This campaign is so clean and clever you can almost forgive the imperfections.
The body copy is clunky.
Two of the three maps look like antiques which make it feel out of date.
It’s also the same idea with the same headline and the same copy repeated three times.
I would have loved to see the idea more fleshed out.
For example, using three different shaped bandages.
Or maybe one could have used surgical tape and gauze to hold two state maps together.
And the third could have used one of those children’s Band-Aids with cartoons on it.
I also think these could have been stronger if they’d been more intentional about where the ends of the bandages land.
Do they only fly in the US? Or also internationally?
With more thinking, they could have made this campaign even more of a soaring success.
Instead, it’s a one-shot repeated three times.
But the idea is so good you forgive the clunky copy.
And everything else.
Because like most great ads, if all you do is look at the image and the brand name or logo, you get it.
Despite the lack of elevated craft, the idea doesn’t get lost.
Religion and Politics.
Two things you want to avoid in your Christmas dinner conversation.
And in your work.
Unless you’re doing ads for a candidate.
Or a candidate who thinks they’re Jesus.
The point is these are heated topics.
There’s no reason to stir up trouble if you don’t have to.
And Absolut absolutely didn’t have to.
They’ve created one of the most iconic print campaigns of all time.
Sure, sometimes it can be hard to live up to your own high bar.
But this one execution specifically for Mexico offended people both south and north of the border.
And the Swedes, for once, showed bad taste.
Coulda Shoulda Woulda
I never like to say an ad is bad without offering some thoughts on how it might be improved.
After all, judging is easy and ideas are hard.
I’ve already suggested ways we might have made the rad ad even more rad.
As for Absolut…
Here are ten ideas off the top of my head.
Nine of them would have been better than the one they ran.
- A bottle wearing a sombrero and a serape
- Aztec calendar with bottle in the middle
- Mariachi suit with a bottle woven into the embroidery
- Serape with a bottle woven into the pattern
- Mayan temple with a bottle-shaped entrance
- Lucha Libre mask with a bottle design
- Brick of cocaine with a bottle stamped on it
- Tortillas strewn on a colourful tablecloth make a bottle shape in the negative space between them
- Broken sections of concrete sidewalk that make a bottle shape (if you’ve been to Mexico City then you know)
- A group of saguaro cacti that create a bottle shape
But what do I know?
I actually freelanced on this campaign and none of my ideas ever got made.
Maybe because my drink of choice is tequila.