Bacardi Drink Ads & Rape Culture
The ad I have selected is from a campaign by the alcohol-producing company, Bacardi. This is the largest, family-owned alcohol-producing company in the world. Bacardi has a number of these "Something by Day, Bacardi by Night" ads. The campaign message is that Bacardi turns women into something else once they have a drink. This is an injurious message especially in our present socio-political climate. We have witnessed the overwhelming reach of the #MeToo campaign and we are dealing with a large number of (male) conservative politicians and law-makers promoting a chauvinist rape culture. There are a few visible issues with this ad, starting with the fact that the model is faceless, reduced to bare skin, a hint of side breast and prominent focus on the lower-back. This lack of identity makes this woman an "everyday woman," and creates a sense of generalization. Ads like these say that all women are likely to dress provocatively and become something else during the night. This "Librarian" is sporting a double personality, an alter-ego, which is turning this otherwise professional female into a scantly-dressed, out for trouble party girl. What is more, Bacardi suggests that the company is promoting this as a great, desirable behavior and they also say that their magical potion (the rum) is likely to bring out the party girl persona in even the most "stereotypically nerdy" of females. The ad is also promoting ideals of beauty which are injurious, such as an extremely skinny body, a light complexion with deep tanning, and a heterosexual normality. However the worst part about the ad is that it continues a tradition of "she's asking for it" mentality which has led to our culture being deemed a "rape culture" or a culture of systemic violence against women.
My jammed version of the ad is dealing with these dangerous messages that the Bacardi campaign likes to put forward in order to sell its products. The woman in the picture is shown with certain "symbols" which are likely to get her not only "slut shamed," but also attacked and then probably made to feel guilty in a court of law and in the court of public opinion. These ads suggest that this behavior is highly desirable and women magically transform in these desirous and wild beings when they go out and have a few drinks. These women are "asking for it," which is the most terrible development we have seen in our society in the last hundred years. The culture of violence against women, which sees a large portion of females experiencing sexual assault can be partly traced to this tendency of companies like Bacardi to use women as sex symbols in order to sell products. The woman is unidentified because her face doesn't matter, at least not as much as the "signals" she is sending with her outfit, her demeanour, her body art, and the drink in her hand. It's not clear who this ad is targeting, as it shows a woman, but its message seems to be geared towards males. It's heteronormativity is loud and clear, and its message suggests that even the most unassuming of women, such as librarians, have a wild side which can be brought out with some alcohol. My jammed version of the ad therefore aims to clarify what this ad is saying, how it's portraying women, and how symbols can be quite powerful and go a long way in making women blamed for their own misfortunes.