New York City-based frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles was forced to apologize last week after using a riff off Donald Trump's now infamous hot-mic comments to push product.
On the night of the last presidential debate, the chain issued an e-mail blast with the subject line “We’re Making Fro-Yo Great Again,” a play off of the GOP nominee’s tagline to “Make America Great Again.”
— David E. Williams (@HealthBizBlog) October 20, 2016
The body of the e-mail referenced “Tiny Hands Trump” but then got into even deeper controversial Trump territory by urging customers to “GRAB ‘EM BY THE FRO-YO,” a reference to Trump's comments about allegedly grabbing women's private parts.
Soon after, 16 Handles' e-mail recipients began posting pictures of the blast online, criticizing the chain for making light of sexually charged statements.
— Kimmy Blanco (@allexisssss) October 19, 2016
— Caroline (@_carolineotoole) October 19, 2016
Hours later, the chain issued an apology on Twitter.
“The 16 Handles team deeply regrets any unintended harm our recent e-blast has caused,” the yogurt-makers said in their statement. “We do not endorse any presidential candidates, nor their statements or actions. In an attempt to facetiously reference pop culture, we made a callous mistake. We apologize for the offense we have caused, and we would like to remind our customers that we oppose all forms of sexual abuse and harassment.”
We are deeply apologetic, and we will do better. ���� pic.twitter.com/mKL0EuPzdu
— 16 Handles (@16Handles) October 19, 2016
16 Handles isn’t the only restaurant stirring up election season controversy with ill-advised promos. A Mexican restaurant chain in Toronto, Canada also tried to use Trump's comments to move tacos.
On its official Instagram account, La Carnita posted a picture of tacos accompanied by the caption “What if Donald said, ‘Grab her by the taco’…#LCEverywhere #tacoTuesday”
The post was later deleted after sparking major backlash and the restaurant issued an apology and said its employees would all be attending workplace sensitivity training to ensure the behavior was not continued.