beast, who threw considerable force behind an effort to get Party City to remove the ad. The community can take credit for getting the company to do just that.
Further, because of your voices, Party City has pledged to donate to celiac disease research. They are making a contribution to Beyond Celiac to help expand our research efforts with Go Beyond Celiac and to help fund the ongoing research studies we’re currently sponsoring.
Additionally, the ad agency that created the commercial for Party City, Hill Holliday, is offering pro bono support to Beyond Celiac to help raise awareness of celiac disease as a serious autoimmune condition and change the perception of celiac disease. This is an opportunity for the celiac disease community to be heard and understood by an even wider audience.
While nothing can completely undo the negatives of this inept commercial, we thank you for turning your anger into positive action and empowering each other to work together to get results. We are very proud to be part of a community that did not sit back. The donation will be used to help advance much-needed research, including the opportunities created for sharing your experience of celiac disease and making your voice heard throughGo Beyond Celiac.This will help researchers identify unmet needs and opportunities for improved diagnoses and treatments.
Because of you, the ad was removed, Party City apologized, additional research is being funded and a strategic campaign by a large communications agency (that we hope has learned an important lesson) will soon be in the works to spread celiac disease awareness.This is because of YOU.So again, thank you. Remember this moment. Remember that together we can inspire change. Continue to be loud and together we can create a world Beyond Celiac.