Tropicana Orange Juice Label - © 2020 Tropicana

COVID-19 Experience: ‘Have A Drink’ Campaign Slammed

Didn’t I, just yesterday, question the sanity of marketing gurus of a major Fast Food chain for their latest brilliant idea to generate buzz about their brand and elevate COVID-19 lock down life a little from its current place in ‘the pits’? Now, I find that one group of ad guys went totally overboard…

A Mimoment Ad - © 2020 Tropicana Orange JuiceTake a MiMoment ad: Stashing Booze around the house?
You have bigger problems than COVID-19 fatigue!

You probably either laughed or cried  – no middle ground – over the latest (true story!) promo stunt by Pizza Hut to raise its brand profile above the competition’s, and bring a little levity (not to mention sinful pleasure) to fans during the recently proclaimed third wave of COVID-19 lock downs. If you need a refresher, just let me remind you about their big new product announcement unveiling a revolutionary Crust innovation: Cheese-stuffed Crust without a Pizza attached. It’s called Nothing But Stuffed Crust (NBSC) (not the most creative name) and will be available for a limited time in the Los Angeles area.

Well, I thought that was about as far anybody would go to inject some life into the bleak pandemic-era advertising arena – and as far as I’d have to go calling out the brilliant marketing minds of the Fast Food sector for their desperate, failed efforts to help fans overcome the emotional effects of pandemic- and isolation-induced gloom. But I was wrong. Now, a group of Orange Juice promo types has drawn almost universal condemnation for their attempt to, “help make your mornings a little brighter.”

When in doubt, take a tightener…

We may never know who came up with the idea of suggesting secret drinking as a cure for the COVID-19 Blues, but I think it’s safe to say, they’ve been fired over the stupid campaign. On second,thought, maybe just severely chastized for bringing the family-0riented company shame and alienating anti-drinking types: somebody higher up in the company had to have approved the ads in the first place.


Now that I’ve kept you in suspense this long, I think it’s only fair to reveal that the company involved was Tropicana, and their idea was to hide booze and their product all over the house to make it easy to grab a clandestine Mimosa any time through the day you were feeling down.

While some folks found the notion amusing, many more did not. Objectors flooded Tropicana’s social media channels (where the campaign was launched) with self-righteous condemnations of the whole deal…

“The @Tropicana #TakeAMimoment” [campaign] was based on parents lying to their families, sneaking off to consume alcohol hidden in secret fridges. Slamming a mimosa in the laundry room isn’t cute and it’s not ‘treating yourself.’ That’s 1950s ‘mother’s little helper’ bulls***,” one Twitter user said.

… Causing the company to hastily pull every trace of the campaign ‘off the air’ and issue an apology:

“We want to apologize to anyone who is disappointed in or offended by our recent campaign. The intent behind it was in now way meant to imply that alcohol is the answer or make light of the struggles of addiction,” the apology began.”While we believed we were bringing the #TakeAMimoment program to life in the right way — through a message of positivity and balance mixed with a bit of levity — we hear the feedback that for some we’ve missed the mark. Accordingly, we’re ceasing any further activity in support of the campaign. We value the comments and perspectives that have been shared and will use it as a lens for evaluating future campaigns.”

My take…

After spending a (career) lifetime in the media. I have to say, I would never have approved such a promo campaign. Especially at this crisis-coloured moment in history. Putting Alcohol together with the pandemic and parenting is a sure recipe for disaster.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, Tropicana’s brain trust cloaked the whole thing in a shame-tinged scenario in which parents were supposed to hide their drinking from their family. Stashing booze all around the house and drinking at all hours is the mark of a closet alcoholic – which the pious tee-totalers of the American Deep South coyly call ‘day drinking’.

Bottom line: It’s one thing to propose that folks choose booze as the answer to their problems, like the promo campaign did, but absurdly bad to dedicate the final page of their ‘slide show’ as Tropicana did calling on their fans to ‘Drink Responsibly’.

I suggest that parents stay sharp – and Alcohol-free – through the day when they’re supposed to be keeping an eye on their kids and getting essential, family-supporting chores done. If they want, they can ‘treat themselves’ (as the Tropicana promo put it) after seeing to the needs of their family, their work-at-home commitments to their jobs and their obligation to provide a good example to their kids, and before they surrender their psychies to a well-deserved rest.

~ Maggie J.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *