The Absolut Reconquista Ad

I contemplated a variety of titles for this column. Absolut Disgrace. Absolut Bull. Absolut Aztlan. Absolut Outrage. Absolute Boycott. Absolute Embarassment. Absolut Debacle. All would have been equally appropriate and would have correctly described the sticky tar pit that Absolut vodka has waded into with its Reconquista ad.

Time-Warner: Vodka Ad Campaign Reconquers California for Mexico

Taking the Reconquista concept all the way to the end, Absolut Vodka launched an ad campaign that appears on billboards and at least one magazine that features a map of the western U.S. and Mexico with nearly the entire west coast appearing as a part of Mexico… …In a day when immigration issues are incendiary between our two countries, Time Warner accepting ads that stirs Mexico’s sentiments to “take back” parts of the U.S. (as the term Reconquista means) as their own territory is quite extraordinary.

Absolut Vodka, the open borders beverage.

After a deluge of angry phone calls and e-mails the company posted a sort of multiculturalist pseudo apology on its website.

We have received many comments on an ad showing what an ABSOLUT world would look like from a Mexican point of view. We are sorry if we offended anyone. This was not our intention. We will try to explain. Though you may not agree, I hope you understand…… …..The In An Absolut World advertising campaign invites consumers to visualize a world that appeals to them — one they feel may be more idealized or one that may be a bit “fantastic.” As such, the campaign will elicit varying opinions and points of view. We have a variety of executions running in countries worldwide, and each is germane to that country and that population. This particular ad, which ran in Mexico, was based upon historical perspectives and was created with a Mexican sensibility. In no way was this 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. Instead, it hearkens to a time which the population of Mexico may feel was more ideal. As a global company, we recognize that people in different parts of the world may lend different perspectives or interpret our ads in a different way than was intended in that market. Obviously, this ad was run in Mexico, and not the US — that ad might have been very different.

Well, I feel better now that they’ve explained their pandering to Aztlan mythology and its radical racist proponents. In fact, I feel "fantastic". It is interesting to see how Absolut views the concept of American sovereignty and national identity. The apology is probably worse than the ad itself. I “understand” alright.

I eagerly await the Russian ad showing Alaska ‘missing’ from the United States, or the French one reclaiming the Lousiana purchase, or the Spanish Florida. Or maybe an ad incorporating the original thirteen colonies back into the British Empire and the Russians once again dominating their Eastern European neighbors. Perhaps the one in Japan will dramatically show the Greater East Asia co-prosperity sphere. We won’t even touch the German ad. And what would the Arabs think of an ad showing Israel stretching from the Euphrates to the Nile? I guess it really doesn’t matter, as long as we hearken back to what the various “populations…may feel was more ideal”.

While Absolut may be “kidding” many others are not.

The advocates of Reconquiesta (La Raza and all the rest) are knee deep in the illegal immigration amnesty movement and far from being a few isolated extremists. It is a movement with a mission and great sympathy amongst academia, many Mexican nationalists and, apparently, the vodka industry.

“Pawdoggie” (don’t you just love screen names) over at FreeRepublic had a few interesting historical tidbits for us to research, discuss and explore:

Inconvenient Truths:

1.Mexico, as an independent country, had been in business a measly 15 years when Texas won it’s independence, 25 years when the Mexican War started, and 27 years when the Southwest was ceded to the US by Treaty. Maybe this explains why years ago a bartender in Juarez told me, “Si, Santa Ana was the biggest son of bitch in History”.

2. Neither the Aztecs (i.e. the only true “Mexicans”, for that is what they called themselves, the “Mejica”), nor any of the other tribes in what is today “Los Estados Unidos de Mexico” (Toltecs, Olmecs, Chichimecs, etc.) had a presence in Texas, or the American Southwest.

3. The only quasi-judicial claim Mexico had on Texas and the Southwest was as a legacy of the former Spanish Government, but every Mexican (and Aztlan wannabe from Diego Rivera forward) knows that the European Spaniards gained those lands (and Mexico itself) through brutal, illegal and, therefore, invalid conquest. Which is all a moot point in any case, because the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden Purchase are still settled law.

There are many who would like to duplicaet the ‘Kosovo scenario’ in the southwest United States. Those who have followed that evolution of ancient sacred Serbian ground into a sovereign Muslim state due almost solely to changing population demographics would not mock that statement. (For the record, I’m not a Serb apologist, I think they probably had it coming). It is important to look at history to understand the evolving development of current events.

