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Advertising Gone Too Far?

February 24, 2011

A restaurant chain in Indiana are removing their billboard advertisements after receiving several complaints from customers.  Hacienda is a popular Mexican restaurant with several locations in Indiana.  Two weeks they attempted a comedic reference to the cult led by Jim Jones and the mass suicide he coordinated in Jonestown in 1978 by having his followers drink grape kool-aid.

The billboard pictured a margarita with the slogan “We’re like a cult with better Kool-aid.” Next to the side of the margarita it read “To die for.” After receiving numerous complaints that the billboard was insensitive and offensive Hacienda has decided to have the billboards taken down.

It seems though that some people have mixed opinions about the campaign. Here are some comments from readers on

-I personally thought it was funny when I saw this billboard.  Who has not made a kool-aid joke?  I know I have.  I thought the ad made sense.  I mean I know they made light of a bad situation, but how many other disasters have people used to hock goods that were far more recent.  I don’t know about you but I have seen tons of ads in the past using 9/11 to help sell goods, and well, if that is not offensive and insensetive, then how is this.

-I would have never caught on to the connection to Jonestown, if I had seen the billboard.  Gosh, people, thicken your skin a little.

-I don’t even think it’s good for business, after a while. Alot of the public just sort of regards them like litter blowing in the wind. The obnoxiousness and invasiveness of marketing tactics is symptomatic of desperation. Anything to peak out above the growing din for a split second. If they must prime the public by desensitizing them to having their privacy invaded or their intelligence insulted, so be it. It’s the bottom line, not your fellow man.

What are your thoughts? We want to hear how you feel about the billboard. Did it cross the line, or are people being too sensitive?

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