Why Is 1800 Tequila Calling Us Names?

Ray Liotta in 1800 Tequila ad "Them Boots"

Screen Shot of Ray Liotta in 1800 Tequila ad “Them Boots”

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.



Thoughts? Please share...

  • Rocky Steele March 27, 2014, 4:17 PM

    Dear Duh,ane,

    Your Shirley Temple is ready in the ladies lounge. Better take your mommy with you, she can wipe your nose if you get any little bubblies tickling it.

    • Duane de Four March 27, 2014, 4:37 PM

      Oh Rocky… What a man you are! I feel so soft compared to your manly name and attitude. Thanks for the comment and peace be with you.

  • Steve June 7, 2014, 4:00 PM

    It probably plays to their demographic.

    • Duane de Four June 10, 2014, 2:06 PM

      Which is exactly why the ad frightens me. Just keep on encouraging bullies to be bullies! I may have to do an update to this post BTW, because the new ads in the series are even worse. Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Mary July 17, 2014, 3:49 PM

    I long for those days when men did not worry about their hair or what they wore. They ordered beer or whiskey or whiskey and water. There were no mixed drinks named Chuck Norris or anything flowery. Martinis were not chocolate. Men saved foul language for stag nights and knew enough not to talk business at the bar or lie about their golf games in any setting. Yep. Give me the Ray Liottas, the Denzil Washingtons, the Ice-Ts. Sexy men.

  • sunny October 31, 2014, 8:03 PM

    I’m with you, Mary. I miss the days when men were men. Love Imperioli, loved the Sopranos, and adore Ray Liotta. He could park those boots under . . . any time. And on another point, I’ve watched the ad, over and over, and I see nothing racist about it. Nice try, Duane, but it sounds like your own insecurities are peeking through, making your writing biased. . .

    • Duane de Four November 1, 2014, 11:14 AM

      Gotta love the irony of someone with their own biasies accusing others of bias. We all come with our own biases and this is a personal blog full of my biases and opinions, I never claimed it to be anything else.

      Anyway, You’re free to disagree and have your own opinion, but it takes a mighty big sense of self-importance to visit someone else’s blog… A place where they share their personal opinions and views… and accuse them of being biased and insecure. Lick Ray Liotta’s boots on your own blog, but next time come correct when commenting on mine. Sharing your opinions = cool, minimizing other’s opinions and insults = not cool.

      • Reality July 2, 2016, 1:05 AM

        If you think that ad is racist then You are the racist…You’re the only one who even noticed skin colors in the ad. You’re ridiculous.

  • Carlos December 5, 2014, 4:25 PM

    Woah! Let no one hurt your manly feelings. Man up! Stylized bullying? Get over yourself. No one owes you anything. If you want to keep on drinking what you think is or is normally enough, that’s your business. Stop worrying over what Ray Liota it 1800 tequila is saying. Get out From under your mothers wings and grow up. STOP WHINING!!!!!!!!!

    • Duane de Four December 5, 2014, 6:24 PM

      Thanks for your comment, but clearly you’re mistaken about which one of us is whining. Also, whered the “no one owes you anything” come from? Either you didnt read the article… since I never said anyone owed me anything nor did i ask for anything… Or you’re mad libbing your comment.

  • Tony December 27, 2014, 12:53 AM

    I never was able to articulate my thoughts about this commercial, but I did the search to find out who the familiar face was in the commercial.
    My deal is this, it is not too far from these commercials to the TV show “COPS.” There you see the drunks from every walk of life crying in their puke and beer. Actors and players should stay in their TV shows and movies. Stay out of politics and commercials. They seem to live in a parallel reality and have no clue about what really goes on in the day to day life of real people.
    Just my opinion; right, wrong or indifferent.

  • mike March 22, 2015, 12:13 AM

    i hang out with a lot of Mexicans and who would know tequila better. i have drank almost every brand and grade with my fellow Mexican friends and we all agree, 1800 tequila is $h!t.

  • Dave April 14, 2015, 11:26 PM

    Hey Duane,

    I’m glad someone else was as shocked as I was at how racist this ad is! As soon as I saw it I thought “wow, I bet the internet is exploding over that” and googled “1800s tequila racist ad” – yours was the first hit, surprising there isn’t more out there on it.