We need not let the shackles of political correctness prevent us from examining the, at best, poor claims that Mexican radicals and activists (both native born and imported) make to large portions of the nation. And Absolut Vodka’s poor attempt to capitalize on the feelings and efforts of Reconquista should not be rewarded.

If you would care to share your views on the subject with Absolut, send your messages to: - Ketil Eriksen, President V&S ABSOLUT Spirits - Anna Malmhake, Global Brand Director, V&S ABSOLUT Spirits - Tim Murphy, VP Marketing, Absolut Spirits Company, Inc. - Jeffrey Moran, Director of Public Relations and Events, Absolut Spirits Company, Inc. - Karl-Johan Bogefors, Global PR Manager, V&S ABSOLUT Spirits

Pancho Villa would be proud. Viva la Revolution!

Posted by David M. Huntwork at April 5, 2008 7:54 PM
Comment #249900

Absolut Outrage? No. More like Absolut Storm in a Teacup… accompanied by displays of Absolut Petulance.

Posted by: Down and Out of Sài Gòn at April 5, 2008 8:34 PM
Comment #249901

It’s rather odd. When I see that ad, I feel an urge to drink tequila. Not vodka at all.

Just on its advertising merits, I’m not sure that’s a particularly good ad, but personally I think there are lot more important things to get our backs up about.

But I am intrigued by this idea that this is an advertising campaign that invites consumers to visualize a world that appeals to them. I’m waiting for an ad that shows an enormous wall topped with barbed wire and patrolled by armed guards along the US-Mexico border. That’s a vision of the world that appeals to me!

But to be fair, I think that the only reason such an ad is possible is that the “vision” of the world it contains is one that is totally outside the realm of possibility and those who would harbor such a vision are completely powerless to make it come true. I can’t imagine, for example, that they’d ever run an ad in the Middle East which showed a map of the region without Israel on the basis that this is the vision of the world that Middle-Easterners would raise a glass of vodka to.

Also, is that map really a vision of the world that appeals to Mexicans? It seems to me that if that map were reality it would require them to travel a lot further to sneak across the US border.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at April 5, 2008 9:35 PM
Comment #249907

It sounds like a silly ad.

Of course, ALL Mexican immigrants, legal and illegal, think that the U.S. is a better place than Mexico. Otherwise they would be in Mexico. It doesn’t matter what they say, their actions have spoken.

The idea of recoquista, however, is a pernicious one that should not be encouraged. It creates a sense of grievance that is unjustified. I suppose anybody whose ancestors actually lived in SW at time of the Mexican war and now prefers to live in Mexico could make a tenuous case. In 1836 there were more Americans than Mexicans living in Texas. The Mexican immigration policy didn’t work well. California was multiethnic even then and what became Utah was already dominated by Mormons by the time it became part of the U.S.

The reconquista idea is ignorant of history.

Re Russia, I saw a map of Russia once that included not only Alaska but also Northern California and Malta (I guess Czar Paul was grand master of the Knights of Malta), so the reconquista would have to deal with Russian, British & Spanish claims. And isn’t it sort of unPC to forget the Native people. Many of the tribes had a more hostile relationship with the Mexicans and their Spanish predessors than they did with the U.S.

Posted by: Jack at April 6, 2008 1:47 AM
Comment #249911

I like it. Not Vodka, but the map.

It makes you think what Mexico would be like and what the US would be like without the adventurism and conquista behavior of the US.

Funny, if an international court voided the Treaty of Hidalgo and ceded Mexico back her ancestral lands. I always thought the argument against Israel and for Palestine was that international law was against occupation of territory gained through aggression.

Given a choice between our foreign policy and Mexico’s, maybe this wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

It certainly puts a new light on who’s illegal.

Posted by: googlumpugus at April 6, 2008 7:16 AM
Comment #249912

BTW, the absolut (sic) funniest part is that since Latinos will soon be a mahority in many of the states in this part of old Mexico, this may be prescient.

Posted by: googlumpugus at April 6, 2008 7:19 AM
Comment #249913

If the mexican did manage to take back the southwest it would be as screwed up as Mexico in 1 year, besides the Spainards were the only ones to ever do anything south of the river and are the only reason Mexico ever had any dealing with southwest of US.

