Absolut Faux Pas

When vodka ads offend nativists

Did you hear the one about the Swedish vodka company recently purchased by a French conglomerate marketing to Mexican consumers that pissed off U.S. bloggers? Ah, the perils of globalism! In early March, Absolut ran an ad in Mexican magazines as part of its "In an Absolut World" campaign. The ad featured a map of North America from the 1830s, when Mexico still controlled great portions of land it eventually coughed up one way or another to the United States. If the real world were as perfect as it sometimes seems when you're smashed on vodka, Absolut suggested coyly, the Dallas Cowboys would be Mexico's team, not America's, and the Beach Boys would've had to settle for Nebraska girls.

Apparently, Absolut's ad agency put too much faith in news stories that we gringos are so geographically illiterate we think maps are just promotional posters for globes. But as any border patrol vigilante worth his margarita salt can tell you, what happens in Mexico City doesn't always stay in Mexico City. The controversial Absolut ads crossed the Rio Grande via the Internet, and U.S. bloggers with anti-immigration leanings, already sensitive to the idea of being undermined by an army of dishwashers and day laborers, demanded a boycottini.

But do these angry patriots really believe drunken Mexicans fantasize about owning Salt Lake City? Do they really believe Absolut wants to decrease the size of its most lucrative market, America? It's just an ad, part of a campaign that portrays a glibly "idealized" alternate universe. In another ad in the campaign, men get pregnant instead of women. In a third, the Almighty Bartender reaches down from the heavens to dump ice cubes into an ocean that is presumably hot with the sweat of boiling dolphins. As much as Absolut may position itself as a light-hearted advocate for gender equality and the War on Climate Change, it's mostly a light-hearted advocate for selling as much vodka as possibleand it's not above sucking up to its many different constituencies to do so.

Indeed, over the last three decades Absolut has done a brilliant job of this. In 1980, vodka had a reputation as a cheap commodity that was so generic even Communists couldn't screw it up too badly. Then the Swedes began exporting Absolut in those chic medicinal bottles. And running ads in virtually every magazine big enough to earn a spot on your local newsrack. (Possibly the one thing Martha Stewart Living, The New Republic, Garden Design, Scientific American, and Hustler have in common is that they've all run Absolut ads.)

The spare but glamorous layouts of those initial Absolut ads transformed vodka's status from cheap commodity to yuppie status item: They were like a pair of designer jeans that got you drunk! Over the next 25 years, Absolut employed a strategy of versatile monotony, producing more than 1,500 ads that followed the same simple template as the first onea depiction of the bottle plus a short phrase beginning with the word "Absolut."

As the campaign progressed, it grew more and more abstract, and thus more and more effective. The boastful language of the earliest ads ("Absolut Perfection," "Absolut Gem") gave way to puns that said nothing about the product itself. A bottle wrapped in chains was paired with the phrase "Absolut Security." A bottle turned on its head was paired with the phrase "Absolut Yoga." The company was no longer selling itself as a maker of vodka; it was selling itself as a maker of witty but empty advertising. In the same way that vodka is so tasteless, odorless, and colorless it can be mixed with just about anything, the Absolut brand was so meaningless it could be mixed with just about anything too.

Thanks to this chameleon-like ability to appeal to so many different kinds of consumers, Absolut is the most popular imported vodka in America. It's the third largest liquor brand worldwide. Two years ago, however, it decided to finally retire its traditional ads. Last year, it unveiled its first "In an Absolut World" ads; unlike their empty, eye-catching predecessors, these ones convey actual messages, often with a progressive slant. And that, Absolut has learned in the wake of its fantasy annexation of a sizable chunk of the American West and Southwest, is a recipe for trouble.

Still, is a single controversial ad grounds for boycotts and disownment? Last year, America drank approximately 1.68 billion shots of Absolut. Think of all the drunken hook-ups that represents! Think of all the business deals Absolut helped seal, the concerts and football games and slow Thursday afternoons it enhanced. Plus there's the question of whose "perfect world" Absolut's border realignment really represents. Ultimately, more Mexico would just mean less America; the net result would be fewer illegal immigrants invading the U.S. in search of a better life. That doesn't sound like a Mexican fantasy at all. Instead, it's a scenario nativists would toast.

Contributing Editor Greg Beato is a writer in San Francisco.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Episiarch||

    Now I want to get hammered. On tequila.

  • ||

    LoneWacko in 5, 4, 3, 2....

  • ||

    Ok, this is in all seriousness.

    The immigration restrictionists say theres a secret plot to take back the southwest for Mexico.

    At the same time, the same people ALSO say theres a plot to unite Mexico, Canada, and the United States under one federal government.

    Seems like the two are mutually exclusive. Which is it?

  • Tym||

    Vodka sucks, not taste, give me scotch, bourbon, tequila or dark rum.

  • ||

    "But do these angry patriots really believe drunken Mexicans fantasize about owning Salt Lake City?..."

    If it were such a non-issue in their marketing demographic why would they use it? I'm guessing it is something a respectable portion of the Mexican population thinks about occasionally.

    But wasn't that Spanish territory?

  • ||

    They should just run an add in Britain that shows the United States east of the Mississippi as British colonies.

  • The Whine Commonsewer||

    Swedish vodka company recently purchased by a French conglomerate

    Sounds like the French are just getting even with us for giving them shit about having rear view mirrors in their tanks so they could see how the battle was going.

    Personally, I think we should offer both Baja's statehood and federal revenue sharing to entice them to leave Mexico.

    Better yet, Let's make Baja the destination de jour for the Free State Project.

  • ||

    StupendousMan,

    No, Mexico was an independent nation by the time of the Mexican-American War, etc.

