I'm having an email discussion about the difference between using the word success or win in a tagline and trying to explain that it doesn't really matter because both options are bland. Anyway I think Absolut Vodka have stumbled into ahem, a territory (intentionally or otherwise) that I believe some brands should think about, because the level of internet participation and debate says to me that contentious issues should be embraced, and that quite possibly there is a role for brands to host that debate in a constructive and meaningful way. Far more important than the meaningless endlines that are constructed to cause offense to nobody and ultimately please nobody. We are after all in the business of engagement.
I also wrote about this topic over here because I think we use the word brand values when the corporations who often are the most powerful forces in our lives (work and environment) claim 'values' that are rarely committed to anything of consequence. This is a huge missed opportunity I believe. I also said over here that I don't think the U.S or its leader 'the great decider' have any credibility left in the eyes of the international community to define what is right or wrong (particularly in Tibet) given their own track record, and I think Absolut have tapped into that debate with this ad for vodka which highlights the history of Mexico as stolen land by the United States.
It has now had to be withdrawn because we all know that the United States are hypersensitive to criticism that ranges from the American Indians, to the Mexicans and then Slavery. It has always had a propensity to protect its own God given wealth and the American dream (Illusion?). How long is it before we see U.S. government announcements of intent to 'smash and crush the Mexican clique responsible for this malicious falsehood? Of course I've got my tongue firmly planted in my cheek (I'm very fond of many people from the U.S and especially its political history), but equally I don't think we should ignore that thousands upon thousands of people all round the world are ignoring our well crafted endlines and joining in on this debate about Mexico and the United States on the Internet over here and elsewhere.
I do believe that its better for the flamers, pious revisionists and neoconservative right-wingnuts to let off their steam in an internet forum than in real life...why? Because I know from experience that they then feel they have had a chance to voice their opinion, that they've been heard, that maybe someone cares about what they feel - Even if nobody gives a fig. We all like the sound of our own voice when we're off on one don't we?
Update: I see Dos Equis have also tapped into this sentiment before Absolut