Posted by: mike at April 6, 2008 8:52 AM
Comment #249915

Congratulation: You’ve done exactly what they probably wanted you to do.

Free Publicity!

As for the Reconquista? It’s not much better than that Republic of Texas hoo-ha a while back. Worrying about Mexico retaking its territory is like worrying about Texas becoming its own country again.

The Republican Party is the party of anxiety. EVERYTHING worries the GOP. Unfortunately, they worry about things not present, while complacently, negligently remaining unconcerned about the problems at hand.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 6, 2008 11:11 AM
Comment #249916

The US stole that land from Mexico. Who stole it from the indigenous peoples.

Those indigenous people who lived there at the time, anyway, after successfully driving other indigenous people off the land.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at April 6, 2008 11:13 AM
Comment #249918


“The Republican Party is the party of anxiety. EVERYTHING worries the GOP. Unfortunately, they worry about things not present, while complacently, negligently remaining unconcerned about the problems at hand.”

what does this have to do with the vodka add ? here’s an idea, try discussing a topic sometime without making it partisan. this constant whinning about those waskaly wepublicans is silly.

Posted by: dbs at April 6, 2008 12:06 PM
Comment #249919


while i find the add personally offensive, considering the illegal immigration disaster in this country. i have to believe that it was targeted at a certain populace, and nothing more than a marketing tool. however i will no longer purchase that product, and will encourage my friends to follow suit. while it may not have been intentionaly anti american it will no doubt cause the company some grief for quite some time to come, and maybe it should. i guess the absolute marketing wizzards will have to find a way to fix this one. maybe a map of the united states that includes the current borders of mexico as part of the US. NEVER GONNA HAPPEN.

Posted by: dbs at April 6, 2008 12:23 PM
Comment #249920

dbs, Stephen is correct about the partisanship just by virtue of what column we’re in. And after nearly two full terms under Bushco, we have far more pertinent things to worry about than some inane ad. Boycott the product…..simple.

Posted by: janedoe at April 6, 2008 12:32 PM
Comment #249921

Yes, having cured cancer, having won the war in Iraq and set the economy on stable, dependable foundations, the next great task for the GOP is preventing a Swedish liquor company from selling American territory out to Mexico by encouraging them with an ad!

Good thing we have you folks around. I don’t know how we’d think rational thoughts or make decisions for ourselves without you.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 6, 2008 1:01 PM
Comment #249923

Mr Huntwork the real question is can the repubs tie Obama to this add, certainly he must behind this dasterdly plot to advertise Vodka to Mexicans. The newbuster site sure you linked to is quick to jump on “liberal bias” and Time-Warner but why not the corporation responsible for the ad, Absolut Spirits Company? Must be they are not liberal enough to warrent blame from the foolish wingnuts on that site. Blame the messenger but allow the corporations to perpetrate any lie necessary to sell the products is so repub most of the time why get upset now David?

Posted by: j2t2 at April 6, 2008 1:43 PM
Comment #249926


“Yes, having cured cancer, having won the war in Iraq and set the economy on stable, dependable foundations, the next great task for the GOP is preventing a Swedish liquor company from selling American territory out to Mexico by encouraging them with an ad!”

feeling a bit flipant today are we stephen ? considering how insignificant you think it is, why respond at all hmmm ? ;)

Posted by: dbs at April 6, 2008 2:18 PM
Comment #249928


“the real question is can the repubs tie Obama to this add, certainly he must behind this dasterdly plot to advertise Vodka to Mexicans.”

exellent point, i’ll contact the proper authorities and jump start that investigation. you guys are hoot today, i’m having way too much fun ! maybe we can work carl rove and halliburton in here some where, just a thought.

Posted by: dbs at April 6, 2008 2:29 PM
Comment #249929

Absolut was just purchased by a French company, the ad never appeared in the US and has already been withdrawn from Mexican markets, and Absolut apologized.

Curiously, many Mexicans do not perceive the war of 1848 in the same way as Americans, hence, the ad. Can’t imagine why Mexicans should be sore losers. We stole it, fair and square.

Ulysses S Grant fought in the war. Here are a few of his comments:

“Generally, the officers of the army were indifferent whether the annexation was consummated or not; but not so all of them. For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory.”


