Sunday, April 06, 2008

Absolut idiocy

Late last week I found that Buckhorn Road (blogroll) had a post about this Absolut advertisement that is making its way around the Mexican countryside. It is causing quite a stir. Using its "In and Absolut World" campaign, the poster shows the Mexican borders redrawn to include the land lost to the United States after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican-American War. It is an obvious shot at the United States in an attempt to get more Mexicans to drink vodka. Not that I'm a conspiracy theorist, but Absolut is owned by a French company, which would explain the idiotic statement that this ad makes.

First let me tell you that I was a big fan of Absolut marketing. I think their print ads are some of the best ever created, and thousands of male college students feel the same way as bedrooms around America are covered in Absolut's sly commercial appeal. The ads are creative, tasteful, and effective. Which is why I'm surprised about this piece of garbage. The offending part of the material is obvious. The "reconquest" of the Southwestern United States by Mexico has been a an odd bone of contention by some in "White America". "Educational Organizations" such as MEChA have thrown more gas on the fire by occasionally slipping in "Chicano reconquest" items in speeches and protests, thus driving some educators to see the group as a little Mexican nationalist movement in the making.

Absolut posted this response on their website:
The In An Absolut World advertising campaign invites consumers to visualize a world that appeals to them -- one they feel may be more idealized or one that may be a bit "fantastic." As such, the campaign will elicit varying opinions and points of view. We have a variety of executions running in countries worldwide, and each is germane to that country and that population.

This particular ad, which ran in Mexico, was based upon historical perspectives and was created with a Mexican sensibility. In no way was this 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. Instead, it hearkens to a time which the population of Mexico may feel was more ideal.

As a global company, we 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 US -- that ad might have been very different.
Wow, you think? And if the ad was "Absolut World" with the United States taking Mexico (as was the option if Mexico didn't accept Guadalupe Hidalgo), would that have been an acceptable interpretation? How about an ad ran in Chiapas? Does an Absolut ad from Chiapas contain the Mexican map redrawn from the point of few of the revolutionaries who want an independent government? How about non-cartographic advertisement. "In an Absolut World......the Mexican government can take its head out of its ass to feed, cloth, and educate its own people so they don't have to emigrate to the United States".

Speaking of the history behind the "former Mexican land" that is now the American Southwest, how about a little correct interpretation. First of all, Mexico only owned the land because they took it from Spain, who in turn took it from the Native Americans that they enslaved when they were trying to turn them all into God faring Christians. That is if the Natives survived from European diseases that were brought over from Spain. Second, Mexico owned the land and basically left it almost totally empty. It wasn't like there was any kind of massive civilization in Southern California or New Mexico that exemplified Mexican culture. Two kinds of people survived in the region; missionaries out to enslave Native American cultures, and criminals, either exiled out of Mexico to be settlers or sent to protect the missionaries from the Native Americans that were none to happy to be pressed into involuntary servitude. In fact, the government almost totally ignored all the installations in California to the point that the generals were begging for food and clothing until American traders showed up from Boston.

So not only is the ad ridiculous, the concept of reconquest of the Southwest is almost totally invalid. The only real valid argument against Manifest Destiny should come from the Native Americans, and I don't see an "Absolut World" poster with tribal boundaries in North America coming any time soon.
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