This Celeb-Filled Tropicana Ad Has Viewers Seeing Red

We may be living in super-stressful times this year, but when it comes to self-care techniques to cope with that stress, there are some lines that shouldn't be crossed. Tropicana just found this out the hard way when a new ad campaign featuring popular celebs drew harsh criticism for its message. 

Molly Sims, Gabrielle Union, and Jerry O'Connell were recruited to participate in the campaign, which used the hashtag #TakeAMimoment. Based on the concept that the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have made many parents stir-crazy, the ads showed the actors retreating to quiet spots in their homes equipped with disguised mini-fridges containing secret stashes of Tropicana orange juice and champagne to indulge in mimosas. According to Page Six, Sims' Instagram ad explained that having a quiet solo sip helps her be "a better mom. The best mom." O'Connell's mimosa fixings were hidden in a fridge made to look like a toolbox, while Union's resembled a vanity.

The ad was created in response to a survey conducted by Tropicana in which nearly half of parents confessed to hiding in the bathroom as an excuse to escape from the demands of dealing with small ones. According to Ad Age, the company VP/chief marketing officer called the campaign an acknowledgement that moms and dads just need a break sometimes. "We can't be our best for our families unless we as parents take time for ourselves. Tropicana recognizes that it's important to balance self-care with caring for others, especially in times like these," he said.

The ad was seen as glorifying alcohol

The ad quickly came under fire from viewers who felt the campaign sent a dangerous message that drinking is an acceptable coping mechanism. Mom Morgan Crane launched an Instagram page with the similar hashtag #takeamimoment, encouraging fellow parents to share photos of themselves drinking competitors' orange juices. "Addiction, especially in women and mothers, is at an all time high and normalizing hiding in your closet to drink your secret alcohol stash and escape your children is dangerous," she explained. Posts to the account included messages such as "DRINKING IN YOUR BATHROOM IS NOT SELF-CARE," "Your new commercial pours gasoline on the Mommy Wine Culture fire," and "It's also an awful message to our kids: we need a mind-altering substance in order to parent you."

Realizing the bad taste behind the well-meaning message, Tropicana yanked the campaign and posted a public apology on its own Instagram account: "We want to apologize to anyone who is disappointed in or offended by our recent campaign. The intent behind it was in no way meant to imply that alcohol is the answer or make light of the struggles of addiction. ... We value the comments and perspectives that have been shared and will use it as a lens for evaluating future campaigns." The participating celebs also took down their own posts.

Three's no word yet on the storyline of the next Tropicana ad campaign. Maybe they'll show moms taking a juice break after a long walk or catching up with friends via Zoom.