Fat, Femininity, Media, Self-Image, Sweet Machine, You've Got to Be Kidding Me

I would need a lot more than a Bacardi Breezer to be able to stomach this

Via Jezebel and The F-Word, a nauseating ad campaign from Bacardi (warning: link plays music and also destroys your soul) suggesting we all make ourselves feel prettier…by standing next to an “ugly girlfriend.” That concept right there tells you everything you need to know about what sexist assumptions underwrite these revolting ads: self-esteem is a zero-sum game; the key to feeling good is feeling pretty; you are always in competition with other women for male attention; standard beauty is the only way to be “hot;” women are commodities that you can “get” and trade; and so on. You know the drill; we’ve all been living it all our lives.

What the concept alone doesn’t tell you is what makes these particular women “ugly,” which is, as you can guess, that they each deviate from the beauty ideal in one or two ways. Remember, the following women are supposed to be self-evidently ugly.

Sally's so fat, she's...fat!
Sally's so fat, she's...fat!

The gorgeous hair can't distract you from her very slightly crossed eyes!
The gorgeous hair can't distract you from her very slightly crossed eyes!
My god, the woman wears GLASSES! I may faint.
My god, the woman wears GLASSES! I may faint.
Sure, she's thin and white and bikini-clad, but she looks like a horse, see?
Sure, she's thin and white and bikini-clad, but she limps, for god's sake.
So hideous, she doesn't even get a name.
WOC don't need names or background stories like those white women, right?

This is how the patriarchy and the beauty ideal collude: we are supposed to see these women and be so stunned that they aren’t thin, white, blonde, able-bodied, and perfectly symmetrical that we can only call them ugly. We’re supposed to look at these pictures and say “At least I’m prettier than her.” We’re supposed to view our female friends as accessories in our true life goal, which is to look hot for men. There are hot women, and there are ugly women, and if you’re not the hottest woman in the room, you’re automatically the ugliest.

The appalling part of these ads is not the women; it’s the blatant misogyny. Once you take off your Patriarchy Blinders (patent pending), the charge of “ugly” doesn’t even begin to make sense. If you saw these pictures without any text surrounding them, what would you think of these women? Even with the pernicious text framing them as objects of derision, this ad doesn’t work on me: these women are straight-up pretty. Pretty, stylish, and flirty even. I guess they have some of that self-esteem that’s been going around lately.

Update: Sean-Patrick Hillman of bacardi.com comments below:

June 21, 2009

Thank you for taking the time to post your story regarding Bacardi Breezer.

The campaign you are referring to ran in 2008 for two months in Israel. Even though Bacardi Breezer is not sold or distributed in the United States, we immediately notified the appropriate Bacardi affiliate and had this website shut down.

Bacardi proudly celebrates diversity and we do not endorse the views of this site.

We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by this site and thank you for bringing it to our attention.

194 thoughts on “I would need a lot more than a Bacardi Breezer to be able to stomach this”

  1. Fucking disgusting.

    “The most desirable piece of meat around the barbecue”

    SERIOUSLY? What the fuck. How is that ok? How do they even expect people to buy into this?

    I know what I won’t be drinking again.

  2. I would certainly want to hang out with all these women, whether or not there were any men around. They look happy and fun, except for the bits of obvious photoshopping.

    I don’t drink Bacardi Breezer, but the same company make Bombay Sapphire gin, Amaretto di Saronno and Drambuie so I’ll boycott those instead.

  3. For a while there I was wondering if these were really real ads, or actually photoshop satire from fat acceptance feminists. I mean, this can’t be for real, right? But oh… it is.

    None of these women strike me as ugly, either. And I especially love the last one, damn, she looks fabulous.

    In the Netherlands, Bacardi Breezers are known for being ‘a drink you buy a teenage girl in exchange for sexual favors’. I wish I was kidding, but I’m not. Even though the sexual favors rumor is overblown, as a result, female teens who dress like they’re 10 years older and go dancing are collectively referred to as ‘breezer sluts’. No, I’m not kidding on that one, either. They’ve also become the prime target for date rape, which are slipped into the aforementioned Breezer drink that a sleazy guy who hopes to get action with a teenage girl buys for them (since the girls can’t buy the alcohol themselves). It’s all just horrible and awful.

    So what I’m saying is, Bacardi Breezers? Already didn’t have a high opinion of those drinks. Definitely even less after seeing these ads. I thought the Dutch association between objectifying and using women and Breezer was, y’know, a national thing of shame, but evidently it’s a worldwide campaign shtick of theirs.

  4. You know, all of these women make me think “girlfriend” and none of them make me think “ugly”. To the actual models/actresses who posed for these ads: you are all so awesomely beautiful, and I’m sorry that you had to take this particular job to get work in such a crappy industry.

    Without the text around the ads, I’m wondering if some of these women would let me raid their closets. Isn’t that pink dress the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? Doesn’t the model just rock the hell out of it? Seriously, I wanna go shopping with her, she knows where the cute stuff is.

    Crap like this makes me glad I’m sober, so I don’t throw money at an industry that has such unvarnished hate for women.

  5. Yes, Godless – what is it with booze ads?

    I drink ale, mostly, and their ads are usually bettter than this in that they rarely acknowledge women exist in the first place. Courage is off my list now, which is a shame ‘cos Directors is a tasty pint.

  6. I think my jaw hit the floor when I read those ads. I clicked on the link for the acutal ad campaign and it goes to a site that’s all in Hebrew. Unfortunately I can’t read Hebrew, but I did go to Bacardi’s home page and lodged a complaint.

    I doubt it will do any good but, I… I got nothing when it comes to the utter gall, hatred and misogyny of that ad campaign. There went my favorite drink right out the door and any faith that people can’t stoop any lower than they already have.

    *shakes head and walks off*

  7. Isn’t that pink dress the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? Doesn’t the model just rock the hell out of it? Seriously, I wanna go shopping with her, she knows where the cute stuff is.

    I know! She looks straight out of Fatshionista.

  8. I understand the need for people in modeling to have jobs and they can’t be picky, but fuck. That’s got to be eating their insides out to have their own pictures used that way.

  9. Incidentally, SM, if you haven’t tried Hendricks gin, then a Bombay Sapphire boycott is the perfect excuse. It’s pricey but delicious and as far as I’ve seen their adverts work only the “buy our gin, it’s delicious” angle.

  10. I love Lucy and want to meet her for a picnic in the park, but I’m a little intimidated by Wendy. I think she’s smarter and more secure than I am. I am also afraid she’ll sneer at my clothes.

  11. Daisy and I would be great friends, I know it. I can tell at a glance she has some crazy stories.
    Can we make them all honorary members of Piggy Moo?

  12. The last, unnamed woman reminds me way too much of my wife, which I think is one of the reasons I find this so offensive. Some of us marry the ‘ugly’ girlfriend.

  13. Presumably the viewers whose first reaction was “she looks nice/fun/pretty” and then read the test are now supposed to think “gosh I need a lot Bacardi to get me through the rest of my life.”

    There’s a television alcohol ad in Australia at the moment with a (very slender white blonde-haired) woman talking to her taxi driver about how she’s escaping a party full of drinking and sexual pressure, and then the taxi driver starts looking like he’s enjoying the story… cut to the shot of the brand in question! It’s being shown during rugby league games and commentary, just after rubgy league has undergone another scandal with women having consented to sex with one player and complained to the police about having been raped by several of his teammates. (Charges are almost always dropped because surprise surprise, no witnesses other than the survivor herself.)

  14. I have never been more grateful to have a (new) local distillery – if you’re in Massachusetts or Connecticut you can rejoice; in New York, they don’t seem to sell many places yet:


    There have to be more local producers out there – who prefer to advertise “buy local” as opposed to “we’re assholes but we know you’re too stupid too notice.”

    p.s. -hope the link is okay- understand if it disappears

  15. This is a campaign aimed at women? Seriously??

    I know these are ads running in Israel (the phone number gives it away), not the U.S., but still: uber-WASP beauty standards are what women in that country identify with, to the point where they would look at those “ugly” women and think they looked that much “worse” than themselves?

  16. >_<

    I've already established a boycott, but I wanted to share the following:

    *wide-eyed bewilderment* BACARDI, HOW COULD YOU!? WHAT…JUST WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS ABOUT, MAN! WE SHARED A DECADE OF FUN TIMES (excluding my pregnancy, of course); you weren't even jealous when I saw other libations along the way. But THIS SHIT RIGHT HERE *pointing furiously at print ad, nearing ripping same*!?! WAY OUTTA FUCKING LINE, MAN.
    *exhale* we're done…I don't even know you anymore. *le sigh in HD* [shaking my head and walking out of the door.]

    ^I don't see ugly either.

  17. I’m absolutely horrified. HORRIFIED.

    The thing that makes me most horrified is that even if the company and the ad agency tells themselves that this is all “satire,” and it’s meant to be “humorous,” and it’s a “joke,” and they don’t “really” feel that way about women, there are actually plenty of people who DON’T see it as a joke, and DON’T realize it’s satire, and REALLY DO think that any women who doesn’t look a certain way is disgusting, and they’re taking these advertisements TOTALLY LITERALLY. That’s part of the reason I can’t watch South Park or Family Guy anymore- sheerly because of the incredible amount of men who were shocked I may have found them funny, since, you know, “they hate women.”

