Porny Ads Exploit Brazilian Women to Sell "Exotic" Drink
By Suzanne Reisman on July 21, 2008
BlogHer Original Post
At this point, it takes a lot to shock me when it comes to using women's naked bodies to sell other products. Yet back in late April, I ripped an ad for Cabana Cachaha Brazilian rum out of the May 5 issue of New York Magazine. The black and white print ad featured a super slim, utterly hairless, totally naked-sans-a-thong-tan -line-and-stilettos woman on lifting her perfect nude ass in the air and arching her back. In small print at the bottom, viewers were promised uncensored photos, footage, and more online. Curious, I headed over, but it wasn't up and running. I put the ad aside, and promptly forgot about it until now.
When I checked the website out last week, I wondered if I was watching an ad for rum, an ad for Brazilian waxing, or soft core porn. Clad only in her tan line and stilettos, the headless woman writhed, touched her breasts, and rolled around the bottle of Cabana. Tantalizing hairless crotch shots abounded. I'm not the only one who wasn't sure if Cabana is selling alcohol, hairless snatch, or sex. Sarah at Jungle  noted:
If the brand is trying to market a lifestyle, then they should follow through start their own porn magazine, and distribute Cabana Cachaca condoms at local liquor marts. I can see some brilliant package deals: For a limited time only: buy a liter of premium Cabana Cachaca Brazilian Rum and get three free Cabana Cachaca condoms in 3 different tropical flavors: Pineapple, Coconut and Mango! And for the ladies, we have a special package deal: A complete Cabana Cachaca Brazilian rum-scented waxing kit and Coconut-flavored Morning-After pill for one cheap price! It’s all the prep and clean up in one easy step! Cabana Cachaca: the total lifestyle brand.
The ad's in your face sexuality flies in the face of the official policy of the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., which prohibits "beverage alcohol advertising and marketing materials" from relying upon "sexual prowess or sexual success" to sell the brand. (Interesting, isn't it? I never would have guessed given all the sexy alcohol ads out there.) Laura Martinez attacked the ad on these grounds in an article in Ad Age, writing:
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... Perhaps nakedness and Brazilian wax don't fall into the category or sexual prowess.
I'm not against porn, either. I think it fills an important need and niche in human society, and I'd be a liar if I didn't admit to enjoying porn at times. What disturbs me is the pornification of everything, and as Martinez pointed out, the exploitation of other women. Whether Brazil is more open about sex is not really the issue here. What this ad is selling is the idea that Brazilian women are all just tits, unshaved snatch, and willing ass.
Brazilian blogger Mary objected (translated from Portuguese by my friend):
These ads are for Cabana Cachaça, a drink that is being pegged as the "the national spirit of Brazil". The slogan "Authentically Brasilian" is written over the image of a naked female body... the vision that these myopic Americans have of our country is deplorable: cachaça, carnival and ass"... I find that for foreigners, Brazil is the destination for women. For example, according to American films, one only need to cross the border into Mexico in order to obtain drugs and tequila. Now, the image is that Brazil is the destination for women.
Various comments regarding the ads around the internet certainly verify Mary's analysis, as men pant about how great it must be to live in a country where women are naked all the time and happy to be ogled. Yes, if only American women were more like Brazilian women, the world would be perfect for these horndogs. Or even if Brazilian women were like what they are portrayed as...
Suzanne also blogs about life at Campaign for Unshaved Snatch (CUSS) & Other Rants, politics at Political Voices of Women, and creating positive social change at Just Cause. Her first, Off the Beaten (Subway) Track, through all smart retail outlets.
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