Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Absolut Boycott Over An Absolutely Different Map of North America

Have you been following the hubbub over the Absolut ad that ran in Mexico last week? Well! It's quite a little tempest in the teapot apparently. This article on BNET gives us the complete rundown but in a nutshell Absolut ran an "In An Absolut World" ad with a decidedly nationalistic and political tone, in which Mexico maintains possession of pretty much the entire southern half of the US West. A US blogger spots it, posts it online, and soon the Rightie NetRoots are all over it. BNET published the text of one of the many many letters the distiller received, which reads:

Absolut -

I run a bar in Pt. Richmond, California — where the Kaiser Liberty Ships were built during WWII. After seeing your ad Campaign where you show a western map of the United States in which California is part of Mexico again, I’ve decided to do the following…

1) Never carry Absolut. Ever.
2) Lower the price of Ketel One vodka to $2 a shot indefinitely to build loyalty.
3) Print a copy of your ad and put it above the Ketel One drink special.
4) Tell all my friends and family what Absolut thinks of the United States of America and our right to enforce border laws.

I am on the front line of illegal immigration and its effects. Where are you? Oh yes, Sweden.

Good riddance.

Yeouch! Given that US vodka sales > Mexican vodka sales, I am guessing that the potential business losses could be or are significant.

Absolut was quick to apologize, as explained in this excerpt from Fox News:

Absolut said the ad was designed for a Mexican audience and intended to recall "a time which the population of Mexico might feel was more ideal."

"As a global company, we recognize that people in different parts of the world may lend different perspectives or interpret our ads in a different way than was intended in that market, and for that we apologize."

Actually, I think that the interpretation was the same, it was the feeling about the interpretation that was different.

Moral of the story: Politics is a tricky business. Maybe Svedka's tongue in cheek approach is a better way to tackle politics.

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to write.

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