    Furthermore, what the fuck kind of women are they marketing this to?! Personally, the girlfriends I have that make me feel better about myself are the ones who are fucking awesome and way cooler than me. You would have to be some kind of capital shit to be friends with someone because you thought she was less than you or uglier than you and you could feel superior. (Or maybe that’s how men befriend each other, so they got confused?)

  18. This really makes me sad. For the women in the ads, and all the women who will look at the ads and think ‘I look just like her’ or ‘I’m not even as pretty as her’ and then feeling uglier than ever.

    I am just so sick of it even mattering what people look like!

    There was a fluffy article in one of my local newspaper mags here in Australia about how ‘curves are back in’ with a curvaceous size 14+ model. Here’s some people thinking, isn’t that nice, but it is still fixating on a woman’s appearance rather than what’s between her ears.

  19. But part of the way the ads work is that the women are pretty but not models/not photographed like models. We’re not just supposed to think “Oh, what a relief, I’m prettier than her“, we’re supposed to think, “ZOMG, those women are ugly? They don’t look that different from me! I’m so inadequate! I’d better buy things and have a drink to forget!”

    And I wouldn’t be surprised if the marketing droids at Bacardi are thinking “aha, those feminists and fat-acceptance people will complain about this, making it famous”. I know some marketing people, and they’re not dumb, plus they spend a lot of time on the internet.

    This is why I basically hate everything about advanced capitalism.

  20. This makes me so upset and so sad. Those women look like people I’d be friends with in real life! They remind me of me! What, is this ad trying to tell me I’m ugly just because I have similar characterisics to these women?

    You know, this is a prime example of the objectification of women by the patriarchy. Women are objects; objects open to the male gaze and accessories to make thier other female friends “look good” for men.

    That ad is absolutely horrifying. It’s disgusting. It’s…you know, I can’t even think of any words that could suitably express how appalled I am.

  21. Ugh. I just spent a weekend at a conference with a gorgeous classmate. Cars literally stopped on the street when we walked by. I would smile and say hi to people and they would smile an say hi back to her, who hadn’t said anything. It was a conference on something I happen to be more passionate and engaged in than she was, and I had to fight for people to make eye contact with me at times. I told her it was annoying being her fat wing(wo)man, and she blew it off.

    This ad just takes a lemon and squeezes it into my paper cut. Thanks for the memories!

  22. There’s something seriously wrong with our society when companies can successfully market products to women by essentially calling said women pieces of shit.

  23. The markedroids could also be thinking that the ad will encourage girls to drink Bacardi Breezers to show everyone they’re not one of those horrible ugly humorless feminists. I hope this backfires on them: teen girls, who are certainly most of the Bacardi Breezer market here in the UK, tend to have very close friendships and might not take kindly to having them sneered at in this way.

  24. I saw this on Jezebel earlier and I was appalled, but now that it’s the weekend, I just want to invite all the models over for Margaritas. Screw the Bacardi.

  25. I’m going to derail slightly and say: Ajay, THANK YOU SO MUCH for linking to the Berkshire Mountain Distillers! Looks like it’s sold at my favorite local liquor store. Now I can add rum and vodka to my “buy local” habits. :D

    As far as the ad goes: I am the ugly friend. But my friends go out with me because I’m fun to hang with, not because I make them “look better.” Fuck that noise, yo.

  26. Here are some slogans that I would like to associate with Bacardi:

    Bacardi, the drink with the worst taste.

    Other rums value diversity. Not ours.

    Differ from the norm in any way? Bacardi is not for you!

  27. The feminist movement is barely making two steps forward, then this ad campaign comes along and drags all women 1,000 Neandrethal steps back! Bicardi might as well have clubbed women over the head and dragged us into the caves with this one. Male priviledge at its’ finest right here in bold technicolor. I might as well bind my feet, cover every inch of my skin in cloth (so as not to tempt the menz), lock on the chastity belt, work 18 hours in the kitchen while juggling five kids in the air and be up for 3 and a half minutes of sex every 10 minutes of the day.

    Thank you Bacardi Breeze. My money will never, ever, ever land in your misygonistic coffers again.

  28. Good ideas wrt2! Also:

    Bacardi – For people with no real friends!
    Bacardi – it mings and so do you!
    Bacardi – Bastardi, more like!

  29. I keep looking at all of those women and all I can think is they look like so much fun; these women are supposed to be ugly? And the last woman – the one that Bacardi obviously didnt feel the need to give a name to – she is just amazing!

    Fortunately I only drink dark rum, so don’t have any conflict of interests here. Yeuch; I swear, alcohol marketting is getting worse. Makes me want to start brewing my own again.

  30. (And when I say teen girls are “certainly most of the Bacardi Breezer market in the UK”, I mean “I get the impression that this is the case but I can find no stats to say so and I might be totally Wrong On The Internet”)

  31. This is so appalling that I can’t help but think Bacardi is going to suffer some kind of backlash.

    I also wanted to express the view, to the commenters who have protested that these women aren’t ugly (not that I disagree with you), that maybe that’s kind of irrelevant. Even if we all agreed 100% that they were ugly, I think that wouldn’t really make this ad campaign any less offensive. In fact, you might argue that it would even make it worse.

  32. Ooh, liking the slogan game, Well-RoundedType2. Will be thinking about it this evening. I’m not feeling very creative right now so the only thing that comes to mind is “Bacardi: we hate you, now give us your money.” Which isn’t all that funny, and also applies too widely.

    Anyone have an email addy to complain? I tried to use the form on the website and got an error message.

  33. The last woman in particular made my Inner Awkward Teenager pop up: I read “an ugly girlfriend!” and Inner Awkward Teen went “oh shit, am *I* the ugly girlfriend???” Because it’s obviously not her….

  34. I think Frowner has hit it on the head. (So has the main post, as usual.)

    I don’t think the makers of these ads ever intended us to actually feel repulsed by these women – far more effective if we identify with them, and then begin to worry that we are ourselves repulsive.

  35. I would boycott Bacardi if it weren’t such terrible rum to begin with. I haven’t touched the stuff since my first taste.

    Most good bartenders I know (I’ve been one) only push it for the upsell.

    Actual Caribbeans won’t go near it.

    Cutting this poor-quality overpriced swill out of your life won’t hurt a bit.

  36. Those women look like people I’d be friends with in real life! They remind me of me!

    They remind me or me 20 years ago. Now all my friends are doubly hideous because we’re all middle-aged (i.e., ancient), and have grey hair, or sagging flesh, or health issues that mar our beauty. Heck, the friend I had lunch with today is a cancer survivor who doesn’t have any breasts at all.

    And, amazingly enough, we had a lot of fun. Obviously, we’re hanging around each other for all the wrong reasons.

  37. Scarily, this is the second thing of its type I’ve seen this week. There is suddenly this feeling out there that misogyny dressed as humour is funny. Guess what? It’s not

  38. So, were all these women completely photoshopped (I’m thinking Lucy and Wendy, at least, were significantly retouched, since their noses have visible outlines where they were connected to the rest of their face), or were there actually models offering to pose as The Ugly-Girlfriend?

  39. Can I just express how fucking tired I am of the trope that putting glasses (especially the kind with thick, dark frames–which is what I have because holy shit I actually like them) on a woman who fits the patriarchal beauty standard perfectly makes her ugly? Seriously, when will the culture at large get the hell over this? Did I wake up in 1952 this morning?

    Also, the rest of it. Yeah. I don’t know if I even have the energy for all of that bullshit.

  40. Here is another thought: Those women are, at worst, the average as far as their appearance. Which means, FAIL, Bacardi, half or more of the women looking at your ads know those women are prettier than them, and know that standing next to one of those women they would be the “ugly girlfriend”.

    Or maybe that’s part of their aim. They want to sell us overpriced swill and make sure we all secretly believe ourselves to be the ugliest of them all.

  41. Lol @ Sniper. Yeah, you’ll never see us in a Bacardi ad because we’re not only ugly but, eew, old.

    This is unbelievable, the lows advertisers will go to sell a crappy product. Too bad I drink only wine but I can join the boycott by warning off all friends and family.

  42. Even the bits aimed at the supposedly prettier women the ads are marketed to are…. ugh. She “will make you the most desirable piece of meat on the grill”?!?! Who the hell wants to feel like that?

  43. Wow, I was surprised with Wendy. Maybe Bacardi just hates women. Seriously, IMO, I would say Wendy is what would be considered “hot” by most standards, and they’re even making fun of her. WTF?

    Oh Amananta about the “Most desirable piece of meat on the grill” comment, you should do a search for Armin Meiwes. (Warning, yes this is a sick joke about cannibalism, not for those who are easily disturbed)

  44. I joined the Facebook group just long enough to say that they’re beautiful. Seems like most of the other comments are saying how stupid Bacardi is for this too.

