Parasole's Top 10 most offensive billboards
While working on this week's Dish column on Uptown Cafeteria, the Hot Dish was admittedly a little disappointed not to see an edgy ad campaign associated with Parasole's newest eatery. Talking to CEO Phil Roberts and VP Kip Clayton recently, we learned that the slow fadeout of Parasole's gross-outing, offense-making, attention-grabbing billboard campaigns wasn't just our imagination. The company's paid media advertising has dwindled as they've increased their focus on social media: Cafeteria had 10,000 Facebook friends before it even opened, and Parasole is currently messaging on only four billboards.
The Hot Dish decided to reminisce about the billboards' cheeky, checkered past with a list of nine of Parasole's most memorable slogans--plus one so racy it was rejected by the billboard company:
10. Happy Hour: Cheaper than a Bangkok brothel With this early Chino billboard, Parasole discovered that jokes about prostitution, especially child prostitution--a major problem in southeast Asia--might very well incite community outcry. This slogan inspired a Boycott Chino Latino online petition that garnered 1,625 signatures, a number of which appear to be from signers who favor the billboards, i.e., "You guys should lighten up and do something with your free time like volunteer at a children's hospital or go out and register voters or do something that actually accomplishes something and makes your community a safer and better place to live-if you don't like their marketing don't support their business...anyways get a life."
9. Bachelorette Parties not responsible for damaged goods This Chino billboard makes the list as the one Hot Dish personally finds the most offensive for reasons you can read about here. Also: What are Bachelor Parties not responsible for?
8. Mommy, Mr. Whiskers didn't come home last night. Chino ran several pet-eating-themed billboards, offending many in the Asian community. "As exotic as food gets without using the dog," was one example, along with the pithier "Wok the Dog." Interestingly, we've never seen a slogan about Chino's cui, or guinea pig.
7. "Tio Pepe's Tacos: Runs South of the Border." Just one in a long line of diarrhea-themed slogans, including "We have three spice levels. Hot, Very Hot, and Excuse Me I Have to Go to the Bathroom." Why you'd want to associate your eatery with foodborne illness and liquid bowels, is, well, just part of the Chino mystique.
6. Aw, Phuket, Let's get takeout. There's plenty of humor in this almost-heterograph, but its placement next to the Jefferson Elementary School Playground raised the ire of local parents trying to keep their children from swearing like sailors when asked what they'd like to have for dinner.
5. Try Our Capitalist Pig Roast This billboard, which made its debut during the 2008 GOP Convention, created some confusion about whether or not the roast was for delegates, or made from delegates. Roberts told the media that Chino staff fielded a good number of phone inquiries about the message--on both ends of the political spectrum. "Others call with credit card in hand, wanting to book a party of 20, then end up accusing us of false advertising," he said. 4. Third World Prices, Sally Struthers Portions. Parasole took its potshots personal by calling out the 1970s actress known for a significant weight gain in the latter part of her career. We hope they at least sent her some of those Chino Bomber headbands. 3. Our oyster bar takes the E.D. out of Edina Finally, Parasole makes fun of People in Power so we can laugh without having our stomachs feel queasy. We'll take all the Edina jokes they'll give us. We grinned at Salut's introductory "Edina, your cake is served," but laughed out loud when we saw this gem about erectile dysfunction.
2. Working the corner since 1984 We heard somewhere that this Figlio's billboard, which featured a hard-living streetwalker, was one of Mayor Rybak's favorites. Did Parasole really made prostitution that palatable?
1. No cockfighting in the restroom Parasole adman Tim Alevizos was apparently very disappointed that this slogan he penned for Chino was rejected by the Clear Channel billboard company and never displayed.
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