1800 Tequila can kiss my ass. Actually, Proximo Spirits (the makers of 1800) and the folks who make their ads; The VIA Agency are the ones who should be kissing all our asses. Have you seen their latest ad? Stylized bullying, that’s all it is…
Proximo and VIA started down this path a couple of years ago with a series of ads featuring actor Michael Imperioli, famous for playing a mobster in The Sopranos. In the most troubling ad of the series, Imperioli whines like an old fart who can’t accept that times are a-changin’. He begins by asking “whatever happened to men?” before proceeding to vent about “unmanly things” like hair tinting and drinking the wrong tequila:
Apparently, once was not good enough for the makers of 1800 Tequila. They just couldn’t resist crawling out of their man cave again to club us over the head and drag us back in for more. The latest ad switches out one actor famous for playing a mobster with another. This time it’s Ray Liotta who’ll provide the clubbing:
As you saw, Imperioli’s version of machismo involved lots of words, but Liotta’s has almost none. To be exact, the man says exactly one word in the ad (and chuckles a bit near the end). Here’s a run down of what happens in the rest of the ad; Liotta, sporting cowboy boots (let’s just call his character Mr. Boots), a black suit, white shirt and no tie gets off a train in some unknown location. He then uses the power of manliness to part the crowd like the red sea, saunter to a nearby bar and utter his singular word; “1800.” Most men would enjoy their drink in peace at this point, maybe they’d find someone to talk to, or they may even look for some companionship. Mr. Boots does none of these things. Instead, he decides to be a total dick and stare down a couple of men happily drinking their colorful martinis and eating cherries. If you ask me, the two guys looked rather content until they were threatened by Mr. Boots’ hyper-masculine mafioso act. It also appears that Mr. Boots is not just a dick, but a racist dick. Watch the ad again, but this time look at his death stare closely. In the beginning, Mr. Boots applies the power of manliness to try and convince the martini guys to be anything but themselves. When that doesn’t work he doubles down and adds a little white supremacy to the mix. Success. The two men submit and return their drinks, cherries untouched.
These ads piss me off because they represent the worst aspects of masculinity and the culture of enforcement that surrounds it. They’re not really ads for 1800 Tequila, they’re glorifications of bullying, wrapped up in an artsy package. They may look like your typical, trendy, manly-liquor-ad, but they’re not. Instead of being relatively benign and stupid, they hit you over the head and spit in your face for good measure. They’re insulting and they denigrate anyone who dares to be different. Imperioli basically says this out loud, while Liotta says it with his face; “You’re all pussies for not acting like us… now, man up and buy some 1800 Tequila. Bitches.” Yup, that’s a sales pitch. Assholes. Get off my TV and take your nasty alcohol with you.