  45. I…I totally want to have a pool party and BBQ with all of these wonderful women! They all just look so full of spunk and life and like…they’re having FUN! So is Bacardi marketing itself as the “Drink us; and you won’t look amazing or be having fun!” drink?? And I love Disarrono! :( Bummer.

  46. When I was growing up…among things…my parents made me believe I was ugly. I tried to look as best as I could for an ugly person. Try to make sure the hair is good, the makeup is exotic and develope an interesting personality. When attractive guys asked me out I knew it was the makeup and my behaviour as ‘queen of the world’…if they ever saw me without my makeup, with my hair a mess, not dressed in perfect fashion, and not having a shape to die for, they’d puke.

    I married a beaufiul man and put up with his crap because after all…a person who looks like me should never in a million years get a guy who looks so good.

    It was just after I’d left him and was living in a vertiable commune with other people, and they were talking about some girl, and I put in my two cents, and they said, “You can’t talk, you’re beautiful…”

    And I ran to the mirror to see if I’d been transformed from Miss Mud Turtle into Miss World.

    but it was just me…

    So I lived my life as an unattractive girl…a woman who needed artifice to look acceptable.

    So I know the effect of being ‘plain’ or ‘ugly’ on the mind.

  47. Anybody else get the feeling that the reason Daisy is supposedly unattractive is because she’s giving off a destinct Environmentalist Intellectual vibe? Maybe it’s just the glasses combined with the flower in the hair and the literal tree-hugging that screams that she’s worthy of (quickly rereads ad)… appetite suppression. Wow.

    “Har har, you know how those ugly chicks are. They love their books and their causes… probably because they have so much spare time, what with the not-getting-laid, eh? EH?” *elbow elbow*

  48. And this isn’t a spoof? I find it hard to believe that any company would think this is a good idea for an ad campaign.

  49. Dude. That’s just fucking nauseating. Who came up with this campaign, and is their contact information available?

    And seriously, those women all look either average or outright attractive to me. YMMV, obviously, as far as personal aesthetics go, but I really don’t see anything about them that’s appallingly ugly.

    I guess that’s because I don’t see the need to apply Photoshop to every other human being who crosses my path, though. Silly me.

  50. I saw these elsewhere and I think the thing that really steams me about it is that, you know, none of these women are actually ugly. Some of them aren’t dressed too well, or are shot from angles that aren’t their best, but they look just completely normal to me. If you gathered any number of my friends and neighbors, this is an awful lot what the results would look like.

    So, it seems to me that calling these average looking women “ugly” is not going to be the best marketing campaign. Think, Bacardi, think! This is what your target demographic actually looks like!

  51. I never had an problems with Bacardi…..until now. Seriously, what were they smoking. Never again will I buy from them

  52. I posted about this in my journal, and I was as steamed as the rest of you when I saw this ad. I think they all look great, and this ad campaign stinks.

    The more press this gets, the better.

    I don’t drink much, due to meds, but when I do, it won’t be Bacardi products any longer unless the ad is pulled and an apology made.

    If anyone wants to verify what is and is not made/owned by Bacardi, look here:



  53. Every woman in these pictures reminds me of someone I know, or someone I’ve seen sometime in my short life. And I was SHOCKED that they’re calling “wendy” ugly. I kept looking at her picture thinking “She could be one of the prettiest models ever!” I guess she’s considered ugly because she’s not blond, or doesn’t have fake tits.

    It’s so good to know if you’re above a size 2, you’re considered fat, ugly, and everything else that’s horrible in society! This coming from the 5’2, size 16 (If I’m having a good day), hairy beast of a woman — and yet my boyfriend worships the ground I walk on. Go figure.

    If I drank Bacardi, I’d boycott them — Well, hey, least I’m not giving anything up!

    (and to the woman saying she was older, and just had lunch with a cancer survivor with no breasts — that image just made your friend so beautiful to me. She’s probably the prettiest person in these comments, to me.)

  54. Implying that women happily exploit each other while pretending to be friends is not only tasteless, it is absolutely and brutally misogynistic. This ad is like a joke about the Holocaust: you can’t even fake a laugh.

  55. Also – here’s my letter to the company, just for reference (if anyone wants to swipe parts, go to it).

    I am writing to express my disgust at the “Get an Ugly Girlfriend” ad campaign for Bacardi Breezers. This ad is offensive and disrespectful to everyone, and in my opinion should be pulled from distribution immediately.

    I make it a personal policy not to patronize companies that market their products by making fun of people, and this ad definitely qualifies. This ad campaign chose personal attributes that, overall, are characteristics that cannot be easily changed, such as facial structure, skin appearance, and jaw structure. It also targets the disabled, with the reference to a noticeable limp exhibited by one of the four women, and I do not find that funny, nor do I think that is appropriate advertising for any product.

    Equally disturbing is the focus on the weight of one of the four women. People vary in size and shape, and implying that being over a certain size equates to ugliness buys into the prejudice that fat people are ugly and to be made fun of whenever possible.

    I have enjoyed Bacardi products in the past, but unless this ad campaign is pulled and an apology is made by Bacardi, I will cease to purchase any products under the Bacardi & Company Limited umbrella and will encourage all of my friends, family, and coworkers to follow suit.

    Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

    (my real name)

  56. YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary. I guess it’s more of a fandom term, but it basically means ‘to each their own’.

  57. Some more Bacardi brands…

    Martini & Rossi, Dewar’s scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Cazadores tequila, Grey Goose vodka, Havana Club, Drambuie Scotch whisky liqueur, Disaronno Amaretto, Eristoff vodka and B&B and Bénédictine

  58. Ugh. Disgusting. I’d be a deadringer for the last one if I wore glasses and got a haircut, honestly. Seeing the poster, even if it was a joke, made me feel pretty shitty.

    Bacardi’s gone from my list though, as are all the other ones from the company. Gotta look me up a list of them. It takes respect to make it to my table :/

  59. Something must be wrong with me. I thought these women were all beautiful. And I would GLADLY party shop bbq whatever with any of them.

  60. Glayva’s a decent alternative for Drambuie.

    I’ve never tried any of the other Amarettos. I did once make a home-made peach kernel liqueur that tasted similar, but I’m reluctant to post the recipe in case it’s possible to poison yourself with it. Lots of cyanide in peach kernels.

  61. All of the women in the adds are very attractive, look well adjusted and enjoying their lives.

    The fact that a company slapped the UGLY sign all over them, just makes me extremely sad.

  62. Also, I was really surprised to discover that it was an Israeli company that came up with this advertising train wreck. It really shouldn’t shock me at all, because there are asshats in every culture all over the world, but it always does when Israelis (ultimately, probably Jews) are just as superficial as the rest of the Western world in that regard, considering that a huge thing Jews have had to contend with for centuries is a hateful misperception of WHAT THEY ALLEGEDLY LOOK LIKE. I saw someone’s e-mail to Bacardi on another forum, in which they had excellently written, “Suppose you would have replaced ‘ugly girlfriend’ with ‘Jew,’ or ‘black’. It’s entirely the same principle.” (paraphrased) Seriously, Israeli marketing team, there are thousands of people in the world who still believe you all have devil horns under your hair, and you’re going to create an advertisement maligning women with “horse-like features” and “aquiline” noses? Christ. Do we all need to watch some Nazi propaganda films again to remind ourselves how SICK that is?

    (says the red-haired Jew who has actually been asked if her nose is so big because that is where her money is and had her head felt up by a complete stranger for “Jew horns” before.)

  63. Seriously, this makes me sad.
    So many people act like women are objects that
    can be thrown out if they don’t look a certain way.

    Fuck that.
    It’s like the ad campaign managers don’t have feelings.

    Oh well.
    I don’t drink anyway.

  64. I should not have read those. Now I feel sick. *I* have an aquiline nose, pimples on my shoulders, I’m an environmentalist, and… take off the glasses and that girl looks just like me.

  65. MissPrism

    I haven’t had any other brand of amaretto either, and thus have decided to have a Find a New Amaretto party.

  66. Some more Bacardi brands…

    Martini & Rossi, Dewar’s scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Cazadores tequila, Grey Goose vodka, Havana Club, Drambuie Scotch whisky liqueur, Disaronno Amaretto, Eristoff vodka and B&B and Bénédictine

    The liquor snob in me would like to propose some alternatives to these brands for those who liked them but are no longer desiring to partake.

    Bacardi Rum – Meyers and Appleton make better rum in the same price range.

    Martini & Rossi – Makes Vermouth and Sparkling wines. Gallo vermouth is actually better as far as I can tell, and a few dollars cheaper. Goodness knows you can find any number of great champagnes and sparkling wines as alternatives.

    Grey Goose / Eristoff – Polar Ice is good, Ciroc is great. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is awesome.

    Havana Club – Cuban Rum. If you can find Ron Santiago, it’s good stuff.

    Drambuie – Whisky based liqueur. Try Pritchard’s Sweet Lucy Bourbon Liqueur. You may never look back.

    DiSaronno – Okay, it really is the tastiest Amaretto, but DiAmore is really not too bad if you drink it mixed.

    Bombay Sappire – Magellan. It’s also pale blue gin, but I think the additions of clove and lotus really make it quite a delight. And I don’t even like gin.

