Mass Suicide As Ad Campaign?

Here’s a tip for all you would-be restauranteurs out there: Don’t base an ad campaign for your eatery on a cult’s mass suicide. It’s unappetizing.

Most people would think I’m being Captain Obvious here, but not so for the Indiana-based restaurant chain Hacienda.  Which is probably being run by Captain Oblivious.

This photo from the South Bend Tribune shows the offending Hacienda restaurant billboard.

According to Indiana’s South Bend Tribune, billboards for Hacienda went up with the slogan, “We’re like a cult with better Kool-Aid,” with a catch phrase, “To Die For.”

In 1978, a cult led by a weirdo named Jim Jones took his flock to Guyana, and made 900 of his followers commit suicide by drinking poisoned Kool-Aid.

Surprise! People who saw the billboards were offended. Hacienda is now taking down the billboards and rethinking their advertising campaign.

According to a Hacienda official: “You start playing with headlines,” he said, “and that’s how we ended up with the outdoor board. But we are not getting the reaction we expected. It went the wrong direction, hit a nerve, and we have come to realize we should not have done this billboard. We lose the core message.”

Ya think? They’re not getting the reaction they expected? What exactly were they expecting? Do people want to go to Mexican restaurants to commit suicide? Join a cult? Thinking about icky, deadly cults somehow makes people hungry?

What should they base their ads on next? Can they be more tasteless? There’s all kinds of bad things going on that they could use. Violence in North Africa. The earthquake in New Zealand. Rising oil prices. Britney Spears.

It’s a Mexican restaurant, and there’s drug violence in Mexico. Maybe they should build an ad campaign around violent drug cartels?

Next time they do an ad campaign, they should take my advice. Build the ad around something sunny and light. I’m ready to help. Operators are standing by.

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