Glad Campaign Backfires For Disguising Three-Day-Old Food As ‘Hipster’
By Mikelle Leow, 14 Sep 2018
Image via Glad
Most people would be okay with munching on leftovers packed from nights out—but only if they were aware they were eating old food. This wasn’t the case in this campaign-gone-wrong, however.
One of Chicago’s most renowned restaurants, Giant, recently invited food influencers and media guests to have a taste of what the diners assumed would be chef Jason Vincent’s new menu, which was called, ‘Three Moons’.
The invite added that there would be “yummy cocktails and wine pairings” alongside “fresh and seasonal ingredients.”
Naturally, guests fixated on these descriptions but paid less attention to the menu’s name—‘Three Moons’ refered to the fact that the meals were prepared three days in advance and then kept in saran wrap.
The media guests had not been told prior to the event that the restaurant was collaborating with food storage company Glad Products, which was promoting its ‘Press’n Seal’ plastic wrap, and were only made aware of the “gotcha” scenario after the tasting.
Adam Sokolowski, a social media “tastemaker,” was one of the diners who felt cheated by the setup, and told Vincent that, “what he’s doing is unethical, potentially a violation of his license, and definitely a complete dereliction of hospitality.”
He also took offence with the invitation’s claim that the food was prepared with “interesting preservation techniques.”
Eater Chicago writer Elizabeth Atkinson was present at one of the tastings, and said that not every dish was preserved in the plastic wrap. For instance, the smoked ribs and shaved zucchini salad were served fresh, but less perishable foods like coleslaw and butter lemon cake were wrapped in the product.
The restaurant has since taken to social media to apologize for the miscommunication.
“I [Vincent] would first and foremost like to apologize to anyone in attendance who felt like the victim of a ‘gotcha’ moment or feels in any way that we were being deceitful,” wrote the restaurant on Instagram. “That was absolutely not our intention.”
“At Giant, we consistently use preservation techniques such as packing proteins and vegetables in fat or oil, fermentation, and dry aging… We thought that we could use some of these techniques, wrap it in the Glad product, and the integrity of the food would remain intact.”
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*UPDATE IN IG STORY HIGHLIGHT* NOTE: @scjohnson.afamilycompany requested that Saran Wrap be changed to Glad’s Press N Seal Cling Film __________________ Last night I was invited to try the new menu at @giantchicago by what appeared to be the PR firm representing @jasonvincent00 award-winning restaurant. We were very excited that we arrived early so we went next door to grab a drink at @scofflawchicago. The bouncer overhears us talking about how we’re having dinner next door and comes up to warn us that it’s a scam. He explains that he saw the first seating before us leave disgusted because they realized they were being served old food. Seeing as it was such a critically-acclaimed restaurant, I couldn’t believe it, so I texted my friend who I knew was in the first seating. She confirms the details and says it’s for a @gladproducts Glad’s Press N Seal Cling Film* commercial, but you don’t find out anything until the end when they ask you to sign a contract for exclusivity. I still can’t believe it, so I walk over to Giant for our dinner to see my other friend shaking his head saying he’s not going in either based on what he heard from the first seating. Chef sees us hovering outside reluctantly so he walks out to invite us in, and I tell him what I just heard. He acknowledges it and tries to placate us by saying the food is exactly how it’s prepared for the restaurant, just that it’s 3-days old but still tastes good! (He also mentions that he does it all the time at regular service at Giant...) I tell him fine, even if it is (which it was not based on the feedback from the first seating), when were you going to disclose this or your relationship with the brand? He said, “Oh, after the meal,” as if that was supposed to add an element of surprise and not disgust. I was incredulous, but managed to promptly tell Jason Vincent that what he’s doing is unethical, potentially a violation of his license, and definitely a complete dereliction of hospitality. I walked away with three others. Glad’s Press N Seal Cling Film* is not an “interesting preservation technique,” even when they pay you thousands to say that.
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Hi Everyone, I would like to address the event that Glad hosted at Giant the other night. I would first and foremost like to apologize to anyone in attendance who felt like the victim of a “gotcha” moment or feels in any way that we were being deceitful. That was absolutely not our intention. We were contracted by Glad to test one of their products with our food. We went to their research and development facility to test the entire process which consisted of preparing food, sealing it, refrigerating it, and then seeing how it reacted after three days in the refrigerator. We tested and retested the pieces that we weren’t happy with. At Giant we consistently use preservation techniques such as packing proteins and vegetables in fat or oil, fermentation, and dry aging. These are things that we don’t often advertise because they sound weird and cheffy. That is not what we’re going for as a small neighborhood restaurant, but we are proud of our ability to build flavors on top of flavors as a result of exactly these “cheffy” techniques. We thought that we could use some of these techniques, wrap it in the Glad product, and the integrity of the food would remain intact. The premise, as we understood it, was that we would serve the food to people, many who the advertising agency had worked with before. They would come in, try it, and give their honest opinion. We never really thought that this would be a referendum on Giant, but more of a “see how good this plastic wrap is” sort of event. We were wrong. Once we became aware that a few people felt “punked”, we immediately changed our approach for the next seating and gave people the full details about how and when the food was prepared, preserved, refrigerated, and finished. I really, really wish we had done so from the outset. (More below)
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[via Uproxx, cover image via Glad]
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