On the Map: Brazilian Feminists Get Played by a Naughty Blonde

American beer commercials may be able to overtly portray women as sexual objects, but as brewer Grupo Schincariol found out yesterday, doing so in Brazil can get your ad banned. Playing into its name, the Devassa Bem Loura (devassa meaning "naughty" and bem loura meaning "very blonde" in Portuguese) beer commercial features Paris Hilton in the role of sexpot exhibitionist simulating a striptease in front of the open windows of a high-rise apartment building for a crowd of beer drinking onlookers, one of whom is a photographer taking photos of the socialite from an apartment across from Hilton's. There's a major creep factor in a guy who is somewhere between a peeping tom and paparazzi secretly taking pictures of the scantily clad heiress (who turns up the heat on the show when she realizes she's being watched), but that's not what bothers advertising watchdog group Conar's spokesperson Eduardo Correia, "The problem with the ad isn't a lack of clothing, but its sensual nature."

Brazil's Secretariat for Women's Affairs agrees, "It's an ad that devalues women - in particular, blond women." They also received numerous complaints about the commercial being degrading to women.

Conar's three investigations concluded that the Bem Loura television spot does violate Brazilian ad regulations by showing "excessive sexual content," and a grumpy Schincariol agreed to pull the commercial with the promise to fight the decision. Schincariol defended its ad saying, "The company believes that the advertisement starring the model Paris Hilton doesn't offend, in any sense, any rule or orientation."

Listen, as the second largest brewer in Brazil, Grupo Schincariol ain't no fool. It has lots of cash to throw at its marketing campaigns and concocting scandal is an excellent way to gain publicity, especially if you want your ad to go viral. Given that the company has kept the ad on its website (with a statement reading, "The film for the beer Devassa with Paris Hilton was withdrawn of the air. To those who of felt offended, we offer a new film. Those that were not offended, we invite to watch the old film on the internet.") and they say has been viewed more than 400,000 times already, it seems all the hubbub is doing precisely what Schincariol intended it to do.

Perhaps it's time for feminists to start thinking a few steps ahead of kneejerk outrage at sexist ads and create a strategy for shutting them down that doesn't involve publicizing it in the process. It's clear advertisers are hip to feminists' game, and have successfully co-opted it for their own benefit. So, it's time to change the plays.

Update: Apparently one blonde American celeb getting her television commercial banned wasn't enough for one week. Pamela Anderson managed get booted from Australian TV this week too. I'm telling you this is a marketing ploy, folks.

Comments

5 comments have been made. Post a comment.

This ad is supposed to be "offensive" or "sensual" ???

Ridiculous. Come On Brazil.
We all just saw thousands of scantily clad Brazilian women writhing and panting in sexually suggestive ways in the Carnival parades in Rio.

But the ad was shown around the world as an example of hypocrisy, so it did the job for the manufacturer . Good commercials do that.
A little controversy = big bucks.

Agreed.

Reposting because this didn't seem to go through.

I am a girl who lived in Brasil for 11 years. What strikes me funny is that it's true none of this is news to brasilian feminists as all brasilian beer ads have women with little on and being provocative. I think there is something fishy behind it and it may have much more to do with a skanky socialite and stereotypes and more with it being an American blonde dancing instead or as the above comment implied - a little well put marketing.

some examples:

http://praquenome2005.zip.net/images/CervejaS.jpg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_FLS5nI6BI24/SMmUbEi7mUI/AAAAAAAAAFQ/dGkW__d3dp...

http://www.jrduran.com.br/news/arquivo/antarctica.madrinha.jpg

http://www.jrduran.com.br/news/arquivo/alamp.antarctica.saojoao1.jpg

Also a normal beer commercial:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKg_64XNFr0

Unfortunately, Devassa was also my favorite beer there. Oh well.

looking at the commercials

looking at the commercials Alais Coldtrain posted, it does seem very hypocritical that Brazil decided to ban only this add. Also, I have doubts that censoring commercials that are deemed too sexy (because I doubt they are actually concerned about feminism) is a positive thing. If we think that free speech is important, and we are against censorship of commercials that show gay people, then I think it only fair to be against the censorship of things we may find offensive. And how often does censorship really lead to dialog about issues, or a change in the way people think. It would be better if these commercials could be discussed by the public instead of trying to hide them. And of course, when something is banned it becomes even more provocative, so I don't think censorship is really the right course of action.

Banning blatantly offensive and hurtful material

If you do not believe "censorship" is the right course of action, you just haven't been offended enough. Consider: once lynching (hanging) black people in the U.S. was considered spontaneous entertainment, and was widespread. Would it offend you to see pictures of young black men hanging in trees in a commercial for, say, a brand of rope? Of course it would. One important reason for banning this hypothetical type of commercial is that allowing it to pass without comment would lend a stamp of cultural approval to the practice. It would make the U.S. even more dangerous for black people than it is already.

Acceptance without protest equals approval. To fail to protest gives a strong cultural impetus in that direction. It is possible that protesting these ads has boosted the visibility of the product, but it is important to go on record as finding the ads unacceptable. If the protests do boost sales, it only indicates some measure of cultural approval, thus underscoring the importance of the need to speak out.

On a personal scale, it would be analogous to your remaining silent in a social situation when someone in the group makes a "joke" that is misogynistic (anti-woman) or racist. It is incumbent on each of us to speak out in that type of situation, not counting the cost. Otherwise, how could we live with ourselves, knowing we collaborated in our own destruction and the destruction of others?

Go ahead and protest. But

Go ahead and protest. But endorsing a ban on speech, no matter how offensive, is unconscionable.