  • J sub D||

    It's the third largest liquor brand worldwide.

    Don't leave us hanging. What are numbers one and two

  • Bingo||

    Contributing Editor Greg Beato is a writer in San Francisco.



    Paging Casey Sarin!

  • javier||

    Ultimately, more Mexico would just mean less America; the net result would be fewer illegal immigrants invading the U.S. in search of a better life

    More mexico just means more of the continent would have been destroyed by socialist nonsense and we would have even more people coming to the US for a better life.

  • The Whine Commonsewer||

    But wasn't that Spanish territory?

    I once heard a Mexican national arguing with a Gringo in Cabo and she asserted that:

    technically, California is part of Mexico anyway..

    I thought to myself, wait, by that logic wouldn't it be that technically Alta California AND Mexico belongs to Spain?

    Actually, I was troubled by this conversation, otherwise I liked this chick, she was obviously bright, friendly, outgoing, educated in Mexico and the US, had a great job, but......

  • The Whine Commonsewer||

    Contributing Editor Greg Beato is a writer in San Francisco.

    Well, that explains his liberal attitude. After the reconquista, he's still in the US.

  • x,y||

    The immigration restrictionists say theres a secret plot to take back the southwest for Mexico.

    At the same time, the same people ALSO say theres a plot to unite Mexico, Canada, and the United States under one federal government.

    Seems like the two are mutually exclusive. Which is it?



    I'm not defending the "Save R Jobs" or "Protect R Borders" crowd, but this is a weak argument because it is too vague. Who are "the same people"? Show me the same person or organization making both those claims and then I'll take it seriously.

  • Arhnuld||

    What if we gave them southern california, basically the LA area, think they'd be happy with that?

    I dont think it would be missed too much...

  • ||

    Absolut piffle

  • Episiarch||

    The idea that Mexico could ever actually take anything away from the US is so absurd that I find myself wondering what people are actually upset about in this ad.

    It's like showing an ad in Canada with everything in the Oregon Country as part of Canada. I mean, come on.

    Pre-emptive Candian response: "But we burned down the White House in 1814!"

  • ||

    x,y,--

    Michelle Malkin, VDARE, and of course LoneWacko all make both arguments.

    So does Lou Dobbs.

  • Orange Line Special||

    Since Greg Beato didn't offer anything beyond a stock open borders/up with globalism piece, and since he didn't engage his opponents' arguments in an honest fashion, let me help provide some background on the issue.

    1. A ZogbyPoll in Mexico found that 58% thought the U.S. southwest rightfully belongs to Mexico. That means that a good percentage of those who corrupt hacks are allowing to come here illegally think they're resettling their homeland.

    2. Various MexicanAmerican politicians are former members of a racial separatist group whose founding documents advocated that homeland. One of those includes L.A.'s mayor, and another is a U.S. Rep.

    3. For examples of literally anti-American sentiments that deny our sovereign right to our territory, here's a Clinton co-chair, and here's a national official with a major group.

    4. And, here's one of Reason's new heroes on the issue.

  • Episiarch||

    Well, he showed up, but I would have thought sooner.

  • ||

    More fun with comments on LoneWackos site:

    Its not going to be over until Juan McCain, Jorge Bush, and all the other anti-American traitors to our racial/ethnic heritage are PURGED from the government!
    Fed Up! | 04.10.08 - 4:39 pm | #

  • Orange Line Special||

    Episiarch says: The idea that Mexico could ever actually take anything away from the US is so absurd that I find myself wondering what people are actually upset about in this ad.

    Obviously, the ancestors of those who run Mexico were quite adept at taking things away from people. And, there are possibilities beyond the southwest becoming an actual part of Mexico. It could also become an autonomous region of some kind. If everyone in CA now decided to become their own state, there's nothing the rest of the U.S. could do about it. And, with a supermajority being MexicanAmerican or Mexican, there's the possibility that that might happen.

    It's not like things like that have happened before in world history, and certainly not in the U.S., right?

  • ||

    I'm not defending the "Save R Jobs" or "Protect R Borders" crowd, but this is a weak argument because it is too vague. Who are "the same people"? Show me the same person or organization making both those claims and then I'll take it seriously.

    Obviously, you have not clicked. If you have, then you have not learned.

  • economist||

    Actually, I think that in the absence of US territorial gains in southwest, there would be more illegal immigrants in the US. It has mostly to do with the instability and economic policies of Mexico, which would presumably be larger in the absence Guadalupe-Hidalgo treaty.

  • Episiarch||

    If everyone in CA now decided to become their own state, there's nothing the rest of the U.S. could do about it.

    Really? So that whole Civil War thing didn't resolve the secession issue, I guess.

    Oh noes the wetbacks are going to super-populate CA and vote to leave the US! And the Feds will let them, presumably? Who again has all the military assets?

  • ||

    Lonewacko, do you pee your pants when a truck goes by? Do you tremble with fear while crossing the street.

    Find yourself something real to worry about. There is plenty of horrible stuff out there.

  • ||

    Obviously, you have not clicked. If you have, then you have not learned.

    Heh, good one.

  • economist||

    I think we should renegotiate the treaty. For $50,000,000,000 Mexico can have California, Texas, New Mexico (it's got Mexico built right into its name!), Arizona (sorry John McCain), and California. If Felipe Calderon is interested he can support my bid to become dictador supremo de los Estados Unidos.

  • ||

    "Oh noes the wetbacks..." etc.

    The numbers of immigrants from the south has increased dramatically in the past two decades. Has it slowed? I don't know, but the numbers combined with identity politics and ethnic pride garbage doesn't make the idea crazy. Low probability, but not absurd, IMO.

    As OLS said, similar things have been known to happen throughout history.

