The latest advertising campaign in Mexico from Swedish vodka maker Absolut promises to push all the right buttons south of the U.S. border, but it could ruffle a few feathers in El Norte.
The billboard and press campaign, created by advertising agency Teran\TBWA and now running in Mexico, is a colorful map depicting what the Americas might look like in an "Absolut" -- i.e., perfect -- world.
The U.S.-Mexico border lies where it was before the Mexican-American war of 1848 when California, as we now know it, was Mexican territory and known as Alta California.
Following the war, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo saw the Mexican territories of Alta California and Santa Fé de Nuevo México ceded to the United States to become modern-day California, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. (Texas actually split from Mexico several years earlier to form a breakaway republic, and was voluntarily annexed by the United States in 1846.)
The campaign taps into the national pride of Mexicans, according to Favio Ucedo, creative director of leading Latino advertising agency Grupo Gallegos in the U.S.
Ucedo, who is from Argentina, said: “Mexicans talk about how the Americans stole their land, so this is their way of reclaiming it. It’s very relevant and the Mexicans will love the idea.”
But he said that were the campaign to run in the United States, it might fall flat.
“Many people aren’t going to understand it here. Americans in the East and the North or in the center of the county -- I don’t know if they know much about the history.
“Probably Americans in Texas and California understand perfectly and I don’t know how they’d take it.”
Meanwhile, the campaign has been circulating on the blogs and generating strong responses from people north of the border.
“I find this ad deeply offensive, and needlessly divisive. I will now make a point of drinking other brands. And 'vodka and tonic' is my drink,” said one visitor, called New Yorker, on MexicoReporter.com.
Reader Paul Green goes into a discussion on the blog Gateway Pundit of whether the U.S. territories ever belonged to Mexico in the first place, and the News12 Long island site invited people to boycott Absolut, with one user, called LivingSmall, writing: “If you drink Absolut vodka, you can voice your approval or disapproval of this advertising campaign with your purchases. I know I will be switching to Grey Goose or Stoli and will never have another bottle of Absolut in my house.
“Hey Absolut ... that's my form of social commentary.”