Tropicana, the brand most known for its orange juice, recently apologized for a campaign that suggested parents drink to cope with pandemic stress. The campaign encouraged parents to have a “mimoment”—time to themselves where they drink a mimosa—by stashing a mini-fridge of Tropicana and champagne somewhere private. (How is popping open a bottle of champagne private?)
Why is the Tropicana Ad Harmful?
Hiding your drinking is an indicator of alcohol use disorder. This ad promotes the seemingly opposing ideas of open normalization of alcohol as a coping mechanism and secrecy. This is a toxic mix for people struggling with addiction.
It also encourages drinking in order to parent. 1 in 8 kids grow up with a parent who has a substance use disorder, and the effects are far-reaching. According to an article in the journal Current Drug Abuse Reviews, when children of a parent with alcohol use disorder reach young adulthood, their risk of mood disorders is nearly double those of their peers. A parent who is chronically intoxicated can be unpredictable—and often very stressed—so the idea of lowering stress with alcohol doesn’t add up.
Still, the campaign released videos of celebrities seeming to promote the idea that drinking helps you be a better parent. One video features actor Jerry O’Connell escaping to his garage to drink a mimosa, saying, “You can’t take care of your family if you don’t take care of yourself.”
Why Did Tropicana Release this Ad?
A press release for the campaign cited a survey of 1,000 parents, 87% of whom said they could use a moment to themselves; about half said they hide in the bathroom to get this alone time. In this, Tropicana is not wrong. Parenting is always hard. In the pandemic it has gotten exponentially harder.
This ad didn’t occur in a vacuum. A culture of parents—especially moms—joking about drinking away the stress has been around a while; it has gotten even more prevalent during COVID-19. A quick google search reveals that “mommy needs a drink” is a well-trodden meme.
Heavy drinking in women has increased by 41% during the pandemic. Addiction often leads to rationalizing and bargaining with oneself. This messaging might make people with addictions hesitant to seek help, because it normalizes using alcohol as a salve. It makes it easier to write off destructive drinking.
How Can You Cope With Stress?
After receiving feedback from recovery activists, Tropicana released an apology and announced they were ending the campaign. While they themselves admitted they “missed the mark” with this ad, they were right about one thing: parents, and many of us, are stressed. People need healthy ways to cope—things like meditation, therapy, and lots of support.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder during the pandemic, you are not alone and there is hope. Amatus Recovery Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you find healthy ways to cope with difficult times. To learn more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.