    Cazadores – Seriously, Patron.

    B&B/Benedictine – You can make your own cheaper – See here: http://www.guntheranderson.com/liqueurs/spiceliq.htm

    Not that this has fuckall to do with anything, mind you, but I was inspired to rant a bit, since most of these aren’t even the best brands for the product.

  67. frogissimo: “Implying that women happily exploit each other while pretending to be friends is not only tasteless, it is absolutely and brutally misogynistic.”

    So is the world, unfortunately. It is a game some girls and women do play. It’s not like women are immune to getting involved in patriarchy-fueled competition. Search Google for example:

    ugly friend to look good

    Slogan: “Bacardi: drink it and laugh at these if you want to prove you’re not the ugly one.”

    I switched to 10 Cane a while ago.

  68. wow.

    @A Sarah: “Wow, that ad only makes sense if you don’t think women are human beings.”

    my thought exactly.

    the cross-eyed bit? are they effing kidding me?!? ‘a noticeable limp’?!? holy fucking hell, dude. i don’t even know what to say. WRONG overload!

    Barcardi: We like 5% of the population. No, you’re not in it, give your dough to somebody else.

    this has honestly been the summer of, ‘i’m never buying that again’ based on the ad campaigns. and i don’t even *have* a TV – it’s the outrage i hear about these things from other people that drop my jaw to the floor. since when is hate so attractive? i’m baffled, really.

  69. I am officially changing the name of “bitchpop” to “assholepop.”

    You know, this is where that appalling little canard about how really women are the mean judgmental catty ones taking down other women comes from. The patriarchy plays women against each other to destroy our sense of safety and community and get our submission and/or our five bucks for a shitty alcopop.

  70. I have a really horrible sinking feeling that this is a viral campaign and in a week they’ll turn around and say “SURPRISE! We’re actually on your side, Breezers are the new feminist drink!”

    Either way, I’m quite embarrassed for whoever came up with this concept. And Bacardi.

    There’s a facebook group for this campaign, and a few people have joined to express their disgust, but one supporter of the campaign is lashing out at overly PC western people who look for offense in everything. I haven’t bothered to check back, I know how that game plays out.

  71. I also wanted to express the view, to the commenters who have protested that these women aren’t ugly (not that I disagree with you), that maybe that’s kind of irrelevant. Even if we all agreed 100% that they were ugly, I think that wouldn’t really make this ad campaign any less offensive. In fact, you might argue that it would even make it worse.

    Oh, I completely agree—the ad would be just as misogynistic and awful no matter what the women looked like. But as it stands, i think it also points to the severe narrowing of the beauty standard that we’ve discussed here before: if you don’t fit perfectly into the beauty ideal, no matter how specific or narrow, then you are hopeless. It’s not only misogynistic but actively propping up an impossible standard.

  72. “Care to speculate on what was the worst?”

    Twenty bucks it’s his mother or his ex-girlfriend. TWENTY BUCKS.

  73. This ad has my Stamp Of Disapproval, and A Boot To The Head.

    Seriously. I saw this and all I can say was… what the FUCK? Were they drunk on Bacardi Breezers when they made this?!

  74. Did anyone else notice that Wendy’s waist is listed as 40 cm? That’s…about 15 inches. Am I missing something here?

    These women are all attractive and perfectly normal looking. So they don’t look like supermodels: Most women don’t, and we shouldn’t have to in order to be considered attractive. I find it disturbing (to say the least) that an advertising campaign like this actually made it to the public sphere. Disgusting.

  75. My goodness. How on earth can people be so hateful and thoughtless.

    I saw this as ‘look at how happy and confident these women are. Isn’t that funny and sad seeing as how fat/ugly/different they are. At least you’re not delusional like them.’ I don’t think its so much about how these women look as it is about putting them in their place.

    And the part about ‘have your own freckled mound of celulite’ just shkeeves me out. I would seriously be looking under these people’s porches for dead bodies because that shit is psychotic. I don’t think you can be mentally healthy and be so filled with this kind of disdain for another human being where you refer to them as a ‘mound of cellulite’.

    Oh and can we lay off the whole idea that ‘blonde’ is the default image of attractiveness. I kind of get tired of reading ‘well she’s considered unattractive because she’s not blonde, thin, and able bodied.’ This isn’t the seventies. The media’s idea of beautiful is anywhere from brunettes to redheads- as long as she’s thin. Being blonde isn’t some sort of get of jail free card in the game of patriarchy. It just makes me more likely to be thought of as ‘dumb’ as well as deal with the accompanying blonde jokes and asked if my hair color is ‘real’.

  76. Ajay & Nomi – Also a fan of Berkshire Distillery! So many things to love about living in Massachusetts…

  77. To say that I was disgusted with these ads is an understatement. Go to further into it would only be repeating what has already been stated in the comments here, and much more intelligently than I could do.

    But on another completely selfish level, I am pissed off that someone got paid to come up with a campaign and this shit was the best they could do. I have been studying marketing and advertising and I could create a hundred different, non-offensive, campaigns to sell these alchopops. How is it fair that these douches are employed and I work for minumum wage slinging coffee? World, you try my patience! *shakes fists*

  78. I just wanted to clarify that I’m not disagreeing with the idea that able-bodied or thin persons are held up as the ideal. I was just giving an example of how blondeness is lumped in as the default norm.

    I’m also very glad to be a bourbon drinker this evening.

  79. Another thing that makes me upset about this ad is that often times, I feel like “the ugly girlfriend” when I’m around some of my friends. I know they don’t consider me ugly (they’re always telling me that I’m beautiful and stuff like that), but that’s how I feel based on interactions from other people whenever we’re out together. WIth one friend inparticular, whenever we’re out together, she gets hit on constantly (even though she’s married) while I’m ignored (no ring on my finger). It really makes me feel bad about myself sometimes.

    So yeah Bacardi, you suck. Thanks for preying on my insecurities and the insecurities of the women you’re targeting with that awful ad campaign. If I didn’t already dislike your product (Smirnoff is so much better), I’d boycott you.

  80. I was just giving an example of how blondeness is lumped in as the default norm.

    Well, right. I mean, blondeness is still one of the privileged signs of femininity. It doesn’t mean that it trumps everything else, by any means. But it’s not like I made up the “blondes are more attractive” meme.

  81. I feel so bad for teenage girls because they’re so susceptible to this kind of shit. I know if I would have saw this when I was 16, I would have went into a shame spiral. Now, I’m full of sputtering rage, but I don’t feel shamed. Sally is fucking fierce in her bathing suit!

    I first saw this on Fatshionista LJ, and I didn’t even get that it was targeted to women. That doesn’t even make FUCKING SENSE.

    Bacardi can kiss my fat and my moles and my facial hair and my flat, flat ass.

  82. Someone with Photoshop skills should make one of these with a mastectomy breast cancer survivor and put it out there as Bacardi’s. It’s exactly as not funny and exactly as false that a woman with a mastectomy can’t be considered beautiful as that a woman who is not skinny or limp-free can’t be pretty. But the public outrage and bad PR would be exactly what Bacardi deserves. The campaign is despicable and should be exposed.

  83. Sigh. I read about this on the f-word earlier today. One thing that stands out to me is that this ad campaign pits women against other women. Again. What a great way to keep chicks in their places by having them compare and criticize each other. Again. Keep us tearing each other down so we won’t notice that da menz are oppressing us in a vile, vile way. Again.

  84. I’m pissed in general, and I’m super-pissed that Wendy’s limp is one of her hilarious “minuses.” Ableist much?

    And just exactly what the hell is “dominant body odor?” Does that mean she smells like an alpha female? I see nothing wrong with that unless she, you know, goes around marking everything all the time. That’s definitely a dating don’t.

    Finally, SM, did your troll have any helpful hints on how we can all whip ourselves into a better excuse for feminism? ‘Cause, you know, zie might be totally into feminism, and just think we’re all not quite up to snuff. As the quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln says, “He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.”

  85. Hey! I know why the WOC doesn’t have a name or a backstory! It’s a creativity exercise. You make up your own!

    Out on the town with Katy! (They all end in -y, so I just grabbed a name out of the air….)

    Height: Sufficient
    Waist: Looks awesome in that belt
    Weight: She never weights herself and doesn’t really give a shit
    Bonus: Super sense of style

    Katy’s confidence, sense of humor, and great taste make her a terrific companion for any outing. Whether it’s hitting the vintage boutiques, catching the hip new exhibit at the museum, or just chatting at a cozy cafe, you’re sure to have a blast when you step out with Katy!

  86. ((((Charlotte))))

    I’ve had experiences like that too. The company is definitely preying on our insecurities–and also more than that; they contribute to the culture that creates them in the first place. >:(

  87. Speaking as a man (and one who, for his sins, works as an advertising copywriter), I’d like to say that this is not only a misogynistic ad campaign that belongs firmly in the 1970s, but also, that it’s shit.

    The creative director who passed this should be stripped of his Porsche, black leather sofa and ponytail, and pushed out onto the job market.


