I have always liked Absolut vodka advertisements. Maybe it’s a somewhat clichéd thing to collect, but I think all the variations on the theme of something bottle-shaped with a matching tagline are pretty clever. Last week I was traveling in Southern Utah and I saw something that sparked my memory.
Sometime sophomore year my college roommate Chris and I discovered that we both collected Absolut ads. I can’t say that either of us were particularly taken by Absolut’s product, but between us we had amassed over 100 different ads. All of them clipped from magazines—no cheating by taking them from the Absolut Book. Over Christmas break that year I didn’t have much to do, so I spent time scanning, restoring, and re-cropping the ads. Back at school I printed a batch on 3-by-4 inch cards size and we arranged them in our room.
The year before the big news on Notre Dame’s campus was that student affairs had instituted an on-campus ban on hard alcohol. When the news broke I was working for Scholastic, the campus newsmagazine, and we were preparing our annual parody issue. This issue was our once-a-year chance to pretend to be The Onion. Editors were brainstorming ideas for the cover when I mentioned an idea that just happened to stick.
A week ago I was at Bryce Canyon in Southern Utah with Caitlin where we hiked the combined Navajo-Queen’s Garden loop. The whole area is peppered with hoodoos, strangely-shaped rock formations. As we finished up the two-hour hike I saw an unmistakable rock formation.
I always thought that an Absolut Utah ad would be something of an oxymoron, but maybe that was premature. This thing just keeps turning up in the most unexpected places.