Tropicana apologizes for orange juice campaign that suggests 'alcohol is the answer' for parents

Elise Solé
·5-min read
Tropicana pulled a celebrity-backed campaign that suggested alcohol served as an escape. (Photo: Getty Images)
Tropicana pulled a celebrity-backed campaign that suggested alcohol served as an escape. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tropicana apologized for a star-studded social media campaign that suggested alcohol was the antidote to parenting in the pandemic.

“We want to apologize to anyone who is disappointed in or offended by our recent campaign,” the orange juice brand tweeted on Tuesday. “The intent behind it was in no way meant to imply that alcohol is the answer or make light of the struggles of addiction.”

It continued, “While we believed we were bringing the #TakeAMimoment program to life in the right way — through a message of positivity and balance mixed with a bit of levity – we hear the feedback that for some we’ve missed the mark. Accordingly, we’re ceasing any further activity in support of the campaign. We value the comments and perspectives that have been shared and will use it as a lens for evaluating future campaigns.”

A press release for the campaign, which featured Gabrielle Union, Jerry O’Connell and Molly Sims, quoted a survey of 1,000 parents, 87 percent of whom reported parenting to so chaotic “that sometimes they just need a moment for themselves.” Nearly half say they hide in the bathroom to get alone time. “And nearly all parents agree that this year more than ever, they look for ways to create small moments of brightness in their days,” it reads. “Tropicana is helping parents find those moments – wherever and whenever they can – by creating incognito mini-fridges filled with the makings for mimosas to provide moms and dads with the ultimate "Mimoment" for themselves.”

The brand encouraged customers to share their own “mimoments” on Instagram to potentially win a free mini-fridge while noting “Please drink responsibly” in its release.

The campaign, from advertising agency Cramer-Krasselt and MullenLowe PR, included quotes from Sims: “My closet has become my go-to sanctuary to catch my breath for a quick moment of brightness, a place to sometimes eat my kids' snacks or better yet, to sip a mimosa. It's important to look after yourself while also looking after your family." Union added, “My bathroom has actually become my space of serenity when mama needs a break even if I'm just collecting my thoughts, doing my beauty or hair-care routine or scrolling through Instagram."

O’Connell promoted the campaign with a video in which he escaped to his garage where an “incognito” mini-fridge was stashed. “You can’t take care of your family if you don’t take care of yourself,” he said in the ad.

Twitter users disparaged the campaign, calling it “mother’s little helper bullsh*t” and alleged that Tropicana was normalizing addiction. While recovery groups criticized the campaign for positioning substance abuse as entertainment. And some felt the reaction was overblown.

“The initial survey findings done by Tropicana are absolutely valid: parents need a break. While the direction they chose to take the campaign were unfortunate, the reality is, parents are struggling,” Emily Lynn Paulson, the founder of the online support group Sober Mom Squad and the author of Highlight Real: Finding Honesty & Recovery Beyond the Filtered Life, tells Yahoo Life, adding that daily gratitude journaling, meditation, exercise, listening to music or shutting down technology are solid ways to regroup without alcohol.

According to psychologist Lynn F. Bufka, a spokesperson for the American Psychological Association, while alcohol consumption is not problematic for most people, a campaign like the one executed by Tropicana has potential to adversely impact those who struggle with addiction and loved ones who bear witness to substance abuse.

In general, a break is “letting go of worry long enough to let a person’s brain ‘float,’” she says, adding that alcohol may, or may not, be included. “As a professional, it’s concerning when alcohol becomes the only coping mechanism.”

Bufka says that during unstable times, such as the pandemic, people prefer predictability and controllable outcomes. And the definition of a break is wide-ranging — some break through exercise or watching television; others prefer productivity such as preparing dinner or scrubbing dishes to avoid potential stress. For example, the rhythm of chopping vegetables or scrubbing dishes can bring order and accomplishment, not unlike the perspective gained from talking to a good friend.

Bufka advises relying on several methods of relaxation. “When we’re stressed, anything new feels harder,” she says. “It’s helpful to have a few strategies to pull from your back pocket.”

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