  • ||


    Episiarch | April 10, 2008, 4:58pm | #

    The idea that Mexico could ever actually take anything away from the US is so absurd that I find myself wondering what people are actually upset about in this ad.

    It's like showing an ad in Canada with everything in the Oregon Country as part of Canada. I mean, come on.



    Episiarch

    I'm miffed they didn't. And the Ohio territories ceded in 1818.

    RE: Burning down the White House in 1814. How about a bicentennial reenactment? You choose the occupant.

  • ||

    If the ad ran only in Mexico, why was it in English?

  • ||

    Absolut is pretty shitty Vodka, but they do commision some pretty good ads. A case in point from Tim and Eric:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5p0QtJMKt1s

  • Orange Line Special||

    Episiarch says: So that whole Civil War thing didn't resolve the secession issue, I guess... Who again has all the military assets?

    I already had this discussion with another set of useful idiots a couple days ago, that time of the "liberal" variety:

    ----
    [You] might want to check the populations and weaponry involved then and now. Hint: there are at least three times as many *Mexican citizens* in California as there are people in our entire armed forces. There's absolutely no way that we could "re-invade" our own territory without massive losses on our side or their side, depending on how we did it.
    ---

    It's long past time that we recognized "libertarians" as the present-day equivalent of yesterday's CommieSymps and collaborateurs.

  • Colin||

    I thought the ad was quite witty.

    Americans' sense of humor (both from the right and the left) seem to be a all-time low.

  • The Whine Commonsewer||

    I dont think it would be missed too much...

    Except that 70 Billion flowing from So Cal into the state coffers

  • Episiarch||

    OK, that's all the LoneWacko arguing I can handle. It's like arguing with Chewbacca; he grunts and makes noises that make no sense, and you speak back to him in English.

  • InsertDeceptiveNameHere||

    lolbrownpeoplesuck

  • The Whine Commonsewer||

    If the ad ran only in Mexico, why was it in English?

    Toooo-got-dang-shay Mr Oliver. Nicely done.

  • InsertDeceptiveNameHere||

    theyrecomingtogetusohnoes

  • ||

    If the ad ran only in Mexico, why was it in English?

    The Reconquista aren't stupid. They recognize that Aztlán will need to be bilingual.

  • ||

    Why would anyone fantasise about owning SLC?

    By the way, I'm down with a reenactment of the burning of the White House. But only if we get to torch the Canadian houses of parliament again. (Although we might let you go first this time; that seems fair, eh?)

  • Brandybuck||

    The Mexican-American war started as a result of Texas secceding from Mexico and subsequently joining the US. While there are some legitimate complaints that Polk maneuvered us into that war, it was still Mexico that fired the first shot. There was a very real possibility that the US could have annexed ALL of mexico! Maybe there should be another Absolut ad showing the borders of the US extending down to Chiapas and Yucatan.

    Yeah, California used to belong to Mexico. GET OVER IT! It belonged to Spain before that, and parts to Russia. And don't forget the Amerindians. If you're going to give the land back to the original owners, you'll have to rustle up some coyotes and jackrabbits to hand the deeds over to.

  • From the \"But that\'s differe||

    So what would happen if Absolut de Guatemala SA de CV ran an ad showing Chiapas as being part of Mexico?

    PS: Peachy wins the thread when he asks why anyone would want Salt Lake City.

  • Franklin Harris||

    Michelle Malkin, VDARE, and of course LoneWacko all make both arguments.

    So does Lou Dobbs.



    I really wish cognitive dissonance made people's heads explode. It would be fun watching these people melt down like a computer that's just lost an argument with Capt. Kirk.

  • bubba||

    Regardless of the merits of the border argument:

    If it's ok for me to buy a product because I like an ad, it's also ok for me to decline a product because I don't like an ad.

  • Travis||

    As far as I'm concerned Mexico can have California.

  • ||

    Greg Beato-

    Absolut stupidity!

    Why not a map that shows Western Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Israel, Iraq, Mexico, and all of Central America to the Canal Zone- and also parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan- in a advertisement for "Absolut America"?

    Or, might that possibly offend some of their customers in one of those countries where Absolut doesn't already sell 1.6 billion shots/yr?

  • Ska||

    As far as I'm concerned, you can have vodka. I'll take gin over vodka every time.

  • ||

    Mr Beato,

    Unfortunately you could not be more hopelessly wrong.

    Should Absolute sell to the Germans with a 1940's map showing Paris as a part of greater Germany.

    The Phillipines as part of Japan's Greater Asian Prosperity Sphere?

    Or perhaps a map of the old Soviet Union would be to your liking.

    You see, when you write an article you should try thinking first.

    BOYCOTT ABSOLUT!

  • ||

    I'm a Stoli girl myself.

  • fog||

    It is unpatriotic to fear Mexico. Don't they realize how degrading that is?

  • Kolohe||

    "If everyone in CA now decided to become their own state, there's nothing the rest of the U.S. could do about it."

    Zombie Lincoln in '08!

  • Virgil||

    David DeCarlo, you tiresome halfwit, maybe they should just sell ads with a picture of you without your head all the way up your ass, although I'm afraid that scenario is even more implausible than the ads they're actually running.

    Only an AbsolutParanoidMoron like Lonewacko (and, apparently, you) thinks we're under some legitimate threat from Mexico or Mexican immigrants. And only an AbsolutAhistoricalDipshit thinks this map is remotely comparable to one involving Nazi Germany or the USSR.

    You see, when you post at a blog you should try thinking first.

    BOYCOTT DUMBASSES!

  • james b||

    If everyone in CA now decided to become their own state, there's nothing the rest of the U.S. could do about it.

    If everyone wants to go, why make them stay?