  88. OK, lurker coming out of the woodwork to comment on this one. It’s kind of hilarious really, in a “you so totally overplayed your hand” kind of way. I mean, it exposes the utter hoax of the media’s favorite head game, “YOU’RE NOT CUTE ENOUGH YOU UGLY SOW.” It’s one thing to tell us by implication and comparison with airbrushed models that we’re not cute enough… even I sometimes kind of slip into accepting that. But now we have actual, visible yardsticks of what the media thinks is UGLY, i.e. the state we all are supposed to be desperate to escape… and I mean COME ON! These women are cute and gorgeous. My guess is that even a self-hating, internalized-misogynistic-attitude-having woman’s reaction to the pictures of (especially) “Daisy” and “Wendy” would be “That skinny bitch, look at her gorgeous skin and photogenic smile, how do I get to be as cute as her?” So, it is now abundantly obvious that when the media tells us we’re UGLY, they’re just trying to get us to buy products and they’re basically full of shit. I know this is not a revolutionary conclusion… but this campaign lets the cat out of the bag to a degree I have never seen before. The old “YOU UGLY SOW” lie is never going to work again on any woman who has seen this campaign, because now we know that the media’s “ugly” is actually still cute!

    I bet fashion and cosmetics account reps throughout the advertising industry are cursing Bacardi to hell and back right now for queering their pitch.

    …and I haven’t even mentioned the very disturbing fact that this is apparently an Israel-centric campaign. What does that say about Israeli culture or the ad industry’s perception of it? Eeek. I wish someone with knowledge of that culture would address this.

  89. Valerie said:

    “I don’t think its so much about how these women look as it is about putting them in their place.”

    As a guy myself, it looks more like it’s about class than appearance. The ad tries to suggest a “guilty pleasure” motif. Certain styles/looks are often associated with one’s social/economic status, sadly, even among women. What guys think about women may not even have to be a factor here.

    Moreover, it can be hard for guys to know how to respond as well. If we men aren’t keen for the models in this ad, we can be shamed for our preferences. If we don’t care one way or the other, we can be depicted as having no standards. This ad can work against us guys as well.

  90. And let’s not forget the cutesy heterosexist touch of “girlfriend” to mean “friend.” What kind of women do they think they’re addressing, anyway? Seriously, how stupid would you have to be to alienate 52% of your potential customers? How do the models feel about being used in this way?

  91. A few people have asked how the models could have posed for this ad – but I’m sure they didn’t. They’ve probably posed for stock photographers, who sell the usage of their libraries of images. These images were almost certainly labelled with tags like “women, fun, friends” etc – the kind of image that could be used websites selling holidays, or on company intranets social pages.

    Models that aren’t famous have little or no control over how their image would be used. If hope none of them see this ad. The assholes who invented this campaign probably never thought of their feelings, but I’m sure they couldn’t care less if they did.

  92. ‘All marketing and promotional practices must be in good taste and must not contain indecent, demeaning, or insulting materials. ‘

    Taken from Bacardis corporate website as one of their company principles.

    Okie dokie then. wonder if they’ve read them for a while.

  93. Jeeezuuuussss.

    I canNOT believe that this ad campaign actually made it out of committee. What the hell?

    I have poured out my huge bottle of bacardi’s gold (brand new) and will never EVER buy from them again.

    Furthermore, I could probably be an “ugly girlfriend” model for them, but don’t tell my husband… he thinks I’m hot. And you know what? More importantly, so do I.


  94. Something else occurred to me this morning: I’m not surprised that this came out of Israel, a country in which misogyny and machismo are deeply embedded in the culture. It’s sad, because, yes, the people who came up with it are probably Jewish and should be aware of the whole “being judged on physical appearance” thing, but I doubt people’s minds work that linearly in this type of situation.

  95. EW with a capital EW. My stomach is churning as much as if I had consumed that Breezer swill. I feel horrible for these cute women who posed for stock photos that were not traditional “glamour” shots and wound up in this hate-a-thon.

    Plus, do people actually DO this? Maybe I’m naive, but I spent most of my 20s getting literally stepped on and shoved off barstools by guys trying to meet my two best friends, who were stunning and conventionally “hot” (they still are, although they’re married with kids now). Hey, I know what I look like, but I must admit that it never once occurred to me that they wanted to hang with me so they could look better. They’re extremely cool people and wouldn’t think like this, and they never ditched me for these assholey guys. But I’m now wondering if others saw it that way and having a little retroactive cringe-fest. EW!

  96. I really have no words for this. The campaign and the assumptions that underlie how the message is intended to work just all makes me nauseous.

    Oy with the poodles already.


  97. Wow. An ad campaign that specifically targets young women with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In Isreal. I believe that is what’s called Pinpoint Marketing in the advertising field.

    Needless to say I won’t be purchasing any Bacardi products anytime soon, if ever.

  98. It looks like the ad campaign was taken down.

    But there was no apology. I want a fucking apology!

  99. All the women in this ad are adorable/gorgeous/cute. If we’re supposed to see them as obviously unattractive, that went over my head.

    Daisy just might be the cutest person ever. Doesn’t she just look like a good time?

  100. I’ve been tracking developments on this campaign. Happily, McCann Digital seems to have pulled both the Hebrew and English minisites (or angry feminists have crashed them?). I think they were aiming to win the Cannes advertising prize this year. I don’t know why they pulled the ads, but I am guessing enough angry people emailed Bacardi and Bacardi demanded they pull the ads because of bad press. An Israeli friend told me that the ads actually dated from 2007 or 2008 and she wasn’t even sure if they had ever officially appeared in the country.


  101. Just sent this:

    Re: “Get an Ugly Girlfriend” Ad Campaign

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    I would like to sincerely thank you for helping me to narrow down my selection of a birthday gift for my husband, who enjoys a glass of Scotch once in a while.

    It’s always tricky to decide which of the various aged whiskies on the market to purchase for him, and you have made my task so much easier by mounting a campaign so offensive, sexist, and demeaning that I will never buy anything from your company ever again.

    Thank you for making my job as a consumer so much easier! I will make sure to pass this information around to my friends and contacts so that they can also enjoy making easier choices.

    The ad campaign is especially impressive given that your Global Marketing Principles (http://www.bacardilimited.com/resp_glomkt.html) state:

    “Principle 7
    Marketing and promotional practices will not be associated with any individual or group behavior that is anti-social, violent or destructive.

    Principle 8
    All marketing and promotional practices must be in good taste and must not contain indecent, demeaning, or insulting materials.”

    Your marketing staff obviously has a real talent for hypocrisy and an impressive lack of commitment to your company’s stated values. I trust that they will be rewarded appropriately.

    Cordially yours,

  102. A friend of mine brought up a point regarding this ad that I hadn’t thought through – that being, that this is a viral marketing campaign and that by passing on the link to the ad, we’re doing exactly what Bacardi wants.

    I kicked myself for not thinking about that before – but I also wonder, does it matter? This ad is disgusting, regardless of the possible viral intent. Would it really be better to ignore it and hope it goes away?

    I’m wondering what other folks think.

  103. Doesn’t she just look like a good time?

    They all do! They look like the kind of young women who would plan a kick-ass surprise birthday party and go on weird vacations and still be really competent at their jobs.

    Stupid Bacardi.

  104. The best part is how they undermine their own point. Those women are pretty! All of them are obviously professional models in “unflattering” poses. They don’t even match their “descriptions”. If they wanted women who didn’t fit into the beauty ideal, they could have just gone on the street and picked the first 10 or so women that passed by. Odds are for them that they won’t be blonde, thin, tall, or perfectly symmetrical, so they’d work PERFECTLY for a campaign about ugly women. It would have saved Bacardi the effort of finding models desperate enough for money that they’d be willing to sign away their image to this hot mess.

  105. Did anyone else notice that Wendy’s waist is listed as 40 cm? That’s…about 15 inches. Am I missing something here?

    Yup, smaller than my 4’0″ fairly thin 9 year old daughter’s waist, and she supposedly weighs 116lb at 5’5″ which makes her BMI 19.3, probably not terribly likely that she has a waist smaller than a 9 year old. Also Sally’s waist is apparently 122cm which is approx 48″, while she weighs about 213lb. Now, I’m sure there are women of that weight with that waist measurement, but it seems pretty improbable given that when I was at 195lb (and a good two inches shorter) I had a hip measurement of 48″ and a waist measurement of about 36″ – I can’t really see how another 20lb would have made a difference of 12 inches even if it had all gone to my tummy. In other words, I think they pulled these numbers out of their arses.

  106. (er, I don’t mean improbable in the sense of YOU BIG FREAK, just, you know, it doesn’t seem like the most likely waist measurement for that weight/height combination and thus I think they just made it up rather than having actually measured the real women shown or even used anything like logic)

  107. “… if you don’t fit perfectly into the beauty ideal, no matter how specific or narrow, then you are hopeless.It’s not only misogynistic but actively propping up an impossible standard.”

    But look, for some women the contemporary beauty ideal is *impossible* and even if the ideal was so generous to include, say, 70% of all women, it would be impossible to reach for the remaining 30% and the ugly minority would suffer just as much, if not more.

