5) April – Absolut ‘affront to America’ ad
A print ad from the maker of Absolut vodka earlier this year produced an ad featuring a map showing much of the US as a part of Mexico as it used to be. The ad only ran in a Mexican celebrity gossip magazine. However, it was posted on blogs and eventually picked up by the mass media crowd, drawing a negative response from Americans many of whom felt Absolut should be boycotted for the affront.
Behind the news:
Not everyone knows the history behind this episode, but it goes back to 1846 when the U.S. and Mexico entered into a war which lasted 2 years. In 1848, at the conclusion of the U.S.- Mexican War, the two countries signed the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. The treaty called for Mexico to give up almost half of its territory, which included modern-day California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and parts of Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. In return, the U.S. paid $15 million in compensation for war-related damage to Mexican land.
The reaction to this ad is a testament to the fact that we are operating in a borderless world. With the advent of the internet and new communications technologies, there is nowhere to hide. Even if an ad is intended and perfectly suitable for one market, if it is offensive to another market, the chances are that it will get picked up and have negative repercussions on the brand equity.
© Textappeal 2009