Michelle Malkin updates the Absolut advertising controversy, reporting that, having angered many Americans with an ill-conceived ad campaign picturing the entire American Southwest, including California, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Arizona (and beyond the Southwest: Oregon, along with most of Wyoming, and much of Idaho) incorporated into Mexico, in the face of mounting criticism, Absolut withdrew the offending ad and apologized, and then the Swedish company, now part of France’s Pernod Ricard, announced its launch of new Gay-oriented advertising.
Bar owner Matthew Rogers of Pt. Richmond, Calif., sent this note to the company: â€œI run a bar in Pt. Richmond. â€¦ After seeing your ad campaign where you show a western map of the United States in which California is part of Mexico again, Iâ€™ve decided to do the following: 1) Never carry Absolut. Ever; 2) Lower the price of Ketel One vodka to $2 a shot indefinitely to build loyalty; 3) Print a copy of your ad and put it above the Ketel One drink special; 4) Tell all my friends and family what Absolut thinks of the United States of America and our right to enforce border laws. I am on the frontline of illegal immigration and its effects. Where are you? Oh, yes, Sweden. Good riddance.â€
Absolutâ€™s initial response to complaints was to hang up on consumers who phoned and to delete their e-mail without bothering to read it. But the controversy spread like a California wildfire stoked by Internet Santa Ana winds. In the first of two statements, Absolut Vice President of Corporate Communications Paula Eriksson attempted to douse the flames by touting the companyâ€™s embrace-diversity ethos. â€œAs a global company,â€ she pedantically intoned, â€œwe 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. Obviously, this ad was run in Mexico, and not the U.S. â€” that ad might have been very different.â€
That arrogant, p.c. sanctimony had the effect of pouring gas on the flames. So over the weekend, Eriksson issued a new statement announcing withdrawal of the ad. It was comically titled â€œWe apologizeâ€ â€” and disingenuously argued that â€œIn no way was the ad meant to offend or disparage, or advocate an altering of borders, lend support to any anti-American sentiment, or to reflect immigration issues. â€¦This is a genuine and sincere apology.â€ …
Fresh off its Aztlan debacle, the company announced its newest campaign this week featuring an ad titled â€œRuler,â€ described as â€œa humorous look at gay men and their fascination with perfect, eight-inch â€˜memberâ€™ measurements.â€
The brand’s two new, daring print ad executions include: “Ruler,” a humorous look at gay men and their fascination with perfect, eight-inch “member” measurements, while “Stadium” engages on the issue of gay marriage when one half of a gay couple “pops” the question during a sports outing. Created by SPI Marketing/Moon City in New York, these new lifestyle-driven ads build on a heritage of advertisements that prominently featured gay artists since 1984.
“As a long-time supporter of the gay and lesbian community, we acknowledge that you can’t simply speak to gay men and lesbians as consumers, but instead need to make real connections to their lives which we believe we are achieving with our new creative executions,” said Jeffrey Moran, ABSOLUTÂ® spokesperson. “As a company, we respect gay men and lesbians not simply in advertising messages, but behind the scenes as well. We’re not gay-washing here.”
The preferred brand of vodka for gay and lesbian consumers, ABSOLUTÂ® was one of the first major brands to place an ad in a gay magazine 27 years ago and is a long-time supporter of events and causes important to the gay and lesbian community.
Dominique Poirier also notified us of Absolut’s apology.