Just in time for Columbus Day, Astral Tequila presents "Columbus Day: A Reenactment," an ad starring Jonathan Goldsmith, the Artist Formerly Known as the Most Interesting Man in the World. (In June, in the wake of Dos Equis moving on to another actor to play Mr. Interesting, Astral released a teaser in which Goldsmith declared that "I told you, I don't always drink beer.")
Goldsmith's job here is to play an old white dude sitting alone at a bar; he holds a cigar, sips tequila and make eyes at a woman we're to assume is Indian (she's wearing a sari) across the bar. He then leaves his seat, drink in hand, perhaps to flirt in person -- but suddenly bumps into another woman (kinda weirdly hard, shoulder to shoulder). This woman, we're to assume, is Native American (she's wearing a buckskin dress, a turquoise pendant and a feather earring). He looks her over and obviously like what he sees -- and she seems to like what she sees too, because she smiles, he smiles, he says "Hello," and they clink drinks.
And then Goldsmith breaks the fourth wall to address us, the viewing audience, directly: "That is pretty much how it happened." Cue a close-up of a bottle of Astral Tequila and, on-screen, "Happy Columbus Day."
Uh, hold up. That is pretty much how it happened?
There's a reason why cities across the U.S. -- from Los Angeles to Denver to Cambridge, Massachusetts -- celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day instead of Columbus Day. And there's a reason why, over the weekend, protestors in Boston held up signs reading "Columbus Day Celebrates Genocide" and "Christopher Columbus Was a Genocidal Slave-Trader."
To say that Columbus' legacy is complicated is a vast understatement.
And yet here we have an attempt to milk the Columbus story for a quick chuckle. Hey, Columbus' arrival in North America was like an unplanned bar hookup! LOL?
Anyway, honestly, we're gonna need something stronger than tequila.
Update: "Our spot is simply lampooning Christopher Columbus' journey," says Astral VP-Marketing Joen Choe in a statement provided by Erich and Kallman, the agency of record for the Davos Brands tequila. Choe added that Columbus "set out for India, but bumped into America instead. We are certainly not making light of any historical events."