U.S. to world ads: Feel free to offend anyone except us.

Absolut ad for Mexican market

This is just too stupid to be believed. I thought it was dumb enough when people in the US complained about an Absolut ad that was only being distributed in Mexico. It claimed that in an absolut world, a good chunk of what’s currently the Western United States would still belong to Mexico. It was a clever and funny ad and it bears repeating that it was not intended for the US. Of course people went loco, calling for boycotts and prompting an (unnecessary) apology from Absolut.

They’re at it again over the Heinz ad which is slowly vanishing from YouTube. In the UK, about 200 complaints were received about the ad saying it was unsuitable to be viewed by children and it might cause parents to have to explain homosexuality to their children. Granted it’s a funny ad that draws you in and gives you a very unexpected finish that probably shocked a few people, so I can accept that it might have gotten people’s knickers in a knot. But the best part is that once it made the rounds of the internet and got views on more US blogs/sites, over 70,000 complaints about the ad were lodged… from the US… where the ad would never be seen on television. Except now, of course, when all the news shows want to talk about it, including Bill O’ Riled-Up. That 30 second spot’s getting plenty of US airtime now. Here’s a recent debate involving Wayne Besen from Truth Wins Out, Randy Sharp from the AFA and marketing analyst Dan Hill on CNN Headline News.

[Story heads-up from Towleroad]

Seriously people, get a life. There are way more important things to complain about than to tell a company you’re boycotting their products over an ad that wasn’t even meant for you in the first place.

It’s like the Simpsons episode where Kent Brockman swears on the air from having hot coffee spilled on him and Ned Flanders goes online to get people to complain. One of his children asks what he’s doing:

Imploring people I never met to pressure government with better things to do to punish a man who meant no harm for something nobody even saw, that’s what I’m doing!

Best. Quote. Ever.

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8 Responses

  1. sean808080 says:

    do you get the feeling that there is an entire class of people who have little else to do other than flex their ‘i’m offended’ muscle? this is a sad way to live. today it’s these two ads, tomorrow it’s a song, the next it’s a movie.

    there’s so much more out there to focus on. i can understand being bothered once in a while but some of these folks do nothing more than go around looking to be offended!

  2. shindo says:

    Being offended is definitely an American pass time. Of course, these people have way too much time to spend on the Web and watch the commercials that aren’t for them.

  3. Kyle says:

    “I for one welcome our new insect overlords!”

    I think that more dangerous in the long run than our “culture of fear” is our “culture of resentment”. We’ve built a society in which no one feels good unless they feel righteous, and that righteous feeling necessitates being aggrieved about some issue, whether dragged in from the past or just imagined.

    IMHO, everyone just needs to get over it, whatever “it” is, loosen their sphincters and lighten up. Me included.

  4. Michael says:

    It’s like I was telling a buddy of mine the other day…Bill O’Reilly needs to come out of the closet. He wishes he was the one getting kissed in that ad.

  5. Brian says:

    @sean808080: Like shindo says, it is definitely an American pastime and there truly are people that monitor every bit of tv for offensive items, even items they never see.

    @shindo: GMTA, that was the first thing I thought of when sean’s comment posted. I’ve also referenced that one to refer to Kyle. ๐Ÿ™‚

    @Kyle: It’s an interesting cultural wave, we were so hyped up about being PC, then we insisted that everyone just get over it, and now we’re nearing that point again where people want everything to be whitewashed, no pun intended, not so that it doesn’t offend someone else, but so that it doesn’t offend me. Such utter bullshit.

    @Michael: While the deli guy isn’t too bad, Bill can have him. I’m holding out for my rugby boys.

    That’s right, I called them so hands off! ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

  6. Lolypup says:

    I disagree with you a bit on this. While I think its insane that most Americans would be offended by the Heinz ad (but then again we live in a warped society), I do believe we as Americans have a right to be concerned in general about advertisements, financial support, political ties etc etc related to major world businesses.

    While the advertisement may not have been intended for Americans, Heinz is an American Corporation and most if not all of us buy their products or use them on a daily basis. So we should be concerned with their global involvement.

    Americans are famous for not looking at the world, anything beyond our borders is not our concern. We live in a global society and as such we have a responsibility to look beyond our own comfortable lives here in the good ole’ U.S of A.

    However I agree with you, getting all chocked up over this particular advertisement was a bit much but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be concerned with things that happen outside our borders. Trust me if Heinz is employing children at $0.25 a day to stomp on tomatoes in some third world country, I want to know about it!

  7. Brian says:

    @Lolypup: There’s a big difference in being concerned with events going on outside our borders and only being concerned with them when they offend us. The ad that over 70,000 Americans wrote to complain about was never going to be seen in the US. I’m willing to bet that they didn’t get any information on what stations played it, what time of day it played, nada. Someone forwarded them a link and it was all torches and pitchforks.

    What bugs me is that people are so lazy as to not be worried at all about what companies are doing actively or through advertising around the world unless someone hands it to them or posts it on a conservative/religious blog and says, “Hey, you need to be upset about this!”

    And… when our ads ridicule another culture, are these same people going to get up in arms and protest the company? Nope, because then it’s funny.

    I call bullshit.

  8. Esprix says:

    Personally I loved Kathy Griffin’s take on her little flap – “The Catholic League is like one pissed off guy in his basement.”

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