Alex Blaze

Earned media, Absolut ads

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 09, 2008 10:47 AM | comments

Filed in: Media, The Movement
Tags: lesbian, Michelle Malkin, vodka

I get emails all the time now that we have a large audience here at Bilerico (thanks!) asking me to push people's products. A lot of times it's a company that started a new ad campaign that they think would be of interest to gay men, even if it's not gay at all but just has shirtless boys fawning over nearly naked women (oh, I am so proud of such representations of my community; let me go get my rainbow flag).

I emailed one of the PR reps two months ago who wanted me to post his 120-second, high-production value, full-length ad filled with nearly naked boys being painted by women showing a lot of cleavage because, he said, there was a stir being caused in New England where the ads were being run, but the company was going to keep on running them because of their commitment to the LGBT community and their belief that blogging was important.

Do these people even listen to themselves? If they love blogging and LGBT people, I can think of a great way for them to support us: buy TBP advertising. Of course, they wouldn't dream of spending $100 or whatever it costs to run an ad here while they'll pay tens of thousands of dollars to put together their ads and hundreds of thousands to place them in traditional media outlets.

Instead, we're supposed to realize that the ads themselves are news, for whatever reason, and then run them for free here, cause a stir, and get them tens of thousands of viewers that they didn't have to pay for.

(I debated whether or not to post it here; my mini-rant on the ad itself doesn't make much sense without seeing the ad. Still, I'm mad at Abolut, so if you haven't seen it already, check it out at JMG.)

That's fine when there's actually a story behind the ad. Sometimes I, or another contributor, have something to say about an ad and we put it up. If it actually is news, then we go for it. People can generally put it in the right context.

But most of the time it's like the press release that accompanied these Absolut ads on Monday:

"As a long-time supporter of the gay and lesbian community, we acknowledge that you can't simply speak to gay men and lesbians as consumers, but instead need to make real connections to their lives which we believe we are achieving with our new creative executions," said Jeffrey Moran, ABSOLUT(R) spokesperson. "As a company, we respect gay men and lesbians not simply in advertising messages, but behind the scenes as well. We're not gay-washing here."

First, what the fuck is "gay-washing"? That's not even a concept. We talk about "straight-washing" when referring to how history books or news reports remove evidence of someone's homosexuality to pander to people's homophobia (like James Baldwin or Alexander the Great). But "gay-washing" means nothing. Way to show that you're in the know, Absolut.

Also, how does this show that they're making "real connections" with the "gay and lesbian community"? Can we first even define what that community is? Because it's obviously just a catch-phrase to Absolut, a series of words that sound nice together because they've heard them from us yet lack understanding, because I don't know that there are many lesbians who have a "fascination with perfect, eight-inch 'member' measurements."

And gay men loving big cocks is a very old joke. Only drag queens are allowed to make it, Absolut.

But that press release is just marketing bullshit talk for trying to take money from our people while pretending to care. Translated into English, the above quotation says: "Please publish this ad, over and over again, for free. You people like to talk about these sorts of things, right?"

Michelle Malkin, like the blathering idiot that she is, toes the corporate line with a series of posts about various Absolut ads, including one about this 8-inch ad:

After watching the far Left politicization of liquor advertising play out, you do feel like you need a drink.

Yeah, Michelle, that's what's happened here. Absolut has been taken over by radical queer Mexican Commies who are more concerned with destroying America, the family, and God than they are with turning a profit.

Uh-huh.

But even she points this out:

The Absolut ad article is now the most e-mailed item at Yahoo! News, with more than 6,000 users e-mailing it out.

The article she's referring to is an AP story about the controversy surrounding a Mexican Absolut ad. And that controversy was sparked by racist bloggers like Michelle Malkin getting people all worked up over it and telling people to write letters to Absolut. That got the AP to cover it and people read the story because it has a colorful photo, and it's a self-feeding system for a couple of weeks.

