Belvedere vodka released a new campaign ad on Friday that went viral, not because of its effectiveness but for its controversial subject matter, sparking outrage around the Internet, namely from anti-sexual violence organizations due to its suggestive rape theme.
The ad shows a photo of a man holding a girl with a look of terror in her face as she struggles to break free, with a caption which reads, Unlike some people Belvedere always goes down smoothly.
Belvedere posted the ad on Friday via social media and received a flood of comments, prompting the Polish vodka company to remove it within minutes.
We apologize to any of our fans who were offended by our recent tweet. We continue to be an advocate of safe and responsible drinking, read a tweet by the company.
Belvedere president Charles Gibb also apologized for the ad, expressing sincere regret for the ad.
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I would like to personally apologize for the offensive post that recently appeared on our Facebook page, Gibb wrote. It should never have happened. I am currently investigating the matter to determine how this happened and to be sure it never does so again. The content is contrary to our values and we deeply regret this lapse.
According to Belvedere Vodka marketing Senior Vice President Jason Lundy, the company will ensure a flub like this doesn't happen again as the ad even offended the people who work here at Belvedere.
The gaffe prompted Gibb to donate money to RAINN (the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), America's largest anti-sexual violence campaign as an expression of our regret over this matter.
RAINN seemed to accept the apology and monetary donation, adding that the company found solidarity within its mistake.
We got a call from Belvedere Vodka's president, who was profusely apologetic about an offensive Facebook post yesterday, the post on the RAINN Facebook account read. He stressed how much it was contrary to his values and what Belvedere stands for, and that he feels awful about it. He offered to make a generous donation to RAINN to support our work to help victims of sexual violence and educate the public. Nice to see a company that not only undoes its mistake but looks for a way to do good afterwards.
Others are not as content with the apology. Jill Filipovic over at Feministe pulled a Don Draper, and wrote that she will never again touch Belvedere vodka and do everything she can to have it banned.
I'm not a big vodka drinker to begin with, but you can bet I won't be touching Belvedere ever again, Filipovic wrote. In addition to emailing Belvedere, I'll also be asking my local watering hole to consider removing it from their shelves. If you own / work at / frequent a particular restaurant or bar, perhaps ask them to do the same.