This has the ring of false controversy all around, with a WTF! vibe thrown in just to keep us off guard. Famous for being famous person, Paris Hilton, is embroiled in yet another scandal, this time for being “too sexy” for television … in Brazil! I got wind of this yesterday when AdAge ran a story about it entitled Is Paris Hilton Too Sexy for Brazil? My initial reaction was that walking down the average street in Rio De Janiero during Carnival, she’d hardly stand out at all.
Hilton is apparently involved in the entire campaign for Devassa Bem Loura — or very blonde — beer, as evidenced by her being featured on that portion of the brewery’s website. Devassa in turn is owned, at least in part, by a larger beer company, Grupo Schincariol. Grupo Schincariol is Brazil’s second largest brewer after AmBev, a division of Anheuser Busch InBev.
The brand name itself apparently is slang for — how shall I put this? — “a loose woman” and Bem Loura, the particular flavor Hilton is endorsing, means “very blonde” in Brazilian Portuguese.
What the headlines are missing, of course, is that it’s not her “sexiness” that has the government up in arms, but the potential violations of specific bits of their advertising code that prohibit certain actions in advertising alcohol — rules few other products have to abide by. Sex, of course, is used to sell practically everything, but people get their panties in a twist when there’s alcohol involved. So apparently Brazilian “ad regulations stipulate that beer commercials cannot treat women as overtly sensual objects, though ads can show women in bikinis if they are on a beach.” Uh, having seen plenty of Brazilian beer ads, is that really enforced? A spokeswoman for the Brazilian Women’s Secretariat told London Telegraph that “It’s an ad that devalues women — in particular, blonde women.” I’m not arguing that it doesn’t, just that it seems no worse, and frankly a little tamer, than many other beer ads I’ve seen. If we’re going to go nuts again about the double standard in alcohol advertising, I’m not sure this is the best test case. Take a look below, and see if you can find this more offensive than the average beer ad. Bad? Maybe. Worst yet and having finally crossed the line? You tell me, I certainly don’t think so. Personally, I don’t find Paris Hilton all that appealing, but plenty of other men sure seem to find her sexy. While I’m not immune to a pretty face, I find brains far more sexy, and a pretty face with brains a lethal combination. That’s why I married a woman smarter and more attractive than myself. Ask anyone, it’s true.
Hilton did herself no favors when during a recent trip to Rio to promote Devassa beer, she got drunk and danced on stage. According to the Advertising Age piece I referenced earlier:
Brazil’s self-regulatory body, Conar, is investigating an ad campaign starring Paris Hilton for Devassa Bem Loura beer for being too sexually provocative, even by the racy standards of Brazilian beer ads.
According to local trade publication Meio & Mensagem, Ad Age’s partner in Brazil, Conar this week opened three different investigations into local brewer Grupo Schincariol’s launch campaign for Devassa Bem Loura (Portuguese for “Very Blonde”) beer last month during Brazil’s riotous Carnival.
US Magazine reported that “Eduardo Correia, a spokesperson for regulation company Conar, which has opened three investigations into the campaign, says the ad is particularly offensive because it doesn’t take place on a beach. ‘The problem with the ad isn’t a lack of clothing, but its sensual nature,’ Correia said. ‘A woman in a bikini on a beach isn’t necessarily sensual; it depends on the context.'” Now I don’t want to defend the ad, per se, but really? The outrage is because she’s somewhere other than on a beach? That sounds like a double standard if ever I heard one.
Another account had this to say. “This is, honestly, a bit of shock. The commercial is surprisingly tame. We’ve all seen Paris in several states of undress (many times!) throughout the years, so this is sort of yawnfest. Perfume ads incite more lust.” My thoughts exactly, a yawnfest.