The world’s most famous model, Gisele Bündchen, is a familiar figure in Brazilian magazines, newspapers and on TV where she can be seen almost daily selling everything from cable TV subscriptions to jewelry. After all, Tom Brady’s wife is Brazilian.
And it is far from rocket science to put her to work selling lingerie, which is what she has been doing in ads on Brazilian television since September 20.
In one ad (the ads are entitled “Lingerie Lessons”) Gisele, fully clothed, gives her husband some bad news: “Darling, guess who’s coming to live with us? My mother!” A multiple-choice box appears on the screen marked “wrong.”
Then Gisele says the same thing wearing only a bra and panties. That, says the box on the screen, is “right.” And the voiceover says, “You are Brazilian, use your charm.” And the narrator announces the message: that the lingerie being used is “naturally beautiful.”
In another ad, Gisele announces, clothed, “I maxed out my credit card – and yours, too. So sorry, dear.” Wrong. Then she says the same thing wearing lingerie. Right. Use your charm. Be naturally beautiful.
That was not the message received at the Secretariat of Women’s Affairs (SPM). According to a spokesperson at the ministry (the head of the SPM, minister Iriny Lopes, occupies a cabinet-level position in the government), six complaints were received in less than a week after the ad went on the air.
The Secretariat describes the ad as showing a woman getting her way with a man with better results when she is wearing only a bra and panties, “using her Brazilian charm.”
According to the Secretariat, the ads reinforce a female stereotype, seeing women as sexual objects and ignoring social progress against sexism (that is, discrimination based on gender).
Therefore, says the Secretariat, the ad infringes Articles One and Five of the Brazilian Constitution in which human dignity and equality for all are ensured.
The head of the Secretariat (“ministra-chefe”), Iriny Lopes, sent letters to the lingerie company and the Advertising Council (Conar) in which she stated that the ad should be suspended.
The lingerie company declared that the objective of the ads was to show, in a good-humored manner, that the natural sensuality of Brazilian women can be used effectively when the time comes to deliver bad news.
And adds that it would be absurd for the company, that survives only because women buy its products, to deprecate its own clients.
Conar, the advertising council, has so far declined to comment on the matter.
The ad has become a hit in YouTube and can be seen in dozen of uploads, including this one