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Snapple and Deutsch: Paddling Backwards
( Advertising copy from Snapple website: “My college buddies and I used to play a game that looked a lot like this. Itâ€™s nice to see youngsters carrying on some of our traditions.”)Black, Latino and NIC fraternities/sororities have fought inch by inch and year by year to stop the practice of paddling where it exists in Greek life and to even question if paddles are appropriate when placed on sale in campus bookstores.
Now, out-for-the-bucks Snapple and their not-so-creative agency Deutsch have a print and billboard poster called “FRAT” depicting two bottles with hair and Delta Omega Delta ball caps looking smug over a prostrate pledge. A broken paddle sits nearby and other paddles, all with Greek letters, fill out the picture. The campaign is aimed at teens, and that worries me.
This is precisely the audience most susceptible to thinking that paddling and enduring paddling are cool things to do. What better way to justify their immature actions then to have Snapple characters portray as harmless an activity that is criminal in many of the 43 states with hazing laws?
So what’s next from good old Deutsch? How about two Snapple bottles dressed in tuxes and duct-tape stovepipe hats thrown through a car windshield after the Junior Prom? No, that isn’t funny, and I’m just making a point. Nor are all the bleeding kidneys or lacerated buttocks that get reported each year because a handful of Greeks are as brainless as Snapple’s ad team, who, we bet, never pledged a fraternity.
Here all these years we thought the advertising industry was getting serious when it talked about having an ethical code. How about showing good faith, Snapple and Deutsch, to remove the ad on your own.
A friend of mine in Wisconsin said this about the Snapple video and movies portraying Greeks as barbaric thugs: “The general public has a stereotypical image of fraternities. This is so reinforcing to that image. That commercial sends many messages to the subconscious memory. We are very visual people. And it is being sent to the kids. Are those the values that fraternities want as part of their membership? Because the message is–this is what [Greeks] are about.”
I for one encourage all of you to call Snapple (800.Snapple. 9a-4:30p M-F EST/EDT).with a request to halt the “FRAT” segment of the ad campaign. Or write: Ernest J. Cavallo, President/CEO, Ken Gilbert, VP Marketing, and Whit Beebe, Director of Advertising, Snapple Bottling Group, Inc., 709 Westchester Ave, White Plains, NY 10604, 800.964.7842 or 914.397.9200, fax 914.397.9220, www.snapple.com . Advertising Agency: Kelly Donovan, Director, Deutsch Inc, 111 Eighth Ave, New York, NY 10011. 212.981.7600, fax 212.981.7525.