Apr 8, 2008

Absolut Controversy in a Gobal World

Is not news by now that the new ad from Absolut Vodka for the Mexican market, may become a major headache for the brand in the US. It got a lot of attention -what normally is desirable-, but if it leads to a boycott from American consumers against the brand, all that attention becomes a hit against the ultimate goal of any product, that is to sell.

Nevertheless, I have to wonder how much this was a bad decision or a very deliberate one. If it was a bad decision, they just forgot how global the world is now and how quickly information travels from one point in the world to the opposite one (and is not even the case!).

If it was a risky and deliberate decision, as I see it, it may have considered the general anti-american sentiment out there that (that let's face it, includes most of Europe too) and risk the possibility of an American boycott, believing that such boycott may lead to more consumption of the brand by the rest of the world. A very dangerous strategy but a strategy in the end.

BTW, in case you haven't seen it yet, here is the ad:

Agency: Teran/TBWA (the map shows the border of Mexico and the US
where it stood before the Mexican-American War of 1848)

CNN calls it "Absolut Disaster" and if it was any other brand I would agree. I am not sure it will harm so much THIS brand in particular, considering its advertising history, positioning and their target.

Now, the fact that that company has already apologized and promised to not run the ad anymore, make me think that was just plain stupidity and not a bold move. What do you think?

PS: The reason I think it is plain stupidity is not because I don't like the ad (I do like risky moves when appropiate), is because they didn't seem prepared in the public relations' front to give a good answer knowing that the ad would generate some controversy!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that now that Absolut is a French Brand (Absolut vodka bought for $8.34 billion by Pernod Ricard SA), there is much more to this than a marketing strategy. Actually, it may be that France is teaming up with Mexico in a game of world domination. After all, the France-US relationship over the past several years has been cold at best. Why not the "United States of French-Mexican Domination"????

Seriously, whoever is offended by that marketing of Absolut in Mexico has way too much time on their hands. Conspiracy theory, whatever.