  • Kolohe||

    "It's not like things like that have happened before in world history, and certainly not in the U.S., right?"

    You know, I conceed that this is the most cogent argument the restrictionists make, comparing US vs Cherokee,et al. to Mexico vs US.

    However, the weakness of this line of reasoning is:
    Population wasn't the only thing the manifest density forces had at their disposal. They also had the holy trinity of 'lawyers, guns, and money' I know one would argue on who now has the upper hand on the first two, with ManyLinks, but the third is undeniably a NorteAmericano advantage.

  • Kolohe||

    [You] might want to check the populations and weaponry involved then and now. Hint: there are at least three times as many *Mexican citizens* in California as there are people in our entire armed forces. There's absolutely no way that we could "re-invade" our own territory without massive losses on our side or their side, depending on how we did it.



    1st:
    (white male) of future confederacy at time of sumter = 2.5 million
    size of US army at the time of sumter = 16,000
    ratio: 150:1 (which is greater than 3:1)

    2nd:
    Grant nor Sherman really didn't give a shit about massive losses on either side. I don't see how that trend wouldn't continue.

    3rd:
    Weaponry then and now:
    modern weaponry makes a battle between 'unionists' and 'seperatists' even more uneven.
    (but what about Iraq? Iraq has a myriad of factions all trying to kill each other as well as us.
    but what about Vietnam? vietnam had foreign backers that we could not go after directly)

  • ||

    "Animals are crapping in our houses, and we're picking it up. Did we lose a war? That's not America. That's not even Mexico!"

  • ||

    Ska, you do realize that Gin is basically Vodka with Juniper oil added to alter the tatse, right. And for the idiot who said Vodka has "no" taste, try a GOOD one. Not Stoli or Grey Goose, but a REAL Vodka, like Vincent, or Chopin would be a decent start. Yummy

  • Franklin Harris||

    Not Stoli or Grey Goose, but a REAL Vodka, like Vincent, or Chopin would be a decent start.



    Chopin tastes like potatoes and gives me the worst. hangovers. ever. Meh.

  • ||

    The immigration restrictionists say theres a secret plot to take back the southwest for Mexico.

    At the same time, the same people ALSO say theres a plot to unite Mexico, Canada, and the United States under one federal government.

    Seems like the two are mutually exclusive.



    Seems, but is not necessarily. If one group, say a group founded in Mexico and transferred partly to the US, is trying to return the Southwest to the control of Mexico. Also, another group, lets use the Bildeburgers since they don't get as much ink as they used to, is trying to unify the three countries in order to take over the world. In this case, you have two plots that are at odds with each other.

    Both can't happen at the same time and fulfill both ambitions, but then again, I doubt those people actually believe both will or could happen simultaneously, just both could possibly happen.

    ps - I am not one of "those people"

  • ||

    Mexican Joke:
    "It isn't that the Gringos stole half our country that pisses us off, it's that they stole the half with the good roads."

    Lonewako, have you ever talked to those immigrants you are so-so afraid of? Heard how every third ad on spanish radio is a class or tape to learn english in three weeks? Why is the vodka ad in english?

    Mexico is dying. She looses hundreds of thousands of productive citizens every year and the oligarchs just shrug. Her children are emos and punks and headbangers - getting their culture from the North. The language of the middle class is changing to Spanglish and the indians are learning english before they bother to learn spanish. In fifty years Mexican culture will just be somthing hispanic studies students discuss in US universities. The nation of Mexico will be rotting husk.

  • Gahan||

    It'll be like when all those immigrants back in the 19th century carved up the eastern seaboard for Ireland and Italy and forced everyone east of the Mississippi to convert to Catholicism. Before you know it, California will be turned upside down and the cities will all have scary Mexican names like Sacramento or San Francisco.

  • ||

    The nation of Mexico will be rotting husk.

    But we will still have carnitas...

  • Ali||

    What would an Absolut ad be like in Canada?

  • ||

    Damn LoneWhackjob! How many names do you plan on using this month? Even Gunnels didn't change names as often as you do these days.

    Well, while the names may change your shit still stinks.

  • ||

    Ali | April 10, 2008, 8:08pm | #
    What would an Absolut ad be like in Canada?


    Absolute Hockey! Eh?

  • Gahan||

    By the way, having lived in Mexico for a couple years now (in the north, no less), I can tell you that any complaint about lost territory is more likely to be followed up with a shrug and another sip of Tecate than a rifle raised in the air. The national motto down here is "ni modo" (Which loosely translates as "Oh well" or "What are you gonna do?"), an attitude that has been pretty ingrained ever since the Spanish conquest. Those who fear a Mexican invasion are paranoid nutjobs.

    I was recently back in California (Monterey area) with my Mexican wife and her friends. As we were driving down Highway 1 through Big Sur, they began to muse about what it would look like if it still belonged to Mexico. The consensus was that there would be a lot more litter and the road would be jammed with motorized taco carts.

  • ||

    It'll be like when all those immigrants back in the 19th century carved up the eastern seaboard for Ireland and Italy and forced everyone east of the Mississippi to convert to Catholicism. Before you know it, California will be turned upside down and the cities will all have scary Mexican names like Sacramento or San Francisco.

    Just goes to show how little you know about the papist infiltration of America, the sobordination of our proud Anglo-Saxon culture. Here's two examples to think over you smug bastard:

    St Patrick's Day
    Pizzarias

    What do have to say about that?

  • Ali||

    Absolute Hockey! Eh?

    Since Canadians are such nice people, I was thinking may be a map of the US extending across the Canadian midwest. Add that ad to the ad from Mexico, and we're even! Problem solved.

  • Elemenope||

    What do have to say about that?

    I like a tall stout and hot calzones?

