Marketing Absinthe as the Date Rape Drink?

There are certain agencies that take risks which may or may not payoff, these are usually calculated and discussed with all parties first. A fine example of this would be the Johnnie Walker billboard which I posted about from Lebanon, which at worst could offend some, at best see sales rocket. There is another category which ought to be discussed here and that is the ads which just throw out all ideas around class, decorum, social opinions and which just plough on straight over the line of what is right and wrong. A recent advert for Absinthe has proved to be the latest in a long line of these ads, with a recent commercial suggesting that the alcohol beverage was the ‘Ultimate Panty Remover’ something which goes way past bad taste. 

What is Absinthe?

This green alcoholic drink is around 60%-70% by volume and it has long been known as a drinker which straddles both sides of the law, having been criminalized in many countries around the globe. In some cases this alcoholic drink also has hallucinogenic qualities which is what made it such a popular beverage amongst the art community. Simply put, this drink is absolute rocket fuel which puts those who drink it in a state where they are highly likely to not have a clue what they are doing. 

Context 

Making remarks about how you may forgot what you did, or that you may not know what you re doing would have been a dangerous, albeit acceptable line for this ad to go down, rather than the avenue which it eventually chose. The notion that getting some girl liquored up in order to have your wicked way with her is far less bawdy and infinitely more ‘slipping her a roofy’, which is a nice way of putting the fact that the tagline is almost illegal on its own. 

What is very important to focus on here is how it sounds, we have seen ads before which have used the term ‘panty dropper’ when referring to a swanky car, and when you see things in that context it far more tells the tale of a lady who may swoon at the image of a dashing man in a luxury vehicle. When you are using such phrasing to discuss the inebriation of a girl, who therefore will have significantly less control of her actions, you are walking a very fine line indeed, and one which simply isn’t acceptable. 

The lesson of all of this is to always check whatever quirky or cool catchphrase you may have come up with, between a large audience of execs and fellow creatives before putting pen to paper. Only a neanderthal driven and potentially lawless audience may read such an ad and be inspired to go and pick up a bottle of the green stuff. Needless to say this ad has since been removed, clearly somebody had second thoughts. 

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