Solving the problem of evil in the twenty-first century

So bad it’s good…

The Austin restaurant Torchy’s Tacos is by no means the first company to use stereotypical images of the devil and references to sin in advertising and marketing, it represents a shift in an American culture and the influences of religion. The mascot of Torchy’s Tacos is a small red devil with long ears, horns, and a pitchfork. Although it is a cartoon devil with clearly no realistic elments it is not all that different from representations of the devil throughout history that were used to elicit fear. The motto of this local chain of “Damn Good Tacos” is not controversial in our cultural. This is unusual considering when paired with the Satan the use of damn takes on religious significants of being condemned to hell.  The modern convention of using Satan and sin to suggest desirability shows the dramatic changes America’s culture has been through. For most of America’s history, Satan was not something is take light heartedly and definitely wasn’t used as a positive advertisement tool. Three hundred years ago during the time of the Salem Witch Trials merely being accused of associated yourself with the devil resulted in public execution. Even during our parents’ and our lifetime association with the devil wasn’t accepted as evident in the backlash against games such as dungeons and dragons and artist such as Ozzy Osbourne. While there are still groups opposed to the use of strong evil and demonic figures, like the Christian groups against the reading of Harry Potter, popular culture has become more liberal. In our culture  the usage of evil is accepted with usually little controversy. Additionally, the use of religious references in advertisements shows the prevalence of Christian beliefs and theology. Whether you are a Christian or not, Christian ideology plays a significant role in the American culture.

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5 responses

  1. Elizabeth Hinojos

    I think it is interesting how you decided to discuss religious subject matter that is iconic here in Austin. Often times, it is easy to overlook the content of corporate signs that have in fact, not always been accepted in our society. Perhaps the Satan mascot is not only evoking desirability of the taco, but maybe portraying the hot and spicy sensation found in Torchy’s Tacos.

    April 9, 2011 at 5:43 pm

  2. Very interesting how you discuss the similarities of the Devil on Torchy’s Tacos sign and the actual Devil. Hahaha maybe these tacos are meant to be so good so they condemn you to keep coming back

    April 11, 2011 at 10:09 pm

  3. nickmehendale

    I think the use of the Devil in advertising is an interesting concept. It seems, like you pointed out, that the shift between unacceptable and completely ok happened within our parents lifetime. I’m curious as to what the cause(s) of this were.

    April 27, 2011 at 9:18 am

  4. zet66

    It is amazing how much the image of the devil has changed over the past hundred years. But it’s also intersting that even though the devil is used as a joke or advertising ploy today it continues to be used as a serious representation of evil. The two contrasting images, one as a joke and one as a serious reference to evil, persist in media and publications today.

    May 8, 2011 at 9:01 pm

  5. jlai1226

    The devil is the ultimate sign of temptation and those tacos are definitely tempting people all the time!
    I think advertisers like to draw on the idea that humans are naturally attracted to evil/sin and that everyone has an inner rebel waiting to get out. Marketing something as “bad” strikes a certain chord with our modern culture that makes it somewhat more appealing.

    May 12, 2011 at 7:31 pm

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