    I guess that you did not mean it that way, but everytime someone points out that the problem is a narrowing beauty ideal that exclude women who actually look good, it makes ugly women invisible again. It seems as if beauty standads only mattered when they hurt at least relatively pretty women. The problem is not a narrow beatuy ideal, the problem is a beauty ideal per se. As long as their is an ideal, some women will be perceived as ugly and therefore be treated like crap.

  108. Great letter, Holly. I’m not a witty writer like so many of you. Mine was more like “go fuck yourself” but I think they got the point.

  109. Anwen, it wouldn’t be surprising at ALL if they just pulled numbers out of their asses. The people who designed these ads wouldn’t bother measuring “ugly” women to make sure their work reflects reality.

    @ emmy, way upthread:
    Thanks for the list of other booze I can buy. I was about as sad as SM was when I found out that Bombay Sapphire was yet another product I won’t be buying again, but you gave me a new gin to try. And new favourites are just as good AND more exciting than old ones. :)

  110. Hmmm. The links are all dead. Wonder why?

    You have to wonder who thought this was a good idea. And then the idea comes to you that there are 2 possible groups of suspects: it was the usual band of mutant young males that you see on internet threads, the ones who rationalize their own misogyny by saying that women really hate each other, OR the females on those threads who are want to be honorary males, and earn that honor by hating women as much as the mutants. And you know what both of those groups are saying? That all the angry e-mail that flooded the websites was generated by man-hating lesbians. I’ll bet they never learned a damned thing.

  111. I find it hard to believe that this is deemed acceptable at any level!
    I used to like Bacardi. One customer less.

  112. Wow, Sally looks kinda like me. Except with lighter blonde hair and no acne. Guess that makes me the ugly girlfriend, despite the fact that my (naturally slender) BFF keeps telling me that I look great.

    I can’t drink due to meds, but now I know what I won’t be drinking if I ever get off them! (According to Dad, Bacardi is horse piss anyway. He always orders his rum and Coke with Myers Dark.) The fact that DiSarrono is owned by Bacardi makes me sad, though. I like amaretto cookies, aka amaretti. I suppose I can try DiAmore, almond extract, or email an Italian friend of mine and ask if she has any suggestions.

    The only alcoholic drinks I’ve ever tasted that really, truly made me wish I could drink have been mead and a dessert wine called Bug Juice. Somebody brought mead to a winter solstice ritual once for the blessing cup, and man, it was a true act of willpower to only take a small sip and pass the cup on. I like sweet drinks, what can I say…

  113. Utterly disgusting and yet not at all surprising.

    Is there any literature out there about liquor marketing and misogyny? I’d be interested in knowing what research has been done to date.Why is there such a pan-cultural connection between alcohol (and most other recreational drugs, for that matter) and the degradation of women? I could begin hazarding some guesses, but wonder if anyone has come across any good work done on the subject.

  114. All weights and measurements of women in the media are totally inaccurate and pulled out of someone’s ass.

    These ads are just so hateful I can’t wrap my mind around it.

    Fat, zits, cellulite, freckles, visible bones, glasses, non-button noses, sweating, a limp (seriously, WTF), a prominent jaw, thighs that touch (which has nothing to do with weight), eyebrows that aren’t a thin line, a double chin, breasts that hang down, a long face, non-tv teeth.. I think I can safely say that there is no person in the world who doesn’t have at least a few of these ‘flaws’. How is it possible that the media feels it’s reasonable to say they don’t and that we should be ashamed because we do?

  115. Another person who won’t be buying any Bacardi products any more. This is just so horrific.

  116. June 21, 2009

    Thank you for taking the time to post your story regarding Bacardi Breezer.

    The campaign you are referring to ran in 2008 for two months in Israel. Even though Bacardi Breezer is not sold or distributed in the United States, we immediately notified the appropriate Bacardi affiliate and had this website shut down.

    Bacardi proudly celebrates diversity and we do not endorse the views of this site.

    We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by this site and thank you for bringing it to our attention.

  117. Is there any literature out there about liquor marketing and misogyny?

    Ah, a chance to flog Jean Kilbourne’s Can’t buy my love (and her Killing us Softly series of videos, the third of which can be viewed through Google video). I don’t really think there’s a lot of hard studies in there so much as a side by side analysis of ads and insights/quotes from ad industry trade publications.

  118. I only just realised how Wendy is supposed to be ugly–she has unshaved armpits. Hence the whole dominant body odour thing.

    If not removing body hair makes you ugly, that’s me and at least half the women I know out of the hotness race. Of course, most of us are also fat, so…

  119. Flogging Kilbourne some more, http://www.mediaed.org/ sells all of her video lectures and offers free, low quality previews of said presentations. Check out “Spin the Bottle” and “Slim Hopes”.

  120. I haven’t read any of the comments yet, but I’m about to go back and do that. I just had to pop in and say that this is the WORST series of ads I can ever remember seeing, which is really saying something. It makes me angry at/for the women who they used in the pictures too. Did these ladies think this was funny? Did they think it was one of the only modeling gigs they could get? Did they even know what the text next to their pictures was going to say in the finished product?

    I am just flabbergasted. It’s one thing to see the images of stereotypically beautiful women plastered on every ad ever, but it’s quite another to see images of normal looking women being crucified for what they are.

    Blah and blah.

  121. I showed the pictures to my husband. He’s one to play devil’s advocate, since he agrees with me most of the time, and what fun is there in that?

    His response: “That’s terrible.”

    It must be bad if he can’t even come up with a plausible (if laughable) excuse for this trash.

  122. I work in ad agency, so I can totally picture the creative/concepting meeting that went into making this campaign. Some allegedly clever account person no doubt thought this was edgy. The casual nature of misogyny in this society may be the most disheartening thing about it.

  123. O.K., I understand that misogyny is rampant in selling liquor, but that’s because they are not trying to sell it to women. But the only people on earth who could think this would appeal to women is someone who never met a woman, Glian, are these the account people? You don’t even have to be a feminist, or at all analytical, to find this repulsive on a visceral level.

  124. Can we not make judgements about Israel based on this? It’s not like we don’t see plenty of misogynistic ads come out of Canada and the US.

  125. @Sean-Patrick Hillman
    Breezers are sold in Australia, and there’s no way in hell I’m touching them. I think you guys might have just realised that advertising and marketing isn’t as localised as you might think, thanks to globalisation. Which is both a blessing (if you come up with an awesome campaign) and a curse (uh, this doozy!) I really hope Bacardi has had their consciousness raised through this debacle.

  126. This campaign is gross. Hopefully Hillman’s actions didn’t stop with his PC note. The only way to gain back consumers’ faith is firing their marketing team, their ad agency and anyone else who had anything to do with this.

    It’s sad that irresponsible people have so much power and they use it to create something so distasteful. Hopefully the hell we raise here and our boycott will teach these guys a lesson.

  127. Hmmmmm. So where were the English language versions shown? I find it hard to believe that they weren’t, given the photos we’ve got of them.

    For the curious, this is what it looks like in Hebrew:


    I think it’s a bit disingenuous for them to blame it on a far away time and place. I bet it was seen elsewhere.

  128. Seriously depressing and beyond words in the misogyny stakes; and you know, if I’d seen these when I was a teen I’d have been so horrified that my stark resemble to Daisy and my ‘aquiline nose’ would have made me ‘ugly’ but now, at 23? Man, I AM that black-rimmed glasses wearing intellectual with serious eyebrows and Jewish ancestry – YES!

    Bye, Bye Bacardi – so glad I never got to know you, you bunch of utter f**kwipes.

  129. Dangit, Forrester beat me to it! I was about to say that I am amazed and know not what to say – that’s because Forrester is my buddy and I freely snaffle all of her best lines. Except I DO know what to say, but it’s not really fit for civilized society.

    Thanks for putting the pressure on the dreadfuls. There’s one battle in the war that you’ve won for us.

    Mock on!

  130. Sean-Partick Hillman, you said, “The campaign you are referring to ran in 2008 for two months in Israel. Even though Bacardi Breezer is not sold or distributed in the United States, we immediately notified the appropriate Bacardi affiliate and had this website shut down. ”

    Thank you for keeping us up to date. If you’re still reading this, can you let me know how the Bacardi affiliates work? Are their ad campaigns not approved by a centralised dept? Especially, as Natalie said, they’re pretty easy to access from other countries?

  131. Ali,

    Bacardi Rum is made in Puerto Rico (because they had to leave Cuba once Castro rose to power), and yes, “Actual Puerto Ricans” drink it. There are some better brands out of there (DonQ is my favorite), but the brand is popular in PR.

    I’m very happy with the response from the company. When I saw this, I was pretty horrified, and kind of bummed that I would have to give up some of my favorite liquor brands. So, yay for the company shutting that crap down, and yay for not having to quit Bombay Sapphire.

  132. OH WOW. FUCK THEM!! I will never buy another one of their products again!! And I know about a dozen more ladies who won’t either after seeing this crap.

  133. Can we not make judgements about Israel based on this? It’s not like we don’t see plenty of misogynistic ads come out of Canada and the US.


  134. NOTE TO BACARDI: Let me guess…this genius campaign came from a bunch of men at McCann Digital? This was THE lamest, crude move that agency could have made on behalf of Bacardi. So who were the internal Brand Managers that approved this? Are they getting a serious kick in the ass out the door?

