The Daily Rail: Are these viral restaurant marketing slogans racist?

August 17, 2016

Today's Rail

Watch: The Evolution of the Beer Can [In Under 60 Seconds]

The beer can is as iconic as the drink itself, but it wasn't always that way. Learn about evolution of the beer can -- from the ancient amphorae to glass bottles to the original heavy steel cans to what we use today.


When it comes to fatalities from drunk driving, one country stands out from the rest. According to the WHO’s Global Status report on Road Safety for 2015, South Africa is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for road accidents with 25.1 deaths per 100,000 people every year. Shockingly, nearly 6 out of every 10 fatalities (58 percent) on South Africa’s roads can be attributed to alcohol consumption. How does that compare to other countries like the US? Find out in this infographic.

Infographic: The Worst Countries In The World For Drunk Driving | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista


Why it’s important to you: Insurance is an expensive benefit and disruptions in its availability effect all business operators.

Supporters of Obamacare were dealt a blow yesterday as Aetna announced it would be exiting 11 out of the 15 exchanges it services, leaving it remaining in only Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia. They claim they lost several hundred million dollars in supporting these exchanges because not enough healthy people signed up for services in the affected states. However, some think this is payback for the Obama’s Justice Department’s blocking of their merger attempt with Humana. Either way, detractors of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were happy to point out that the program is unsustainable given Aetna’s exit and the prior exits by United Healthcare and Kaiser. It does sound bad and in some counties Aetna’s departure will leave no insurance options from the ACA at all. This may be the end of Obamacare, but what’s next is anyone’s guess.


Why it’s important to you: Is it irreverent marketing or just plain insensitive?

Irreverent slogans have an interesting history in restaurant industry marketing. Wendy’s had Where’s The Beef and Carl’s Jr has their super sexy ads, but they have national budgets and make huge media buys to support them. For local restaurants, the holy-grail is to develop a thematic phrase and hope it catches on. This is a hit or miss affair at best, but when you get it right it can go viral and bring a lot of attention. Take the two restaurants we highlight below. Both are leveraging current political stories to deliver their message and gain attention. The question is, can you be irreverent and avoid insulting people at the same time?

Let’s start with the Indiana-based Hacienda Mexican Restaurants billboard that reads “The Best Mexican Food This Side of the Wall.” Is this offensive? To be sure it’s making fun of a subject that a lot of people take seriously. Donald Trump’s assertion that he will build a wall and Mexico will pay for it has created strong feelings on both sides of the issue. The marketing genius of Hacienda’s billboard is that it’s ambiguous at best, but still references a universally understood cultural meme.

Paisano's doubled down with it's Black Olives Matter slogan by selling the design as t-shirts.

This is less the case at Paisano’s in Albuquerque, NM. Their slogan “Black Olives Matter” was originally posted on their exterior signage to promote a tuna dish that came with an olive tapenade. The owner, Rich Camuglia, recently doubled down by making a host of “Black Olives Matters” apparel available. You can imaging the reaction from both sides of the Black Lives Matter movement. Activists think it’s insensitive and belittles their efforts to make real change in their communities. However, others chimed in that it was just a play on words and people should lighten up. 

In the end, the attention both restaurants are getting has been good for their business and looks like brilliant marketing. There is a clear lesson that irreverence works, but pick your battles and who you make fun of wisely. Otherwise, have fun and maybe you will be the next      viral internet sensation.


Why it’s important to you: Basic fairness in discipline is the responsibility of all managers.

The NFL disciplinary process isn’t really complicated. The commissioner has wide sweeping authority to punish both offenders and those that don’t cooperate to his satisfaction. Well, it appears he is at it again and any Patriots’ fan will tell you, he will not be denied his version of justice. On Monday, the league gave notice to three players implicated in same Al Jazeera report that accused Peyton Manning of steroid use that they must appear for further interrogation by the league investigators. James Harrison (Pittsburgh), Clay Matthews (Green Bay), Julius Peppers (Green Bay) and Mike Neal (Free Agent) were told via letter to the NFLPA, that if they don’t appear by August 25th to be interviewed, that they will be suspended on August 26th.

There is no question that steroid use is an issue in the NFL and it’s anyone’s guess if the Al Jazeera documentary The Dark Side rightly implicates these players. But it’s the leagues approach that continues to be troubling. Using Article 46 as their authority, they are accusing these players of “failure to cooperate” and “conduct detrimental to the league.” These accusations stand on the shoulders of Charlie Sly who implicated them in the documentary, but Sly has since recanted his statements. Is this another witch hunt by a league so obtuse they won’t let the Dallas Cowboys honor fallen police officers on their helmets or is it good process by an organization protecting its image? Feels like the former, but we are located in Boston, so we might be biased.