In-authentically Brazilian

cabana

It was last June when we saw our first Cabana Cachaca ad, and triggering our first blog in response. The dramatic black and white ad features the model’s completely bare ass as the centerpiece, making it a startling ad to find in a magazine that featured a child star on the cover.

cabana

Since then, the campaign has raised eyebrows with its racy ads, some of which had to be taken down and cropped to make them suitable for the public. All of the ads feature totally naked models posturing in high heels, leaving nothing to the imagination as they flashed tan-lines and Brazilian wax jobs. The website is even more graphic, and it starts to seem ironic that the only part of the model they won’t show is her head. Faceless models sound familiar? Yeah, it reminded us of Tom Ford and one of his perfume ads, too.

But there’s a difference here. Tom was selling cologne, a beauty product, and he didn’t try to classify the product as a depiction of a national identity. He could equate the product with whatever ideal he wanted, and not worry about offending the truly authentic.

Apparently when the folks that branded Cabana Cachaca penned the slogan “Authentically Brasilian”, they didn’t think the truly authentic Brazilians would mind being equated with a waxing procedure. Apparently, when their client New York business man Matti Anttila said he wanted to make a distinctive, high-quality spirit that showcased the best in Brazilian technique and tradition, they didn’t think that mission was good enough. “Authenticity and quality”, were the exact words their client used when he described what his product stood for. “Nah, let’s throw some naked ass in there to get attention!” must have been the logic they used, and it caused them to stray so far from the brand’s original, truly authentic Brazilian identity as a traditional product only made in Brazil.

cabana

In the debate over the ads, some have argued that Brazilians have no problem being associated with a beautiful woman. They are known for their gorgeous women, and proud of it. But the ad isn’t celebrating the woman and her beauty, it’s objectifying it. The model is headless, need we say more? And the problem with objectifying something is it can turn to a stereotype fast. How can we Americans pride ourselves on being politically correct and respectful of other cultures if we’re equating an “authentic” national identity with girls groomed for sex? Cabana Cachaca features the slogan above a girl’s bare ass: “When you want nothing standing between you and a good time”. On a socially-conscious level, this ad campaign sucks.

A reader left this comment in response to the ads:

“As an American married to a Brazilian and having traveled many times to that country, I can definitely say they are a lot more open there than here when it comes to sex, but this is such a stereotype that is ridiculous and insulting. It is the same as using Tony Soprano’s stereotype to advertise Italian products.

A lot of brands throw around the term “authentic”, and the word is slowly losing its meaning. We can say one thing for sure: Brazilian-waxed booty arched in the air to sell alcohol certainly doesn’t count.

8 comments for “In-authentically Brazilian

  1. Liz
    October 17, 2008 at 6:15 am

    I actually enjoy and appreciate the art behind the Cabana Cachaca advertisements. As a woman interested in fashion, I love that Mario Sorrenti (famous fashion photographer) shot this ad campaign. Additionally, as someone who didn’t know about cachaca, I visited the website and learned a lot. I in now way find this offensive to women.

  2. Brittany from Seattle
    October 18, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    I think the poses are beautiful, but I don’t think the fact that she is completely nude is sexy. If she were wearing something that let the viewer’s imagination lose, that would be more visually pleasing to the eye.

    When people want to look at nude bodies they visit certain web sites for that.But,when I see an ad by companies who are famous for pushing the envelope, I expect them to produce material that’s risky, not obscene.

  3. Charles Patterson
    October 29, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    I disagree. This campaign is great. Did you know porn is not allowed inside most prisons in the USA? This ad would allow prisoners access much-needed porn smuggled into their cells inside magazine’s depicting otherwise PG-13 material. This is a great cause.

    Seriously, now. Why do ads featuring fit men never get accused of “objectifying” people? This only happens when beautiful female bodies are shown. Sounds like sexism, or modern-day female self-oppression. Seriously, would women be less objectified if the model was 30 pounds overweight and covered in scars? I have a pale, semi-gelatinous body with very little muscle definition in the ab/chest area. Why don’t they just photoshop my body into these shots to appease people? I have a feeling Cabana Cachaca would go out of business if they used this strategy.

    Should the attractive female body be veiled? It almost sounds like radical islam. Ironic, isn’t it?

    Bare female bodies find their way into advertising because women are beautiful. It’s as simple as that. It’s not oppression, it’s showing us an aesthetically pleasing, provocative image that compels us to buy something. What’s wrong with that? If it isn’t OK to depict attractive females in advertising, what’s the alternative? Show overweight, unattractive female bodies. Is showing people’s bodies simply off-limits in this uptight world we live in?

    Viva Cabana Cachaca!

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  6. Robert
    April 23, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Many young women aspire to be models and would kill (figuratively speaking) to be in the campaign. What about those women? I actually did not think of a “waxing procedure” until reading this blog. I think the black and white, the tan line and the overall imagery are creative and aesthetic. There’s no denying, really, the visual aesthetics here. As for the slogan, I’d enjoy the image without the slogan. The slogan is very secondary when you have imagery this compelling/eye catching…

  7. June 3, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    There is also a vidéo :)

  8. Ricardo Corso
    February 22, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Ok, I’m a Brazilian and current live in Vail, I think the ad is beautiful and shows very well the brazilian spirit. We brazilians don’t have any problems with sexual content or nude women, for example in Carnaval “Rio or Sao paulo” you see in the parade a lot of nude women or man, and in the crowd you find 5, 6, 10 year old kids, the TV has lots of nude women. I feel that in the USA sexo is portray as a wrong act, dirty and prohibited. For me is ridiculous seen in the american TV or Cinema nude women all cover up and always ben rated-R and Violence is PG in this country. My point is that with all the freedom we brazilians have regards to sex, Brazil has a very low rate of rape, in other hand USA has one of the highest, just ask yourself why.
    I think is about time for this country start to deny violence and stop to deny the fact that sex is beautiful and a strong part of human nature.

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