After paying a fee of about US$ 800,000 to socialite Paris Hilton for her to star in its campaign for the beer Devassa (Slut) the Schincariol Group, which produces the beverage, had to take the ads off the air just a few days after it started airing it by order of CONAR, Brazil’s self-regulatory ad agency. The promotional posters were also banned.
CONAR called the campaign entitled Devassa Bem Loura (Very Blonde Slut) “sexist and disrespectful.” During the one-minute video Hilton opens a beer during a showing off session in which she presents a sensual dance to a enthusiastic photographer and pedestrians passing in front of her window.
The video continues available on YouTube – http://brazzil.ning.com/video/paris-hilton-ad-for-brazilian – and has been seen now for over 700,000 times. As a protest for the prohibition the Group Schincariol decided to put a black stripe over the Devassa’s symbol, the pin-up stamped on the beer cans and bottles.
All the commotion in turn of the ad was a surprise among other things because the piece was released during Carnaval, that period in which there is a saturation of scantily clad women on the streets and on TV. Advertising professionals working for other beer brands seem to agree that there is nothing that explicit in the campaign beyond the suggestion embedded in the beer’s name.
“When I saw the name Devassa, a brand that was born in Rio in a relaxed atmosphere, being linked to Paris Hilton, who has the reputation and behavior consistent with the sense of the word, I thought, wait for trouble. And that’s what happened. There are many Brazils and some more conservative folks do not like this type of association,” says an adman who prefers to remain anonymous.
Augusto Cruz, president of the Mood agency, which created the Paris ad thinks otherwise. For him, the word Devassa is quite common. “This brand of beer has been around for eight years and there were never questions about its sex appeal,” he says.
The CONAR case was that the publicity piece is demeaning to women, particularly blondes. “It’s an ad that devalues women – in particular, blonde women,” according to a spokeswoman for the Women’s Affairs secretariat who said it received numerous complaints.
The ad features the 29-year-old Hilton hotel heiress in a short black dress preening and rubbing a can of Devassa beer on her to the delight of onlookers watching through her window. Brazil’s regulations say beer commercials cannot treat women as overtly sensual or sexual objects.
Many Brazilian beer ads feature women in bikinis – but a key difference is that those are set on the beach, said Eduardo Correia, a spokesman for the regulator CONAR, which has opened three separate investigations into the campaign.
“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.”
CONAR is a private agency that cannot legally force a company to remove an ad. But Correia said that in 23 years of existence, CONAR has conducted more than 7,000 investigations and not one of its recommendations has been ignored.
Devassa, which means “naughty” in the most gentle of translations, is made by Grupo Schincariol. Devassa’s Bem Loura – ‘Very Blonde’ – beer also features an Internet campaign with Paris wearing lingerie and high heels.
Paris was in Brazil in February during the Rio Carnaval for the opening of the ad campaign. Photos in local newspapers showed her crawling on the floor in a VIP room during the extravagant samba parades.