Talk about an absolut lack of self-awareness.

Absolut ought to send Michelle a thank-you note. 6000 users emailed it to someone on Yahoo! News, and I'm sure that around 200 times more people view an article than send it out. That's about 1,200,000 ad views right there, and that's just what they got on Yahoo. What about CNN, the AP homepage, MSN, the Huffington Post, Google, and any of the hundreds of webpages that carry AP stories?

And then they issue an apology for the ad and try to look they learned their lesson. I'm sure they learned a lesson - pull stunts like this more often because Michelle Malkin's racist brain can't stop selling liquor for you once someone plugs into one of her obsessions and gets her started.

So when I got the email about the Absolut ads, I just thought, no story, let's keep moving. That hasn't stopped fundie sites from talking about the ads, as JMG found. Don't they know that their reaction was fully predicted and expected?

Oh, well. It's a system that works well for these corporations and it's not going to die without me. But if any other ad rep out there has a non-story they want to see on Bilerico, they can buy an ad. That's what they're there for.


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Good for you, Alex and Bilerico team --- if they want to use your blog as an advertising medium, make them pay top dollar!

You might also go thru their come-on materials and identify all the unintended insults. Then write out a little explanation of each, and tack on an "insult penalty" to their ad invoice --- I'd suggest $100 per insult.

These people are, apparently, Fortune 500 executives with ad budgets in the millions --- if they can't throw you a few hundred dollars, then screw'em!

P.S. And make them pay in advance.

P.P.S. By overnight courier.

P.P.P.S Make sure it's a cashier's check written on a major bank.

P.P.P.P.S. Make sure it goes through the bank OK before the ad runs.

P.P.P.P.P.S. And make the V.P. of Advertising include a naked photo of his 18-year-old son.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. No, forget that last one, bad idea.

lol, AJ. We'll keep that list here for the next ad buy!

The best one from last week was for an adult novelty company that wanted us to promote their new lube. It comes with an eyedropper dispenser. I thought "You don't know gay men very well. An eyedropper? It takes more than that usually!"

Great post, Alex. I looked it up and if each product pitch we've gotten since the first of the month had bought a one week ad, we'd be about $1000 richer.

Wow, and the yahoo AP story is just a big series of pictures. While the first one mentions threats of a boycott, the other 26 are just cool pictures of their product and CEO.

Dear Promoters,

Send your shit to me, and I will use it and then promote it in the comments. This is the future of guerrilla marketing. M'kay?

-Nick

Umm, while we're on the topic, can we please discuss how fucking insulted I am each year I go to Pride and it's sponsored by Coors and Bacardi? Like we need to keep on perpetuating the stereotype that we're all alcoholics.

Dammit, Nick --- why didn't I think of that? --- But do you actually think they will pay when you send them your bill at the end of the month? Let us know how that works out.

Hell yeah Serena, let's get some sponsors that are socially responsible, like Trojans, or K-Y.

I don't know how many tubes of lube I have been through since surgery. ;)

While a beer company is always a sponsor of our Pride, so is Wet lubricant. LOL

@diddly - See you at Pride! I'll have the lube! *grins*

Thank you SO much! Last time I checked the figures, (probably 5 years ago), alcohol was a $180 billion dollar business, just in the US. Do we figure that the event sponsorships and ads in our publications make up for 1) the amount of that figure that is spent by queers on alcohol or 2) the true costs of alcoholism in our community in terms of the damage to lgbt health, including alcohol's connection to HIV transmission, liver damage, etc, as well as to domestic and partner violence and other problems?

As a community, we are a pretty cheap date. Absolut comes with some checks and some advertising and we swoon.

We're worth more, folks.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 10, 2008 8:57 AM

Where does a slippery alcoholic go for fun except to a Gay pride parade? I think this plug for spirits has been absolutely over served... And yes, it would be nice if a high thread count bedsheet company were to sponsor a float!