Bacardi’s Massive Internet Fail
It would be difficult for any advertising campaign to convince me to drink a Bacardi Breezer anywhere—much less in a shopping mall. Unfortunately, Bacardi's "Get An Ugly Girlfriend" campaign has managed to produce the same feeling of nausea in me, but without the 4 percent alcoholic buzz!
Jezebel has already remarked on how the campaign misfires by attempting to target typically misogynystic alcohol advertising at women instead of the usual target (men). But the "Get An Ugly Girlfriend" campaign got another thing wrong, too: the Internet.
The Bacardi campaign, launched in Tel Aviv, is all set up to make online waves. On the Web site, you can fill out a form to receive a free Bacardi Breezer (though I'm not convinced Get An Ugly Girlfriend will look any better when we're drunk). You can add write in with your own comments about each of Bacardi's ugly girlfriends: Sally, the fat one; Daisy, the hippie (and probably the feminist) one; Wendy, the kinda gothy one; and Lucy, another fat one. And you can "friend" each of the girls on Facebook—a feature which sends you over to the campaign's Facebook page. It's so interactive!
Well, it was until this morning. When I logged onto the Facebook group yesterday afternoon, the campaign had about 100 followers—and dozens of negative comments applying a variety of critiques to Bacardi's ad men. The comments ranged from feminist attacks on Bacardi's misogynystic disregard of its potential customers to more aesthetic criticisms ridiculing Bacardi for passing off a grade-school insult as innovation.
But when I attempted to log onto the Facebook page again this morning—what can I say, I'm a fan—the whole interactive feature had mysteriously disappeared. That's the downside of "going viral" when you're trying to sell booze, not pageviews. Personally, I don't mind a spike in visitors when a lot of people are pissed off at whatever I have to say. But if you actually need your online visitors to buy what you're selling, it doesn't help that everyone coming to your site would never buy this misogynystic crap—much less an actual Bacardi Breezer.
It looks like Bacardi has decided to cut its losses on this one and shut down the impromptu Bacardi bitching site (though the ad campaign is still up online). The "comments" feature, however, is still up on the Web site: It includes three generic positive comments supplied by Bacardi. The "Add Your Comment" button below the comments goes nowhere. Now, all that visitors to the Web site can do is shut up and fill out the form for a free Bacardi. That's more like it!
UPDATE: Oops, looks like the Web site has been taken down entirely. Feminist social networking FTW?
UPDATE: A Bacardi rep sent the following apology to Jezebel:
Thank you for taking the time to post your story on Bacardi Breezer.
The campaign you are referring to ran in 2008 for two months in Israel. Even though Bacardi Breezer is not sold or distributed in the United States, we immediately notified the appropriate Bacardi affiliate and had this website shut down.
Bacardi proudly celebrates diversity and we do not endorse the views of this site. We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by this site and thank you for bringing it to our attention.
Please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime should you have any questions.