Belvedere Vodka has come under fire after posting this creative to their Facebook page over the weekend:
“Ha, ha! That’s, gre--- wait. No, that’s terrible!”
There’s using sexual innuendo to get attention and there’s taking it too far. While the line between seems constantly re-drawn in favor of more sex, there are certain topics (heck, universals) we marketers should NEVER mess with.
Rape is one of them.
Where’s the devil’s advocate when you need him?
I mean, how did this concept survive its initial brain-storming session, let alone reach the end of the creative process?!
Just a room full of yes-men, no one willing to stand up and suggest that maybe, just maybe people will take the joke the wrong way?! It astounds me.
And couldn’t Belvedere have kept the “goes down smoothly” double entendre intact another way? Think orthodontia - either braces or headgear could have done the trick without the backlash.
Take the suggestion of rape out and you still have a terrible ad. Just a crude assemblage of non-crisp, stock imagery locked in between two black bars with text? Totally off-brand. And what’s with the prolific wood paneling on the walls!? Are those vertical blinds spanning a window? Belvedere is still an ultra-premium/luxury brand, right?!?
There is hope…
In the wake of scandal, the response from Belvedere has been strong. To not only undo its mistake but 'do good' for it, the company made a sizable and very public donation to RAINN, (America’s largest anti-sexual violence organization). Bravo!
Don’t worry, Belvedere. The gears on the mind of the multi-tasking Millennial change quickly. We may be cursing your name and pledging our allegiance to your competitors today, but tomorrow a different brand will undoubtedly find itself in similar hot water and you’ll be off the hook, social media lesson learned.