Protesters shout slogans calling for the resignation of South Korea's President Park Geun-Hye during an anti-government rally in central Seoul on Nov. 19, 2016.
JUNG YEON-JE AFP/Getty Images
By Lucinda Shen
December 12, 2016

Absolut Vodka is coming under fire in South Korea after one of its ads got political.

Just a day after South Korean President Park Geun-hye was officially impeached, the Sweden-based distiller released an ad for Absolut Korea on Saturday declaring “The Future is Yours to Create.” That phrase was laid over an image of thousands of street protesters holding candles, forming the shape of a distiller’s bottle.

Critics on Facebook lambasted the company for using the protests as a commercial play. Others questioned whether Absolut understood the significance of the protests, and Park’s subsequent impeachment, for South Korea.

“What does a protest and vodka have to do with one another? Who were the targets of this ad?” a user named Won Yoneu asked in the comments.

“If this ad had been for the World Cup or a concert, it might’ve worked. But if they knew what this image represented, perhaps they wouldn’t have paired the image with alcohol,” another user, Jang Hyo-jin, commented.

 

“Did they [Absolut] have to use an image showing our never-ending struggle for their advertisement?” wrote Lee Kuhak. “Take it down.”

Those protests demanding 64-year-old Park’s impeachment lasted for six weeks, before the country’s National Assembly voted in favor of her removal on Friday. She is accused of political corruption: giving a close friend classified information, and allowing the friend to profit from her close proximity with the presidency.

Absolut’s parent company, Pernod Ricard, did not respond to immediate requests for comment.

Joyce Lee contributed to this report.

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