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A Billboard Campaign You Should Never Have To See

...And so, I won't make you
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Jonestown
(credit: Su-E Tan) Kent Shocknek
Kent Shocknek, anchors weekday prime-time newscasts on CBS-TV's KCAL9...
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(This would be a million times better with the visual, but I can’t show you the billboard, because it’s a copyrighted photo. And so I also will not direct you to a link.)

A Mexican restaurant chain, Hacienda, has been using the Jonestown massacre of 1978 as a punchline for its food, or drinks, or something. It’s not entirely clear. The billboard shows a salt-rimmed cocktail glass with red liquid, and the words “We’re like a cult, with better kool-aid.” And also “To die for!”

For those who weren’t around; in the 1970s, a cult leader named Jim Jones moved his Bay Area cult to Guyana, in South America. When Congressman Leo Ryan took a news crew to investigate (relatives here at home had worried their kin were being held against their will), members of Jones’ “People’s Temple” shot and killed Rep. Ryan, and four others. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Jones saw the writing on the wall, and lined up everybody, and had them drink from vats of cyanide and Valium, in a mixture of a powdered drink called Flavor Aid. (It was never Kool-Aid, but the error stuck). End result, 912 died. Nearly 300 were kids. (Above. Photo source: AP)

Who was the marketing genius behind Hacienda’s campaign? If you want, forget the tasteless factor, and concentrate on this:  Not many people would make the connection and I have to guess that few among those who do, would find it an inviting reason to go to a restaurant/bar. Ah well, doesn’t matter: the billboard campaign is coming down.

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