  • Ali||

    Another fun question:

    What would be an Absolut ad that appeals to LoneWack, MM, et al.?

  • ||

    lolbrownpeoplesuck

    You've got it wrong. The rule is:

    When the subject is melanin, words shall twin.

  • Gahan||

    "What do have to say about that?"

    What better way to de-Catholicize St. Patrick's Day than to turn it into a binge-drinking green puke-athon where gays are allowed to march in the parade?

    And as for pizzerias, well... my local pizzeria has a condom machine in the restroom. IN YOUR FACE, POPE!

  • Stephen Smith||

    Apparently, Absolut's ad agency put too much faith in news stories that we gringos are so geographically illiterate we think maps are just promotional posters for globes.

    I think the real problem is that Absolut didn't put enough faith into the commonly-known fact that gringos can't stand reading other languages and just put the damn thing in Spanish. If they had, photo editors wouldn't have liked it so much and it wouldn't have gained so much traction in the press here.

  • J sub D||

    What better way to de-Catholicize St. Patrick's Day than to turn it into a binge-drinking green puke-athon where gays are allowed to march in the parade?

    And as for pizzerias, well... my local pizzeria has a condom machine in the restroom. IN YOUR FACE, POPE!


    lol - ★★★★

  • el WackoSolitario||

    "...gringos can't stand reading other languages and just put the damn thing in Spanish"

    AyCaramba!! El SupercarreteraNorteamericano!!

  • Neil||

    Why nothing on our President's speech today?

    It looks like we're going to strike Iran!

    The Global War on Terror marches on.

  • Nasikabatrachus||

    First Cinco de Mayo, now this! As if celebrating a holiday for a country that doesn't even celebrate it wasn't bad enough, the alcohol companies are re-drawing our maps!

    Next thing you know, they're going to draw up an El Constitutione that says that gringos like me are forbidden from mowing their own lawns and picking their own strawberries for low wages.

  • ||

    Seems like the two are mutually exclusive. Which is it?

    x,y...why do you hate America?

  • ||

    Why would anyone fantasise about owning SLC?

    I'm sure there's quite a few people in Utah who would love the state to secede, install Mitt as their new president, and replace the Bill of Rights with the Articles of Faith.

  • Y.||

    I fear I must disagree with this article. While there's no chance of the American Southwest ever rejoining Mexico, there may be one day a sufficient amount of crazies who may actually try to do this, and it's best to avoid encouraging this attitude in any way.

    Imagine how many restriction on freedom may happen after events like this.

  • JB||

    Stick head in sand more please. Have you ever heard of La Raza? These fringe groups do exist...even just one 5 second Google search would show that. Reason editors, please make your writers do at least 5 seconds of work for each article.

    Still, if it was 'just an ad' why did the US get singled out? It is any surprise that Absolut has no problem redrawing American borders, but stayed away from messing with anyone else's?

    The ad is stupid at best. The US, the natives, and Spain in that order have more claim to that land than Mexico. Stupid ads for stupid Mexicans, now there is an ad slogan. Not quite sure how that sells vodka though. And I'm not saying Mexicans are stupid, but those that liked this ad probably are.

    This reason writer is a hick and a hack. There are plenty of reasons to be pissed off at this ad that have nothing to do with nativism. By the same logic, the writer is a racist if he doesn't support affirmative action. This is the type of crap I expect to see spewed by Republidemotard bloggers and media; I thought reason actually put more reason into their articles.

  • ||

    The US got singled out because everyone knows we're secure about ourselves and have a sense of humor. Please don't ruin that for all of us.

  • Exham||

    "The idea that Mexico could ever actually take anything away from the US is so absurd that I find myself wondering what people are actually upset about in this ad.

    It's like showing an ad in Canada with everything in the Oregon Country as part of Canada. I mean, come on.

    Pre-emptive Candian response: "But we burned down the White House in 1814!""


    Apparently they also invented time travel, since Canada didn't exist until the 1860's

  • ||

    "The US got singled out because everyone knows we're secure about ourselves and have a sense of humor. Please don't ruin that for all of us."

    Which is why the ads were run in.... Mexico City

  • ||

    That's taking pedantry to an extreme, even for H&R. It's true that the first stage of confederation wasn't until 1867, but the terms 'Canada' and 'Canadian' had been in use for many decades prior. At the time of the war, the controlling constitutional document for the region was the Canada Act of 1791 (the formal name is a paragraph in itself), which had established the provinces of Lower Canada (essentially Quebec) and Upper Canada (Ontario.) And indeed, the burning of government buildings in Washington was - to some degree - retaliation for destruction caused during the American attack on York (which is to say Toronto, capital of Upper Canada) the previous year.

  • j||

    You cannot even buy a US-made beer at a bar in TJ, and it's a faux pas to even ask. It's no wonder to me that you cannot buy Swedish or French beverage there either. I wonder if Greg Beato has ever been there.

  • ||

    Peachy

    If we promise to burn down Washington again, will you please burn down York (Toronto) again?

    Isn't that what friends are for?

  • Exham||

    The fact remains that there was no nation-state of Canada, even in concept, Upper and Lower Canada were colonies of Great Britain, it was the British that burned the white house.

  • The Whine Commonsewer||

    The problem with the reconquista is that it is impractical. The recent immigrants left Mexico for a reason. The third generations are comfortable, they have good jobs, bitch about how much taxes they pay, and own a couple of rentals they hung onto as they moved up the ladder. There is no percentage for either group, so you're left with the disenchanted college students, who'll ultimately wise up, once they get real jobs and a bun in the oven.

