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?
stops at the margin, the unconscious will fill in the blanks.
6 thoughts on “The Svedka Vodka female robot ads”
Svedka’s Cyborg Is Confusing, “Sexccessful”
Posted by Abe Sauer on November 9, 2010 12:00 PM
It’s truly a testimony to the branding strategy of “just-stick-with-something-long-enough-and-people-will-come-around” that I am writing these words: I like the Svedka robot.
Yes, like so many others, I raised my eyebrows at the odd robot spokesperson (spokesthing?) when the Svedka vodka brand announced her (it?) to the world. But in the interim, as that bizarre robo-babe has popped up more and more, I’ve been forced to acknowledge that it’s an effective move.
. . .
In Pattern Recognition (2003), William Gibson wrote of the use of female robots in a commercial. Might Gibson’s books be mined for other advertising ideas?
Is it a coincidence that Marshall McLuhan’s 1951 collection of essays is called The Mechanical Bride? Here’s just a bit from McLuhan’s preface:
“Ours is the first age in which many thousands of the best-trained individual minds have made it a full-time business to get inside the collective public mind. To get inside in order to manipulate, exploit, control is the object now. And to generate heat not light is the intention. To keep everybody in the helpless state engendered by prolonged mental rutting is the effect of many ads and much entertainment alike.
. . .
“But amid the diversity of our inventions and abstract techniques of production and distribution there will be found a great degree of cohesion and unity. This consistency is not conscious in origin or effect and seems to arise from a sort of collective dream.”
. . .
From the essay Love-Goddess Assembly Line:
“. . . one of the most peculiar features of our world — the interfusion of sex and technology. It is not a feature created by the ad men, but it seems rather to be born of a hungry curiosity to explore and enlarge the domain of sex by mechanical technique, on one hand, and, on the other, to possess machines in a sexually gratifying way.”
. . .
From the essay The Mechanical Bride:
. . .
“It would be a mistake, therefore, to equate the intensity of the current glamour campaigns and techniques with any corresponding new heights of man-woman madness. Sex weariness and sex sluggishness are, in measure at least, both the cause and increasingly the outcome of these campaigns. No sensitivity of response could long survive such a barrage. What does survive is the view of the human body as a sort of love-machine capable merely of specific thrills. This extremely behavioristic view of sex, which reduces sex experience to a problem in mechanics and hygiene, is exactly what is implied and expressed on all sides. It makes inevitable both the divorce between physical pleasure and reproduction and also the case for homosexuality. In the era of thinking machines, it would be surprising, indeed, if the love-machine were not thought of as well.
. . .
“. . . is a popular dream art which works trance-like inside a situation that is never grasped or seen, And this trance seems to be what perpetuates the widely occurring cluster image of sex, technology, and death which constitutes the mystery of the mechanical bride.”
From the essay The Tough as Narcissus
. . .
“The terror inspired by wild beasts, which led tribal societies to get psychologically inside the tribal totem animal, is being repeated today to the degree that those who are confused or overwhelmed by a machine world are encouraged to become psychologically hard, brittle, and smoothly metallic. The slick-chick and the corporation executive, as they now register on the popular imagination, are already inside the totem machine.”
. . .
I happen to like the fembot. I think she’s cute and she does make me want to get a taste of that vodka!
Review: The Mechanical Bride (centennial edition)
Its promoting TRANSHUMANISM!