How (not) to get ahead in advertising


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


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