Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Americans: We Know No Limits

Do you know what I love about my country? We don't rest on our laurels. Was it enough to invent the airplane? No, we went to the moon. Were we content with having some of the world's best doctors? No--we also made them the most expensive. We're in a national recession, but are we going to stop it at our borders? No, we're going to share it.

Our refusal to limit ourselves doesn't go just for technology, health care or economic fiascoes. No, it goes for irrational behavior as well. A few years ago many of us were enraged with France for not supporting Washington's decision to invade Iraq--as if the French ever agreed with anybody on anything. Last year a banner that said BONG HiTS 4 JESUS was the subject of a Supreme Court hearing.

Well, that was some time ago. We seem to have forgiven the French, especially since they've elected a President who's anxious to succeed Tony Blair as Bush's lapdog--although the rest of the French (typically) don't agree with this. And nobody's mentioned BONG HiTS 4 Jesus in a long time.

We've moved on. To vodka labels.

Yes, vodka labels. For its Mexican marketing campaign, Absolut Vodka ran ads showing a pre-1848 map of Mexico--when what is now California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Texas were still part of the country--with the caption "In an Absolut World."

Americans for Legal Immigration President William Gheen called for a boycott of Absolut, saying the ad was an endorsement of a reconquest of the Southwestern U.S.: "Absolut vodka is trying to sell liquor to Mexicans that aspire to control the Southwest United States." One blogger wrote that he poured his Absolut down the sink.

Another blogger called Absolut "traitors." Which I find a little odd, given the company's Swedish.

As usual, I'm baffled. What are people so upset about?

"Absolut vodka is trying to sell liquor to Mexicans that aspire to control the Southwest United States."

Seriously: if my country faces invasion by foreign enemies, I want them to be drunk--much easier to deal with.

I'm also baffled as to why Absolut thought this ad campaign was a good idea. A spokesperson for Vin & Spirit (Absolut Vodka's parent company), said the idea was to market the Vodka with "a Mexican sensibility," evoking "a time which the population of Mexico may feel was more ideal."

I doubt that most Mexicans would consider the nineteenth century "ideal," given it was a time of social and political chaos. And if I were selling a product to Mexicans, I don't think I would want them to associate it with the loss of half their national territory.

In any case, Vin & Spirit has apologized and pulled the ad. However, William Gheen and his compadres do not appear to be appeased: at time of writing the Boycott Absolut website is still up.

Or maybe Gheen and his compatriots are simply expecting Vin & Spirit to outrage them again soon.

After all, the company has been bought by the French.

1 comment:

Heidi said...

I'm glad someone has joined my long-standing boycott of Absolut Vodka. For years, they rejected my submissions to their art-based advertising campaigns, thus denying my exposure to thousands of potential clients who might otherwise have rushed to purchase images of bunnies acting in lascivious ways around large bottles of alcohol. It's become so political now, I've lost my interest in them but continue my boycott!

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