Monday, April 7, 2008

Big Sky Cairn is Absolut-ly on top of things

Big Sky Cairn -- a great new conservative blog that we are enjoying -- had the breaking news this past weekend about the Absolut Vodka ad that ran in Mexico. Look at the post, and you'll see why the ad might be somewhat controversial from a geopolitical perspective -- particularly to residents of about a third of the U.S.

In followup, Big Sky Cairn notes that there was an apology of sorts posted on the Absolut website. Actually, there were two apologies -- an immediate one on April 4 that drew more than 1500 comments (from browsing, almost all negative,) and a second, more apologetic one that has 270 comments and counting -- again mostly negative.

What is interesting is that Absolut defended itself by saying that it had different marketing strategies and ad campaigns in different countries and that the ad would have been different had it been intended for an American audience.


There is nothing unusual about targeted campaigns -- whether in politics or in advertising. But in a global economy and the modern information age, politicians and ad-meisters alike usually pay attention to how their ads will be received in other markets. Long gone are the days when someone campaigning for President could be in Louisiana and promise to shift money from corn programs to sugar -- and then go to Iowa and promise exactly the opposite. Or the days when one could sell something in one country with ads that could be perceived as disrespectful to people in another country (at least if that country's market is sizable enough to affect the bottom line -- which in this case, it is.)

Should Americans already angry about our porous borders boycott Absolut? Sure, if they like. That's the beautiful thing about boycotts -- people have the complete freedom to buy or avoid whatever they want to for whatever reasons they choose. In most cases, not enough people participate in boycotts to make any real difference -- and sometimes when someone calls for a boycott it brings more attention to the brand and attracts some sympathy buying. (So look for Absolut sales to go up in some markets and demographics.)

But (at the risk of delving into the argument about whether there even is such a thing as a best-tasting vodka, let alone which ones are better than others) there is a much better reason to avoid Absolut. As long as Grey Goose is available, that is. Or, if one is in the mood for a more authentically Russian experience, one might put on a fur cap with earflaps and drink Stolichnaya while sitting outside in below-zero weather.

This, we would note, is for those who enjoy vodka in straight shots, on the rocks, or thinly veiled in a martini. If you're really mixing it with something, there is a good argument to be made that you're wasting your money on anything more expensive than your basic Smirnoff. In either case, there isn't much of a reason to waste money on buying that expensive Swedish firewater.


Anonymous said...

This may be getting a bit off-topic, but I inspired by your comment on how Absolut is tailoring its ad campaign to different regions. Robert Novak has an interesting column in today's Washington Post in which he notes that Barack Obama is doing the same thing with his Second Amendment views.

Novak says he's been trying to pin down Obama's views, but not having much success. Novak describes as a gun "dance" Obama's propensity for leading people in urban areas to think he believes one thing about guns while leading people in rural areas such as Montana to think he believes something else.

In case you didn't see it, Chuck Johnson asked Obama about his views on guns in an interview Saturday, but Obama's response was fairly vague. He said he believes in a "right to individual gun ownership."

He added that the US needs to "add more effective background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and keep guns out of the hands of those with mental health problems. I think we should close the gun-show loophole and go after unscrupulous gun dealers that are selling to distraught purchasers."

I have a feeling a lot of gun owners won't like the idea of more background checks.

The Novak column is here:

James said...

For those interested in further reading regarding Obama's stance on firearms, please see John Lott's article titled "Obama and Guns: Two Different Views". Sorry to be off-topic of the Absolut post, I turned down a screw-driver with Absolut this weekend because if it.

John Lott's article here:

James said...

ok, ok, I know I'll be chided for too many posts. Especially off-topic, but did anyone else see this article from ABC news where our Governor handed Teddy a loaded 30.06 at the mansion?

Montana Headlines said...

I'm not sure what the point is regarding the governor with the loaded rifle, and how it ties in to what you have been saying about Obama's stance on guns.

What it says to me is that the governor did something that he knew was certain to make the news, showing that he's a "new Democrat" who likes guns. That plays well in Montana.

Never mind the fact that responsible gun owners don't do things like that -- hand a loaded gun indoors to someone who doesn't have a reason to be handling a loaded gun indoors.

The qu

Anonymous said...

I guess the governor figured the gun incident would bamboozle the reporter into thinking he was an "authentic" westerner and had the gravitas to speak about the politics of guns. And it apparently worked.