“I had very strong opinions on the subject. I do not think there was ever a more wicked war than that waged by the United States on Mexico. I had a horror of the Mexican War, and I have always believed that it was on our part most unjust. The wickedness was not in the way our soldiers conducted it, but in the conduct of our government in declaring was. We had no claim on Mexico. Texas had no claim beyond the Nueces River, and yet we pushed on to the Rio Grande and crossed it. I am always ashamed of my country when I think of that invasion”

Ah, but what did Ulysses S Grant know, compared with the encyclopedic knowledge of Pawdoggie? In fact, a lot of American luminaries opposed the war, including Abraham Lincoln.

It is a tremendously interesting episode in American history, and one of the best examples of the Manifest Destiny doctrine in action. It is patently absurd for anyone to pretend it was fair or just. However, it happened over 150 years ago, along with a huge number of interventions in Latin America; and ironically, today we find the US becoming increasingly Hispanic in its language and culture.

Posted by: phx8 at April 6, 2008 3:00 PM
Comment #249933

Mexico is like a city state that never successfully controlled all of the territory it claimed. Southern Mexico might be considered to be a different country. El Norte can be taken to mean the area from TX to CA, or the northern states within the republic, which are sometimes considered to be more like the US than Mexico.

Grant and Lincoln were right, in that we were going against a weaker country, rather than the Brits in Western Canada, where people who immigrated to our own country were settling. The native peoples were still considered the biggest problem.

The Spanish speaking population of the southwest was actually very small before 1820, and the native population, like the Commanchee, was much tougher and well adapted to modern conditions than elsewhere.

I was at a nursing home yesterday, and when I went to the mens room, I noticed that the hand-washing sign was in 14 languages. The speaker of the other 12 languages, and their other descendants, will undoubtedly be more interested in learing to communicate in English than Spanish.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 6, 2008 3:36 PM
Comment #249935


“The Republican Party is the party of anxiety. EVERYTHING worries the GOP. Unfortunately, they worry about things not present, while complacently, negligently remaining unconcerned about the problems at hand.”

It’s called misdirection. When your busy robbing the bank, the last thing you want attention drawn to is the bank.

Posted by: googlumpugus at April 6, 2008 4:06 PM
Comment #249939

Why respond? Because unfortunately, a lot of Republicans take foolish controversies and policies very seriously. It’s time for somebody to pierce this shell of silliness with satire.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 6, 2008 6:52 PM
Comment #249941

Didn’t Texas gain it’s independence by shooting all of the Mexicans?

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 6, 2008 7:52 PM
Comment #249949

A French company bought Absolut a few years ago. I wonder if they advertise in Germany by showing France and Eastern Europe attached to Germany under the old Nazi Flag?

There are many more Vodkas that are better. I hope their U.S. sales take the hit.

Maybe once all their North African (Moslem) refugees get in power, that will be the end of French wine, Champange, and liquor!!!

Posted by: Woofer at April 6, 2008 10:43 PM
Comment #249954

“The advocates of Reconquiesta (La Raza and all the rest) are knee deep in the illegal immigration amnesty movement and far from being a few isolated extremists. It is a movement with a mission and great sympathy amongst academia, many Mexican nationalists and, apparently, the vodka industry.”

You know David after reflecting upon such an important issue most of the day I just have to say the absurdity of thinking that anyone from either side of the border would want to make the southwest part of Mexico is the best belated April fools’s joke I have heard recently.
If your from Mexico and coming up here illegally to work for better wages than you could possible hope to get back home why would you want to annex this land to watch it become what you are leaving home for.
If you are from this Country why would you want to drive living conditions and wages to the point of poverty for your fellow Americans… oh oh wait I see, are you sure this whole Reconquista thing isnt a repub/ conservative “free market” plot to continue the race to the bottom?

Anyway here is what Im thinking, perhaps we can just sell southern California, say from the grapevine south, to the Mexican government, Seeings as most of the population in that part of the Country is of Mexican descent it should be any easy transistion. The state of California could use the money to pay off the massive debt Arnold was elected to resolve (and hasnt) and both sides would have a peaceful resolution to the conflict. After all, thats Hollywood country isnt it? Surely the cons would not mind seeing those guys gone, Whats the downside for the repubs on this issue?

