Posted by: David Kiley on April 8, 2008
Absolut Take Two:
Just when I thought the Absolut vodka dust-up stemming from an ad it ran in Mexico would be a one-day story, some self-appointed border security advocates have decided to organize a national boycott of the Swedish brand. Oy.
At www.boycottabsolut.com, there is the following statement.
“There is a rapidly growing separatist movement in the United States that is being fueled by illegal immigration across our Southern Border with Mexico.
While many in the American media try to ignore or play down the threat, this radical movement is much stronger than most Americans know and global companies like Absolut are trying to cash in on it.
Sentiments that the Southwest United States rightfully belong to Mexico are so prevalent in Mexico and among illegal aliens that the Absolut Vodka company ran this ad on a billboard and in a Mexican magazine called Quien
The ad’s message to the Mexican audience is “In an Absolut (ie Perfect) world, 1/3 of the US is returned to Mexican control.
The National Illegal Immigration Boycott Coalition (NIIBC) represents over 100 civic organizations fighting for secure borders and immigration enforcement.
This, of course, is a cheap attempt to draw attention to the Mexican border issue adopted by CNN’s Lou Dobbs and former Presidential candidate Tom Tancredo, but which has captivated comparatively few voters.
But brands are easy targets for generating publicity. Some brands, of course, ask for boycotts based on sustained actions and policies they employ. Companies that buy goods from countries with nationalized companies that oppress their citizens and engage in human rights violations comes to mind as a good reason. Abusing the environment seems like a good reason too.
But targeting a company with a boycott because their Mexican unit ran a single ad whose intent was misunderstood and blown all out of proportion seems like a specious reason for organizing a boycott. It’s worth noting that when Absolut was informed of the offense taken over the ad, it pulled it.
Some free advice for Absolut from crisis management counselor Eric Dezenhall: At this stage, there is no way to get people to “un-remember” the ad and anything too PR-ish done to attempt to spin it will only keep it in the news longer. Sometimes there’s something to be said for tiptoe-ing gently into the night after the ad goes dark and letting the next wave of gotcha news take its place.
I have taken some hard comments about referring to Michelle Malkin as "intellectually suspect."
I said this not because I disagree with Malkin's allegedly conservative politics, but because so many of her arguments are intellectually lazy and nothing more than water-carrying for the right-wing fringe.
Take this from her recent column on Absolut.
"Fresh off its Aztlan debacle, the company announced its newest campaign this week featuring an ad titled "Ruler," described as "a humorous look at gay men and their fascination with perfect, eight-inch 'member' measurements."
The company doesn't seem to have grasped that left-wing identity politics and liquor don't mix."
The Absolut ads, both the Mexican ad and the gay media ad, have nothing to do with politics, but rather demographics and cultural touchstones.
That's right. Not everything has a political bent. But she, like so many other flame-throwers, take a small bit of information and tailor it to an intellectually un-informed and lazy position.
The ads are created to resonate with the audience at which they are aimed through media selection. If Malkin sees the gay ad she objects to so much, one might ask her what she is doing consuming gay media.
The ad that ran in Mexico is akin to, for example, if Absolut ran an ad that depicted a White House cabinet meeting that (and I'm making this up to make a point)was made up of Abraham Lincoln and his "Team of Rivals." Another example might be if an ad titled "Absolut Pick-Up Game," depicted a playground basketball game with Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlin, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson and Bob Cousy.
Malkin and her like view a ham sandwich through a political lens. But sometimes a ham sandwich is just a ham sandwich, a duck is a duck and an ad is an ad.