August 19, 2004
Dairy Queen’s "MooLatte" Product Moniker Controversy
Over the past few weeks, Dairy Queen’s been running into a few rough spots with its new MooLatte coffee/ice-cream treat. The commercial to launch the drink was bashed by most marketing savvy ad critics; but, the more potent criticism has been the stunning resemblance between the words "MooLatte" and "mulatto":
The Houston Press, an alternative weekly in the New Times chain, agrees that the name of Dairy Queen's new frozen drink, the MooLatte, sounds so much like "mulatto" as to call into question the mental competence of Dairy Queen's corporate leadership. That the Minneapolis-based company would deliberately allude to the hoary stock character of the "tragic mulatto" in naming a drink of light brown hue is too ghastly a possibility to consider. But could DQ really be so dim as not to notice the similarities between "MooLatte" and "mulatto"? Houston Press staff writers Richard Connelly and Craig Malisow have laid out compelling evidence that it is.
Malisow, working under Connelly's close direction, placed a call to Dairy Queen spokesman Chad Durasa, whose name appeared on an Aug. 3 press release inviting residents of the Lone Star State to "bring your favorite cow" to Dairy Queen on Aug. 24 to receive a free MooLatte. Malisow's ensuing Ali G-style interview, as related in the Aug. 12 Houston Press, was so extraordinary that I felt compelled to ask both Connelly and Malisow whether any of it was made up. They assured me it was genuine. Here it is...
But, you'll have to visit Slate.com for the full interview - it's pretty good stuff... In searching around the DQ site this week, the MooLatte product line appears to have pretty much disappeared from view, as the company tries to figure out how to handle this, I’d reckon.
For me, having tried the Mocha MooLatte (more than once), I thought it rivaled the Starbucks Mocha Frap (Venti only for me, thanks)… but it wasn't until later that, I learned both drinks have somewhere around 700 calories, and all of ‘em of the bad-for-you variety. It seems DQ's otherwise deft move to expand the customer base by adding caffeinated beverages to the product mix may ultimately fail to impact the Starbucks horde to defect to the Brazier.