A Polish vodka company is in hot water after sending out an ad via social media that features a rape joke as its primary message.
The company’s nearly 1 million fans on Facebook and Twitter were not amused.
On Friday, Belvedere Vodka tweeted and posted to Facebook an ad showing a smiling man grabbing a scared woman from behind who seemed to be trying to escape. The tagline below read, “Unlike some people… Belvedere always goes down smoothly.”
Although the company removed the ad about an hour later, it had already gone viral and made its way around the internet.
Belvedere quickly tweeted out an apology:
“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.”
Still, the damage was done. One Twitter user responded:
“FAIL. Never touching your product ever again.”
Belvedere again tried to atone for the post by issuing a longer apology on its website.
Jason Lundy, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing for Belvedere Vodka, wrote on the company’s Facebook page:
“I am Jason Lundy, SVP of Global Marketing for Belvedere.
Unfortunately a Facebook & Twitter posting was made today that has offended many of our fans and followers — and indeed the people who work here at Belvedere. The post is absolutely inconsistent with our values and beliefs and in addition to removing the offensive post we are committed to making sure that something like this doesn’t happen again.
As an expression of our deep disappointment and regret, we are making a charitable donation to a women’s support cause. We deeply apologize to our fans & followers.”
Charles Gibb, President at Belvedere Vodka, also took to Facebook:
“My name is Charles Gibb and I am the President of Belvedere Vodka. I would like to personally apologize for the offensive post that recently appeared on our Facebook page.
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.
As an expression of our regret over this matter we have made a donation to RAINN (America’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. www.rainn.org.”
View the controversial ad below.
- As Belvedere Vodka just proved: everything a brand says in social media is an ad in the eyes of the consumer (adland.tv)
- Belvedere Vodka Retracts Offensive Ad, Flubs Apology (newsfeed.time.com)
- Here’s Belvedere Vodka’s Apology For Publishing That Gross Rape Ad (businessinsider.com)