Bad Ad: Absolut Crush

Lexie Kukuk, a senior at Arrowhead Union High School in Wisconsin, takes apart a print ad from Absolut Vodka that's trying to sell their new brand of alcohol while also demeaning women. Lexie won second place in this year's Bad Ad Contest.

Absolut Crush

By Lexie Kukuk

Absolut Vodka is advertising the new Mandrin Vodka through Kate Beckinsale. She is an actress known for both her talent and sex appeal. This ad was found in Cosmopolitan magazine, a magazine for young to middle aged women. The magazine mainly targets single white women, provides women advice in pleasing men and themselves. Although the magazine does include models of different ethnicities, the majority of women are white. The target audience of the magazine parallels with the use of a white celebrity woman in her 30’s for the ad. However, the message – women need alcohol to be powerful – portrayed through this ad applies to all women.

In the advertisement, Beckinsale is standing in a sexy gold jungle outfit. The outfit is similar to the one Jane would wear in the movie Tarzan with wild hair. There is a city behind her. The city looks small compared to her. There are mandarin oranges all around her feet and the words “Cocktails Perfected” at the bottom. Although this ad looks fun and sexy, the message behind her costume and hair is deceitful. Since the city is small, it expresses that with the alcohol, one can feel on top of the world. It manipulates consumers into thinking that their vodka will make them wild, sexy, and invincible. It informs women that their alcohol offers them the life they desire.

Absolut uses various types of persuasion techniques in this ad:  symbols, testimonials, beautiful people, and the big lie. Using a celebrity known for her beauty will give the consumer the wrong impression about the product. It will seem that the new vodka will make them more like Beckinsale. The ad uses the symbol of her wild costume as a picture of how the product will make the consumer feel. This idea of “wild” is portrayed as exciting and pleasurable. The big lie of the ad is not only how the product will make one feel but the exaggerated phrase “Cocktails Perfected.” It makes the consumer believe Absolut is the best way to make cocktails. However, every person has a different opinion on how cocktails are made. Some may not enjoy the product as much as others. This makes the statement of the ad a lie.

The Absolut Crush ad does not give information on how much the product costs or where it can be purchased. The main issue with this ad is that it does not cover the negative effects of the product – addiction, lowered inhibitions, and lack of judgment. It does, however, give women the message that they need alcohol in order to feel beautiful or powerful. This message is not only incorrect, but it could offend women and give women the wrong impressions of themselves.

The advertisement may have innocent intentions, but the message is offensive. Women of every age, class, and race are constantly told they have to be sexy. Sexy in the media is to be thin, fun, and perfect. These aspects shown in the ad prove that this idea will not go away. This stereotype affects and manipulates all women because not only is it unrealistic and demeaning, but it is unachievable.

            The media are known for idolizing alcohol and sexy people, but the effects on normal people reading into it are often unheard of. The use of sex appeal in ads is not necessarily wrong but the suggestion that normal women have to be like those in the ad is. Women are worth more than the Absolut Crush advertisement gives them credit for being worth.  Despite what Absolut Vodka wants women to believe, woman can be sexy and interesting without the use of alcohol.