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.
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.
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.