June 9, 2010

Non-alcoholic cocktails being served at Burger King and Taco Bell. No, really.

OK, I’m no prude, and I’m definitely not someone pushing for increased government regulation in this matter, but every now and then you hear or see something that makes you just shake your head and ask what the %$#@ is wrong with these people?

Such is the case with this new-fangled idea of fast-food chains offering up non-alcoholic versions of cocktails, something that strikes me as so wrong and so misguided, one has to see it to believe it. But it’s true. On TV in the Phoenix market (I can’t speak for elsewhere) Burger King is pushing mimosas; at the local Taco Bell I see – for a limited time! (of course) – non-alcoholic margaritas, of all things.

Lorri at Restauranting blog is right about this: what on earth do these chains thing they’re doing? Trying to make more money, of course. I’m not stupid, I know what they’re doing it. But that’s not the question Lorri as asking: the bigger questions is, what possible good do they see coming out of this? Me, I’m trying to see some upside to this from a societal perspective, and can find none.

Which gets me to thinking: what message are they really trying to send? It appears, at least for BK, this one (my boldings):

Child advocacy and alcohol groups are crying foul over the company’s introduction of a pretend alcohol beverage. Fast food stores, such as Burger King, are favorite destinations for children and teenagers, they say. And for the restaurant chain to serve something even remotely connected with alcohol is “disastrous,” says Michele Simon, research and policy director at the Marin Institute, a California-based alcohol industry watchdog group.

“There’s research that shows that the sooner children get acclimated to alcohol messages, the sooner they start to drink,” says Simon. “The drink may not contain alcohol, but it sends a message that you can pretend to be an adult by having a pretend alcoholic beverage.”

The other concern is whether this is a baby step by the company toward serving real alcohol in the future, Simon says. In January, the company announced plans to serve beer in one South Beach, Florida store.

As a free-market advocate, I believe the government should stay out of the way of private businesses attempting to prosper in the market they compete in as much as it is practical. But just like God giving human beings free will and the ability to make choices, this kind of freedom comes with it a responsibility, and if it means the government having to resort to being the “conscience” of misguided marketing campaigns such as that being promoted by Burger King and Taco Bell, so be it.

What they are doing is wrong, and whoever conceived of such a marketing strategy ought to be ashamed of themselves. Believe it or not, there’s such a thing as common sense; something that seems to be in very short supply in 21st century America.

Pool temp: 91 degrees

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:33 | Comments (0)
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