    The manly-man subtext is one thing – I don’t even notice that when I see that genre of ad, it’s so ubiquitous. But, the racial overtone, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ad pushing it that clearly! Basically, the subtext is this; the white guy should be taken seriously, he isn’t silly, he’s not laughing, he’s drinking the “adult” drink – whereas the black guy has “fun hair” and a “childish drink,” laughing and carrying on… “no wonder his people haven’t amounted to anything…” wow, I feel gross just saying that! But I don’t think I’m making it up, it’s there in the ad.

  • Richard Stoller April 25, 2015, 8:32 PM

    I didn’t know who Ray Liotta was before these ads. Now the only thing I know about him is that he’s an asshole. So I’m learning.

    • Michael June 25, 2015, 2:50 PM

      Yep, and I’ll drink a girly martini if i feel like it. Why would a “manly man” care about some old man at a bar?

  • Connor June 1, 2015, 5:20 PM

    I would just like to thank first of all Duane for writing this piece and also would like to thank all of the comments. i am writing on masculinity in liquor ads more specifically i am writing about this ad and how it negatively affects men and the idea of what a man should be and this Blog post and these comments are perfect for me so again thanks.

  • Henry Hill June 16, 2015, 10:59 PM

    My drink of choice is whiskey (crown) on the rocks with a splash of water. I really like that taste of it, plus it does make me feel somewhat content for enjoying my ‘manly’ drink! That last part may mostly be in my head, whatever, so be it. However, I would not emasculate some guys for enjoying whatever foo foo drinks they were enjoying, that would be a douche move. Plus, it could be considered ‘manly’ to order whatever one wants w/o being concerned about what others think. Glad you noticed this about the commercial. Last thing, I don’t think its racial, maybe a little homophobic, but not racial, and 1800 tequila tastes like piss.

  • Mike December 15, 2015, 9:56 PM

    It’s just a commercial…. nothing more. There are plenty of them out there and more all the time. If this pisses you off, how do you even watch TV ? Relax.

  • Mike May 17, 2016, 6:58 PM

    1800 is by far the worst tequila there is, below Jose. Not one of my many Mexican friends will touch it. One of them owns his own Mexican restrant with a larg variety of tequilas, not that one. Piss in a bottle.

  • GL May 31, 2016, 1:29 PM

    I’m pretty sure he was just as disrespectful to the white guy sitting next to the black guy, or did you conveniently forget that he wasn’t there? There are dominance themes here for sure but racism? Come on. This bullshit race baiting does no good for anyone.

    Honestly,this is a badass commercial. I hate 1800 silver but their Reposado isn’t awful at its price point. I’ll take it over Jose any day of the week.

    Lastly, drink whatever the fuck you want. What you drink doesn’t make you manly or not. If you allow yourself to feel personally victimized by a minute long clip, or maybe by a random man at a bar who doesn’t even say a goddamn word to you however… Well… I’ve got some bad news for you.

    • Duane de Four June 1, 2016, 12:43 AM

      GL, what is the bad news you have for me? I don’t understand and I need you to explain it for me… Please, don’t keep me hanging!

  • david June 2, 2016, 6:02 PM

    This was a scripted ad. Using racial minorities (asian and black) to humiliate and emasculate is not only insulting but frankly lazy and unoriginal. Yuck.

    • Reality July 2, 2016, 1:10 AM

      You’re another idiot…every ad these days has a token white guy, black guy, Asian, & Latino. They do that to show they aren’t prejudice cause when there’s nothing but white people in ads then everyone jumps on it complaining it’s all white. There’s no way to win with idiots like you. I’m half white, half black. My mom is Jewish & dad a non practicing Christian. We are all one in this world. Get over yourself.

      • Reality July 2, 2016, 1:15 AM

        Lol so I guess you missed the other ad where Ray eyeballs the white bartender instead of the two guys at the end of the bar.

  • Reality July 2, 2016, 1:18 AM

    If you the ad as racist then You are the racist. Most people wouldn’t even notice the people’s skin colors. Guess you look for that sort of thing. I’m going to keep seeing people as people and not as colors. I’m for equality & love….you go ahead and stay prejudice though.

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