April 07, 2008

Thanks to Manny Gonzalez from abece and one of our bloggers on El Blog of I was made aware of the Absolute Vodka usage of an 1830’s map of Mejico in the LaAM print advertising and the brewing controversy.

People in the U.S.A. are calling for the boycott of Absolute Vodka due to this depiction of Mejico in the 1830’s and it’s influence in America. Absolute Vodka has decided according to Fox News to offer an apology. “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.

Well it was true then and it’s true now. So what is all the fuss about? Don’t apologize, grow some pelotas! This is reason #101 for me to continue to drink Kettle One vodka.

I remember using this map when we I first started selling Hispanic Radio in 1983 at Caballero Spanish Media. We used it to demonstrate the influence of the Hispanic Market and Mexicans in the United States, along with their relationship to the history of this great country. Armed with a lot of brawn, no research and a lot of conceptual selling we persevered!

In today’s world it still applies. Remember, due to Mejico, the Caribbean and other Latin American countries, the Hispanic market will represent close to 50% of the US Population in 2050.

Get over it , we are here to stay and influence this great nation.


I understand your point, Gene, but at the end of the day, V&S, the parent company of Absolut, only cares about sales of cases of liquor. Anything that would stop or slow the flow of sales of cases in any market is not desired in any way. Nationalistic pride is still a very strong sentiment with the majority of the world, I think people in Panama would be offended if they saw the same type of map displaying Panama as part of Colombia to Colombians as it once was. Colombians might like the ads, but Panamanians more than likely would not. I think the ad would have worked better if it was done by an in-country brand-a brand that sells in Mexico but not outside of Mexico; this way you could get a rise from the people in the country and not have to deal with reprisals from people from the other country that may feel offended, as is the US in this case. As a multinational brand, why offend anyone with a topic so controversial? These liquor brands often sell us the image of escapism where when we drink any one of them, supposedly images in our mind should be conjured of hanging in a swank nightclub, having fun with friends, lounging on a beautiful Caribbean beach-the last image a liquor brand wants people to think of are all the images that come to mind when one thinks of the "Absolut world of Aztlán" -border crisis, immigration, MinuteMan, Lou Dobbs, immigration raids, family being broken apart, human rights, social services, etc. So, who's up for an Absolut on the rocks today?

Communication is not about what you say or intended to say it’s about what the masses hear. The problem is subjectively we only hear what we believe. A la neta, solo escuchamos lo que creemos con todos los prejuicios. Back in the old days (circa 1995) when I broke into radio production and hosting the station manager pulled me aside and said. “Victor, if you expect to make it in radio you must piss people off, I don’t care if what you say is true or right. You need to understand that any kind of publicity is good publicity.” Fast forward a mere 13 years to today. It’s a whole different world. That advice would sink a politician’s aspirations for president. Bad publicity torpedoed the career of the high and mighty Tom Cruise from Via Com when he took a jump on Oprah’s couch. Shock jock Don Imus certainly learned that lesson when he got tried to get a laugh. In the modern age of You Tube, interactive news, bloging, etc., the social landscape is to be navigated very carefully and strategically. Miss the boat by trying to make buzz and you create a tsunami that can sink your best marketing strategy. Just my dos centavos

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