An interesting image for it promotes the use of alcoholic beverages in general as much as it does the Bacardi brand in particular. This shows that competition is not necessarily between products. The adversary here is not primarily other liquors, but, rather, habits not conducive to consumption.
The distribution of the suggestion “WORK LATE ON YOUR FRIENDSHIPS” provides a rationalization for not spending extra time at the job. The mental gymnastics are equating time spent drinking in the company of others with “work” and “friendship.” Who would argue that these are not both good things?
The bat in the circle graphic very much resembles a balloon, thus associating the product with festive occasions. After seeing these pictures of floating bats, a balloon might act as an unconscious reminder of the logo and so serve as a trigger for buying Bacardi.
Here we have an Absolut billboard that at first seems to be very similar to their Lemon Drop Citron ad. Both feature a blond model and a bottle of Absolut on a table. Actually, the communications could not be more different.
In this Twist ad, the table is quite prominently set just for one. The room is characterized by a series of circles — large letter “Os” — that make up targets with the focus as dots at the center. The model is about to make music by herself with a phonograph — a machine that works by an arm acting on a round record. This particular record player arm is of a rather unusual tool-like appearance. The model’s skin-tight clothing is the same color as the circles and the target.
Unusually for a liquor ad, the model is not gazing longingly out of the picture at the viewer or above (or eyes closed) in rapture. Instead, home alone, the green-clad blond casts a worried glance to the right as if to make sure that she won’t be disturbed. What’s there to hide?
The Absolut Twist ad — unlike most other liquor pieces — is aimed at women. Beyond the brand, drinking alone is what’s being promoted. The message is that solitary imbibing is just another acceptable way for adults to entertain themselves.
The billboard in all its two-story glory
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.
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.
As if spotting someone in the crowd, the mechanical women’s eyes flash interest.
The Svedka Vodka female robot ads are frequently seen in open – and not so open – air advertising galleries: billboards, buses, bus stop shelters, phone booths, and subway stations.
A common technique of liquor advertising is Pavlovian conditioning with the use of images of scantily-clad women as the primary stimulus. In close proximity to the affable young lady will be a picture of a bottle of an alcoholic beverage. In the same way that attention is drawn to the ad, the excitement will then link to the brand. Through this training, the consumer prefers a certain product.
Competition presents an immediate complication. How do you get men to look at your bikini girl poster in a public space filled with images of similar free spirits? One way that advertisers attempt to make the images increasingly interesting is by decreasing the clothing. The Cabana Cachaça magazine ad model’s high heels and a tan line demonstrate that there is a limit to this sequence. And in the interest of the safety of pedestrians – if not the public morals laws – outdoor advertisers must stop the display of skin at some point well before this reductio ad somethingorother is reached. Standing head and shoulders (and with nearly every other part of their gleaming anatomy) over all rivals, the Svedka bot girls are the solution to this problem. Since stainless steel women don’t wear clothes, nobody will be shocked by any amount of exposed sheet metal – but the idea comes through all the same.
There are other advantages, too. No one seems to mind a metal Ms. being treated as a sex object. After all, a robot is an object. And with metallic grey skin (plus just a hint of rouge or a blush signaling attraction) basically the same color as the Svedka bottle, the fembot is not just associated with the product. The feminine machine essentially is the goddess or spirit of the brand, dea ex machina.
I do see a drawback to the pinup girl liquor ads. Much marketing is based on either faulty polls or the faulty interpretation of polls. As their surveys show men making the overwhelming majority of alcoholic beverage purchases, the companies use “cheesecake” ads. The error is in failing to realize that men do what women tell them to do. If a wife or girlfriend sends a man to the liquor store to fetch a bottle of rum, gin, scotch, or wine, no landscape full of ruby-lipped robots will convince him to do anything else. And if is to be vodka and orange, how can a significant other be expected to invite Svedka?
A Svedka Vodka fembot billboard photographed at night
Though the breasts are partially hidden by the text and the derriere
stops at the margin, the unconscious will fill in the blanks.