Diatribe: There’s Nothing Clever About “Date Grape”.
When I was much younger, I loved a good frozen drink. My friends and I would enjoy frozen margaritas whenever we could. I even bought a special blender with a little spigot on the front to make and serve frozen cocktails. Of course they were never as good as when someone else made them for me. My favorite place to get an adult Slurpee was at Fat Tuesday … specifically, the Fat Tuesday location on Duvall Street in Key West, Florida.
At every Fat Tuesday location, a variety of twenty different flavors of frozen daiquiris were available at all times. There were spinning coolers behind the bar and the staff would let you experiment by mixing flavors and offering free samples. The different flavors that they offered, and still do in many locations today, include Banana Banshee, Long Island Tea, Pina Colada, Triple Bypass, Jungle Juice, 190 Octane, Mardi Gras Mash and, my personal favorite, Rum Runner. The names were clever, fun and easy to remember … which added to the atmosphere … but they were never blatantly offensive.
The same cannot be said for “Date Grape Kool-Aid”, a cocktail featured at last Friday’s grand opening of The Daiquiri Factory in downtown Spokane, Washington. The bar posted its menu on a Facebook page and it didn’t take long for people to be offended by the obvious attempt to poke fun at what is a very serious problem. Hundreds of people, many of whom were rape survivors, have protested outside The Daiquiri Factory, critics have called for the bar to simply change the drink’s name and others have called for boycotts of the establishment.
“I can’t believe more people haven’t picked up on this Date Grape Kool-Aid. With date rape statistics higher than ever and even worse in a college town, this is clearly a dangerous mentality to perpetuate.” – Kara Kingen via Facebook.
The Daiquiri Factory doesn’t appear to be taking the concerns seriously at all and appear to be addressing the issue with additional humor. Earlier, the bar had indicated that the inspiration for the drink’s name came from the popular website Urban Dictionary where “Date Grape” is defined as “when you and your loved one get drunk off of wine and end up hooking up.”
Classy … right?
The go on to defend the name of the drink by pointing out that their establishment is a bar intended for adults, aged twenty-one and up, only. As recently as Tuesday, while still refusing to change the name of the drink, The Daiquiri Factory placed an ad on a local radio station that was also supposed to be an attempt at humor, saying:
“The Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory would like everyone to know there is simply no reason to be outraged by the ingredients in our signature daiquiris, there is no reason for the national outcry, nor is there reason for the protest. We just think everyone simply needs a little daiquiri therapy.”
Clearly, they just don’t get it. Date rape is not funny. It’s not cool to even consider using it as a clever tongue-in-cheek marketing tool. Granted, the controversy has generated more attention than the largest advertising budget could hope to attract … but for all the wrong reasons. Kraft Foods, the maker of Kool-Aid, is even speaking out.
“We at Kraft are appalled. Kool-Aid does not support or condone this drink, and finds its name to be highly insensitive to a serious issue. This blatant misuse of the Kool-Aid trademark is offensive to so many, including us, and we are making it our top priority to address the situation ASAP.” – Kraft Foods.
I’m all for creative advertising and I’m sure my sense of humor isn’t always the most tasteful but if I was trying to run a business and hundreds of protestors showed up with a legitimate complaint like a rape joke I’d like to think that I’d be a lot more sensitive than the people behind The Daiquiri Factory in downtown Spokane, Washington.
To me, cancer jokes aren’t funny, AIDS jokes aren’t funny, rape jokes aren’t funny and neither is this. It seems to me that the stubbornness of The Daiquiri Factory will ultimately lead to its failure and that either the law of supply and demand will close the doors or a trademark infringement lawsuit from Kraft Foods will shut the business down.
Fat Tuesday’s been around since the 1980s. They’d know what to do.
What do you think? Are folks making too big a deal out of the name of a frozen drink?
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