Absolut Lemon Drop billboard – The girl in the Freudian slip

Absolut Citron Lemon Drop Billboard

Full frontal psychoanalytic symbols?

Does this billboard (photographed at a bus shelter just outside of the Hoboken, NJ PATH station) hold the record for the largest number of Freudian symbols in one image? There’s the plush yellow carpet that highlights the model’s hair. Then there are the pink flowers with the curved, undulating petals and the stems inserted into the water-filled vase. There also is the pair of oval glasses with a pair of oval slices of lemon. The collection finishes up with low-hanging fruit.

Scrutinizing the photo, it’s not certain what the yellow hue in the window is. Sunlight? A reflection of the floor? When walking by I had the impression that the yellow area was a drape. That brought to mind the wisecacre comment concerning window treatments-rug color coordination.

I first thought that the bucket of Libido fuel being thrown on the Id fire of passers-by was meant — through a subliminal stratagem — to generate (heterosexual male) interest in the ad. This excitement would then — as is the Pavlovian standard in many liquor ads — be associated with the product. I later learned that Absolut sponsored an edgy little faux retro flick — Lemon Drop — that the poster was supposed to promote. Is the concatenation of sexual hints meant to be a sort of Sigmund Hirschfeld collection of Ninas? An adult version of “How many faces are in this picture?”

Absolut wanted the Lemon Drop video to go viral, but it seems not to have achieved the intended momentum. The URL printed in the billboard only comes up as SERVICE UNAVAILABLE.

BTW, the reflection of the building and the glare are just that — artifacts of poor lighting.

Absolut Lemondrop billboardAbsolut Lemondrop billboard close-up

The images above are of a billboard in Jersey City west of the Holland Tunnel. These photos were taken on 12/24/10, nearly two months after the Hoboken bus shelter shoot. The featured Web Site is still down, but now forwards to the generic Facebook login Page. As it seems that Absolut abandoned the Internet movie feature, it’s curious that they persist with the advertising.

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Anthony Olszewski

Anthony Olszewski has written on a wide variety of topics: cage birds, tropical fish, popular culture, the poetry of Amiri Baraka and a chapter on genetics for a veterinary text book, as a small sample. He worked as an editor at a magazine produced by TFH, the world's largest publisher of pet books. Anthony Olszewski is the author of a booklet on Hudson County history, Hudson County Facts, and a book of short stories, Second Thief, Best Thief, that are sold on Amazon. Anthony Olszewski established PETCRAFT.com in 1996. A pioneer on the Web, the Site continues to provide unique information on a range of companion animals, focusing on birds and fish. As a community service, he operates Jersey City Free Books. Anthony Olszewski was born in Jersey City, NJ (Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital, 1956) and is a member of Mensa. Email at anthony.olszewski@gmail.com

3 thoughts on “Absolut Lemon Drop billboard – The girl in the Freudian slip”

  1. Though somewhat obscured by the Freudian fireworks, this is a conventional and masterful use of a women model in an ad. As the table is clearly set for two, the portrayal is of the model as a consumer of the product. The suggestion for a man is that buying this product will result in getting the girl in the picture. For a woman viewing the ad the unconscious thought is, “If it’s good enough for her, then I want it.”

    In most liquor ads, the woman appears just as a role in a male fantasy — or is transmuted into the product.

  2. Not knowing the backstory, I was perplexed by this ad when I first saw it.

    But I only thought, “boozy housewife who lounges around the house all day and is so self-absorbed she can’t even stop yaking and put down the phone for the two seconds it takes to snap a picture.”

    The table might be set for two, but her attention is divided with whomever she is chatting with on the phone. Not sexy at all. The model is also too old, and matronly shaped (poochy stomach, plump legs), for retro sexy — she’s more like Mrs. Robinson, than Holly Golightly.

    I wondered if this was supposed to appeal to me; am I suppose to ‘get’ this alcoholic, distracted old broad? Or was this supposed to appeal to women who might aspire to a life of vodka-soaked house-frau indolence?

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