NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Brazil's self-regulatory body, Conar, is investigating an ad campaign starring Paris Hilton for Devassa Bem Loura beer for being too sexually provocative, even by the racy standards of Brazilian beer ads.
According to local trade publication Meio & Mensagem, Ad Age's partner in Brazil, Conar this week opened three different investigations into local brewer Grupo Schincariol's launch campaign for Devassa Bem Loura (Portuguese for "Very Blonde") beer last month during Brazil's riotous Carnival.
The first investigation is the result of a formal complaint by a consumer about the sensual nature of the ads, reported Meio & Mensagem journalist Alexandre Zaghi Lemos.
The campaign includes a spot by Sao Paulo agency Mood in which Ms. Hilton, dressed in a short, tight black dress, parades in front of the window in a high-rise office building rubbing a can of Devassa Bem Loura beer along her body. A guy in another office spots her through the window, grabs a camera, and begins filming her. On the street below, a crowd gathers to watch her.
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Conar's code governing beer advertising specifies that "appeals to sensuality won't constitute the principal content of the message" and adds that "advertising models won't be treated as sex objects." (Brazilian beer marketers often get around this by giving beer ads a beach setting, where it's considered appropriate for models to wear tiny bikinis.)
The second investigation, started by Conar itself, is targeting a promotion on the beer's website that may violate rules against promotional activities that encourage excessive consumption.
The launch of the Devassa Bem Loura extension of the Devassa brand started as a TV and online teaser campaign about a mysterious blonde, and the beer marketer spread the word Bem Misteriosa on Twitter. The website featured a keyhole that grew as people tweeted #bemmisteriosa, finally revealing Paris Hilton, a celebrity guest at Carnival in the beer marketer's VIP box at the samba school parade in Rio de Janeiro.
On the Devassa website (at www.devassa.com.br and www.bemmisteriosa.com.br), Paris Hilton perches on a bar stool holding a beer glass in the same tight black dress, next to the words "Very Irreverent, Very Blonde, Very Devassa. Finally She's Arrived." Elsewhere on the site, in a jukebox feature with different music options, she poses next to the jukebox wearing black lingerie, fishnet stockings, stiletto heels and a top hat. The commercial is also on the site.
Meio & Mensagem is Brazil's leading weekly magazine and website devoted to covering advertising, media and marketing in Latin America's largest market.
A third investigation was started Wednesday afternoon at the request of the Brazilian government's Secretariat for Womens' Affairs, alleging that content on Devassa's site is sexist and disrespectful to women.
In the next steps, Conar will formally notify both the advertiser and the agency that the investigations have been opened, and they have 10 days to submit a written response. Informally, the news is all over Brazilian blogs, provoking lively comments about both the campaign and Ms. Hilton.