  • The Whine Commonsewer||

    Oh, and BTW, I am not the 999,999 visitor (Swear to God!) for the thirteenth time this week. I hope those schmoes are paying big bucks to flash that ad at us, because it sure is annoying and it sure does make the page load for crap.

    transferring data from Reason ads......

  • ||

    Exham

    Picky, picky, picky.

    My ancestors were with the first crew.

    Do we have a deal or not?

  • The Whine Commonsewer||

    You cannot even buy a US-made beer at a bar in TJ....

    Maybe not, but you can buy these.

  • ||

    Sure is, Aresen. We can probably stretch a point and burn down Ottawa instead if you'd prefer - probably inconvenience more politicians that way. (A capital's a capital, right?)

    Now, M'sieur Exham, if we want to be really extremely technical, I'm not sure we could say there was a "nation-state" of Canada even in 1867 - the Confederation was a Dominion, still subject at a remove to Westminster. It wasn't until 1931 that the British Parliament was excluded from making legislation for Canada, and not until 1982 - 1982! - that Canada became completely self-governing. I'm going to let you be the one to tell Aresen that Canada wasn't a nation-state before that...

    But if we define 'Canada' simply as a distinct but not necessarily sovereign political entity,
    then its existence can very easily be stretched back to the war. And it was their capital whose destruction kicked off all this tit-for-tat we're joking about, even if the tat was executed by the greater entity into which 'Upper' Canada was then subsumed. (This definition will also spare us a barrage of polite Canadian epithets, not to mention the goodwill a present-day burning of 'York' would provide.)

  • zoltan||

    Which is why the ads were run in.... Mexico City

    ...in English.

  • La Vox De Aztlan||

    Reconquista is inevitable gringos, I suggest you leave the territories of Mexico North of the Rio Grande, if not you WILL be removed after the our work is complete.

  • 1138||

    really believe drunken Mexicans fantasize about owning Salt Lake City?

    Well, a good number of them are awfully vocal about it (Southern California rathwer than Salt Lake City). If some of you Libertarian ideologues would get your heads out of your asses, you'd know this.

    No, it'll never happen, of course, but to pretend there isn't a deeply held feeling amongst the Mexican population here is just ignoring reality.

  • Ford||

    The idea that Mexico could ever actually take anything away from the US is so absurd that I find myself wondering what people are actually upset about in this ad.

    It's just something that further divides people. The Mexicans in SoCal are some of the most insular immigrants ever to come to our shores, and I'm not even talking about the illegals. Although I know you L's have your rosy open border scenario along with an host of other ridiculous fantasies.

    Anything that perpetuates the "such and such part of the US is part of Mexico" is tiresome bullshit and divisive.

  • ||

    And as for pizzerias, well... my local pizzeria has a condom machine in the restroom. IN YOUR FACE, POPE!

    I thought condoms were supposed to prevent that.

  • \"Cigar Bill\" J. Clinton||

    I thought condoms were supposed to prevent that.

    Condoms are for safe sex - blowjobs aren't really sex.


    B.J. Clinton

  • ||

    The company was no longer selling itself as a maker of vodka; it was selling itself as a maker of witty but empty advertising.



    How about an ad depicting a couple of bums with bottles sticking out of them, accompanied by the phrase: Absolut Assholes ?

  • VM||

    "Ohio territories ceded in 1818"

    ???

  • ||

    Yes, those immigrants, after working 12-16 hour days, saving money to buy a truck and house and sending hundreds of dollars a month back to family in Mexico, say to themselves

    "You know what would make this country great? If we had those corrupt sons-of-bitches in Mexico City running things instead of these corrupt anglo sons-of-bitches. Yeah, they really know how to run a country in Mexico City." /eyeroll/

  • GinSlinger||

    Yeah, Mssr. Viking Moose. I didn't get that either.

  • ||

    If some of you Libertarian ideologues would get your heads out of your asses, you'd know this.



    Ok, have the dring game rules been revised to require shots of absolut for this thread or can I just take a slug of whatever I have on hand.

  • ||

    drinking game...dammit.

    And here I thought nobody would notice that I'd already started.

  • TallDave||

    The immigration restrictionists say theres a secret plot to take back the southwest for Mexico.

    It's not a secret plot, it's the stated aim of the Aztlan movement.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztlan

    The name Aztlán was first taken up by a group of Chicano independence activists led by Oscar Zeta Acosta during the Chicano movement of the 1960s and 1970s. They used the name "Aztlán" to refer to the lands of Northern Mexico that were annexed by the United States as a result of the Mexican-American War. Combined with the claim of some historical linguists and anthropologists that the original homeland of the Aztecan peoples was located in the southwestern United states, Aztlán in this sense became a symbol of mestizo activists who believe they have a legal and primordial right to the land.

    They may be a harmless lunatic fringe, but they aren't a fantasy or a secret.

  • ||

    there are at least three times as many *Mexican citizens* in California as there are people in our entire armed forces.

    I might point out that apparently these Mexicans prefer living in the US. Why would they put up a fight so they can live in Mexico, when they just left there?

  • ||

    "The name Aztlán was first taken up by a group of Chicano independence activists..."
    While I studied in Denver I dated a Chicano who was involved with La Raza. I attended some of their gatherings/parties. ALL of them were chicanos, NOT Mexican. Their parents or grandparents were born in Mexico, but they were American- most couldnt even speak Spanish. The funny thing was that these Chicanos wanted desperately to be Mejicanos but the true immigrants from Mexico didn't like them because they couldnt speak Spanish. Mexicans see Chicanos as more gringo than Mexican.
    La Raza is pretty radical but harmless. And it is important to point out that its the Chicanos who are calling for el movimiento de Azatlan... not the poeple in Mexico. Gahan has it right: Mexicans simply figure "ni modo".

