Absolut Fallout

California Reclaimed by Mexico? That’s the Absolut Truth described an advertising campaign by the Swedish vodka manufacturer Absolut, which pictured a map of the Americas that had been redrawn, making the southern states of the United States part of Mexican territory, as they were before the Mexican – American war of 1846.
That post, at least to date, was the most viewed in MexicoReporter.com’s history, and it prompted a slew of comments.
The Los Angeles Times La Plaza blog post on the same subject prompted more than 2000 comments, and they are still coming in.
The image, which appeared on MexicoReporter.com’s Flickr page, has had more than 44,00 views and the comments are still arriving.
The majority of comments have mainly been coming from people in or from the United States, but readers from all over the world have waded in to the conversation, which has been ugly in places.
Many of the points of view left on the post have been around the issue of whether those territories were won / bought fair and square by the United States, or whether they were stolen. Interestingly, however, the image from Absolut has also stirred up the issue of of Mexican immigration to the U.S. and America’s position in the world in general.
Absolut inadvertently provoked the already simmering debate on Mexican immigration to the United States, with some commentators even taking the ad as a threat to their sovereignty. Please see the comments on the post here.
Many people posting views called for a boycott of Absolut, saying that they were never going to drink that brand of vodka again. Others took the campaign as a smart visual gag.
The attention that the campaign received was unintentional. Absolut’s PR machine was ill-prepared to deal with the fall-out, and after publishing one blog post on Friday trying to explain the thinking behind the campaign, they’d moved to a full apology by Sunday.
Then today, it emerged that brand rival SkYY published a statement backing the Treaty of Guadalupe and criticizing Absolut’s campaign directly. The Treaty was the contract that established the former Mexican territories as part of the United States.
“Like SKYY Vodka, the residents of states like California, Texas and Arizona are exceptionally proud of the fact that they are from the United States of America,” said Dave Karraker, SKYY Vodka.
“To imply that they might be interested in changing their mailing addresses, as our competitor seems to be suggesting in their advertising, is a bit presumptuous.”
That statement delighted the readers of www.boycottabsolut.com, a website which has been created since news of the campaign spread, and claims that illegal immigration to the United States from Mexico is fueling a separatist movement.
As for Absolut, perhaps they’ll gain in Mexican customers what they stand to lose in United States drinkers, but maybe all this will be forgotten by the time next Friday night comes around and it’s time to order the drinks….