Here's a fun one to start your week: Paris Hilton in a Brazilian beer commercial that is drawing fire for being demeaning to women. Check it out below:
Playing on the puns of the brand (Devassa means something similar to "bombshell" in Brazilian Portuguese) and the fact that the beer is a "blonde" lager, the slick production ends with the tagline: "She's arrived. Very cold. Right on time. Very blonde."
But the Brazilian government's Secretariat for Womens' Affairs has received several complaints that the spot is sexist and disrespectful to women. A representative tells the Associated Press, "It's an ad that devalues women - in particular, blonde women."
Brazil's self-regulatory ad body, Conar, now has three separate open investigations that will look into whether the ad should be pulled off the air. 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."
Now, Brazil isn't know for being particularly puritanical. At hand might be a rejection of the particular brand of sexuality that Hilton represents. To me, the ad seems normal enough for a product targeted to a largely male audience.
Those wondering why so much fuss is being made about a beer ad that uses sex to sell its product may bring up that the 7-year-old chosen to represent the Viradouro Samba School during Carnival caused some uproar from children's rights groups but was still allowed to participate without too much fuss.
In other matters of the flesh, it's interesting to recall the laudable way that Brazil in 2005 rejected $40 million in USAID HIV prevention funding because of a Bush-era provision which required that programs also condemn prostitution.
In any event, Devassa, the beer maker, and Mood, the Sao Paulo agency that produced the spot, are surely loving all the attention. I've never been to Brazil, but the number of Brazilian beer brands I can name is now one - Devassa.
Paris' Twitter response: "Are they serious? So ridiculous."
So what do you think? Who's willing to go on record and agree with Paris Hilton?
Online Source: Advertising Age, Guanabee, BBC, Twitter, San Francisco Chronicle
Video Source: YouTube