Restaurant Ad Links Cocktail With Cult Kool-Aid

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Restaurant Kool-Aid Ad We're not sure who had the worst judgment: the advertising agency creative who came up with the campaign linking mixed drinks at a local Mexican restaurant chain to the cyanide-laced Kool-aid that killed hundreds of Jim Jones' cult members, or the restaurant executive who gave the OK to plaster the ads on billboards all over Indiana.

The Hacienda restaurant's billboards showed a photo of a frosty red cocktail with a lime wedge, along with the slogan, "We're like a cult with better Kool-Aid." Next to the drink photo was the phrase "To die for!"

Many local residents felt the ads were distasteful, and called in to complain about making light of the November 1978 incident in which more than 900 members of Jim Jones' People's Temple cult committed mass murder/suicide that involved drinking cyanide-infused, grape-flavored drink at their Guyana compound.

Of course the billboards didn't last long. About two weeks after they went up, they came down, and Hacienda vice president Jeff Leslie said, "We made a mistake." At least they were willing to admit it. In the meantime, you can't help but wonder how many people actually drank the "Kool-Aid."


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