    You’ve got the blogosphere on fire here boys, and the women rejecting your brand are being heard here:

    And here:

    And I am sure your blog trackers are showing you the rest as you sit in your pools of sweat.

    We’ll do our best to keep the momentum going until those good ole’ Bacardi and Diet Cokes aren’t selling anymore.

    mV of mamaVISION.com blog

  135. In Israel? I live in Israel and I don’t remember this campaign at all.

    And I’m sure I would have noticed it and I would damn well have complained. As would a lot of people. Misogyny is not tolerated here either. It’s no different than in the US or the UK. And I presume it was made by a branch of an international ad agency like McCann Erickson…

    What’s really weird about this is the fact that it is in English, which is not one of the 2 official languages here. And looking at the Hebrew I think it was translated into Hebrew from English as it doesn’t look very natural… it looks like a half-assed translation.

    Gee thanks, Bacardi, for treating Israelis like we’re stupid. Thanks a bunch.

  136. Mr. Hillman: How did the Bacardi “affiliate” retain McCann Digital for this campaign?

    McCann Digital is a highly respected agency, I find it hard to believe they would proceed on any campaign of this magnitude on behalf of an “affiliate” that did not have permission to do so.

    Further, McCann Digital Israel is quite proud of this campaign, seeing that they submitted it to The Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival which is going on as we speak.

    Do you intend to allow this renegade “affiliate” to tarnish Bacardi’s brand image in this way?

    Finally, does Corporate intend on submitting a statement of apology on this campaign, or are they asking you as the publicist to handle the uproar?


    PS Perhaps you and McCann Digital Israel should stay off twitter for the time being…your tweets don’t sit too well when the McCann is bragging about the campaign as you are apologizing for it. More here; http://bit.ly/aPsO

  137. I had to read the first ad twice because when I just looked at the picture of the woman with the inner tube and then saw “beach stroll with Sally” I was like “Okay, not liking the whole bachelorette-for-auction thing, but this woman is smokin’ hot and not stick thin – fuck yeah!” And then of course I read the rest of the post and my head exploded.

    It’s been that kind of 24 hours actually – I saw Entourage last night for the first time ever and the one episode I happened to catch was all about them trying to get their “ugly” sidekick friends laid. Craigslist was involved, you get the idea. The point being that the way they were discussing woman while in pursuit of them was so insane I involuntarily said aloud “People like this show?”

    I forget sometimes that there are still people who actually think like this because I mercifully don’t notice it everyday, likely because of my Privilege Blinders ™.

  138. We wish to thank all of you who have written us about a past promotional campaign for Bacardi Breezer.

    As a Company and as individuals we are also angered and dismayed that such a campaign was ever created and we have taken immediate action to stop it as it violated our stringent global marketing principles that we firmly support.

    By way of explanation, but by no means an excuse, Bacardi never sponsored nor developed this promotion. But we understand it is our brand and our reputation and you are our consumers. We are also embarrassed that we didn’t catch this breach sooner. We have been urgently looking into this matter to make sure this type of activity is never repeated.

    What we do know is that a third-party developed and activated this brief campaign in one small market more than a year ago without our clearance. When we discovered this promotion, we instructed our distributor to shut it down as it did not comply with our global marketing standards. We are now urgently looking into the reasons why this program was recently reposted on the internet. In markets where Bacardi does not have a corporate presence, we are represented by third parties; in this case a distributor and its advertising agency, but they must adhere to our stringent marketing principles, which clearly this campaign did not.

    When Bacardi found out about this recent reposting, we immediately notified the agency and distributor to shutdown the website.

    Bacardi proudly celebrates diversity and we do not endorse the views of this site or the campaign, as it is offensive and completely inappropriate. We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by this campaign and thank you, our consumers for bringing it to our attention.


    Bacardi Limited

  139. I think Sally just looks incredibly awesome! Beach with her? Hell yeah! She looks like she loves life, would have the most hilarious jokes. She looks fantastic! I am appalled by all of this, but maybe the MOST appalled by the part about the limp. Are you serious?!

  140. I’m speechless, and I rarely am. Today we’d Twitter Bacardi into oblivion with this.

    Oh, I agree, Entourage is pathetic.

  141. mamaV – thanks for taking my comment on board, it was a bit hurried and after I posted I wondered if it might have come across as harsh ;) I am phsyically disabled (self ID as a crip in a reclaiming sort of way) and still working on this one myself, it really creeps in…

    you didn’t offend me, because I think a lot of people just don’t even associate the two meanings of the word, particularly as it’s rarely used in the literal sense any more (except maybe re horses).

  142. God, that’s disgusting. I’m at a loss for words, disgusting is all that comes to mind right now. Seeing the amount of comments, it’s clear I’m not alone either. Of course it makes sense, everyone knows you’re only as good as the men that want to sleep with you, right? …Right?

    Also, I can sort of stand misoginy in things like Axe adverts (which also tend to be quite funny in their own sexist way and never nearly as offensive as this) because their only audience is male, but Bacardi? People, have you not noticed that women both buy and drink alcohol as well? I can’t imagine any woman, whatever shape or form, feeling anything other than anger watching this. If you can’t acknowledge us as human beings, at least do so as consumers. This is simply not good business! Sacrificing sales in the name of misoginy, way to make a statement Bacardi!

  143. Wow, sorry, I have to write another comment because I have just now noticed that this ad IS aimed at women. It was so blatantly misogynistic that that thought didn’t even cross my mind, seriously. That’s just… sad. Did they really think women would like this? That’s pathetic, disgusting, repulsive and a whole lot of more agressive and perhaps less family friendly adjectives.

  144. It very much offends me that you consider any woman that’s not the trophy wife, model or super model type ugly. This is a total travesty of an ad campaign. Sincerely, Angelique

  145. This is just horrible! What was going through these people’s heads when they decided this was a good idea?

    Being a girl just turned 20 I used to drink these up untill couple of years ago, and had I seen this when I was 16 or so it would have made me very upset, since I always felt like the ‘ugly friend’ being very tall, skinny, and flat chested. I think this ad will do nothing but make their target market feel more insecure, as if being a teenage girl isn’t stressfull enough!
    I can imagine myself worrying that this might have made me question way my pretty friends felt about me!

    The worst part is that these women look lovely! They look pretty, smart and confident and fun in my opinion! Lucy has amazing eyes and daisy looks so cute!

    I seriously can’t belive how sick this all is!

  146. Oh, and what’s more, they’re putting down bigger women while marketing a drink that’s highly calorific alcohol and packed full of sugar! It seems very contradictory to me.

  147. I have a lot of body image issues but I fall into what is medically defined as a “normal” weight for my height. I feel disgusting and hideous and can’t look at myself in the mirror sometimes. I had a therapist once who actually suggested that it might be because I’m comparing myself to unrealistic standards instead of “real” women, and then he added, smilingly, that “You just need to get some fat friends.”

    It was kind of a half joke, but I was still outraged at it and I was relieved when I read this article, because it articulates why I felt so frustrated.

  148. On the boycott front, here in Europe the Havana Club is NOT made by Bacardi, it’s actually from Cuba. (Basically, the Cuban government also kept the brand going after the revolution, so there are two sorts of HC in circulation.)

    If it’s got a green and white label on the neck, it’s the Cuban-made stuff, not from Bacardi. (You may want to boycott it for other reasons if that’s your bag, but I figured at least everyone would know what they were boycotting!)

    If it’s all too confusing, Mount Gay and Cockspur are both good rums from Barbados.

  149. This is disgusting. I am very disappointed in Bacardi – how shameful. I am also disappointed that they sell Disarrono, as that is my favorite amaretto….but there are plenty of others out there. I know my tiny contribution to not buying their product is not much, but hopefully the word will spread and make a difference.

  150. I’m amused that Bacardi have posted a justification on here- does it read like ‘hey we didn’t KNOW, it’s not OUR fault!’ to anyone else? :D hee hee hee

    Still going to boycott Bacardi products for the rest of my life though, so too bad Bacardi! :D

  151. What I find funny is they have to tell you what’s wrong with these women. If you didn’t read the ad copy, you’d never know. And that’s because they just made shit up. Sandy doesn’t have a double chin, or any lumps I can see. Lucy’s jaw doesn’t stick out, Daisy’s eyebrows aren’t tangled; they’re damn near plucked into oblivion. Wendy doesn’t look like a horse; she’s got a lovely triangular face. They only made one statement about that last unnamed girl, saying she’s ugly, and they didn’t even get that right.

    I can’t be terribly angry at these because I can’t take them seriously. They fail at human communication. I look at them, and instead of whatever message they’re trying to get across I hear white noise and gibbering.

    I don’t know what they were thinking. I have a hard time believing they were doing anything recognizable as thought.

  152. I think it’s time to do some parsing:

    Thank you for taking the time to post your story regarding Bacardi Breezer.

    Oh fuck.

    The campaign you are referring to ran in 2008 for two months in Israel.