Of course we could just wait for the Mexican army to attack the southwest and then bribe them to stop and go home. Oh wait we are still spending all our money on that debacle in Iraq arent we. Well maybe we will just have to fight them, oh but our armewd forces are overseas still fighting in the Iraq debacle. Gosh what can you say about the noecon leadership of this Country the past 7 years. What a predictiment, hopefully La Raza is just hot air or it will be “red dawn” time for your neck of the woods. WWRD is the question.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 7, 2008 1:16 AM
Comment #249959

googlumpagus says it all when he refers to the “courts” voiding the Treaty of Hidalgo. That is the only possible way (well, with the addition of the successful prosecution of the war it would take to enforce such a ridiculous ruling) such an anti-evolutionary decision could come to pass.

America owns the territory it has because it could enforce its borders and expand its territories while Mexico could not. Texas and the U.S. posessed a tradition of self-government the more patronistic Spanish heritage did not posess. When it came time to live by the very liberal Mexican Constitution of 1824 Spanish governmental heritage simply didn’t know how to do it. The bureaucratic maze of Spanish and then Mexican government could not extend itself to the territories the U.S. now posesses, whereas Anglo Texans readily set up the sort of governmental organizations they had known in the States and could respond to the issues colonists dealt with on a daily basis.

The system- in evolutionary terms one could say the “organism”- that worked better in a given environment was able to thrive there, replacing the less effective one. There was no mystery and nothing unfair at all. This is just how nature works.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 7, 2008 9:18 AM
Comment #249972


“The state of California could use the money to pay off the massive debt Arnold was elected to resolve (and hasnt)”

the budget mess in california is the doing of the democrat majority. we elected arnold to fix it, but he doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude. the only reason he was elected again is that he was the lessor of two evils,and not by much i might add.

Posted by: dbs at April 7, 2008 11:28 AM
Comment #249981

“sell southern California”, no let’s trade southern Texas for the Baja instead, it’s population and development would increase rapidly. More people from Mexico moved to TX, NM, and CA because they became parts of the US, than ever would have lived there if they remained part of Mexico. Baja California is a good example of that. AZ was a wash until fairly recently.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 7, 2008 12:00 PM
Comment #250006

We are such bad, bad people. Imagine the imperialist horror of it all.

Let’s give Mexico and Spain back all their territories in the Western U.S….Northern California and Alaska back to the Russians…Louisiana back to the French…Florida back to the Spanish…and everything else back to the Crow, Souix, Apache, Mohicans, etc….and let’s all move back to where our ancestors came from so that we may apologize for our unlawful and horrible aggression.

All whites must move back to Europe, all blacks back to Africa and all Asians back to China, Viet Nam and Japan.

Let’s all start today!

You first.

Posted by: Jim T at April 7, 2008 4:31 PM
Comment #250008

“we elected arnold to fix it, but he doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude. the only reason he was elected again is that he was the lessor of two evils,and not by much i might add.”

Why no recall then dbs? Those conservatives in California didnt seem to mind a recall when they lost the election to Grey Davis. If I recall didnt they recall Davis because of the financial problem. Has his replacement fixed the financial problem? I say sell Southern Cal to Mexico, the cons in SoCal would love the way the government of Mexico runs things. Might even save building the “SHAFTA” highway in Texas after the unions were run off the docks in SoCal. Hell sooner or later its all going to be one free trade zone run by corporations, without soverign nations or borders anyway if the repubs/cons/neocons/free trade/free market forces continue to back the corporate powers that be. Why not pay off some bills in the process.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 7, 2008 4:55 PM
Comment #250009


ah yes the recall, it was needed then, and maybe again now. funny how you overlook the one key element, the out of control spending by the democrats who control the state. what is your excuse for them ? they consistently spend more than they have, and then cry poor. thier answer ( cut spending until revenue catches up )nope. raise taxes and fees, and you want to give them control of the federal gov’t. BTW arnold was a compromise. tom mc clintock could have, and would have held strong against the democratic machine, but he was to conservative to be elected in this pathetic socialist bastian. the only thing that keeps me here is the weather and the fact i refuse to surrender, even though the state is pretty much a lost cause. hard to walk away from a place you’ve called home most of your life.

Posted by: dbs at April 7, 2008 5:20 PM
Comment #275416

The United States of AZTLAN

~Nuevo Mexico-[New Mexico]

Posted by: Reconquistador at February 12, 2009 2:35 AM
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