Pixel Tracker

Saturday, November 17 , 2018, 6:30 pm | Fog/Mist 59º

 
 
 
 

Mark Cromer: Absolut Poppycock

Of all the threats to U.S. sovereignty, a Swedish vodka's ad campaign is hardly the most infuriating

In an era that has seen product branding elevated to high art and marketing strategies crafted as holy rites in the religion of mass consumerism, Absolut vodka’s recent decision to spike the punch bowl with an intentionally provocative ad should hardly be surprising — or cause for much hyperbolic consternation.

image
Mark Cromer

The company is well known for its cutting-edge ad campaigns that infuse its iconic vodka bottle and brand name with the people, places and events of our pop culture world. Political messaging, both latent and blatant, has been an integral part of its marketing styling, which has been accomplished with unquestionable panache.

 

Absolut raised the hackles of so many of my colleagues in the movement to reduce immigration by daring to depict a Spanish map of early 19th-century North America with a punch line of "In An Absolut World."The offense, evidently, is that the ad shows the vast stretch of territory north of the Rio Grande that once indeed was Mexico’s, however tenuously, up until the independence of Texas and the Mexican-American War that ended in 1848. In doing so, the ad panders to those Mexicans — the ad ran only in Mexico — that still view the loss of that war and land 160 years ago as somehow relevant to their lives today — which says a lot about why Mexico is in the state it is in today.

And, yes, the ad does offer a wink and grin to the Latino activists north of the border who pursue an aggressive ethnocentric agenda, one that holds the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo as the enshrinement of America’s theft of “their land.” Further scrutiny of these Latino radicals’ rhetoric reveals they claim title to the entire North American continent, which may come as a surprise to the folks up in Winnipeg.

As news of the ad campaign went viral across the United States, the reaction was predictably furious, with calls of a boycott against Absolut rising faster than you could say "mazel tov." Cable news pundits, bloggers and talk radio all piled on this insulting affront to American sovereignty.

Naturally, Absolut issued an apology that was somewhere between insincere and embarrassing: "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."

Actually, the ad does all of the above and intentionally so.

But the longer I look at the ad and consider its message and context, far from getting angrier, I am just left wondering what the big deal’s all about?

Viewed against the wholesale meltdown of border security, enforcement of our immigration laws and in the absence of any coherent leadership from federal officials on immigration and population growth issues, an Absolut vodka ad ranks somewhere between a crass distraction and insignificant absurdity.

In this age of outrage, we should pour our disgust a little more responsibly.

As the 120-proof hyperbole flew over Absolut’s ad, the family and friends of 17-year-old Jamiel Shaw Jr. was dealing with their grief and pain over Jamiel’s brutal murder at the hands of an illegal immigrant gang member who had been arrested and released the day before Jamiel was killed in Los Angeles.

Now, that’s enraging.

Jamiel’s family sought to raise awareness of the thousands of illegal immigrant gang members in Los Angeles alone, pushing the City Council to discard Special Order 40 or significantly alter it so that police can be more engaged in getting criminals who are in the country illegally off the streets and into a deportation holding cell.

In response, Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes said the city’s economy couldn’t afford such a change in policy and that community “unity” would be shattered by it.

Now, that’s outrageous.

The deep-seated anger that American citizens of all ethnicities feel over illegal immigration is rooted in a government that no longer represents their interests; in an immigration system that is far more manipulated and gamed than broken.

Eight years of a disastrous immigration nonpolicy by the Teetotaler-in-Chief, a president who apparently hasn’t taken so much as a nip in over 20 years, that’s infuriating; and maybe if he poured himself a stiff one and took a look at the plight of low-skilled American workers, he might get a clue.

Absolut vodka does what businesses do — pander to a market demographic. Perhaps not the smartest marketing move to make, but it is unlikely that the Swedish firm’s ad will result in any increase of the human tide that now flows across the southern border.

If it really, really bothers you; then let me suggest a simple response: Stolichnaya.

In the meantime, let’s focus our rage where it matters.

Mark Cromer is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.