    Lol ISRAEL, AMIRITE? That’s so far away it’s all sand and shit! Why would we have any idea what one of our affiliates was running as an ad campaign all the way over there, even if they were so proud of it they submitted it to the fucking CANNES LION FESTIVAL? There’s no way news like that would have come back to the US headquarters! You feminists are so unreasonable.

    Even though Bacardi Breezer is not sold or distributed in the United States, we immediately notified the appropriate Bacardi affiliate and had this website shut down.

    Since we happen not to sell this particular Bacardi product on US soil, we honestly don’t even know what you’re whining about. But whatever, fine, we’ll take it down in case you get your vaginas out at us.

    Bacardi proudly celebrates diversity and we do not endorse the views of this site.

    Our lawyers made me put this in.

    We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by this site and thank you for bringing it to our attention.

    Please keep buying our products. Please.


  153. Yes, chickfactor, that’s exactly what I read.

    As such, I’m behooved to award the *George Carlin side eye* prize to Bacardi for even showing up in here. Until Saturday, I was a loyal customer—do you know how tiresome it is for me to enforce a self-imposed boycott nowadays!? Of course you don’t [I had a lovely take on same Saturday, but the internets ate mah comment. If it was due to one f-bomb too many, my apologies.]

    Also, a hearty guffaw for Caitlin’s translation (I had something along those lines in my head too, but alas, it wasn’t as thorough or as clever).

  154. I wrote a polite email to the vice president of communications at McCann Israel complaining about this campaign.

    Well, it wasn’t an email, it was a private message on a business forum site he’s on since the McCann website doesn’t have contact details.

    So far, no response. I’m so upset about it that if I don’t get one I might write an actual snail mail letter to him. I don’t see why Israelis should accept this sort of disgusting sexism.

  155. Ha, I like Caitlin’s takedown very much. I almost wonder if there may have been some deliberate “hey, I know, let’s get the INTARWEBS to be all disgusted by this crazy advert and then we can come in all AVENGING HEROES by saying ‘hey pretty ladies, it wasn’t really US wot did it!’ and they will LOVE US SO HARD and BUY SO MUCH BACARDI!!!!”

    But then I am a dreadful cynic. A dreadful cynic who doesn’t buy Bacardi anyway, but will make a special effort not to do so from now on, anyway.

  156. Cat: Is this who you left a message for?
    Susan Irwin
    McCann Erickson

    She is listed on the McCann website as Sr VP Worldwide Communications Director responsible for representing McCann to the global business press (I found her simply by clicking on the highest ranking WOMAN on the management tab of their web site, go here to view http://www.mccann.com/)

    So, where is Susan? Why put the publicist Sean Hillman as the front person on this? It has only caused more controversy. I think she is the one that needs to give us a REAL answer such as:

    “We are sorry.

    We are not on top of our game and the campaign slipped through, we caught it and canceled it after 2 months, but that is irrelevant – we still made a major error and we apologize.

    We are embarrassed such an offensive campaign was created and submitted as “our best work” to the Cannes International Ad Festival. We have asked that it be removed from the competition.

    I personally have established a new process to assure such a misogynistic campaign is never allowed through the doors of McCann again.”

    …never going to happen, but one can dream.

  157. Thank heavens the only alcohol I ever drink is flavored liqueur in my coffee.

    I pray that whoever makes Kahlua, Bailey’s, and Butterscotch-flavored Schnapps never bother advertising.

    This is really offensive.

    One of my thinner friends subconsciously (I hope) used me as her “fat friend.” Granted, I was still getting attention because of my breasts (oh joy, nothing like an entire conversation addressed to them amirite?!) but… no, I’m sorry, this is just… awful.

    I have several friends who are much fatter than me (and gorgeous btw) and I’d be proud to be seen with them anywhere, and if anybody ever made them feel like “the ugly friend” you better believe he wouldn’t be talking to me OR my boobs any time soon. :P

  158. I really appreciate all of these comments, as a feminist, when I stumbled upon this site, I was horrified by this ad series. Thank you for all of your opinions.

  159. Caitlin: Best use of “vaginas” in a sentence, ever. Still snorting, loudly, in a roomful of people too polite to demand “WHAAT?!!” -Ajay

  160. This from the company that gets go-go dancers to flail about in front of their booth at Gay Pride festivals all over the country, and yes I’m serious.
    At Long Beach pride, they had the usual thinbots with fake tits-oh, and they had guys too-also skinny. So, it’s not surprising from Bacardi-oh, and they say they “proudly celebrate diversity”? I hardly find a girl shaking her fake tits standing on one of those puke green boxes celebrating diversity, or feminism for that matter.
    Another one who’s glad she’s sober, so she doesn’t drink that shit.

  161. What the FUCK. None of these girls were posed in a flattering way, not even the thin ones. This is ridic. I wonder if the women featured here did this… willingly? If their images are being used in a way they didn’t consent to, surely they can do something about this. Like burn down the publishing house.

    Give the media enough rope and they’ll hang themselves. They’ve always exposed their own hypocrisy, but this takes the cake. (whoops, stay away from cake, you’ll end up like these girls!) You’re either too old, too young, too fat, too thin, not thin enough, not pretty enough, too pretty, too funny, not funny enough, your self esteem is too low, your self esteem is too high. No matter what you do, there will always be something wrong with you. That kind of shit gets into your head, believe me, whether you’re strong-willed or not.

  162. I am an Italian reader of this blog and would like to show you a commercial of a diet (!) water from a national tv channel in my country.

    Even if it is in Italian, it is easy to understand what is happening: a very sad comparation between a stunning blonde model (a former Miss Italy or something like that), who clearly drinks a lot of this water, and a very normal girl, not tall and not skinny. The bad judges are a group of pretty women who praise the blonde – you’re pure and beautiful, the say -and openly despice the ordinary girl “get pure with the water”.

    Even if we are used to see misogynistic and offensive ads, this one has caused a schock in many viewers, not only women, and a lot of protest messages on the company’s website. I think that it is not right to tolerate such things, only silence is shame, as someone said.

  163. although this add is horrifying on many levels, i’m most offended by the way it portrays the aims of female/female friendship. add lingo is so invested in making sex a dog eat girl competative world that it devalues all other forms of human interaction.


  164. Thanks for bringing this steaming pile to my attention. I’m a pretty frequent drinker, at pubs, with dinner, and at home, and I actually used to really enjoy a lot of the products (including Breezers *sigh) that are produced by this company. They will not be seeing another red cent from me, I can tell you that (I actually don’t find boycotts annoying to put into practice, I weirdly enjoy it, and then telling anyone within earshot exactly why I am not chosing brand X).

    As soon as I saw Wendy I immediately identified that she looks a lot like me. Glad to know that I have a horse face. And I actually have sweated once or twice in the past as well, oh the shame! I’m such a disgusting monster! All the rest of the women pictured remind me of people I have known and loved. So, basically- choke on a cock, Bacardi.

    I am ashamed that for a moment I experienced the same sickening feeling that was commonplace when walking down the halls of my middle school feeling sexless and mockery-worthy for not having a “feminine” shape. I know the common trope is that “you can never be thin enough!” and that thin is always better, but I beleive that is simply because it is generally easier for the average person to become “too fat” than “too thin” rather than any actually aesthetic reasons (see that Wendy is actually suffering from this, as her “hot” friend has a “steaming booty” which Wendy does not, given her 15” (!) waist). As someone on this rarer side of the coin (really, really stick thin, no matter what I eat or do) I just want to assure everyone that there is, in fact, no “right way” to be. I know this because I had a hormonal time in my life when I actually did manage to gain a few pounds (in the “right places” too!) and I went from hearing “way too thin”, “real women have curves”, “men don’t want to touch a toothpick”, “why do that to yourself, it looks terrible” one week, to “haha! your metabolism caught up with you!”, “looks like it’s time to find a gym”, “you can still rely on your personality” etc.

    I think we should try to all realize that the “too-whatever” labels are actually designed so that at least one will fit every single one of us. This way we are all insecure, we are all struggling (and purchasing things)to not be something, and there is always a derisive lable to put on another woman so we can keep fighting and hating and competing with each other. I didn’t fully understand this till reading “the beauty myth” but like a magic trick with the “trick” exposed, it’s now glaringly obvious in most advertising. And then, for that .0001% of women who are actually “flawless”, they can be defineed as “too pretty” and we can all hate her for her obscene good luck and look down on her as being all about her looks, and probably stupid, shallow and obsessed with her own beauty.

    Sorry for the crazily long rant, this just really, really rubbed me the wrong way. Thanks for posting this though, I enjoying reading everybody’s sexy, feminist take-downs of this bilge.

  165. This disgusts me more than ANYTHING! What people don’t understand now a days is that blonde fake breasted rail thin is U-N-R-E-A-L-I-S-T-I-C! These women are very naturally beautiful. This ad makes me so angry! How could any company think that this is ok? Why would anyone think this in the first place???!?!?! Just goes to shows that our next generation shall surely be brain washed more than the first. These women are so adorable!

  166. wow. shamelessly exploiting people’s insecurities to make a buck. i mean’s, it not news–that’s what most advertising is about. but this is one of the worst instances i’ve seen. sick.

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