Since May 2007, Absolut Vodka has been running an ongoing ad campaign created by TBWA/Chiat/Day/New York, “In an Absolut World,” described by The New York Times as:

[A] fanciful, even surreal, place where common sense prevails and just deserts are always on the menu.

On Planet Absolut, for instance, men can get pregnant, the Curse of the Billy Goat is lifted from the hapless Chicago Cubs and the garish billboards in Times Square are replaced by masterpiece paintings. Lying leaders are exposed by their Pinocchio noses, protesters and the police wage street fights with feather pillows, nice Manhattan apartments cost $300 a month and it takes only one exercise lap in a pool for a fatty to become a hottie.” 

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.”

This nonapology apology begs the question of how the same ad would be reinterpreted for an American audience to recall a time which population of the U.S. might feel was more ideal.  

Note: The Stiletto writes about politics and other stuff at The Stiletto Blog.

Be Sociable, Share!