The Mexican version of "in an absolut world" map of North America, ticks off people in the USA

The Mexican version of the north american map in their installment of the "In an absolut world" campaign, LA Times blogs gossips that the ad has generated 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

Seems the ad generally pissed off people on the northern side of the border, so much so that the Absolut Vodka site now carries an explanation of the ad (and more hating comments): In an ABSOLUT World according to Mexico

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.

I didn't interpret it any other way, but I guess some people did. You see, the Mexican–American War 1846 - 1848 changed the map of both countries when the peace agreement The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed. The treaty called for the U.S. to pay $15 million to Mexico and to pay off the claims of American citizens against Mexico up to $3.25 million. It gave the United States the Rio Grande as a boundary for Texas, and gave the U.S. ownership of California and a large area comprising roughly half of New Mexico, most of Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado. Mexicans in those annexed areas had the choice of relocating to within Mexico's new boundaries or receiving American citizenship with full civil rights. Even today there are Mexicans who feel like this was a bad deal and they never really lost the war. A bit like how some Brits feel that former colonies are still "theirs" or how Swedes and Finns still argue about which country the island of Åland really belongs to.

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.

By Paula Eriksson, VP Corporate Communications, V&S Absolut Spirits

But the commenters are peeved that this isn't "an apology," though I fail to see why people not subjected to the ad in US media should be apologized to. Yes, god forbid people have different points of view in different countries and that local ad campaigns are adapted to the local markets. Must stop that right now. Sheesh.

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alex's picture

Ooh, they're all a bit touchy about that one, aren't they? You'd think Absolut had burned the flag or something. I think Venezuela ought to complain that they've squished half the country with their bottle, too, and those poor Puerto Ricans are going to have a hell of a job getting to the Dominican Republic with that bottle neck in the way. Outrage!

Bunny Olesen's picture

FUCK aLL you bastards. Considering mexicans talk about overthrowing the united states and 'taking back' THEIR land (a total lie, native americans hate mexicans) then yeah, it is fucking offensive. You think a nazi ad would offend a jew? Fuck it where's my white world advertisement DICKS.

purplesimon's picture

Ooh, let me go get my handbag.

I guess people have their right to be pissed about this, but come on! It only ran in Mexico, so I'm guessing someone saw it while they were over the border enjoying cheap booze, a little smoke perhaps and the feeling of being abroad and then took it home 'cos they knew it'd annoy the Hell out of someone called NewYorker.

It's an ad, ffs. And I quite like it. Although not something I'd expect from Absolut, more from Smirnoff, as they see things differently. Then again, I'm no expert on vodka. I prefer malt whisky.

kidsleepy's picture

I think it's an effective ad since we're talking about it. period.

Steve in Birmingham's picture

People are talking about alright - the way they talked about the launch of 'New Coke.' Is Absolut really so naive as to think that an English language ad run in a Mexican publication might not be seen by someone from north of the border, and then posted to the internet for all to see?

Granted, this ad may appeal to the Mexican audience (of which a very small number are vodka drinkers), but it has surely ticked off a much greater number of vodka drinkers in the U.S. This ad is either an example of strategic stupidity, or it's an example of an agency allowing their creatives to run amok, throwing common sense to the winds in favor of some shock value. In either case, the account/client services team should never have allowed this ad to be presented to the client.

Dabitch's picture

New Coke was sheer genius!

kidsleepy's picture

i'd rather have a risky ad than a simple product shot any day. we'll see what happens. my guess is people here in the states will still drink absolut.

kurtberengeiger's picture

"English language ad"?

Dabitch's picture

I've seen people claim this is an "English language ad*" a bit here and there - but it isn't. The line, or tagline, or slogan if you will (copywriters, lets argue about which is what later) is in English; "In an absolut world" is written in English no matter where the campaign might run. Local German Absolut campaigns would be using the same exact line, in English. The Map however, and the explanations at the bottom of the map about the colors and what they represent ( could also be argued is "the body copy") is in Spanish, clearly making the ad 90% Spanish with an English tagline.

English taglines around the world are pretty common, even if it's annoying and ugly as hell. I suppose the position of the line made people see it as a "headline" rather than the entire campaigns slogan, and thus they believe that this Spanish language ad, is a English language ad.

* Most recently Håkan Forsberg at Svenska Dagbladet errouneously claimed it to be an English Language ad when he interviewed Paula Eriksson - information CEO at V&S Absolut Spirits. Håkan asks : "Why make it an English language ad" and gets the reply from Ms Eriksson at V&S "It is a judgement call made by the local market." To this I say - wtf? Does Ms Eriksson not know how this tagline thing works?

Allan1's picture

"Vodka-Maker Absolut Apologizes for Ads"

See for AP's ("My Way News") take on it.

Robblink's picture
andromeda's picture

It's a Mexican ad, published in Mexico, telling a historic 'joke' that Mexicans understand. Really, it looks really sad when people in the US get all prickly about it. Sore spot, dear superpower?

Dabitch's picture

The local agency should be chuffed, we're talking about this ad so much more than the "pregnant man" one, which seemed to only annoy me. ;)

Dabitch's picture

Comments are so worthless these days. Can we turn back time to 08 when comments were half the fun of any given post?