Reach for the Skyy during competitors' downfall

The issues surrounding Absolut's Mexico ad and Skyy Vodka's response were so compelling, many reporters had takes on the situation. In addition to Tonya Garcia's...

The issues surrounding Absolut's Mexico ad and Skyy Vodka's response were so compelling, many reporters had takes on the situation. In addition to Tonya Garcia's PR Play on the matter, we feature two more commentaries on The Cycle.

Companies often hope misery and despair will fall upon their competition. In the case of Skyy Vodka, it got what it wanted—a controversial advertisement from competitor Absolut Vodka that gave the public a reason to get angry—and took it one step further. After a Mexican magazine advertisement for the alcohol—depicting a US-Mexico border before the Mexican-American War—was posted on US-based blogs, Americans spoke out against Absolut, saying the Swedish vodka company supports illegal immigrants.

Skyy stepped up last week, more than a week after the advertisement appeared online, with a press release stating the company "proudly supports [the] Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo," and trumpeting its American-made status. Absolut originally responded via its blog, and hoped the furor would die down, so it was up to Skyy to keep this issue in the news—and on Americans' minds—for an extended period of time.

BoycottAbsolut.com, a project of the National Illegal Immigration Boycott Coalition (NIIBC) and Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), has thrown its support behind Skyy for its valiant efforts to keep the nation together. I, for one, prefer gin, so this mess doesn't really affect me, though I did laugh when I learned anti-immigration groups have taken on Skyy as their new favorite brand of vodka.

Whether you are offended by the ad—or instead by the boycott against Absolut—you've got to hand it to Skyy for taking something that happened in 1848 years ago, making it relevant, and rubbing the salt in Absolut's wounds.

PR Play rating:
1. Clueless
2. Ill-advised
3. On the right track
4. Savvy
5. Ingenious

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