Grocery Chain Apologizes for “Super Spread” Ad Mishap

Yes, this really happened.

As the Washington region braces for a Thanksgiving Day in the middle of a coronavirus surge, one leading grocery store chain has some advice in its pre-holiday advertising.

“Hosting? Plan a Super Spread,” reads the tag line of a full page advertisement for Giant Food that appeared the December issue of its own magazine, Savory. The slogan is placed beneath a photograph of holiday food items sold at Giant, including a fruit tart, a cheese board, and a menacing looking shrimp cocktail ring. The magazine also includes recipes for crowd-friendly dishes like dinner rolls, pigs in blankets for 32, and a chocolate/peppermint layer cake. Another ad in its pages, from Campbell’s soup, encourages readers to “Slay the Spread” with a green-bean casserole for six. In fairness, a subsequent Giant ad in the magazine does acknowledge that “this year, your crowd has to be smaller than years past.”

Local government officials and public health experts across the country have spent the past several weeks sounding the alarm about the potential for Thanksgiving Day gatherings to become Covid-19 super spreader events.

We asked Giant for comment on the “super spread” ad, and this is what they said:

We apologize for our advertisement in Savory which used the language Super Spread to describe an abundance of food. 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. 2020 has been exceptionally challenging for so many reasons and this year the holidays will be celebrated very differently, but we hope that food can still be a source of joy and comfort and that the ad reflects that spirit.

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.