  • rana||

    And something else,
    I am a white/blonde latina, which is not typical. When I went to the first La Raza party, I entered a room where there was more than a dozen Chicanos and Chicanas, and the room went completely SILENT (I swear I think the music even stopped playing). EVERYONE turned to stare at who they assumed was a gringa and gave me a dirty look. I stood there for a few seconds and said "well I can see I am not welcomed, pero al menos aprendan a hablar español. Desgraciados"... I left the party immediately. ;)
    Radicals can be such assholes.

  • Mike M.||

    The idea that Mexico could ever actually take anything away from the US is so absurd that I find myself wondering what people are actually upset about in this ad.

    The illegals may not be able to take away American land, but I'll tell you one thing that they can definitely take away: the lives of innocent American citizens.

    Citizens like 19 year old Jamiel Shaw, Jr. of Los Angeles, assassinated in cold blood by an illegal alien gang-banging scumbag for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

  • frankstallone||

    I've never met or heard anyone, including lou dobbs, who was anti-immigration; Anti-illegal immigration yes. Huge difference.

  • ||

    I've never met or heard anyone, including lou dobbs, who was anti-immigration; Anti-illegal immigration yes. Huge difference.

    Can you explain how, in a country full of people who are not anti-immigration, someone manages to pass laws against immigration?

  • Virgil||

    "...but I'll tell you one thing that they can definitely take away: the lives of innocent American citizens."

    Yes, they're so dramatically different from American citizens in that way. Thank god we _never_ kill each other. Stay strong, Mike M! Your dream of wholesome American purity will only be achieved through your ongoing nativist delusion!

  • frankstallone||

    You're going to have to be more specific b/c I don't know what law you are talking about. Whatever the law is, it must not be doing a very good job since the US has more legal immigration than any country in the world.

  • Mike M.||

    Yes, they're so dramatically different from American citizens in that way.

    I'm sure such blithe, laconic dismissals would be very reassuring to the friends and family of Jamiel Shaw indeed.

  • ||

    You're going to have to be more specific b/c I don't know what law you are talking about.

    The law that says that immigration visas have quotas and expirations. That is most definitely anti-immigration -- just as a law that dictates some maximum legal quantity of apple pie would be anti-apple pie.

  • Virgil||

    "I'm sure such blithe, laconic dismissals would be very reassuring to the friends and family of Jamiel Shaw indeed."

    And I'm sure the intellectually dishonest swill you're spewing here is very reassuring to the many honest, decent immigrants who are deemed guilty by association by halfwit nativist shitbags such as yourself.

  • Mike M.||

    And I'm sure the intellectually dishonest swill you're spewing here is very reassuring to the many honest, decent immigrants who are deemed guilty by association by halfwit nativist shitbags such as yourself.

    There's absolutely nothing dishonest or false whatsoever about anything I said. Jamiel Shaw was assassinated by someone who wasn't even even supposed to be in this country, for absolutely no reason whatsoever. An entire family's life has been ruined. He should still be alive, in spite of your "who cares" attitude.

    And if you can't conduct a debate without having to resort to insults and name-calling, then just go f*ck yourself buddy.

  • frankstallone||

    I would say that is bullshit - I can't argue w/ apple pie logic. If the system is too difficult for Mexicans, which it probably is, then that needs to change; I just don't think stepping over an invisible line in the desert is the best way to allow a person citizenship.

    I also find it humorous that the most vocal (non-libertarian) open borders advocates argue that immigration laws are bad for business, i.e. - businesses benefit from exploiting workers, also act as if they are on the cutting edge of human/workers rights. Something just smells fishy too me.

  • Virgil||

    "There's absolutely nothing dishonest or false whatsoever about anything I said...."

    The clear implication of your post was that illegal immigrants are coming here and killing American citizens in disproportionate numbers. You know as well as I do that was the intended implication, and if you're denying that you are in fact a blatant bald-faced liar.

    You have no interest in having a meaningful, honest debate - your goal with your post was to appeal to emotion in order to smear all illegal immigrants based on a single anecdote. I never even remotely suggested that I have a "who cares" attitude; in fact I care very much that intellectually dishonest nativists such as yourself are called on it at every opportunity.

  • Ace||

    Can we all agree that an ad showing any other country's borders reconfigured by an old enemy (perhaps not a current one) would cause indignation and anger from that country's people, even their government? (Think France/England/Germany)

    If so, then why are you surprised that some Americans responded exactly the same way?

    My only worry is that libertarianism, as fragile a political movement that it is, only really thrives in the US, where individuality is privileged over the group. Do the massive influx of Mexican immigrants think this way? Will they eventually? It doesn't seem to me that the same cultural pressures exist to encourage/force assimilation.

  • frankstallone||

    just fyi, Jamiel Shaw was murdered by a criminal illegal alien who had just been released from prison (just 28 hours before the murder)after of course the LA police Dept. failed to notify feds. I'm not in to raids or anything like that - but violent criminal illegal aliens in custody should be deported.

  • Mike M.||

    The clear implication of your post was that illegal immigrants are coming here and killing American citizens in disproportionate numbers. You know as well as I do that was the intended implication, and if you're denying that you are in fact a blatant bald-faced liar.

    Nobody knows with absolute certainty what the numbers are, since for some reason the government refuses to keep official statistics on crimes committed by illegal aliens. But independent groups have done their own studies, and I've seen ones that show as many as 15% of all homicides in America today are being committed by illegal aliens! If that number is even close to accurate, it is most definitely out of proportion with their numbers. Nobody believes that illegals make up 15% of the population.

    But personally, I don't care a whit what the actual numbers are. One is too many in my opinion. And as far as I'm concerned, cities like Los Angeles that have an official policy of providing "sancutary" to illegals have blood on their hands and are partially complicit in the needless murders of innocent Americans like Jamiel Shaw.

