Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Absolut Bad Judgment

This is the ad that's had Absolut vodka in a pot of hot water the past few days and has some groups calling for a boycott.

Though the ad was intended only for Mexico (curious that it used English in that case), Absolut has been playing defense to an outraged chorus since it reached American eyes.

An Absolut spokesperson said of the ad, "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."

And yet, it does all those things so well.

What's horrifying here? First, one or several people at Absolut's Mexican ad agency -- Teran/TBWA -- are probably packing their desks at this very moment. Probably a couple in Absolut's marketing department, too. I can't really feel sorry for them. How would this ad go over if the borders were Israel and Palestine? Or Germany overtaking Europe? You can bet this one isn't going into anyone's portfolio, all arguments about the value of free publicity aside.

Second, even after offering a sincere and heartfelt apology, I believe Absolut can look forward to a decreased market share in the U.S. for some time to come. I don't think the fat lady's anywhere near singing with this one just yet.

And finally, Absolut and its parent company was recently sold to French spirit maker Pernod Ricard SA, under a deal reached just last week! Bet they're glad to have this one in their portfolio, too.

But what the hell do I care? I'm a Smirnoff man myself.

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