Bare Breasts Don't Offend Brazilians; American Cachaca Does

Also: Sometimes It's OK to Use Sex to Sell Booze

By Published on .

When it comes to marketing and advertising, Brazil has long been associated with either soccer or perfectly shaped women. So it would come as no surprise that an upcoming summer campaign positioning Cabana Cachaça as an "authentically Brasilian" drink would feature a naked woman with perfect proportions wearing nothing more than a pair of sexy pumps. Right?

Authentically Brazilian?
Authentically Brazilian?
But the campaign in question, created by Avrett Free Ginsberg of New York, has already raised the ire of many Brazilians in the blogosphere. But not for the overt exploitation of the female body to pitch an alcoholic beverage. No, it's because the product is not really "typically" Brazilian. Cabana Cachaça, while distilled in Brazil, is the brainchild of Matti C. Anttila, a New York investment banker turned entrepreneur who first launched the brand in 2006 in an effort to "evoke an emotional connection with Brazil." Both Cabana Cachaça, like its agency, is based in New York City.

Cabana's summer campaign, which has been labeled hotter than Rio in summer, includes an explicit, sexually-charged video, which anyone (older than 21, of course) can view here. It ends with a close-up of the model showing her Brazilian wax, apparently another typical feature of women in the South American country.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against sexy stuff or against Cabana Cachaça (I might have some issues with Brazilian waxing, but that's another story). What kills me, though, is how marketers and advertisers seem to have a wider margin to play with stereotypes when dealing with "other cultures," or at least other cultural referents. Looking slutty and doing some guys in an elevator might be OK, even incredibly sexy, if you are Salma Hayek pitching Campari; or in this case, if you are naked, sport a Brazilian wax and pitch some "exotic" drink called cachaça. (Remember that 2006 Skyy Vodka ad that drew scrutiny by an industry watchdog for showing "lewd images and gratuitous nudity?")

It seems to me that politically-correct America is extremely rigid at enforcing decency, but not so when it comes to images that relate to other cultures and/or values. Is this what multiculturalism is all about?

I might be wrong and the campaign will be ultimately flagged by the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., which establishes that "beverage alcohol advertising and marketing materials should not rely upon sexual prowess or sexual success as a selling point for the brand." Or maybe, not. Perhaps nakedness and Brazilian wax don't fall into the category or sexual prowess.

Go figure.

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Read more from Laura daily at Mi Blog Es Tu Blog.
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