The Sexist

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.

  • mdesus

    I am here to attest that you do not actually need bicardi breezers to get an ugly girlfriend.

  • Coleman

    Disgusting.

  • http://1vsm.com Tyrone Norris

    I wonder how much females got paid to be the "ugly girlfriend."

  • HN!

    The photos were likely taken from stock shots. I'm having a problem figuring out what's wrong with the woman above – is she smiling too wide? Are her breasts too big? Worried women need to know what problems they have that need to be fixed by booze!

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    HN!, I'm pretty sure that "Sally" was too fat.

  • JR

    Okay....So... Wrong on a few levels, yes. But, I'm not exactly a fan of sugar coating or of being politically correct anyway. The truth is that this DOES work. And, women do, in fact, do this. Not all women, but some... And, some allow themselves to be used. And, a lot of people in the modernized societies need to lose weight, myself included. I do not refer to myself as "pleasantly plump." There's really no such thing. It is ugly and unhealthy to be overweight. Just as it's ugly and unhealthy to be grossly underweight. Bacardi's ad people just told the story of what was already happening. They didn't invent this scenario, they just decided to make light of it and maybe make a little money. Boycott? Nah. I've never had Bacardi, but I might try some now...

  • Barion Marry

    Huh? "The campaign you are referring to ran in 2008 for two months in Israel.", but then says "Bacardi proudly celebrates diversity and we do not endorse the views of this site."

    Were they drinking their own stuff when they wrote this? So...it's okay to offend Israeli women, but American women are "Off Limits"? Or was this targeted to Israeli Men talking about American Women?

  • Hmmmer

    JR, an apologist?

    Define overweight will you please?

    You say: "They didn’t invent this scenario, they just decided to make light of it and maybe make a little money".

    While brushing aside the sad feelings of inadequacy and isolation created by such negative stereotyping you seem to rely on the 'tough on fat' ideology to make your point. You then conveniently ignore the the other many highlights used in these ads related to appearance that can be so painfully employed to hurt people.

    To me that demonstrates ignorance, misunderstanding or callous disregard.

    If you are not comfortable in your own skin that's for you to deal with. It doesn't give you or the the creeps who actually DID invent this, ad 'scenario' as you like to call it, license to hurt someones feelings.

    It's as simple as that, it hurt feelings, Bacardi understands this and has taken action, apparently.

    Go on, have a few breezers and then tell us all how attractive they made you.

    Hmmmer. Things that make ya go, hmmm?

  • JR

    By over/underweight, I am referring to someone with an unhealthy BMI. Why mince words? We all know what it means to truly be over/underweight. I use the terms loosely, given a common-knowledge understanding of the words. Perhaps it was wrong of me to assume such a thing would be common.

    I'm brushing aside simply the notion that we must coddle people. That we must accept things as they are and not encourage people to become better. I don't recall where I heard this recently, but it makes complete sense: We are willing to confront smokers and tell them how unhealthy it is, etc. Why can we not do the same with people with weight problems?

    If we can't deal with having our feelings hurt, geez... How lame are we? It hurts my feelings if I screw something up, or if someone calls me an idiot (a title that EVERYONE earns at some point or another), but does that mean it's not true? Truth hurts sometimes, but have we become so fragile a society that we cannot tolerate any criticism? Confrontation of certain issues is often a good way to stimulate change. I'm not going to pretend I would be happy to keep these extra 20 lbs or so. And, I don't think we should collectively tell people that it's okay to be fat. I think we should continue to love and care for each other, make light of certain things and get our asses on treadmills or in the pool or something.

    It's not just the issue of weight. It's people who smoke too much, drink too much, smoke too much weed... It's compulsive shoppers and workaholics... Sometimes, they just need an intervention. Sometimes they need it often. Satirical fiction, for example, is considered subversive and often throughout history has resulted in the powers that be seeking revenge. But, it inspired the people. It kept things in check. Did Bacardi intend to promote positive society? Nah. They just wanted to sell some alcohol. And, they wanted to do it in a way that was a little funny.

    So, build a bridge and get over it. Truth and life are not always happy things. Harsh, but true. We're not perfect just the way we are. Look in the mirror. Look at your test scores in school. Look at the results from your last physical. It's really okay to not be perfect, but that doesn't mean that we have to accept the status quo and never even try to improve. We have problems. Laugh about them, work on them and move on. Don't get so hung up on all these stupid little details.

    Would I have opted to create this campaign? Nope. But, I'm not going to get all pissy about it either.

    Things that make you go "hmmmm" again.

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