Monday, April 7, 2008

In an Absolut World

Swedish vodka maker Absolut has a new advertising campaign for Mexico that has provided bloggers plenty to drink to.

According to the La Plaza at the LA Times:

The billboard and press campaign, created by advertising agency Teran\TBWA and now running in Mexico, is a colorful map depicting what the Americas might look like in an "Absolut" -- i.e., perfect -- world.

The campaign taps into the national pride of Mexicans, according to Favio Ucedo, creative director of leading Latino advertising agency Grupo Gallegos in the U.S., which was not involved in the Absolut campaign.

Ucedo, who is from Argentina, said: “Mexicans talk about how the Americans stole their land, so this is their way of reclaiming it. It’s very relevant and the Mexicans will love the idea.”

But he said that were the campaign to run in the United States, it might fall flat.

“Many people aren’t going to understand it here. Americans in the East and the North or in the center of the county -- I don’t know if they know much about the history.

“Probably Americans in Texas and California understand perfectly and I don’t know how they’d take it."

And from Blogger news:

And in this alternate Absolut reality, the Mexican-American war of 1848 never happened, and Alta California – that is to say, CA, TX, NM, UT, CO and AZ – still “belongs” to Mexico on a map that was the centerpiece of a billboard and print campaign that ran in Mexico until los gringos El Norte got wind of it. Though Mexico lost that war – and to the victor go the spoils – Mexicans think the U.S. “stole” their land and the ad campaign stokes their resentment. Whether the campaign would increase sales of vodka in a country where people drink cerveza and tequila is debatable, but calls for boycotts on this side of the border forced the company to apologize, reports The Associated Press:

“In no way was it meant to offend or disparage, nor does it advocate an altering of borders, nor does it lend support to any anti-American sentiment, nor does it reflect immigration issues,” Absolut said in a statement left on its consumer inquiry phone line. …

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.”

The Moderate Voice sums up the situation here:

Word on the street is the mass exodus to Grey Goose is in the works. Personally, I think people are too lazy for all that boycotting stuff unless its something very important. I wonder if Mexico can make up for all those lost U.S. sales? Doubt it. Oh yeah, and there was the obligatory apology after the fact, which some are calling a non-apology. Its really just an ad..

I haven't listened to my friends at FOX news lately, but I bet they loved this one. I think this ad agency forgot that an ad campaign used in Mexico might be seen by US citizens - or maybe they just weren't thinking. It really doesn't make any difference to me, Absolut and Grey Goose are both too aristocratic and expensive for my palate and pocketbook.

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