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Absolut Pulls Ads Portraying Mexican Ownership of U.S. Territory

April 09, 2008 04:19 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
U.S. consumers threatened to boycott Absolut vodka after the Swedish brand ran ads showing the American Southwest incorporated into Mexico.

30-Second Summary

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The advertisement featured the tagline “In an Absolut World” superimposed upon a map of North America from the 1830s, prior to the Mexican-American War of 1848. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which concluded the war, forced Mexico to relinquish the territory of present-day Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Utah.

Absolut said that the ad, which ran in the Mexican magazine Quién, was meant solely for Mexican audiences and depicted “a time which the population of Mexico might feel was more ideal.”

Blogger Michelle Malkin discerned a darker motive behind the advertisement, namely the belittling of American sovereignty. She concluded that the design company behind the ad, Teran/TBWA, “advocates overturning borders that get in the way of imagining new maps of North America that help Mexico create a larger share of the continent."

The alcohol company left a statement about the campaign on its U.S. customer phone line: “In no way was it meant to offend or disparage, nor does it advocate an altering of borders.”

Truthdig puts the ad into cultural perspective: “Some have called the ad offensive, but can it really be that offensive that Mexicans would imagine a perfect world as one in which they hadn’t lost half of their country?”

The “In an Absolut World” tagline has been used by the vodka maker in other campaigns as a symbol of “a world where everything is as fantastic as Absolut.” A television spot that was part of this ad drive featuring police quelling a riot with pillows is featured on YouTube.

Headline Link: ‘Absolut Ends Mexico Ads over Controversy’

Background: Headline-grabbing Absolut ads

Video: ‘Absolut Vodka Pillow Fight’

Opinion & Analysis: Harmless joke or ‘affront to sovereignty’

Reference: Absolut ads

Related Topic: ‘Santé and Skål! France’s Pernod Ricard Buys Vin & Sprit of Sweden’

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