There’s really no need for commercials or marketing gimmicks this election season: The latest strategy has been for restaurants is to ridicule Donald Trump. From the pizzeria that sold a pizza with a wall around the border, to Michael Symon effectively banning Trump from his restaurants, “The Donald” is sure to make headlines. The Indiana-based Hacienda Mexican Restaurants chain is getting flack for its billboard that reads, “The best Mexican food this side of the wall,” with a backdrop of a brick wall. The advertisement is a clear jab at Donald Trump’s controversial plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.
“What makes it offensive is using the term ‘wall,’ especially now, because it’s really taken on a political connotation,” Sam Centallas, executive director of La Casa de Amistad, a Hispanic youth and community center in South Bend, Indiana, told the South Bend Tribune. “The whole ‘build a wall’ chant has become intentionally divisive rhetoric.”
This isn’t the first time Hacienda has been in the news for off-color advertisements. In 2006, its commercials featured a small man of Hispanic descent wearing a sombrero with the tagline, “Take home a little Mexican.” In 2011, its advertisements for margaritas had the slogan, “We’re like a cult with better Kool-Aid. To die for!” clearly referring to the Jonestown massacre.
Hacienda has announced no plans to take down the sign or change its campaign.
“We do use humor in our outdoor (advertising), and we felt we crafted a board here that didn’t take a political position,” Jeff Leslie, executive vice president of Hacienda Mexican Restaurants, told the South Bend Tribune. “It’s really not pro-wall or anti-wall.”