A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Reconquista outrage. . .

. . .is sweeping the internets these days, thanks to an Absolut vodka ad that appeared in some magazine and on billboards in Mexico.

While I can understand why some folks would be angry over this, it really doesn't have any impact on me because, (1) I don't read any Mexican magazines, (2) I'm in Kentucky, not Mexico, and (3) I very rarely drink vodka, so my participation in the urged boycott would amount to nothing. I'm a beer drinker who likes an occasional scotch on the rocks, or a martini (if you drink vodka in your martinis, you're drinking "vodka martinis", not martinis), salty dog (once again, if you drink vodka in them, they're not salty dogs, they're "vodka dogs") or gin & tonic.

I'm always a little amused at the hype that surrounds these outrages where people call for boycotts of the products involved. They're largely ineffective, to begin with. First of all, the vast majority of people who drink Absolut vodka don't follow this kind of news, and don't really give a damn about some ad that ran in a Mexican magazine. So, bombarding them with chain emails, three quarters of which will be sent to SPAM folders or Recycle Bins unopened, will more than likely result in little more than a shrug once readers scroll down past the text of the email and look at the picture.

Then there's the matter of who actually buys the vast majority of Absolut vodka. I would venture to guess (with absolutely no authority or data to back it up, mind you -- just a hunch) that most Absolut is purchased by restaurant and bar owners, and that the package sales account for a relatively small percentage. That being the case, for a boycott to be effective, a good number of bar and restaurant owners would have to eliminate Absolut from their menus -- something that many will not do simply because it will have a negative impact on their bottom lines.

Like beer, liquor tends to rely heavily on brand loyalty. I find it hard to believe that an ad run in Mexico will stir a great number of people in America to switch brands, especially since your average American will probably never hear about it, and many who do will simply dismiss it. I'm sure restaurant and bar owners will feel the same way, and it's unlikely that they'll eliminate a popular product and risk sending patrons to another establishment where the product is available.

Most likely, the biggest result of a boycott in this case is going to be an increase in the number of bar fights that occur as newly minted Stoli drinkers confront unyielding Absolut devotees after a few vodka tonics to tell them that they're supporting a company that wants to give half of America away to the Mexicans. I've seen my share of vodka drunks, and believe me, I don't want to try to break up that fight.

Anyway, this will result in a bunch of hits for a few bloggers who want to use this as a pretext for stopping the North American Union. But, in the end, it will have roughly the same impact that the Miller Lite boycott had. Looks like they're still in business.

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