Dairy Queen’s latest creation, the Moolatte,* is creating a stir. Aimed at drawing frapuccino lovers to DQ, the name sounds like “mulatto”.

Now, I must admit that, upon first hearing “Moolatte”, my in-brain Napster engine turned on a Dean Martin rendition…”Moolatte, whoa-oh, Moolatte…oh, oh, oh, oh!” However, after seeing a couple of ads for the 600-calorie (moo, indeed) caffeine shake, I started thinking the word sounded a lot like “mulatto”. Apparently, I’m not alone. Slate agrees, adding that Moolatte smacks of Aunt Jemima. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this. But I’m a Canadian and perhaps less sensitive to the word than persons from other backgrounds. The CBC seems undecided about use of the word, too.

I thought that, perhaps, Dairy Queen hoped to gain media attention for its efforts, but, as of my press time, Google shows just 35 results for “moolatte + mulatto” — mostly blogs — and zero results in news stories. Did DQ expect an incident-free play-on-words in crowning the new beverage? Or are the company’s PR directors kicking themselves for planning a media coup that has not come to fruition — and that they could not hype themselves without facing political fallout? So far, it seems like few people are having a cow.

Update: see next installment in this saga — Dairy Queen defends moolatte

(c) 2004 by Andrea Coutu. Vancouver Marketing Consultant. All rights reserved.

*Expired link originally pointed to http://www.dairyqueen.com/en-CA/Now+Featuring/MooLatte%E2%84%A2.htm