  • ||

    You know, if the southwest was part of Mexico, the Mexicans would be sneaking into Oklahoma.

    Nothing would change.

  • ||

    What you said...

    My only worry is that libertarianism, as fragile a political movement that it is, only really thrives in the US, where individuality is privileged over the group. Do the massive influx of Mexican immigrants think this way? Will they eventually? It doesn't seem to me that the same cultural pressures exist to encourage/force assimilation.

    What your dog heard...

    Blah blah blah blah in the US, where individuality is privileged over the group blah blah blah blah cultural pressures exist to encourage/force assimilation.

  • Virgil||

    "...and I've seen ones that show as many as 15% of all homicides in America today are being committed by illegal aliens!"

    No one who is even remotely informed and honest thinks that 15% number is worth a shit. It's not the least bit plausible. You probably don't want to go throwing that number around if you want to maintain any shred of credibility with people who actually know something about this.

    "But personally, I don't care a whit what the actual numbers are."

    And that is exactly why you're not worth listening to. Crime rates of illegal immigrants are obviously extremely relevant to the question of their costs and benefits to American society. But you have no interest in addressing that question; you're only interested in continuing to use a single emotionally charged anecdote to smear all illegal immigrants. All further posts from you will be given all the attention they deserve, which is to say they will be cheerfully ignored.

  • ||

    I look forward to the Absolut advert showing a unified Ireland again.

  • Mike M.||

    No one who is even remotely informed and honest thinks that 15% number is worth a shit. It's not the least bit plausible. You probably don't want to go throwing that number around if you want to maintain any shred of credibility with people who actually know something about this.

    Without something to back up your assertion, say another study, your rebuttal is completely worthless to me.

    The obvious solution to this problem is for some agency in the government, say the FBI, to give us the official numbers regarding crimes committed by illegal aliens in America. This government keeps statistics on just about everything under the sun through the census, police reports, and other such means.

    So why is it that they refuse to give us the official numbers? I don't know for certain, but I sure suspect that it's because they don't want the American people to know just how bad the problem is.

    But rest assured, the people in this country are not going to put up with this forever and sit idly by while more and more of our people get killed. We're going to get new laws passed to fight sanctuary and put pressure on employers and the government, and it's already happening in Arizona, Los Angeles, and this battle will continue.

  • ||

    I don't really appreciate the use of the word "nativist" by the author of this piece.

    Yes, America was founded by immigrants and will always need immigrants. But America also has some marginal (to say the least) interest in defending its borders.

  • Mike M.||

    Have no fear, the days of the open-borders folks such as "Virgil" being able to intimidate and silence people through insults and name-calling are rapidly coming to an end, because people are just getting fed up.

  • ||

    Boycotts and disownment? Nah - too formal.

    But it is real easy to pick another brand of vodka - there are plenty behind any bar. Vodka is, after all, a cheap commodity product, just one notch up from industrial grade ethanol (aka Everclear).

    For fun, I went to Absolut's website and sent them a note with the following link:

    The Swedish Empire in 1658

  • ||

    Absolut could attempt to market its vodka to the south, the French via the Louisiana Territory map, the Spanish via a New Spain map of Mexico.

    Here is a good illustration...

    http://www.nolanchart.com/article3404.html

  • Exham||

    Note that the Vodka bottle sits on Venezuela, coincidence? I think not! Hugo Chavez shall liberate the Southwest!

  • ||

    Note too that the only people who can drink from the bottle live in Puerto Rico.

    Being from a semi-autonomous commonwealth, are they natural allies for Aztlán? Are they better allies drunk than sober?

  • Scooby||

    Without something to back up your assertion, say another study, your rebuttal is completely worthless to me.

    You didn't actually cite a study, so we can be pretty sure that you just pulled that "15%" number directly from your ass. Find your study, and link to it, or we will just assume that you are the ignorant shit-breath you appear to be.

    Meanwhile, I agree with MikeP.

  • Scooby||

    The Swedish Empire in 1658

    Boy, is Finland going to be pissed.

  • ABC||

    "Ok, this is in all seriousness.

    The immigration restrictionists say theres a secret plot to take back the southwest for Mexico.

    At the same time, the same people ALSO say theres a plot to unite Mexico, Canada, and the United States under one federal government.

    Seems like the two are mutually exclusive. Which is it?"

    The latter. If had any knowledge about the history of the development of the EU then you'd be a bit more suspicious of NAFTA as well. Unless of course an even more expanded federal state within the realms of an expanding supranational governmental organization are acceptable within your understanding of libertarianism.

    This ad campaign was intelligent; the anti-immigration folks gave Absolut a lot of publicity. If anything the ad campaign is more insulting to Mexicans; it reminds them of what they lost.

  • ||

    A Zogby Poll in Mexico found that 58% thought the U.S. southwest rightfully belongs to Mexico.

    It's been a long time since we took most of the territory following the Mexican-American War, but it's kind of hard to argue with their logic.

    I wonder what percent of Poles thought Poland rightfully belonged to Germany in 1942?

  • dmax||

    You know why this happens?

    GOD HATES HAIRBACKS!

    ABSOLUT-LY!!

  • Tim||

    Why do libertarians favor amnesty? Both the neo-cons under Bush and the democrats are also pro-open borders, it would be nice if a major political party adopted a stance on this issue that the majority of Americans agreed with. I am a libertarian on many issues such as the war on drugs but I think that you are missing the boat here. Also, finding this ad offensive is perfectly reasonable and the silly, juvenile name calling is not needed.

  • Jordan Rare Air||

    perfect

  • Nike Dunk SB High||

    is good

  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement