Once in a while you get a brand that wants to stand out, and that means being “edgy”, “bold” or “daring”. But in the pursuit of style over substance, some things can go wrong. Horribly wrong.
Case in point:
If it’s not obvious to you, the subtext of the ad is that Belvedere Vodka goes down smoothly, unlike some women who have to be tackled and forced to “go down” on smirking douchebags. (In my vivid imagination, she bites off his penis and, while stuffing it down his own throat, cackles, “Is THAT going down smoothly enough for ya?”)
(On a side note: There are some who argue that the ad isn’t “rape-y” at all. They say the ad is talking about the guy; it’s his approach to wooing the women that isn’t going down smoothly. Right, so the woman in the ad is reacting in horror because his pick-up lines are too cheesy? For God’s sake, LOOK AT THE PHOTO. It looks as if she’s just realized that all her fears about being raped are about to come true. Even without the tagline, the whole scenario screams “rape”. If you still don’t see it, I suggest you jump off the highest bridge you can find, because you are too dumb to exist.)
I’m not an expert in advertising, but I do know there is a vetting process when it comes to this stuff. You do not launch an advertising campaign without sign-off from the top. Which means that Belvedere Vodka and its ad agency thought this was okay. Someone thought that making a funny about rape is just the ticket to sell vodka. But when the shit hit the fan, it was time to save face.
So Charles Gibb, the president of Belvedere Vodka, has apologized. How nice. How fucking fantastic. Call me cynical, but this is how I read the statement (my interpretations are in red):
I would like to personally apologize for the offensive post that recently appeared on our Facebook page. [Oops.] It should never have happened. [We thought it was hilarious until y’all freaked out.] I am currently investigating the matter to determine how this happened and to be sure it never does so again. [We’re looking for a patsy to take the fall.] The content is contrary to our values and we deeply regret this lapse. [As in, we value your money, so if you’re pissed, we’ll regret anything.] As an expression of our regret over this matter we have made a donation to RAINN (America’s largest anti-sexual violence organization) [There, we made nice. Now leave us alone, okay?].
Yeah, that apology doesn’t go down smoothly with me.
Source: AdFreak, Jezebel.com