Liquor marketing often targets non-Caucasians. After all, starting as it did with the Indians, sales of alcoholic beverages to people of color is as American as apple pie. Certainly the makers of Remy Martin will not mind if this billboard attracts African-Americans to the brand. Be that as it may, this smart ad actually seeks a much wider, general audience. Here an African-American stereotype is what’s being promoted — specifically the idea of sexual superiority. Those struck down by feelings of inferiority along the lines of Robin William’s quip concerning condoms in the film Good Morning, Vietnam (available in three sizes: large, medium, Caucasian) now have hope: You can buy it in a bottle!
The African-American man in the image is obviously irresistible to women, who — quite literally — can’t keep their hands off of him. The Hispanic and Asiatic women are types that the average man will often see and perhaps work with, but not really know. These women are likely to be characters in fantasies, perhaps unconscious. The man is brown-skinned. This color actually seems to be reflected by the amber-toned women. In the background there also appears to be brown paneling, as might be expected in a tavern.
The Remy Martin Centaur logo is on the right. Quite clearly the ad’s crafters had no uncertainty about the existence of symbols operating subconsciously. The icon from the unconscious serves as an unconditioned stimulus. This representation of the mythic creature combines a number of phallic symbols. The centaur is a man who is a powerful beast below the waist. The position of the arms forms a straight line pointing up that is parallel to the about-to-be-thrown spear.
This Remy Martin billboard attempts to invoke an Imitative Magic spell as described by Frazer in the Golden Bough. The ancient mode of thought works this way: African-Americans possess sexual power. African-Americans have brown skin. Remy Martin cognac is brown, so drinking Remy Martin will transfer / confer sexual power to the imbiber.